As bonafide rock and roll legends go, Ian Astbury tends to fly under the radar, at least in the U.S. While the lead singer for The Cult has always maintained an ardent fanbase, the post-punk band never quite received the same attention on these shores as contemporaries like The Cure, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. As he sits down to talk with Matt in the latest episode of The Hivecast with Matt Pinfield, Astbury discusses why his band has always been treated differently by fans and the press.
“We were going to clubs called, like, Alice In Wonderland in London, where they would play Nuggets, and all the psych-punk bands,” Astbury explains to Matt when discussing how people have made assumptions about how the band changed directions. “You would stand at the bar, and at the bar was Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Robert Smith, Steve Severin, Siouxsie Sioux, The Damned, all standing at the bar, holding themselves up at the bar. It was a tiny club – and when I say tiny, I mean 150 people. That's where Naz Nomad and the Nightmares came out of. That's where the Glove came out of. It was this transition between punk and psych. Psych was the conduit, through Lenny Kaye's Nuggets, to '60s punk, into like early Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, the Stooges. When you look at Led Zeppelin, those first two albums, they were a punk band. They were violent.” Astbury ends the history lesson by issuing a challenge to those who think that The Cult was the only band to “abandon” punk in favor of a harder rock sound. “I'd like to sit down with some of these revisionists,” he says.
Those revisionists would do well to listen to the Hivecast to learn more about UK punk history through Astbury’s eyes. [Download & subscribe to the Hivecast via iTunes.]