Ian Astbury

Ian Astbury

Infobox musical artist

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Name = Ian Astbury
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Img_size =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Born = birth date and age|1962|05|14 Heswall, Cheshire, England
Instrument = Vocals, percussion, harmonica, guitar
Genre = Post-punk Hard rock Gothic rock
Occupation = Vocalist, songwriter
Years_active = 1981-Present
Label = Beggars Banquet
Associated_acts = The Cult Southern Death Cult Death Cult Holy Barbarians The Doors The Wondergirls

Ian Robert Astbury (born May 14, 1962 in Heswall, Cheshire) is an English rock singer and lyricist.


Astbury's career began in 1981, with the gothic rock band Southern Death Cult. At that time, he was going by the name Ian Lindsay. Southern Death Cult gigged to support its "Moya" single, and secured a slot as an opening act for Bauhaus in 1983. Shortly after that tour, the band split up.

Along with guitarist Billy Duffy, bassist Jamie Stewart and drummer Ray Mondo, Astbury (now going by the surname "Astbury") formed a new band, Death Cult, released the Death Cult (EP) and later dropped Death from the name. He has two sons named Dustyn and Che.

The Cult

The Cult was a successful British rock band in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With the 1983 release of their first album, "Dreamtime", The Cult became the darling of the Indie post-punk scene, their chart topping single "Spiritwalker" having held at number one for three months. Their second album, "Love", evoked memories of 1960s psychedelia such as The Doors and the Pretty Things. It also featured their now classic hit "She Sells Sanctuary," which introduced them to an international audience. On their third album, "Electric", The Cult made a radical transformation to hard rock reminiscent of AC/DC and Aerosmith with the help of Rick Rubin. This further broadened their audience as rock began making a comeback in the late 1980s. Guns n' Roses, which was heavily influenced by "Electric", opened for The Cult on their 1987 North American tour, before going on to sell millions of copies of their debut album, "Appetite for Destruction".

Although they went on to greater heights with their mainstream hit single "Fire Woman," (from the followup 1989 album "Sonic Temple", The Cult began to get criticized by many hardcore fans on artistic merits. Soured on the band's more commercial direction, The Cult were now characterized as pretentious and as having sold out, particularly among their legion of British fans. Around this time, Astbury relocated to Los Angeles, California. He became friends with The Fuzztones, often jumping up onstage with them at live concerts. One such concert, at Scream in Downtown LA, was recorded and a cover of The Stooges song "Down on the Street" was released as a picture disc in the UK on Situation Two Records. It featured Astbury on vocals and the "In Heat"-era Fuzztones (John Carlucci, Jordan Tarlow, Mike Czekaj, and Jason Savall) as his backing band.


The dent in their reputation was amplified by the loss of many "Sonic Temple" fans, when their next album, "Ceremony," released in 1991, delivered disappointingly in the wake of an oncoming Grunge movement.

In 1994, The Cult returned with an untitled album and a change of musical pace. Gone were their overblown rock trappings, replaced instead by Astbury's growing interest in electronica and introspective lyrics. The self titled album, while not a commercial success, due mostly to the lack of radio support for the albums two singles (Coming Down and Star), is considered by many long time Cult fans to be amongst their best releases. To support the album they set out on a tour; in Brazil, however, Astbury's creative differences with guitarist Duffy reached their peak, and the former walked out on The Cult.

Inspired by his sudden change in direction, Astbury soon after assembled another group of musicians and began writing new songs. He called the group The Holy Barbarians, and in 1996 the band released the album "Cream". Although they were not a commercial success, the Barbarians were well received by many who had regained respect for Astbury as an artist. One notable appearance by the band was at the small Tunbridge Wells Forum which saw them being joined onstage by Vic Reeves for a rendition of The Cult's classic "Wildflower."

Personal difficulties and a drive for further introspection drove Astbury away from his new group, as he began working on a solo album (eventually released as "SpiritLightSpeed"). Despite its rich texturing and diverse style, it received mixed reviews and low sales.

In 1999, Astbury and Duffy reformed The Cult to head one of the most financially successful tours that year. A new contract with Atlantic Records was inked, and in 2001 came the release of "Beyond Good and Evil". Early radio success was being had by the single "Rise", until the band had a falling out with Atlantic and they ended all commercial promotions and radio play for the album. Astbury described the fight with the record label as "soul destroying"; disillusioned, he brought The Cult to another hiatus in 2002.Astbury said he had some minor drug problems. He revealed that in an interview for Dr.Drew's newsletter saying: 'I was cultivating a nice healthy drug habit. I was your run-of-the mill adventurist, I'd try anything once. I was a day-tripper, though-I never really became a hardcore user. When drugs aren't working for you, forget about it. I don't want to spout philosophical that "drugs are evil" [because] drugs had a place in my life. I think achieving a balance is the key, though.'Most fans found that sentence to be somewhat untrue, because Astbury and some of his other band mates from The Cult, appeared numerous times at various public events and happenings visibly under the influence of Heroin. This can also be seen in a number of their live concert footage.


Having long been influenced by Jim Morrison, in 2002 Astbury filled his hero's footsteps by becoming lead singer in an updated version of The Doors, with original members Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, known as "The Doors of the 21st Century", renamed in 2005 at the VH1 Classic Decades Rock Live Concert TV Special at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City to become "Riders on the Storm". In 2003, Astbury also performed with surviving members of MC5 at the 100 Club in London, before finally reforming The Cult with Duffy again in 2006, for a series of live dates and rumours of reissues and another greatest hits compilation in the works.

During early 2007, The Cult entered the studio to begin production on "Born into This", the group's first album in six years. Also planned for release was a DVD of the band's November 13, 2006, concert at Irving Plaza in New York City.

The Cult's current lineup consists of Astbury and Duffy, alongside bassist Chris Wyse, drummer John Tempesta and touring rhythm guitarist Mike Dimkitch. In October 2007, The Cult finally released "Born into This". The first single was "Dirty Little Rockstar," which enjoyed strong radio airplay.He lives in Los Angeles and plays on the football team Hollywood United with Billy Duffy and "Steve Jones" of "The Sex Pistols".

Other musical ventures

Astbury is featured on the UNKLE tracks "Burn My Shadow" and "When Things Explode." He also sings "Flame On" on Tony Iommi's (Black Sabbath lead guitarist) solo album Iommi.

olo discography

*"SpiritLightSpeed" (2000)

External links

* [http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/cult_the/bio.jhtml VH1 - The Cult]
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1039312/bio IMDB biography]
* [http://cultcentral.com Cult central fansite]
* [http://thecult.us The Cult official website] "by Sonya Koshuta"
* [http://www.sacredsoul.us Sacred Soul Magazine & fansite]

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