Excited to see "Godzilla vs. Kong" when it hits theaters and streaming services this week? You’re not alone — the original members of Long Island’s Blue Oyster Cult are itching to see it, too, perhaps for obvious reasons: "Godzilla," their ode to the giant, fire-breathing monster from Japan, is one of the band’s most popular songs.
"I’ve seen every Godzilla movie," said singer-guitarist Eric Bloom, proudly including the bad ones. "And there’s plenty of those."
Indeed, the "Godzilla" franchise comprises more than 30 titles, not all of them high-quality. The first, released by Japan’s Toho studio in 1954, is considered a monster-movie classic, but as the series progressed, the quality varied widely. Of course, that’s always been part of the films' charm. Regularly broadcast on television as after-school time-killers during the 1960s and ‘70s, the mesmerizingly hokey "Godzilla" movies became lodged in the brains of two Queens kids who would go on to become the nexis of Blue Oyster Cult: Bloom and singer-guitarist Donald Roeser, better known by his stage name, Buck Dharma.
"We used to watch Channel 9 and Count Zacherle and ‘Shock Theater,’" Bloom said, referring to the host of WABC-TV’s beloved horror-film show. "We didn’t know each other when we were kids, but we both grew up with at stuff." (Even today, Bloom’s ringtone is "Mothra’s Theme," the ethereal pop ditty associated with Godzilla’s winged counterpart, Mothra.)
According to Dharma, the band was on tour when he was noodling around in a Dallas hotel room one day and came up with a heavy, stomping rock riff. "I think the opening lyric just sort of sprang into my head," Dharma said. (The song’s verses are basically re-enactments from any "Godzilla" movie: "With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound / He pulls the spitting high-tension wires down.") Dharma added: "I tried in vain to write some more verbiage for it. There wasn't much more to say! But the song turned out fine."
Released on the band’s 1977 album "Spectres" and later as the B-side for another movie-themed single, "Nosferatu," "Godzilla" would go on to become one of the band’s biggest hits, along with "(Don’t Fear) The Reaper" and "Burnin’ for You." It remains a dependable part of the band’s live set list.
"I’ve always loved novelty songs, and in a way it’s a novelty song," Dharma said. "But as a heavy rock riff, it stood on its own."
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The band waited for years for its song to make it into one of the movies. "I thought a perfect thing would be: somebody walking around with a boom box playing our song, and then Godzilla steps on his head," said Bloom. Alas, the 1998 and 2014 versions of "Godzilla" both went by without using the song. Finally, a cover version featuring Serj Tankian, of System of a Down, appeared in 2019’s "Godzilla: King of the Monsters."
Bloom and Dharma both say they prefer the earlier "Godzilla" flicks, featuring some guy in a foam suit stomping on miniature cities. Dharma said the recent versions have been a little slick for his taste.
"No," he said, "give me the old, plodding Godzilla."