Seminal hard rock band The Cult return this week with their ninth studio album, Choice of Weapon. It’s the band’s first full length record in over five years and promises to be one of their best—and we’re spending the week together to celebrate its release yesterday.
This week we’ll get the low down on the new record, give you an chance to win said record, and an opportunity to catch the band live—on us. We caught up with eclectic frontman Ian Astbury to talk about their 1983 masterpiece Love, favorite songs to play live, and details surrounding the birth of the new record.
You can catch part one of our interview here, and the balance follows below.
I read a previous interview where you mentioned that the album format is dead and that The Cult would no longer be making records in the sense of a traditional record. Choice of Weapon has fourteen tracks. Isn’t the average number of tracks around ten? I was just curious about your thoughts on that now.
Well when I was a baby, I couldn’t keep food in my mouth. You evolve, things change, perspectives change. That comment was made at a time when I was observing the dismantling of what had been traditional forms, and watching it be pirated, dismantled, prostituted, and devalued. The house was being pulled down and everybody was leaving with whatever they could get their hands on.
The sacredness of the album had been devalued by the various digital outlets. The digital outlet is where you can come in and take the tracks you want for 99 cents or free. Then you kind of get this perspective of what’s the point of going into a room, burying your soul for anywhere from three months to three years and only to come out and throw something in front of people that becomes butchered.
So, at that point I was cynical about it. Then we started making the capsules which I thought was a better way of controlling the material by bringing out two songs at a time where we could control the outlet in all different formats. It was more about a relationship with our intimate audience. We weren’t really concerned with pushing anything commercially; we weren’t trying to make any kind of commercial statement.
There was such a demand for the songs and our fans wanted more material like this. Then we had record labels banging on our door. One of the problems is that the capsules were taking as much effort as it was to produce an entire album in the sense of the marketing. We start becoming our own label. There was a lot of work that went into this, it was a very ambitious project.
And actually this album is not a fourteen track album, it’s two separate discs. One is the two capsules the rest of the record is Choice of Weapon which is ten tracks. What we’re selling in the definitive edition is two separate entities. I’m not a big fan of records which go past ten tracks. Most of my favorite records have less than ten songs on it.
Where does the title Choice of Weapon come from?
The phrase Weapon of Choice was floating around for a while and I knew there was a band called Weapon of Choice. By flipping it around to Choice of Weapon, actually Choice of Weapons initially, I was looking at that and thought I wanted to change the phrase around a little bit. By taking the ‘S’ away just making it singular instead of plural, it seemed very clear. It’s a metaphor for intention. You know what you’re going to choose or you’re going to select what your intention is.
A weapon doesn’t necessarily have to be an object and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a weapon of violence. When you think of weapon you just think of tool for violence. Budism refers to tantric weapons like the Dorje, for example, which is an object that symbolizes cutting through materialism.
A weapon can also be; a camera, a pen, a paint brush, or a language. I felt that our aim is true to what we were doing we were holding our ground. The statement that we’re making with this record is very clear for us, its not ambiguous, we’re not pussy footing around.
In the epic battle between the Clash and the Sex Pistols which one is your favorite and why?
Ahhhh, you kidding? First of all you have to be there to understand they were completely different food groups, completely different. To be honest with you I am a fan of both, as many people were.
On the Anarchy (in the UK) tour The Clash and the Pistols went out together. There’s a lot of solidarity between the two bands. Actually, I saw the Clash in 1979 but I never saw the Pistols, I was too young for Pistols. Billy saw the Pistols.
I worship both bands equally but I wish the Sex Pistols would have made another record.
The Cult’s brand new Choice of Weapon hit store shelves yesterday, 5/22 on Cooking Vinyl.