To Helen With Love is the new release from the Brain Surgeons, who will be on tour through the South and Mid-West in July.
The Brain Surgeons are the latest brainstorm of Albert Bouchard, a multi-instrumentalist who wrote or arranged 90% of the material that drove the last outfit he founded, Blue Öyster Cult, to international platinum-selling and arena-headlining status.
The rare artist who's shared stages with both Jimi Hendrix and Thurston Moore, his songs have been recorded by such disparate groundbreakers as the Minutemen and Metallica, whose recent cover of his "Astronomy" has sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. alone.
After leaving Blue Öyster Cult at the beginning of the '80s, he continued working with Helen Wheels, co-writer of Cult favorites "Sinful Love" and "Tattoo Vampire." who introduced him to Deborah Frost, now his wife and Brain Surgeons co-leader.
Like other Bouchard songwriting partners, Frost had enjoyed a substantial career as a rock critic.
Bouchard and Frost, who had just re-tooled the Brain Surgeons as a power trio following the serious illness of the band's guitarist, were devastated by Wheels' (née Robbins) unexpected death January 17, 2000.
So were other old colleagues and friends of Helen's, who managed to set aside long unresolved differences in order to help bring her songs - some of which have never been previously released - to life.
Most notable among them is the musical core responsible for BÖC's hits - Bouchard, his former college classmate Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, and brother Joe Bouchard - who had not been in the same room, much less the same studio, for nearly two decades.
As Sandy Roeser, who, like Wheels, lived in the band house during the classic Cult era, and who sings "Hero," noted, "Helen, wherever she is, must be laughing at the irony that it took her death to bring all of us together." Contributors include Tish and Snooky (Blondie, S*c F*cs), Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper), Crispin Cioe (Rolling Stones, J Geils) whose Uptown Horns shared "Downtown Diva" bills with Helen, and the Dictators, Wheels' first back-up band.
'Tator "Top Ten" Kempner chose the album's only cover, an acoustic version of Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom," which he performed in several versions of her band, one of which evolved into his next major label outfit, the Del Lords.