Blue Oyster Cult’s new album has ‘more cowbell!’

(CNN) - Hard rock legends Blue Oyster Cult are releasing their first album of new songs in nearly 20 years.

“The Symbol Remains” is out Friday on vinyl, CD and digitally from Frontiers Music.

It’s Blue Oyster Cult first album of new songs in nearly 20 years. The band never went away, but they have been focused for the majority of the 21st century on their relentless live touring schedule.

“This current band got so good and so, really developed its own identity, it just became imperative to document it,” said Buck Dharma, lead guitar and vocals. “I think it very much sounds like we are today. You’re hearing what the band sound like live if you come out to see us.”

This record introduces Richie Castellano as another lead vocalist in the band and a writer.

The album title is a nod to BOC history.

“With ‘The Symbol Remains’ I actually went back to a Blue Oyster Cult lyric book and culled old phrases from Sandy Pearlman’s lyrics and wrote them down on a page,” said Eric Bloom, lead vocals, guitar and keyboards. “And that one really jumped out at me. And especially for an album that 20 years in the making.”

Former drummer Albert Bouchard makes a guest appearance on the song and music video for “That Was Me,” playing - you guessed it - cowbell.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Saturday Night Live’s sketch with Christopher Walken immortalizing the phrase, “More cowbell!” It’s something the band embraces.

“Will Ferrell wrote that sketch, and I think Buck or somebody found the original script online and there’s so much ad-libbing that’s what makes the sketch so funny,” Bloom said.

“It’s so funny, it’s so funny,” Dharma said. “I mean, you have to ride the horse in the direction it’s going with the cowbell. I haven’t met Will Ferrell but if I do, I’m going to ask him what made him think of that? (laughs) Where did the germ of sketch come from?”

Even two decades on, there is always room for more cowbell.

“Poor Chris Walken, you know, is like such an established, terrific actor and he’s hearing ‘More Cowbell’ everywhere he goes,” Bloom said.

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