5 Minutes with Ian Astbury

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The Cult's frontman Ian Astbury speaks about the group's enduring appeal and his first taste of the Middle East.

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On coming to the Middle East for the first time

This part of the world has been so romancticised. Growing up in Britain in the late 1960s and 1970s, the region held a lot of mysticism, especially for people like me who have seen movies such as

Lawrence of Arabia

. You are introduced to the Bedouin and you think whoa, what is that? So when I came here I got into the car and the driver put on some music and it was something western and I said 'no, no, no! That's not the first experience I want to have'. I told him to immediately put on something more indigenous.

On the much-anticipated new album

We are working on everything, the overdubs, some musical parts and some vocals to finish off. We are in the last five days of recording so it's kind of crucial right now....it will come out in spring next year.

On the group's four-year hiatus from 1991 - 1995

If you have nothing to say then you shouldn't say anything, and there was time when I felt we had to record something purely because we were in an industry and it's a career. For example, the album


, which I think is partially a construct of what was happening arounds us in. Then we kind of walked away from it, and I think I drove that because I felt that I couldn't commit myself to something if there was no energy there. So I went away and for four years I did different projects, I worked with The Doors, made two solo records and came back. But now I am very committed to The Cult. For the past six years we have been working almost non stop, we have been touring and this new album will be our second album in this six year cycle.

On the success of their last 2009-2010 world tour where they played their influential 1985 album Love in its entirety

I am a big fan of David Bowie because he is always 15 to 20 years away from everybody else. In the 1990s he performed the whole album


live. I remember chatting to Billy ( Cult guitarist, Billy Duffy) about performing one of our seminal albums


. He always wanted to play the Royal Albert Hall in London, so we booked that and it was successful and then we decided to take it around the world. For devotees of The Cult it was a beautiful event.

On The Cult's enduring success

As you evolve through the years the audiences changes. It is just endearing to walk into a room and the crowd is full and engaged and they are there for you. That still strikes me. It has a very profound effect on me. It makes me want to do my best when performing.