Blue Cheer are another frequently requested band on The Dinosaur Days. They go way back to the mid to late sixties when they were formed by bassist/vocalist Dickie Peterson, guitarist Leigh Stevens and drummer Ken Whaley. Taking their name from a potent brand of LSD, they made an immediate impact with their uncompromising and raw debut album, "Vincebus Eruptum", which was released in 1968 and featured seriously different versions of "Summertime Blues" and "Parchman Farm". Their second album, "Outsideinside", released the same year, was completed outside the studio when their high volume destroyed the studio monitors! Stevens left the group and was replaced bye x-Other Half guitarist Randy Holden, who appeared on 1969's "New! Improved!" album. A further three albums were recorded before the band split in the early 70's. They reformed in the mid eighties following an emotional reunion between Peterson and Whaley, and "The Beast is Back", with guitarist/vocalist Tony Rainier, was released in 1985. They certainly were back, and with a bang too, sounding better and more refined than they ever did. A very good compilation, "Louder than God", was released the following year, justifying their tag as one of the loudest rock bands in the world. They became quite big in Germany, releasing "Blitzkrieg over Germany" in 1988, with Dave Salce replacing Whaley and Andrew "Duck" MacDonald, replacing Rainier. Two years later they released what was to be probably their best album, "Highlights and Lowlives", with Peterson, Macdonald and, it would appear, Salce, although the line-up is not shown on the sleeve. This album, "Dining with the Sharks", featured German guitarist Dieter Saller with Whaley back in the fold. Since then, releases from the kings of Stoner Rock have been almost non-existent, barring the odd compilation (through the Japanese Captain Trip label). It would appear that Blue Cheer are big news in Japan, though, as a great live album, "Hello Tokyo, Bye Bye Osaka", featuring Peterson, Whaley and MacDonald, was released in 1999. Still sounding good after all these years, they are probably one of the most influential hard rock bands around, acknowledged by countless modern Stoner Rock bands as being their main source of inspiration. Blue Cheer are the real McCoy, the guys that started it all, and it's really great that they're still around. Look out for their material. Peterson has also released a few solo albums, and Randy Holden has a few out as well.
  

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Biography by William Ruhlmann
San Francisco-based Blue Cheer was what, in the late '60s, they used to call a "power trio": Dickie Peterson (b. 1948, Grand Forks, ND) (bass, vocals), Paul Whaley (drums), and Leigh Stephens (guitar). They played what later was called heavy metal, and when they debuted in January 1968 with the album Vincebus Eruptum and a Top 40 cover of Eddie Cochran's hit "Summertime Blues," they sounded louder and more extreme than anything that had come before them. As it turned out, they were a precursor of much that would come after. Unfortunately, Blue Cheer itself didn't get much chance to profit from its prescience. Shortly after its breakthrough, the group was wracked by personnel changes. Leigh Stephens was replaced by Randy Holden after the release of the second album, Outsideinside (August 1968). Holden left during the recording of the third album, and Bruce Stephens (b. 1946) (vocals, guitar), and Ralph Burns Kellogg (keyboards) joined to finish New! Improved! Blue Cheer (March 1969). Then Whaley quit and was replaced by Norman Mayell (b. 1942, Chicago), leaving Peterson as the only original member. Bruce Stephens quit during the recording of the fourth album, Blue Cheer (December, 1969), and Gary L. Yoder joined to complete it. Peterson, Kellogg, Mayell, and Yoder then made The Original Human Being (September 1970), and Oh! Pleasant Hope (April, 1971) before Blue Cheer broke up. Dickie Peterson reorganized a new version of the group in 1979, and in 1985, Peterson, Whaley, and guitarist Tony Ranier released a new Blue Cheer album, The Beast Is Back...

 

Randy Holden
Leigh Stephens
Burns Kellogg
Norman Mayell
Dickie Peterson
Tony Rainier
Bruce Stephens
Paul Whaley
Gary Yoder

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Blue Cheer - 1968 - Outsideinside - 4/5

Blue Cheer - 1968 - Vincebus Eruptum - 4.5/5

Blue Cheer - 1969 - Blue Cheer - 3/5

Blue Cheer - 1969 - New Improved Blue Cheer - 2/5

Blue Cheer - 1970 - The Original Human Being - 2.5/5

Blue Cheer - 1971 - Oh Pleasant Hope - 2/5

Blue Cheer - 1984 - The Beast is...Back - 2/5

Blue Cheer - 1991 - Dining with the Sharks - 2/5

Blue Cheer - 1996 - Highlights & Low Lives - 1.5/5

Blue Cheer - 2003 - Live in Japan - 2/5

Blue Cheer - 2005 - Live Bootleg, London-Hamburg - 4.5/5

Rating

 

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