Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 147
Mon. June 4, 2012
Don’t tell my wife, I’m scheduling a surprise trip to the beach for our anniversary—and I’m already planning the mix CD’s. This vintage rocker from The Cult will definitely be on our Getaway mix. My favorite part has to be the breakdown when Ian Astbury’s simultaneously channeling AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Jim Morrison – while doing his best barbaric yawp on the ultra riff-centric “Love Removal Machine;” Listen as he sings—
“♫ Baby, baby, baby,
baby, baby— I fell from
the sky/ yesterday, you
blew my mind, oh
yeah […] ♫”
Ever wondered how The Cult went from being a Southern Death Cult Goth band to a more riff infused rock sound of Electric? Guitarist Billy Duffy explained—“Electric was a complete exorcism from the “positive punk” movement. Electric left no doubt that [The Cult] were a rock band…We made an album that sounded like it was recorded in 1971. It was very abrasive and Spartan, which was what Rick Rubin was totally into.”
I remember when my older brother put his cassette copy of Electric in his car stereo as he cranked up the volume— that sound from The Cult was so dynamic— my ears and mind were both blown at once. Duffy was right The Cult sounded timeless, rockous and irresistible. It was all Duffy’s addictive riffs having that heavenly demonic sound that moves you to shake your ass with the rock and roll revelry of The Cult.
“Well he’s getting guitar sounds from Black in Black, the drum sound from Highway to Hell and the voice sound from Led Zeppelin.” That’s how an engineer described it to AC/DC record producer Tony Platt on how Electric producer Rick Rubin came up with that glorious rock sound that made The Cult household names in 1989.
You see, The Cult were recording in the same studio as AC/DC when Platt kept hearing Black in Black cranked up in the studio next to his, sent an engineer next door to find out who was making that familiar sound. Platt continued—“Literally, as Rick was mixing, he was getting a guitar sound on the Cult and then comparing it directly with the guitar sound he wanted to get from Back in Black.”
Rubin was genius by using AC/DC and Led Zep and templates—Rick realized that The Cult’s songs were so good that the band already had the foundation for success; Rubin just wanted to crank up their sound which he did perfectly on Electric’s “Love Removal Machine” as singer Ian Astbury described— “Well, that was done in the studio, Electric Ladyland, 1996—we had Back in Black playing in the studio, as Rick was listening to it every day. He was obsessed with it, no doubt. “Love Removal Machine” was that AC/DC influence where you’re getting down to things in their very elemental form, instead of waxing lyrical and getting prosaic.”
The Cult took their Ian Astbury led postmodern artistry and added some guitarist Billy Duffy’s legendary riffs that till this day will never be equaled, like that timeless sound of The Cult on Electric.
Get your air guitars geared up and get ready to unleash 1989 courtesy of The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine.” Just make sure you crank it up… past eleven – LOUD, in the car, with the windows rolled down, and Duffy’s guitar licks as the soundtrack to your getaway ride. Get your keys, grab your copy of The Cult’s Electric and let it all hang out.