‘She Sells Sanctuary’: The sheer awesomeness of The Cult
01.18.2013
03:00 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Cult
She Sells Sanctuary


 
I had just gotten signed to RCA records and was looking for someone to produce my band’s debut album. Bruce Harris, A&R at the label, called me into his office and said “Marc you got to hear this. The guy who produced it, Steve Brown, should produce your record.” Bruce puts “She Sells Sanctuary” on his stereo system, turns it to 11, and The Cult proceed to blow my fucking mind. My reaction was immediate. “Yes, I want Brown working on the album. Absolutely!”

Two nights later, Steve Brown and I go to see The Cult’s U.S. debut at the Ritz. It was a staggering show and I predicted The Cult were going to be huge. It didn’t happen. The world passed on The Cult and Brown passed on my band.

Last year I had a talk with Ian. He seemed quite healthy, though a bit wartorn. There was a time I actually thought he’d end up dead. But that was long ago.

While The Cult never really lived up to their promise, they did manage to record what may the best song of the 1980s. Here’s a nice quality YouTube upload of that song.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dreamtime: The Cult live at the Lyceum, 1984

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Dreamtime: The Cult live at the Lyceum, 1984
02.17.2012
10:45 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Cult


 
Although perhaps their best days are long behind them, The Cult were a powerful live act in the 1980s. I’ve seen them play several times, in both London and New York going back to 1983 and those shows were among the more memorable gigs I’ve ever attended.

Especially early on, the Cult’s rabid fan-base was so incredibly devoted that they’d follow the group around like crusty punk Deadheads, night after night. Back packs and sleeping rolls were in (annoying) abundance at every show. The band could really capture the imagination of their followers who seemed like they were having a pagan religious experience watching them. Their shows had a truly Dionysian drama to them that no other group I can think of achieved so totally and completely other than maybe Killing Joke. (It’s no wonder that the surviving Doors wanted Ian Astbury to be their front man, he was the obvious choice!)

I found their concerts mesmerizing and unlike anything I had ever seen before. Or smelled. The Cult’s fans were among the first “New Age Travelers” and a few hundred of them in one room was not something you’d care to get a whiff of, as anyone who saw them back then can attest to. “BO” was an unavoidable element of a Cult gig in the early 80s. Probably 90% of the audience (including me) lived in squats. It was that kind of scene.

I saw them at the Camden Palace in London sometime soon after this Lyceum show was shot, but the shamanic intensity and the tribal vibe I experienced when I saw them are evident here, too in spades. They weren’t even beginning to peak at this point.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion