Born out of the ashes of the UK post-punk scene, The Cult evolved to become one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the late 20th century, selling millions of albums, headlining arenas and stadiums around the world, infusing innovative possibilities into the worlds of music and art, and quickly ascending through the ranks of the indie music world to achieve global status. As early as its first American tour in 1984, The Cult became one of the handful of important bands in the U.S. post-modern and hard rock communities. The band was embraced by the lost children of The Doors and Velvet Underground, and a generation that was waking up to the influence of 60s and 70s rock icons like Led Zeppelin, The New York Dolls and David Bowie.
Formed in Brixton, London in 1983 as Death Cult, The Cult’s music transformed from punk rock to post-punk, psychedelia, heavy dance music, and transcendental hard rock. As one journalist noted, “Using a few simple riffs and images, The Cult creates an entire environment, one more exciting and stimulating than our own.”
And that may just be what separates The Cult from other artists. Imagery is all-important to vocalist/lyricist Ian Astbury, imagery in the music and in the art that accompanies the Cult’s projects. Astbury is attracted to words and the image that each word creates. He is engaged by the power of nature, folklore, the concept of destiny, animal power symbols, the survival of the species, spirituality, and certainly the Native American myth and culture, a subject of many of The Cult’s songs.
The constant core of The Cult is Astbury and guitarist/composer Billy Duffy. Attitude incarnate, the chemistry between these two vastly different artists - equal-parts genuine affection and palpable tension - remains the source of their long-standing partnership. Duffy grounds Astbury’s esoteric side with a hard rock perspective, and there is no doubt that at all times, these two have each other’s backs.