Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Wildflower" by The Cult - March 7th 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

I can’t remember how I first came to know about The Cult, but I always thought that they were a band that rocked! The drums and guitars are heavy, and the lyrics are raw. The lead singer, Ian Astbury, always reminded me of a warlock, but I guess his interests really lie in Native Americans and shamanism. During the 80’s when my friends and I were teenagers, our city promised that they would build an arena where concerts would be held. We were excited. We waited. And waited….and waited. The arena did not get constructed until 2001 when I was in my thirties. The inaugural show of the new arena was Aerosmith (because a number of their members live in New Hampshire where the arena is, and because the band got their start in NH), with The Cult opening. Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver was drumming with The Cult at the time. Whatta show!
Ian Astbury (real name Ian Lindsay), son of a merchant navy man was born in 1962 in Heswell, Merseyside in England. In 1981 he formed a band called Southern Death Cult in Bradford, Yorkshire England. The band signed to an independent record label, Situation Two, and released a 3-track single called Moya. They toured England sometimes headlining and other times opening for Bauhaus and Theatre of Hate. They received critical acclaim, but after only 16 month broke up in February 1983. There was a self-titled compilation of Southern Death Cult’s triple single, radio sessions from John Peels Radio One show, as well as live performances.
In 1983 guitarist Billy Duffy (born 1959 in Manchester, England) joined up with Astbury. Duffy came from the band Theatre of Hate, and had also played in the Nosebleeds with Morrissey (prior to him becoming the lead singer for The Smiths). Astbury and Duffy started a band called Death Cult. By June 1983 Death Cult was playing out and in July they released a self-titled EP and toured Europe. In January 1984, prior to appearing on the English television show The Tube, they changed the band name to The Cult.
Throughout the career of The Cult the band line-up changed innumerable times, but Astbury and Duffy were the two most consistent members throughout. At times famous drummers from other bands performed for a tenure with The Cult including Mark Brzezicki (Big Country), Eric Singer (Kiss), and Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses).
The Cult’s 1984 debut album, Dreamtime, was recorded in Monmouth, Wales. Astbury was very interested in Native Americans and it showed in the song lyrics. In April 1984 the band released a single called "Spiritwalker" that hit #1 on the independent music charts in the U.K. and sold well there. They went on tour throughout Europe and released a second single "Resurrection Joe". The Cult went on tour in support of Big Country, and then headlined their own tour in Europe with The Mission (then called The Sisterhood) opening for them.
In May 1985 The Cult released a single called "She Sells Sanctuary". It reached #15 on the U.K. charts and spent 23 weeks in the U.K. Top 100. In August the band recorded their second album, Love. "She Sells Sanctuary" was included on the album along with other singled "Rain" and "Revolution". The band went on a worldwide tour from mid-1985 to 1986.
Upon returning from tour the band recorded a dozen new songs at the Manor Studios in Oxfordshire England with producer Steve Brown (who had also produced their Love album). The band hated the sound of these recordings. They took the single "Love Removal Machine" to New York so that producer Rick Rubin could remix it. Rubin would work with them only if they re-recorded the whole song. As it turned out, they ended up re-recording the whole album with Rubin at the decks. "Love Removal Machine" was released as a single in February 1987, and the album, called Electric, was released in April. Two other singles were released "Lil Devil" and "Wildflower" and the album outsold the band’s previous album, Love. The band went on a U.S. tour, and were supported by Guns N’ Roses who at that time, had not yet broken through. When the tour reached Australia the band ruined £30,000 of equipment, and therefore could not tour Japan because they couldn’t find anyone to rent them new equipment. Tensions were high and the band were barely speaking to each other. Astbury and Duffy fired their drummer and their management team and moved to the United States in Los Angeles, California. The fired drummer sued the band numerous times over his firing and alleged unpaid royalties, resulting in lengthy court battles.
The Cult signed with new management and wrote 21 new songs for their next album. They recorded in Vancouver, Canada from October to December 1988 and released their next album, Sonic Temple, in 1989. It hit the Top Ten in both the U.S. and the U.K. The lead single from the album was "Fire Woman" and the second release was "Edie (Ciao Baby)" about tragic Andy Warhol acolyte, socialite, and model, Edie Sedgewick, followed by "Sun King" and "Sweet Soul Sister" in 1990. The band toured Europe with Aerosmith, and toured the U.S. as the opening band for Metallica for most of 1989 before going out on their own headlining tour. After The Cult finished an American show in Atlanta, Georgia in February 1990 band management informed Astbury that his father had just died from cancer. The remainder of the tour was cancelled. The band was again on the verge of splitting as their bassist was retiring and moving to Canada and their drummer was leaving to join Guns N’ Roses.
