Blue Öyster Cult
- Buck has quite a unique lead style, blending rhythmic and melodic strengths. He's able to add his own twist even to a worn-out pentatonic lick.
- Songwriting and singing. Buck has penned a number of great BÖC songs, including the all-time classic "Don't Fear the Reaper" and the well-known hits "Godzilla" or "Burnin' for You". Some of Buck's tunes are real little gems ("Deadline", "Pocket").
- Diversity. Buck is a versatile musician whose abilities encompass heavy stuff as well as subtle soft tunes.
- Persistence. Buck is still kicking ass nowadays, and through the years he obviously played an increasingly prominent role in Blue Öyster Cult, as exemplified by their last studio release "Curse of the Hidden Mirror".
Buck is the lead guitarist of arguably one of the biggest early heavy metal acts, but he never developed a true guitar-hero status -- maybe because he was mostly playing for the songs. He certainly can't be considered as a genre-defining player like Blackmore, Iommi or Page. But he is, nevertheless, overlooked and underrated.
Buck's influences are obviously rooted in classic blues and early rock. In various interviews, he's been mentioning Chuck Berry, Carl Wilson, Danny Kalb, Robbie Krieger and Jeff Beck. Maybe a coincidence, but I find his live staple "Buck's boogie" to be somewhat reminiscent of Freddie King's "Boogie Funk" (I can also hear The Doors here and there in his songwriting). Buck is an accurate and clean player who's pretty fast by 70s standards. He uses little gain (more in Jimmy Page's ballpark than Iommi's). His leadwork is often very melodic and composed, ranging from minor-sounding lines ("Don't Fear the Reaper", "Sinful love"), to more rhythmic rock licks with a lot of double stops (("Harvester of Eyes"). His guitar tone is warm and dirty, but rather thin, with a singing high end bite and very little lows. Through the years, Buck's gear choices changed a lot, but his tone has always been quite recognizable. With the Steinbergers, it became beefier, with more definition, but less warmth.
Typical Gear Choices:
Buck is mostly associated with his white 1969 Gibson SG standard (and his white suits), although on stage he also often used a stock tobacco sunburst 1972 Les Paul with mini-humbuckers, and a 1959 "Black Beauty" LP with Bill Lawrence pickups. In the late '70s and early '80s, he used a heavily modded Strat. Since the 80s, he's been playing a number of (sometimes weird) custom builds, including custom Steinberger M series. Buck's amps in the classic era of BÖC were Marshalls, and he's still using them, but he's also been playing through Mesa Boogie Mk IIs, Groove Tube Amps, a Fender Bassman and a couple of Crate Red Voodoo heads.
What You Need to Know:
Buck Dharma is a nickname for Donald Roeser. Donald, aka Buck, is a really original and inventive guitarist, a fantastic songwriter, and a more than decent singer. He is a cornerstone of the quirky Blue Öyster Cult edifice.
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