The Cult Eletric

The Cult electric love is a study in constant evolution, reinvention, and self-destruction. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy founded the band in 1983 initially going out under the name “Death Cult” as Astbury fronted his former band “Southern Death Cult” By 1984 that settled on simply “The Cult”. They found their feet in the public eye and the critics’ words.

Guitarist Duffy wielding a Gretsch White Falcon was the rock, Astbury was the Mystic. Embracing Native American elements and Carrying a fascination for The Doors Jim Morrison Ian Astbury was loved by many and confused the hell out of others. 

The Cult Spiritwalker, Flower In The Desert, Horsenation, Live The Tube 13/01/84

Their Debut “Dreamtime” and follow-up album “Love” put them on the path they sought.

The Cult – Live At The Ritz 1985 (Full Video)

The songs “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Rain” from the second album found them building a cohesive style, put them on the radio as well as on Bigger tours as the support act.

The Cult Ian Astbury Interview TVAM Star Date AM 02/09/85

1987’s  “Electric” Blew up.  Success and expansion of “Love Removal Machine” and “Wildflower” kept the train rolling.

The Cult – Love Removal Machine – Live In OGWT – 1987

The Cult continued the musical experimentation of Electric with its follow-up album Sonic Temple (1989), which marked their first collaboration with Bob Rock, who would produce several of the band’s subsequent albums. Sonic Temple was their most successful album to that point, entering the Top 10 on the UK and US charts, and included one of the band’s most popular songs “Fire Woman

The Cult – Fire Woman

By the time of their fifth album Ceremony (1991), tensions and creative differences began to surface among the band members. This resulted in the recording sessions for the Ceremony being held without a stable lineup, leaving Astbury and Duffy as the only two official members left, and featuring support from session musicians on bass and drums. 

the cult wembley arena london 1986 The Cult  “Electric Love”

“Ceremony” brought more fame, yet not of the nature, the band would have wished for. This is the 61 million dollar event. The Family of the Native American boy that graced the cover sued the band and everyone involved in all facets of the band business. Not only did they not get permission to use his image, an official video for one of the tracks had a scene in which the child’s picture was burned, and subsequently the child was emotionally terrified, not understanding the “artistic effort”.


In 1994 The Cult gave it another go.  The self-titled album is commonly referred to as the “Black Sheep” album by fans of the group, due to the image of a black sheep on the front cover. Astbury referred to the record as a collection of “very personal and very revealing” songs about his life, with the subject matter ranging from sexual abuse at the age of 15, to his directionless years spent in Glasgow in the late 1970s.

During the Black Rain tour of South America in the spring of 1995, despite the fact that several more new songs had already been recorded, the tour was canceled after an appearance in Rio de Janeiro in March, and the band split up citing unspecified problems on a recent South American tour.


1999 saw a reunion and album “Beyond Good and Evil”. Par for the course Trouble ensued and such promise yielded misery in its place.

The Cult’s DIsastrous Reunion For Beyond Good and Evil Ian Asbury, Billy Duffy & Matt Sorum

Astbury went through personal and legal trauma and took time to “Clear himself” on spiritual journeys. In the year 2000, The Doors performed a taping of VH1’s popular “Storytellers” and invited numerous premier vocalists to step into Morrison’s spot. Ian was one as he had done a bit of work prior with Doors Guitarist Robbie Krieger.

He was considered for the Morrison role for Oliver Stone’s film as well but lost out to Val Kilmer.

Following the “Storytellers” The Doors hired Ian in 2002 to tour as “The Doors of the 21st Century” John Densmore suffering tinnitus was not able to participate and drummer Stewart Copeland manned the kit. According to Densmore he had recovered and was left out on purpose, essentially fired from his own band. Right off the Rip Lawsuits were flying like flocks of birds from all directions.

This all got settled as things do when enough money talks and the project continued.

the cult The Cult  “Electric Love”

The Doors of the 21st Century L.A. Woman Live (2004)

As for the Cult they have been on and off and on again up to the present day. On May 6, 2020, The Cult announced on their Twitter page that they had signed to Black Hill Records.

On August 15, 2020, Duffy announced on his Twitter that the band was recording their new album with producer Tom Dalgety at Rockfield Studios, where The Cult had recorded their debut album Dreamtime 36 years earlier.

In support of their new album, The Cult will embark on a co-headlining six-date UK tour with Alice Cooper in May and June 2022

Rig Rundown – The Cult’s Billy Duffy

This will mark 11 studio albums from The Cult and 38 years of Rocking to the highest Mountaintops to the Lowest Valleys. The Cult has always been able to find gold in the midst of a smoking crater, whether the bomb was dropped by themselves or others unknown.  

Mysticism is always an open door to the next possibility.

By Jimmy Flemming

Jimmy Fleming is a Dystonia advocate and Guitarist from Ohio. He authored and co wrote interviews on over 100 articles about guitar and bands on Guitardoor Listen to his latest music and full biography on his website.

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