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The Cult

It is likely that many people will stereotype The Cult with the image of mid 80s rock pose bombast, all denim and leather, long hair and Marshall stacks that saturated the video channels of the time. That was the era of Electric, an album that took them to the masses and was the point at which their sound changed dramatically from the dark and swirling psychedelic post punk that characterised their first two albums – Dreamtime and Love.

After breakups, meltdowns and reformations the band are looking in fine health after the release of their eighth album Born Into This in 2007 and recent touring where they have been playing their classic 1985 Love album in full, followed by a selection of favourite Cult songs from the rest of their albums.

Ahead of their Australian tour this May, Billy Duffy happily looks back on the record that first broke them internationally and set them on course to be one of the bigger rock bands of the 80s.

“It all started when I had this idea a number of years ago to play the Albert Hall, I thought we should play the Love album there. I approached Ian [Astbury] about it. We weren’t actually playing together as a band, we were on a hiatus, he was singing with the Doors and I saw him and we chatted about for the first time – that was about 5 years ago. Eventually it just came together and we did it and it was good and people want to see it,” Duffy explains.

“When the band got back together we did a new album and it came together after that, it seemed like the right time and everyone felt good about it. It wasn’t over-thought it was just an organic thing which is the best way. People say its the 25th anniversary but I don’t really know and don’t really care. It’s more like a celebration of the band’s music for the fans and we wanted to keep it on the down low and we really did that. We didn’t do interviews or have people there to review the shows, the fans just got wind of it and it snowballed,” says Duffy, sounding genuinely excited about the project.

The band has been so impressed with the format and reaction to Love live that they aren’t ruling out applying the same treatment to more of their albums. “This has proven quite successful so we might do it again, there’s always the Electric album. Love is pretty special to us though, it is a very honest, pure and organic place for The Cult. It just felt the most natural to do that record, it’s certainly my favourite and felt the right way to start,” says Duffy.

Looking back at those early albums and placing them in the musical context of the times it can be strongly argued that Duffy’s guitar playing was one of the more unique styles of the time, avoiding the harsh and basic distortion of punk and eschewing the choppy militarism of post punk rhythms. “I was just trying to find something that wasn’t punk rock, you take a bit of Ennio Morricone, spaghetti western guitar and mix it with echoey stuff. I was into John McGeoch from The Banshees, I was really into the Psychedelic Furs and obviously The Edge, he was amazing with that echoey sound. Geordie from Killing Joke had some good stuff going on too. It was a bunch of those influences and I just tried to do my own thing. I was always leaning more to the rock, I grew up listening to Free, Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, just slightly pre-punk and then it got blown away by Steve Jones and the Pistols and The Clash. That was my melting pot of influences,” states Duffy.

Of course that rock sound really came to the fore when the band abandoned the recordings for their third album and decamped to New York to recreate the songs as Electric. “We did the Love album and it was kind of critically hammered, particularly in England. I think the journalists were scared that hippies were back, but everywhere else it was pretty warmly received. That album became more of a global outlook and we really weren’t that concerned with appeasing the press in England. We toured a lot and went around the world and tried to do the next album with Steve Brown and we couldn’t work it out, we couldn’t make that transition and it ended up being The Manor Sessions/Peace album. Some of the songs are the same and some were OK but overall it didn’t feel right so after spending an enormous amount of money we shit-canned it and ran off to New York and re-recorded it in 19 days with Rick Rubin. Rick and George Drakoulias who co-produced the record, made it leaner. Rick said the best thing – he reduced The Cult. We had a slightly overblown album with too much going and on and we were mired down in it and he stripped it all away and got it back to its essence,” explains Duffy.

“People often say why don’t we do more like Electric but we don’t normally write like that. Electric happened because we went through a process. Maybe Lil Devil was written like that but everything else evolved into that. It was a one off thing. I don’t think we could write like that again and plus I couldn’t drink and take drugs and party like I did back then. I was living it and Ian was really living in it. When we were in New York making that record and the tours before and after it was the real deal. We toured, Guns N Roses opened for us, we opened for Billy Idol, it was the 80s and it was full on, game on,” recalls Duffy.

Fast forward to 2010 and the good news is The Cult have been back in the studio recording new material with Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality, Kyuss, QOTSA) producing the sessions. “We’ve just done four tracks with him, we’ll probably do some more, we seem to have a good relationship going on. It’s good, Chris is a very talented guy and so far its been very enjoyable and the new stuff is good,” says Duffy.

The Love Live tour will be a chance to see The Cult as a more balanced representation of their true selves. Love was their sound on the cusp of the band going over the barricades and the encore, with songs like Love Removal Machine and Fire Woman, will no doubt satiate those fans who embrace and relish all incarnations of The Cult.

The Cult Love live tour, presented by FasterLouder:

Wednesday, 5 May – The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+)
Thursday, 6 May – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney (18+)
Saturday, 8 May – Palais Theatre, Melbourne
Monday, 10 May – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Wednesday, 12 May – Metro City, Perth (18+)

Check out the 10 things The Cult’s Ian Astbury loves

Comments

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Atomic

Atomic said on the 21st Apr, 2010

now i'm just waiting for the royal nod from jsc to shoot this show :-)

snapcrackleROCK

snapcrackleROCK said on the 21st Apr, 2010

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee
Smoke, she is a-rising.