In 1990 Astbury organized a music festival called The Gathering of the Tribes in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Soundgarden, Ice-T, Indigo Girls, Queen Latifah, Iggy Pop, Public Enemy, The Cramps and The Charlatans played the two day festival, which some say was the inspiration for the first Lollapalooza tour which started the following year (1991).
In 1991 Astbury and Duffy began writing for their next album, but their relationship had deteriorated. They rarely were present together in the same studio during all of the recording. It showed in their next album, Ceremony, and sales were not as high as their previous 3 albums. Still, the band toured Europe in 1991 and the U.S. in 1992. The band was in court again when the parents of the Native American boy pictured on the Ceremony album cover and in the video for the song "Wild Hearted Son" sued for exploitation and unauthorized use of the child’s image. The band released the single "The Witch". They also recorded a song, "Zap City" for the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie soundtrack.
By the early 1990’s listeners ears were gravitating towards grunge music, and interest in The Cult waned. In 1994 the band released their next album The Cult to very little fanfare. Subject matter ranged from the death of one of their former band members, Astbury’s aimless days in Glasgow during the 1970’s, and his sexual abuse at the age of 15. The album only reached #69 in the U.S. The band did go on tour in support of the album, but by the time they made it to South America in the Spring of Astbury quit after a show in Rio de Janeiro and the band broke up.
By 1996 Astbury was in a new band called Holy Barbarians. They released only one album, Cream in May 1996. In 1997 and 1998 Astbury recorded a solo album, Spirit/Light/Speed, which was not released until 2000.
The Cult reformed and toured in 1999. They also recorded a song for the movie soundtrack for Gone in 60 Seconds called "Painted on My Heart".
In 2001 the band signed to Atlantic Records and recorded a new album, Beyond Good and Evil, but it was not the comeback album they had hoped for. The band also found working with Atlantic Records difficult. Atlantic stopped promoting the album, and the band’s 2001 European tour was cancelled due to security concerns after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. The band returned to the U.S. and toured with Aerosmith for 11 weeks. The band took most of the year 2002 off.
In late 2002 Astbury announced that The Cult was "on ice" indefinitely. He began performing with Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger of The Doors first under the name The Doors of the 21st Century then D21c, and finally Riders on the Storm. D21c was sued both by former lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison’s family and John Densmore the original Doors drummer. During this time Duffy was playing with Coloursound along with former Alarm lead singer Mike Peters.
The band reunited again in 2005 to make their first live appearance in 3-1/2 years on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. They did their first stage show in March 2006 at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California. The band went on tour in Canada, Europe, the U.K. the United States, and South America.
In May 2007 the band signed a deal with metal record label Roadrunner Records and recorded their 8th studio album, Born into This. The band went on tour supporting The Who in Europe during Summer 2007 and then followed up with a headlining tour in the U.S. The band’s New York City show at the Irving Plaza venue in November 2006 was recorded and released in 2007 as The Cult New York City DVD.
The band did not continue with Roadrunner Records, but continued touring. They began releasing their singles on iTunes and worked with a media technology company Aderra, Inc. to make their music available on CD, DVD Dual Disc, USB Flash Drive, 12-inch vinyl, FLAC download and MP3 download.
In May 2011 The Cult signed to Cooking Vinyl Records. They began writing new songs at the Witch Mountain studio in the Hollywood Hills and recorded at Hollywood Recording Studios in California. Their album, Choice of Weapon, will be released on May 22, 2012.
Hey You
You’re a wild honey child
I’m out of control
Everytime you are near me
I’m a wolf child baby
And I’m howlin’ for you
My heart beats faster
Hey, hey and it’s overpowered, wow
I’m a wolf child, girl
Howlin’ for you
Wild Flower
Star of my dreams
The most beautiful thing, yeah
Yeah you
Sweet sensation of the nation
Oh, my soul.
You’re a perfect creation
You’re an angel, baby
And I’m cryin’ for you
My heart beats faster
Yeah, hey and I’m overpowered
I’m a wolf child, girl
Howlin’ for you
Wild Flower
Star of my dreams
The most beautiful thing, yeah
I love you every hour
Wild Flower
Burning down the night
Set the world alight, yeah
Crazy ‘bout you, yeah
Crazy ‘bout you girl
Crazy ‘bout you, yeah
Crazy ‘bout
Crazy ‘bout you, yeah

I also included the video for "Edie (Ciao Baby), as I like this song a lot too.

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