Friday, May 09, 2008

The Cult


Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by, um... cocky dudes in tight leather pants. Yeah, that's it. This is the second Friday Flashback in a series of cocky dudes in tight leather pants flashbacks. Today's Friday Flashback is also brought to you by Nigel.

The Cult was founded mostly by singer/songwriter Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy of England. As I take meticulous notes on the changes of drummers and bass players, I made an executive decision (see how fun it is when you have your own blog? You get to be the executive)... I made the executive decision to bag any mention of drummers and bass players. There were hundreds (not really but close) and well that would just be boring to read a bunch of names. You can thank me later.

The Cult started out as Southern Death Cult after Astbury's infatuation with Native American heritage, or the religion referred to as the "Southeastern Ceremonial Complex" and the evils of Southern England. Evidently there's a North vs South mentality in that country. The South isn't as refined. Similar to the Spanish Fork culture that exists in Utah (tee hee hee).

After a few years as the Southern Death Cult, "Southern" was dropped and the band became just Death Cult. After a few years of that, they dropped the Death. Prolly so they wouldn't appear so evil.

The Cult has a distinct and unique sound. It's heavy on the guitars - close to heavy metal but not quite. As The Cult (Astbury in specific) was heavily influenced by The Doors, one can sense the Native American mysticism and sound that Jim Morrison and the boys were so fond of. Jimmy would be proud, eh?

Astbury's vocal range is impressive and hints of formal training - reminds me of Iron Maiden's Dennis Wilcock, Geoffe Tate from Queensryche, and Rob Halford from Judas Priest. But you can decide for yourself.

The success of The Cult spanned a couple of decades. The latter years were a bit mediocre commercially but the quality is Cultesque and Phenomenal.

The Cult had some controversy and gee whiz moments.

  • After the release of their 1991 album Ceremony, The Cult was sued for unauthorized use of a Native American boy on the cover. I guess they took his picture but didn't ask permission to send it around the world (duh!). Only the first few thousandish releases of the album have the original cover. The rabidrunner has said cover. Do you think it's worth anything?

  • Ian Astbury was offered the role of Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's movie The Doors but turned it down because Ian wasn't impressed with the script or the manner in which Jim was presented. The role was given to Val Kilmer.

  • In 1990, The Cult produced a music festival in LA and San Francisco called "A Gathering Of The Tribes." Some 40,000 people were to attend. Rumor has it Lollapalooza (1991 on) was inspired by this festival (oh how I dream of Lollapalooza each and every year! Vera?)

Dig The Cult! Wild Flower - Edie Ciao Baby - Here Comes The Rain - She Sells Sanctuary - Wild Hearted Son


Nigel said...

Thanks for the shout out! Is that your copy of "Tribe" in the picture and is it autographed?

You could at least mention one drummer, Matt Sorum. When the Cult broke up the first time, Sorum ended up drumming for Guns 'n' Roses. After Slash quit G'n'R, Sorum and Axl Rose disagreed about the situation and he was subsequently fired. I guess he was rewarded for his loyalty because Sorum has drummed for every Slash project since then. Currently it's Velvet Revolver. And whenever the Cult reunites for a record or tour, they call back Sorum. By the way, the Cult will open for Led Zeppelin on their reunion tour this year.

I read an interview once, during the Sonic Temple heyday, and Ian Astbury was asked to describe the difference between Southern Death Cult and The Cult. I tried to find the exact quote but can't. I'm pretty sure he said "A band named Southern Death Cult couldn't sell-out Madison Square Garden three nights in a row."

Nigel said...

Whoops! I meant to ask if it was your copy of "Ceremony".

rabidrunner said...

It's not my copy of Ceremony. I wish! Just an image I found while googling "the cult" images.

The McMillans said...

My favorite album? Sonic temple. Love it. Thanks Nigel! This is a great flashback.