...that is all.

sydneyhollywood

sydneyhollywood said on the 22nd Apr, 2010

dreamtime is brilliant, totally unmetal, very new wavy, even more than love is.

if they do more albums live, they should just do them in order.

sonic temple is really the one that really stand up to zeppelin ii, it's pretty mind boggling.

truthlies

truthlies said on the 22nd Apr, 2010

i like there wild hearted son album and self titled too. thats where i started listening to them. now electric is one of my all time favs. why don't they play 'star' in their best of list. it is my favorite song of theirs and always gets me in a good mood.

snapcrackleROCK

snapcrackleROCK said on the 4th May, 2010

Has anyone seen a set list to know what encores they are doing??

Dexter Ramone

Dexter Ramone said on the 4th May, 2010

No not yet, I'm trying to avoid so I can enjoy it more on Thursday.

humanracin

humanracin said on the 4th May, 2010

Love is my favourite Cult album, tonight is gonna be sweet!

Encore: hoping for...

Sweet Soul Sister
Wildflower
Lil Devil
Spiritwalker
Dreamtime
Love Removal Machine
Fire Woman

Dexter Ramone

Dexter Ramone said on the 4th May, 2010

That would blow my mind...

humanracin

humanracin said on the 4th May, 2010

I found a setlist... although from the US tour I think, so they could shake up the encore a bit with each country.

Warning: SPOILERS!

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-cult/2009/house-of-blues-boston-ma-4bd79352.html

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 6th May, 2010

I went not knowing much about them....was a good show, except the first half was kinda boring.....and it was a pretty dull crowd who didnt get going for so long too.....but fuck they were fantastic on stage....sounded great

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 6th May, 2010



There were some that got into it and some that just looked bored.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 6th May, 2010

I was stuck in the middle of the bored part of the crowd

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 6th May, 2010

Big Top is a shit venue, you can't hide a mediocre crowd.

snapcrackleROCK

snapcrackleROCK said on the 6th May, 2010

Officially beats the Ting Tings - worst crowd ever. Give me excited Gen Ys recording everything on their blueberries, over pissed up forty-somethings who have their first baby sitter in six months, any day of the week. Smashed wankers who look like Paul Hogan in every direction.

humanracin

humanracin said on the 6th May, 2010

I was on the barrier, it was a shock to see Ian's new "size" lol
It was great to hear Love, but Ian forgot half the lyrics and his heart wasn't in it from what I could see, maybe he needed a lie down?
The crowd was very bogan...

joanne666

joanne666 said on the 7th May, 2010

i couldn't have cared less that he has padded out a bit in the years - he was still hot. what was with the first two songs in sydney when he kept going off stage...did they not do a soundcheck? we could barely hear him over the guitars. i didn't $120 for that...but it did get better. although in my eyes he can do no wrong :-)

Dexter Ramone

Dexter Ramone said on the 7th May, 2010

It was excessively priced.. I enjoyed the second half; but that crowd was pretty draining.

Piko

Piko said on the 10th May, 2010

Didnt' see you there mark, surely you woulda stood out in that crowd, was rare to see any Gen Y. I expect the price is higher because Gen X have more money than Gen Y? btw my review is up *nod*

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 10th May, 2010

I'm sure your review blows cock

teross72

teross72 said on the 11th May, 2010

adelaide show was brilliant ...love it.

even caught one of ians tamborines

joanne666

joanne666 said on the 11th May, 2010

their concert at selinas years ago i missed the tambourine and it cut my head ! when it finished i looked like a mess with blood in my hair, tambourine-less, but it was still a fantastic gig lol

libby

libby said on the 11th May, 2010

I was so disappointed by the Sydney show. Only the encore had a decent vibe. It was like Ian was on the brink of a tantrum the whole time (seriously... walking off stage 3x in the first 2 songs?)

Thought they phoned it in :( I'd only seen them once before at BDO and should have left it at that - because it was a sensational set back then

Piko

Piko said on the 11th May, 2010



i'd prefer if it licked clit, alas

snapcrackleROCK

snapcrackleROCK said on the 11th May, 2010

I was so disappointed by the Sydney show. Only the encore had a decent vibe. It was like Ian was on the brink of a tantrum the whole time (seriously... walking off stage 3x in the first 2 songs?)

Thought they phoned it in :( I'd only seen them once before at BDO and should have left it at that - because it was a sensational set back then

The Cult BDO 1995 = one of the best shows I've seen.
The Cult Love 2010 = kinda sad, kinda shit, kinda middle aged boganfest.

Jaimeee

Jaimeee said on the 11th May, 2010

ok now i'm curious, we left just after they played sun king, i'm wondering if they actually played any more of the old stuff (ie: spiritwalker) after that?

snapcrackleROCK

snapcrackleROCK said on the 11th May, 2010

No Lil Devil, no Sweet Soul Sister.

Piko

Piko said on the 12th May, 2010

Jaimeee: same playlist as every other gig of the Love Live tour

Jaimeee

Jaimeee said on the 12th May, 2010

thanks piko

it's just i've seen a couple of different versions of the second set bandied around the interweb.

Piko

Piko said on the 13th May, 2010

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=the+cult+setlist

doubtfulsounds

doubtfulsounds said on the 21st May, 2010

http://doubtfulsounds.net/2010/05/19/review-the-cult-big-top-luna-park-sydney-060510/