The Cult frontman Ian Astbury gets primal

credit: Michael Lavine

From The Toronto Sun:

he Cult’s frontman Ian Astbury cuts an imposing — some might say menacing — figure on the cover of the veteran British rock band’s just-released first album in five years, Choice of Weapon.

The 50-year-old singer is dressed in a Native medicine hat with buffalo horns, bead work, ermine tails, and wolf pelts, with a veiled face, and a Tibetan beaded necklace made out of yak horns and skulls, around his neck, with only his piercing dark eyes visible.

“We’ve been at war for 28 years,” says Astbury, looking rock star-cool in rose-tinted Ray-Ban sunglasses and tigerstripe camouflage pants from his own label (LAMF).

“And I had the idea that that energy had a personification, this shaman. Something more primal, animalistic, anthropomorphic, that kind of energy and that’s what I came up with. So many people are going, ‘I can’t even look at the cover.’ I had one guy at a radio station say, ‘It’s creepy.’ I said, ‘I’m kind of reflecting what I’m feeling.’ For me, it’s powerful.”

Astbury, whose British family came to Hamilton, Ont., in 1978, before heading back across the pond five years later when his mother (and later his father) developed cancer, says the aboriginal headdress was modelled after one he bought in the ’80s at nearby Six Nations Reserve in Brantford, Ont., and wore in the video for the 1987 Cult classic Wild Flower.

“Growing up in Canada for those five years was incredibly informative for me,” says the L.A.-based musician, whose “formidable” fiance is singer Aimee Nash of Australia alt-rock band The Black Ryder. (He has two teenage sons from a previous marriage.)

“I came here and I was an immigrant kid. I arrived in Hamilton and I was off the boat — literally. Baptism by fire. The environment — perfect storm for a lead singer in a band. All those dystopian elements that come together. It’s like something I’ve had to work through, something at one point I had a lot of pain and anger and resentment about. My father’s buried there. But then when I meet people from Hamilton, usually when I come through on a tour, they’re incredible. They’re just like salt of the earth, blue collar people and I completely identify with them.”

In some ways it’s a miracle there even is Choice of Weapon.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Toronto Sun