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Spiritwalkers: Incredible early footage of The Cult when they were known as ‘Southern Death Cult’
08.02.2017
10:10 am
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An early photo of Southern Death Cult. Vocalist Ian Astbury is pictured to the far left.
 

“I was a devotee of Crass, and it had a huge, huge influence on me. I saw those guys 36 times. I used to follow them.”

—Vocalist Ian Astbury of The Cult reflecting on his youth.

While the statement above from a young Ian Asbury of The Cult sounds like the ideal formative punk rock experience, it left the then eighteen-year-old Astbury homeless and dependant on dole checks which amounted to around 40 U.S. dollars each week. While he was obsessively following Crass around on tour, he met up with a group of punks from Bradford, a town in the north of England, who offered him a room to stay in anytime he found himself there. With little going for himself and tired of sleeping in bus stations, Astbury headed off to Bradford. When he arrived, he found their squat was inhabited by all kinds of counter-culture types—writers, painters, and of course, musicians. At the time, Astbury had cultivated quite a striking look for himself which was reminiscent of Adam Ant’s Native American war paint persona only tougher (and a bit lower rent.) Astbury’s mohawk and unique style impressed the band that was rehearsing in the basement of the Bradford squat. In need of a vocalist, they asked Astbury to join them and Southern Death Cult was born.

The band started making music immediately, and their first live gig would take place less than a year after Astbury’s arrival in Bradford, at the Queen’s Hall in 1981. In 1982 the band would finally release their first studio recordings—a three song seven-inch that hit number one on the UK Independent Singles Chart. Following this success, Southern Death Cult took to the road touring with several bands including Bauhaus. The group seemed to have everyone’s attention including the legendary BBC disc jockey John Peel. Peel would record a live session with Southern Death Cult that was broadcast on the BBC on June 10th,1982. Sadly, the band would call it quits when Astbury pulled the plug on SDC in February of 1983.

After they disbanded, the groups only record, The Southern Death Cult, was released by Beggars Banquet which included everything from the 1982 seven inch and the Peel sessions from 1982. Following their breakup, Astbury joined forces with Theatre of Hate guitarist Billy Duffy, who was once in a band called the Nosebleeds with Morrissey. Duffy was also longtime pals with future Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr. The two spent their younger days as kids listening to punk rock and learning how to play the guitar together. In fact, we have Duffy to thank for introducing Marr to Mozzer at a Patti Smith gig in 1978. You can probably figure out how that all played out without too much effort.

Once Duffy and Astbury got together, they would change the band’s name to Death Cult hoping for some residual notoriety left over from Astbury’s previous band. They would put out some well-received singles, and their loyal fans would pack any room the band played. Then, in 1984, Death Cult officially became The Cult announcing their new name when they appeared on The Tube in January. And the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve posted some cool ephemera from The Cult’s early days below including video footage of the band before Astbury fully transitioned his look to be more in line with a goth version of El Topo.
 

A photo of a twenty-year-old Ian Astbury on the cover of NME magazine, October 2nd, 1982.
 

Southern Death Cult.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.02.2017
10:10 am
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The Cult tearing it up on ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers’ in 1987
08.17.2015
12:03 pm
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Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy and Joan Rivers circa 1987
 
The Cult were riding high on their 1987 release, Electric when they made this blistering appearance on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers in May of 1987. Rivers was fired from The Late Show later that month and celebrated in rock star fashion by trashing the set with toilet paper and shaving cream with the help of Wendy O. Williams of all people. But I digress.

In the clip below, The Cult deliver a completely raw and raucous performance of two songs from Electric “Lil’ Devil” and “Born to Be Wild” (complete with full-on big hair headbanging). It also just so happened to be the 25th birthday of vocalist, Ian Astbury. During the interview segment the phone on the stage rings (an actual landline phone mind you), and on the other end was none other than Astbury’s father who was calling to wish his son a happy birthday. I’m not usually one for getting all mushy over lovey-dovey stuff, but this moment made my eyes a little leaky. I should probably get that checked out. The video, which should be turned up as loud as possible for maximum pleasure, follows.
 

The Cult on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. Episode #146, May 14th, 1987

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Can we talk? Do you remember Hüsker Dü‘s 1987 appearance on ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers’
Watch The Cult’s transformation from mall-goth to hard rock in these 1986 concert clips

Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.17.2015
12:03 pm
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Poetry of the Western World Read by Celebrities

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Poetry of the Western World Read By Celebrities and Collected by Clare Ann Matz is a fab selection of poems read by Ralf Zotigh, Wim Wenders, Dave Stewart, Billy Preston, Ian Astbury, Dario Fò, Robbie Robertson, Allen Ginsberg and Solveigh Domartain.

The video starts with Ralf Zotigh reading the Ancient Native American fable - “Today is a Good Day”:

This is followed by Wenders reading from Walt Whitman’s Inscriptions (“To A Certain Cantatrice”). Dave Stewart, erstwhile of the Eurhythmics, reads William Blake’s “Sick Rose”, then, the late Billy Preston (first silently, then with soundtrack) reads Dylan Thomas. Ian Astbury, of The Cult (and clearly no fan of Dylan Thomas!) also reads, from the same poem, “Should Lanterns Shine”. Dario Fo, Nobel-prize-winning playwright and theater-director, reads (in Italian) Andre Breton’s “Fata Morgana”. Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan’s confrere, comes in next, reading a selection from Allen’s “Song”” (“Allen wrote this. huh?”), and has some difficulty following the syntax (“an the soul comes..”? “and the soul comes..”?). Allen himself follows (with the aforementioned reading of “Father Death Blues”). Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire “angel”, actress Solveigh Domartain, concludes the tape, returning once more to Allen’s poem - “the weight of the world is…love”.

 

 
Elsewhere on DM

Face to Face with Allen Ginsberg


 
Bonus interview with Ginsberg form 1972, after the jump…
 
Via the Allen Ginsberg Project
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2011
06:43 pm
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