The Cult

The Cult bio, timeline, discography, pics & more

  • The Cult band 2012

    The Cult photo 2012

The Cult Biography

The Cult rose to fame from the streets of London, ENGLAND, to become one of Rocks biggest attractions of the mid-'80s and '90s. Vocalist Ian Astbury formed Southern Death Cult in British post-Punk 1983, then joined guitarist Billy Duffy and bassist Jamie Stewart, first with drummer Ray Mondo and later Nigel Preston, to become The Death Cult. The name was shortened to The Cult with the release of their first album.

"Dreamtime", the debut album, an eclectic mix of Goth-Rock, dark and psychedelia, was released in the fall of 1984; it reached the #21 position on the U.K. Albums chart and spawned the minor hit single "Spiritwalker".

The following year Nigel Preston left the formation, he was soon replaced by Big Country's drummer Mark Brzezicki and the group delivered its sophomore full-length disc, "Love", in late summer 1985 introducing a more Hard-Rock oriented sound; the album was a worldwide smash thanks to singles like "She Sells Sanctuary" and "Rain" which both hit the U.K. top 20 and helped the album debut at #4 on the Official British Pop chart. "Love", also became their first American Billboard Top 200 entry at #87.

Over the next couple of years The Cult went through a series of line-up changes, Les Warner replaced Brzezicki behind the drum kit. Bass player Kid Chaos, real name Stephen Harris, joined the band in February of 1987, so Stewart switched over to the rhythm guitar spot; that spring the group released its third album, "Electric", which peaked at #4 in U.K. and reached the #38 position on The Billboard 200. All the three singles off the LP, "Love Removal Machine", "Lil' Devil" and "Wild Flower" grazed the top 30 of the British Pop chart and also crossed over into the top 40 in the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks, with the first single, "Love Removal Machine", peaking at #15.

In the fall of 1988 Duffy and Astbury moved to Vancouver with former bassist Jamie Stewart to record "Sonic Temple"; in the studio they were joined by keyboardist John Webster and Bryan Adams' drummer Mickey Curry. The record shot to #3 in U.K. and peaked at #10 in U.S. powered by "Fire Woman", by the spring 1989 the track was a genuine hit, climbing to #2 on The Modern Rock chart, to #4 on the album-Rock chart and just missing the top 40 on The Billboard Hot 100; in the U.K. "Fire Woman" reached #15 on the Official Pop Sales chart. While on tour, with new drummer Matt Sorum, supporting Metallica, the band racked up three more Mainstream Rock top 20 hits: "Sweet Soul Sister", "Edie (Ciao Baby)" and "Sun King".
This was the period when Duffy and Astbury were at the top of their game. Duffy's guitar playing has always been brilliant, his style and technique are admired by musicians and his tone is always perfect for the song. Astbury has developed into a strong, powerful Rock singer with a commanding stage presence and a charismatic vocal and performing style. Like many duos that have an awesome creative chemistry as a team, they've also had problems working together, the addition of substances to the mix has been another factor in the erratic nature of their career.
Recorded with bassist Charlie Drayton and once again with Mickey Curry behind a shuffling drum kit as Matt Sorum left to join Guns N' Roses, the band's fifth LP, "Ceremony", arrived in September 1991; it peaked at #9 in U.K. and at #25 in U.S. due to the exposure provided by the main single "Wild Hearted Son", which rose to #4 on The Modern Rock chart; the follow-up single, "Heart Of Soul", also charted on alt-Rock radio across the United States.

The self-titled follow-up to "Ceremony" was released in autumn 1994, but the three year gap had seemingly lost the band a lot of fans and the CD failed to dent the top 20 in Britain and only reached #69 on The Billboard 200 in America; however, The Cult scored a new Mainstream Rock top 20 hit with "Coming Down (Drug Tongue)".

Duffy, Astbury, ex-Porno For Pyros bassis Martyn LeNoble and Matt Sorum on drums returned once again in the late '90s. The combination of supporting Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes during some of their tour dates, performing the opening track, "Painted On My Heart", on the "Gone In 60 Seconds" soundtrack, a single which hit the top 30 of The Mainstream Rock chart and the unmistakable "She Sells Sanctuary" riff being used in a car commercial gave the band wide exposure.

In 2001, the quartet recorded an album of new material, "Beyond Good And Evil", which was issued on Atlantic in June; the CD restored the band's chart status as it climbed to #37 on The Billboard Top 200. The lead single, "Rise", shot to #3 on The Mainstream Rock chart and bulleted into the top 20 of The Modern Rock Tracks. The disc contained two more minor hits: "Breathe" and "True Believers".

The Cult's next album, "Born Into This", which marks the band's debut on Roadrunner Records, was released in Octoebr 2007; it debuted at #70 on The Billboard 200. The group's first CD since 2001 was recorded in London by principals Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy alongside former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Chris Wyse and ex-Helmet drummer John Tempesta. The set included the Hot Mainstream Rock top 40 hit "Dirty Little Rock Star" and the minor hit "Illuminated".

The Cult released their ninth studio album, "Choice Of Weapon" in May 2012, via Cooking Vinyl Records. The 10-song set includes the free downloadable power single "Lucifer".

 

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The Cult pictures:

  • The Cult band late 80s The Cult band late 80s
    "Sonic Temple" photoshoot 1989
  • The Cult band 2001 The Cult band 2001
    The Cult 2001 - LtoR: B. Duffy, I. Astbury and M. Sorum
  • The Cult band 2007 The Cult band 2007
    The Cult 2007, from left: John Tempesta, Ian Astbury, Chris Wyse and Billy Duffy