RECORD STORE TALES
Music, Movies, and more
First of a CULT double shot! Come back tomorrow for another!
This is an ugly album. Even though a 1989 MuchMusic interview with Billy Duffy revealed The Cult would most likely not work with Bob Rock again, they did indeed re-team with the Canadian producer on 1994’s The Cult. Duffy didn’t think the magic of Sonic Temple was something that could be repeated, based on the less than satisfactory (to him) results of working with producer Steve Brown twice. On The Cult, however, no attempt was made in any way to recapture any sound or era. This was brand new from the womb of 1994, and sounds very dated to that dark time.
The twisted “Gone”, unorthodox and sparse, was a shock to the system. Once the listener gets his or her bearings, it’s actually a great fucking song. Just a little off-kilter; enough to sound as if it’s not being played right. It’s a whole new side to The Cult. I wonder how much of this has to do with the new lineup, including bassist Craig Adams (The Sisters of Mercy/The Mission) and drummer Scott Garrett (Dag Nasty). Ian Astbury’s delivery was also quite different. Rather than simply howling those patented Astbury melodies, Ian barks, whispers and bellows.
“Coming Down (Drug Tongue)” was the first single, very different from the hits from the past two or three albums. It had a droning, U2-ish vibe. It’s quite a good song, but it wasn’t love at first listen. “Real Grrrl” has a slower sway to it, and there is a lot to like about the song. It’s interesting to hear Bob Rock using open space a lot more in his production; this is right after the supersaturated Motley Crue album. Much of the instrumentation is very dry, but then there are Bob Rock trademarks, such as the Scott Humphrey synth on “Real Grrrl.”
Sounding much like a Superunknown (the softer side thereof) outtake, “Black Sun” is dark and quiet. Ian sings of abuse. The band back him with the barest of instrumentation, before the Billy Duffy solo around 3:20. It is impossible to ignore the similarities to all the grunge bands of the time. The basic, stripped down guitar parts and rhythm-driven arrangements speak of the time.
There are few standouts on The Cult. The album is more cerebral than past Cult albums, and is more about its overall direction than individual songs. The aforementioned tracks are all great, as are a few others. They include “Star” (also a single) which is a song that was re-worked many times going back to Sonic Temple. Previously, it had been known as “Tom Petty” and “Star Child”, and can be found in both forms on the expansive Rare Cult box set. It is one of the few songs that slightly resemble “old Cult”. “Be Free” was a single (in Canada at least) given away with a case of beer. How Canadian, eh? (I sold mine on eBay for $10). It too is a pretty good song. Then there’s “Sacred Life”, a somber ballad naming Abbie Hoffman, River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain as painful losses to the world. Album closer “Saints Are Down” is a powerful epic, and also a standout.
The Cult broke up/went on hiatus after this album. They reunited in 1999 (with Matt Sorum on drums) and released a new song called “Painted on the Sun” written by Diane Warren (!!) from the Gone in 60 Seconds soundtrack. This was followed by the excellent Beyond Good and Evil CD, also produced by Bob Rock. This self-titled departure remained just that, as The Cult went full-bore metal on Beyond Good and Evil. This album is an experiment that went unrepeated, and that is fine. I like it for what it is, but I don’t need another.
RECORD STORE TALES Part 315: Character Studies
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m getting closer to the end of the line with the Record Store Tales. These are some bits and pieces I had lying around that I never managed to make full stories out of. Below are four memorable characters from the Record Store days. It’s funny how even 20 years have gone by in some cases and I still remember these customers.
1. Richard the Indian. I don’t like making racial jokes, but Richard the Indian (nickname applied by himself) liked to make them, and always about himself! Richard had a First Nations Status card, which he had to present to us to be exempt from the Provincial Sales Tax. He used to joke at the front counter about his barely-working Discman: “This Discman must have been made by Indians, it already broke!” He was a nice guy, but I always felt like I couldn’t laugh at that joke! You know what I mean?
2. “Oops There It Is” Kid. This kid came in every week for a year, looking for the song “Whoomp! (There It Is)” by Tag Team (except he couldn’t say the name right). Being a kid, he wasn’t allowed to spend money, so he could never buy one of the albums we had. Then one day, we got in a whole bunch of cassette singles on clearance, including “Whoomp! (There It Is)”. It was a buck or two. You should have seen his eyes when we finally got a copy in that his mom would let him buy! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a happier kid.
3. Hammond Organ Man. I think this may be the same customer that I referred to as Jaded Rock Guy. The reason he was also known as Hammond Organ Man was that he refused to believe that one of our store managers even knew what a Hammond organ was (even though she did). I don’t know why that’s so hard to believe.
4. Johnny. This guy was a burn-out from my old highschool. He was in the same class as the store owner. In mid ’94 he was always coming in asking, “When is the new Cult out?” We hadn’t seen any release dates at all, but every week he asked the same question. “When will the new Cult be out?” Finally my boss answered him, “Next week,” just to see what Johnny would say. His eyes went wide. “Really? Can you hold one for me?” My boss told him he was just kidding, but he stopped asking about the new Cult album. Then when it finally came out in October ‘94, he hated it! He bought it from me new and sold it to me used.
I have been challenged for the #ALS #IceBucketCompetition. SARCA from Caught Me Gaming has passed the baton to me and 3 members of the “Cupface Crew”. Rock fans know that ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) afflicts the genius musician Jason Becker. The above isn’t my attempt, just a simulation on what my attempt may look like!
The idea isn’t to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. The idea is you donate $10 to an ALS fund (I chose ALS Society of Canada), dump a bucket of ice on your head, and challenge three more to do the same. (I have already selected my victims.) I don’t personally know someone affected by ALS, but I do so hate the neurological diseases with a passion. Like many others, for my video I will also add my own LeBrain twist. Stay tuned!
Hundreds of celebrities have already done the challenge, so here’s a video of Kiss’ and Def Leppard’s attempt! They were challenged by Motley Crue.