Ian Astbury

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Ian Astbury
Ian Astbury press photo, October 2010
Background information
Birth nameIan Robert Astbury
Born (1962-05-14) 14 May 1962 (age 57)
Heswall, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Genres Post-punk, gothic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, alternative rock [1]
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, percussion, harmonica, guitar
Years active1981–present
Labels Beggars Banquet
Associated acts The Cult, Southern Death Cult, Death Cult, the Doors of the 21st Century, Holy Barbarians, Circus of Power, the Wondergirls, Slash, Boris, Unkle

Ian Robert Astbury [2] [3] (born 14 May 1962) is an English singer and songwriter. He is best known as a founder member and the lead vocalist for the rock band the Cult. [4]

The Cult British rock band

The Cult are a British rock band formed in 1983. Before settling on their current name in January 1984, the band performed under the name Death Cult, which was an evolution of the name of lead singer Ian Astbury's previous band Southern Death Cult. They gained a dedicated following in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s as a post-punk/gothic rock band, with singles such as "She Sells Sanctuary", before breaking mainstream in the United States in the late 1980s as a hard rock band with singles such as "Love Removal Machine" and "Fire Woman". According to music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the band fuse a "heavy metal revivalist" sound with the "pseudo-mysticism ... of the Doors [and] the guitar-orchestrations of Led Zeppelin ... while adding touches of post-punk goth rock". Since the initial formation of Southern Death Cult in Bradford in 1981, the band have had various line-ups; the longest-serving members are Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, the band's two songwriters.



Astbury's family moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, from the UK in 1973 when he was 11. He attended Glendale Secondary School. Astbury's early musical influences took root in Hamilton where he became an early fan of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls. But he did not start performing until after his return to the UK. [5]

Hamilton, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. An industrialized city in the Golden Horseshoe at the west end of Lake Ontario, Hamilton has a population of 536,917, and its metropolitan area, which includes Burlington and Grimsby, has a population of 747,545. The city is located about 40 km southwest of Toronto, with which the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is formed.

In 1979, while living in Glasgow, Astbury was influenced by the Doors' song "The End", which he heard while watching the movie Apocalypse Now , later describing this as "a religious experience". [6] In 1980, he was in Liverpool, where he was active on the punk scene based around Eric's Club. He moved to Bradford in late 1980, where he was a founder member of the post-punk band Southern Death Cult in 1981. Southern Death Cult lasted until March 1983. Along with guitarist Billy Duffy, bassist Jamie Stewart and drummer Raymond Taylor Smith, Astbury formed a new band, Death Cult and released the Death Cult EP. To gain broader appeal, the band changed its name to "The Cult" in January 1984 before appearing on the Channel 4 television show, The Tube .

The Doors American rock band

The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison's lyrics and his erratic stage persona, and the group was widely regarded as representative of the era's counterculture.

<i>Apocalypse Now</i> 1979 American war film directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film about the Vietnam War, directed, produced and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola. It stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne and Dennis Hopper. The screenplay, co-written by Coppola and John Milius and narration written by Michael Herr, was loosely based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. The setting was changed from late 19th-century Congo to the Vietnam War (1969–70). The film follows a river journey from South Vietnam into Cambodia undertaken by Captain Benjamin L. Willard, who is on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz, a renegade Army officer accused of murder and who is presumed insane.

Erics Club

Eric's Club was a music club in Liverpool, England. It opened on 1 October 1976 in a building basement on Mathew Street opposite The Cavern Club where The Beatles and other bands of the 1960s played, and became notable for hosting early performances by many punk and post-punk bands.

The Cult are a postmodern rock band, active since 1983. Their first album, Dreamtime was released in 1984, and followed by Love in 1985. Love featured the single "She Sells Sanctuary", which introduced the band to an international audience. Many songs of these early albums focus on Native American themes, a pre-occupation of Astbury. On their third album, Electric , the Cult made a transformation to hard rock sound with the help of Rick Rubin.

<i>Dreamtime</i> (The Cult album) 1984 studio album by The Cult

Dreamtime is the debut album by The Cult. Released on 10 September 1984, it reached #21 in the UK and was later certified silver by the BPI after having sold 60,000 copies. The first single, "Spiritwalker", reached #1 on the UK Indie Chart. Dreamtime has subsequently been reissued in roughly 30 countries worldwide.

She Sells Sanctuary song by The Cult

"She Sells Sanctuary" is a song by the British rock band the Cult. It is from their 1985 album Love and was released as a single in May of that year, peaking at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre-Columbian inhabitants of North, Central and South America and their descendants

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

After the release of the 1989 album Sonic Temple , and the single "Fire Woman", Astbury relocated to Los Angeles, California.

<i>Sonic Temple</i> 1989 studio album by The Cult

Sonic Temple is the fourth studio album by The Cult, released in 1989. Continuing in the hard rock direction introduced on their previous album, Sonic Temple features some of the band's most popular songs, including "Fire Woman", "Sun King", "Edie " and "Sweet Soul Sister". Sonic Temple was the last album recorded with longtime bassist Jamie Stewart, who left in 1990, and the first to feature former Hall & Oates and then-current Bryan Adams drummer, Mickey Curry.

