While the media concentrate on the late '80s when The Cult enjoyed its biggest commercial moment, for Ian Astbury, the band’s frontman and singer, it continues to be a harmonious journey.
“The Cult has been a global band that traveled the world, with many layers and an incredibly diverse audience," Astbury says. The band travels to Monterey's Golden State Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
“I left the U.K. in ‘88 and at first spent some time in New York,” Astbury says as a preamble to why he considers himself and The Cult a Californian phenomenon.“Maybe I have a bit of an accent, but I’ve been living in L.A. for years," he says.
He mentions "A Gathering of the Tribes," the two-day music and culture festival he co-organized with legendary concert promoter Bill Graham that took place over two days in 1990 in Mountain View and Costa Mesa, raising money for, and awareness of, Native American-related causes. It's considered the precursor to Lollapalooza touring festivals of the '90s.
Astbury certainly sounds Californian, when he talks about music as a frequency energy that is “the voice of the goddess,” the magic of music in nature, such as wind blowing, or time being a construct of a brain.
He says he is excited about “the very powerful moment” in time we are facing, a moment of transformation for the whole of humanity. Music, understood as vibration, plays part of it, Astbury says, "in that way, The Cult is more than a band,” adding that psychedelics can help to tune in to the next level. Meditation would be a harder yet also possible way to do the same—eventual ego dissolution.
“We have the power to shape our future,” he says optimistically about the upcoming times.
Astbury has always been involved in social and political causes.”My father was a refugee who migrated to Canada, so I know how to feel marginalized,” he says. He has been interested in native causes and the knowledge medicine men have been preserving for millennia. That doesn’t stop him from marveling over the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca or Pablo Picasso.
Originally proclaimed a post-punk/gothic rock band, these days The Cult can be described as gothic futurist, not shying away from electronic experimentation. During the Monterey concert, The Cult will play one to two songs from the newest record, Under the Midnight Sun (2022), but will give their fans an opportunity to celebrate their greatest hits, such as “She Sells Sanctuary” and “For The Animals.” The Golden State gig is one of 50 high energy shows the band is giving this year.
8pm (door opens), Wednesday, November 16. Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado St., Monterey. $44.50-$89.50. 649-1070. goldenstatetheatre.com.