Published Aug 15, 2013Allen Lanier, founding keyboardist/rhythm guitarist for Blue Öyster Cult, died yesterday (August 14) after a lengthy battle with lung disease. He was 67 years old.
Lanier's passing was confirmed on the group's website, which noted that the multi-instrumentalist had "succumbed to complications from C.O.P.D.," or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The band signed off by referencing their hit "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," writing "DFTR sweet man. We love you and miss you."
Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Eric Bloom likewise posted a tribute to his fallen friend over Facebook. It reads:
I'll miss the guy even though we hadn't spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion. We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played. All BOC fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D. It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years worth. Maybe he's playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now.
Lanier began playing in the Long Island, NY rock troupe in 1967 when they were known as Soft White Underbelly; they had changed their name to Blue Öyster Cult in time for the 1972 debut LP of the same name. In addition to his performances on key tracks "Don't Fear (The Reaper)" and "Godzilla," Lanier wrote a number of tracks for the band, including "True Confessions," "Tenderloin," "Searchin' for Celine," "In Thee" and "Lonely Teardrops."
He had left the band in 1985 but returned in 1987. After another long stretch with the group, he retired from the road in 2007. Lanier did, however, play with the group at a 40th anniversary concert in New York last November.
Outside of Blue Öyster Cult, Lanier had worked with the likes of Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, the Dictators and the Clash.
Lanier is survived by his wife Dory, sister Mary Anne and mother Martha.