Fire Woman 1989 single by The Cult

"Fire Woman" is a rock song by British rock band The Cult, written by singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy. It was the first single released from their fourth studio album Sonic Temple, and was subsequently featured on all of The Cult's compilation/greatest hits albums, as well as being a steady fixture of the band's live performances. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number one on New Zealand's Recorded Music NZ chart and number 15 on the UK Singles Chart. Two remixed versions of the song were released as B-sides or promos—the "LA Rock Mix" and the "NYC Rock Mix". Astbury claims the eponymous "fire woman" is a universal symbol, along the lines of a primary element.


In 1994, The Cult returned with an untitled album and a change of musical pace. Their hard rock sound was gone, replaced instead by Astbury's growing interest in alternative music, fashion and introspective lyrics. The self-titled album was not a commercial success, but released two singles ("Coming Down" and "Star"). 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.

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, which was not a commercial success. The band appeared at the small Tunbridge Wells Forum which saw them being joined onstage by Vic Reeves for a rendition of "Wildflower".

Holy Barbarians was a short-lived rock band formed during 1996, after English frontman Ian Astbury left his band The Cult. Astbury was joined with three musicians from the United States, guitarist Patrick Sugg along with brothers Matt and Scott Garrett. Together the band recorded one album, Cream.

Vic Reeves English comedian

James Roderick Moir, better known by the stage name Vic Reeves, is an English comedian, artist, actor and television presenter, best known for his double act with Bob Mortimer as Vic and Bob. He is known for his surreal sense of humour.

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 Spirit\Light\Speed ).

In 1999, Astbury and Duffy reformed The Cult. A new contract with Atlantic Records was signed, and in 2001 Beyond Good and Evil was released. The band enjoyed radio success initially with 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.[ citation needed ]

2000s and beyond

Astbury became lead singer of The Doors of the 21st Century in 2002. The group featured original Doors members Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek. [7] [8] 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.[ citation needed ] In October 2007, The Cult released Born into This. The first single was "Dirty Little Rockstar".[ citation needed ]In 2009, The Cult announced a series of shows across Canada, the US, and various countries in Europe. It was billed as "'Love' Live", where the band performed its classic album, "Love," in its entirety.[ citation needed ]

On 29 May 2010 Boris performed "The End" with Ian Astbury at Vivid Festival on Sydney. [9] Boris and Astbury released a four-song EP in September 2010 on Southern Lord and Daymare Records, containing four tracks entitled Teeth and Claws, We are Witches, Rain (The Cult cover), Magickal Child. [10] [11] [12]

He lives in Los Angeles and plays on the football team Hollywood United with Billy Duffy and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols and is a supporter of English Premier League club Everton FC.[ citation needed ]

On 26 May 2012, Astbury married The Black Ryder singer/guitarist Aimee Nash in Las Vegas. [13]

Other musical ventures

Astbury is featured on the UNKLE tracks "Burn My Shadow", "When Things Explode" and "Forever." He also sings "Flame On" on Tony Iommi's (Black Sabbath lead guitarist) solo album Iommi, as well as duets with Deborah Harry on her 1989 album Def, Dumb and Blonde's song "Lovelight". In 2010, he provided the vocals for the song "Ghost" on guitarist Slash's self-titled solo album.[ citation needed ] The track also featured former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar. Astbury is also credited for playing the drums on a track called "Gasp" by "Japanese Cartoon."[ citation needed ]


The Cult

Holy Barbarians


Guest appearances

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Robby Krieger American rock guitarist and songwriter

Robert Alan Krieger is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter best known as the guitarist of the rock band The Doors; as such he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Krieger wrote or co-wrote many of the Doors' songs, including the hits "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Touch Me", and "Love Her Madly". After the Doors disbanded, Krieger continued his performing and recording career with other musicians including former Doors band mates John Densmore and Ray Manzarek. He was listed by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

<i>Love</i> (The Cult album) 1985 studio album by The Cult

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Billy Duffy Rock guitarist; member of The Cult

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The Cult is the sixth studio album from English rock band, The Cult. It was released in October, 1994 on Beggars Banquet Records and it is also the band's last album on Sire Records in the USA. It is also commonly referred to as the "Black Sheep" record, due to the image of a Manx Loaghtan black sheep on the front cover. The record also features one of the very rare times when Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have shared songwriting credit with anyone: bassist Craig Adams is credited as co-author of "Universal You".

<i>Dreamtime Live at the Lyceum</i> 1986 live album by The Cult

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Rain (The Cult song) song by The Cult

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Spiritwalker 1984 song performed by The Cult

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<i>BXI</i> (EP) 2010 EP by Boris and Ian Astbury

BXI is a collaborative EP by the Japanese band Boris and the Cult lead vocalist Ian Astbury. The EP was released in September 2010 in CD, black, blue and pink vinyl, and digital formats through Southern Lord Records. Boris and Ian Astbury had performed live together, including on May 30, 2010, at the Sydney Opera House and on September 7, 2010, at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Brooklyn, New York.

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  7. Ross, Mike (24 July 2005). "Long live the Lizard King". Edmonton Sun . Retrieved 9 August 2010.
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  11. "商品詳細". Diwproducts.com. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  12. "Southern Lord Records " BXI= Boris Collaboration With Ian Astbury!". Blog.southernlord.com. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
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  14. "21st Century Jesus [US] - Messiah | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2019.