Today is the birthday of Billy Duffy, onetime guitarist
for the Cult, who was born in 1959 in Manchester, England. The Cult went
through several personae -- from death-rock band to goth band to metal band --
in their many years together.
The original incarnation of the group was
founded in 1981 by singer Ian Astbury (whose birthday is two days after
Duffy's), who dubbed it the Southern Death Cult. Duffy had been playing in
local bands, including one with a pre-Smiths Morrissey and another called
Theatre of Hate, before Astbury hired him in 1981 and shortened the group's
name to the Cult. They added bassist Jamie Stewart and drummer Les Warner and
recorded their debut, Dreamtime for release in 1984.
year the Cult made its major-label debut with Love and charted two
singles, "(She Sells) Sanctuary" and "Rain." The gang hooked up with Rick Rubin
to record Electric in 1987, including the amazing "Love Removal
Machine"; he took their sound into a more heavy-metal arena, but the idea
didn't fully mature until 1989's Sonic Temple, which went to #10 in
1989. That album was produced by Bob Rock and featured a pre-Guns N' Roses Matt
Sorum on drums (who was fresh from working with Tori Amos' failed band, Y Kant
Tori Read); the album went platinum and featured two singles, "Fire Woman" and
"Edie (Ciao Baby)," an ode to Andy Warhol model Edie Sedgwick.
In 1991 the
Cult -- now Astbury, Duffy, bassist Craig Adams and drummer Scott Garrett --
released Ceremony, but the metal mood had passed and the album didn't
fare well, despite a single for "Wild Hearted Son." The band took a three-year
break and returned in 1994 with a self-titled record that returned the Cult to
its earlier gothic sound. It, too, sold poorly and Astbury disbanded the group.
Other birthdays: Burt Bacharach, Jay Otis Washington (Persuasions), Billy Swan,
Ian Dury, James Purify (James & Bobby Purify), Ian MacLagan (Small Faces),
Robert MacVitte (Sugarloaf), Steve Winwood, Billy Squier and Shannon. -- Beth