Band Interview: The Cult


The Cult finally, finally, finally played in Salt Lake on Monday, February 27; almost 10 years after the now legendary Love was released. The current line-up has been together for about two and a half years, it includes not only Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy, but Craig Adams on bass and Scott Garrett on drums. The Saltair was packed. The sound was raw and alive, and the audience was more than ready. 

SLUG: How long have you been on this tour?

The sound was raw and alive, and the audience was more than ready. Issue 76, April 1995

Billy Duffy: Since November.

SLUG: With the addition of a consistent drummer and Adams taking over on bass it seems that The Cult is moving in a different direction. How is the direction different from your perspective? 

BD: The main thing about this album is it’s a non-commercial effort. There was no real pressure in making this album. There really was no overt, big singles or anything. We just had fun in the studio and got back to making music for music’s sake rather than get caught up in success. Which had been the case with Sonic Temple, even Electric to a certain degree. With those we were very much into, making it, and were judging ourselves by the criteria of how many records we sold and where we were in the charts. Once you start following that line of thinking you end up making bad music. And that’s the way we ended up, making the Ceremony album. And that’s the way we ended up, making bad music, which is very mediocre. The new album has given us  a platform to continue on with, but I really don’t know what will happen. Hopefully, we’ll just keep making music that is more oriented to pleasing ourselves rather than to make commercially successful music. 

SLUG: How long have you and Ian worked together for now?

BD: Oh, since 1983. 

SLUG: Since the Southern Death Cult?

BD:  No. That was a band Ian was in before we started working together. What confuses people is that Southern Death Cult  had an album released after The Cult was going. It was a posthumus album compiled with outtakes, demos and live shit. It really wasn’t a real album, it was a contractual obligation. So people see that was released in 1983 and get confused. 

After the show Ian sat down with me and entertained my inane questions.  It was about 12:30 at night and Ian had done five interviews that day. So it was much appreciated by the SLUG Staff when he took some time out for us. 

SLUG: I appreciate you taking the time out to sit down with us. 

Ian Astbury: No I apologize profusely for the confusion and the delay. 

SLUG: How do you enjoy Salt Lake?

IA: I spent a lot of time today just staring out at the mountains. Man, it is so beautiful here. What an amazing part of the world this is. Also, I thought Utah was a very conservative Mormon/Christian kind of place. When I went to X96 today, I met a lot of people that were really cool and I thought, My God, this is really progressive here. There’s a lot of great ideas and a lot of great people here. The crowd was fantastic. The downside was that we had we had very poor on-stage sound. The audience here was great. We were shocked. We just got off of a 16 hour bus ride, so for us it was overwhelming. I felt we were a little restricted for sound by this building, it’s not very acoustically good. But it’s a beautiful location, it’s the most beautiful location I’ve seen for a concert. 

SLUG: Let me ask you about one of your songs, “Sacred Life,” off of the new album. It seems to me that the first part you are singing to a audience for an audience. Then, for the chorus, it seems you turn inward. So, let me ask you, what is sacred, what is holy in your life?

IA: The profoundness of being. The profoundness with gravity. Things that touch you spiritually, sexually,and sensually. Things that give you an accord. Things that that put you in accord with the universe, nature and the feminine spirit. 

SLUG: Things that really matter, like relationships?

IA: Yes, but connecting with people. I hold that very holy. Being able to sit down with people and being able to sit to talk very openly about the experience of living. I hold that more sacred than anything. The gift of communication. 

My experience with Ian was very kind and honest. This is a guy and a band that was way ahead of their time. They were wearing bell bottoms, had long hair playing ‘70s influenced rock and guitar solos while most of you were dancing to Quaterflash in your bedroom and nobody heard of or cared about just being alive. The resonance of the feeling of the sensuality, of the feelings that you feel. Making connections with other human beings, my son, wife.

Read more from the SLUG archives here:
Local Artist: Mic Radford 
Record Reviews: September 1994