Sound Advice: The Cult with Holy White Hounds

Monday • Taft Theatre

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Ian Astbury fronting bands with “Cult” in the name, beginning in 1981, when the singer and some Yorkshire friends co-opted the moniker Southern Death Cult from a 500-year-old Native American religion and created the first wave of Gothic Punk. In 1983, Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy co-founded Death Cult and toured extensively throughout Europe, releasing an EP and single before truncating the name to The Cult.

The first Cult album, 1984’s Dreamtime, almost cracked the UK Top 20 and sold over 100,000 copies. The band’s sophomore album, 1985’s Love, did even better. Advanced by “She Sells Sanctuary,” a college-radio hit in the States, Love sold over a million units worldwide.

After a successful world tour, the band recorded its third album, Peace, in 1986, but, dissatisfied with the sound, the band members met with producer Rick Rubin in New York to remix the single “Love Removal Machine.” Rubin talked the band into rerecording Peace, which was retitled Electric and released in 1987. “Love Removal Machine” was an enormous global hit and Electric outsold Love by a wide margin. The band’s Sonic Temple (1989) and Ceremony (1991) followed with similarly broad successes, but interest dropped steeply with 1994’s self-titled album. Internal friction between Astbury and Duffy came to a head in 1995 and The Cult dissolved.

Four years later, the pair revived the band and embarked on a sold-out American tour. During its subsequent 2002-2004 hiatus, Astbury performed as frontman for Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger in the Doors of the 21st Century, and he began work on his second solo album. The Cult reteamed in 2005 for its first world tour in nearly four years, which ultimately led Astbury to leave the Doors project and concentrate on his own music. The band subsequently released what Astbury has described as a trilogy, consisting of 2007’s Born Into This (which features songs intended for his solo record), 2012’s Choice of Weapon and the recently-released Hidden City.

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