Sonic Temple

ENGLAND – Leeds, Glasgow, Reading and Brixton.

To be honest, the first couple of days in the UK are a complete blur!! The jetlag involved in flying from LA to Tokyo, which is sixteen hours ahead, and then flying back to England, which is eight hours behind Tokyo, but eight hours in front of LA, is all a little too much for us. Although I know I went to see Stone Temple Pilots, and Matt and Billy went to the U2 show, I don’t think any of us remember much about it!! I wake up early on Thursday, feeling relatively human, and refreshed, ready for a days work. Today we are shooting the front cover of a big Tattoo magazine, ‘Skin Deep’, then checking out of the hotel, rehearsing tonight, and then driving up to the hotel in Leeds, ready for tomorrows show.

I go down for breakfast, and I find that yesterday, three hotel rooms were robbed, and Ian has lost his brand new G4 Titanium laptop, and Ricks laptop has gone as well. At first, I can’t believe it, but as the story of police turning up, a member of staff being questioned, and the faces of Rick and Ian dawn on me, I realise that we have, in fact, been done over. It’s absolutely incredible that in a hotel of this stature, we are still not immune to petty crime. A laptop theft is not about the machine, but about the data that is on the machine. Irreplaceable. Personal. A violation. Everyone is very upset, and the management start the lengthy process of dealing with the hotel and the lost machines.

Lunchtime comes and with it, the arrival of the Skin Deep magazine people. Billy D isn’t feeling too good, and Ian is doing other press, so Matt and I start the interview, and take a few photos before Billy arrives. Although he’s pretty blasted, he joins in the photosession, and does the rest of the interview, before we all have to check out and travel across London to our rehearsal. And it’s a good one. We run through every song from the American set, plus four or five possible additions to the set. I’m not going to name them, cos then everyone will be going mad for us to play them!! Suffice to say that we now have a few more tracks at our disposal – some old and some new. I’m sure they’ll all see the light of day at some point. By the end of the rehearsal, a few friends have dropped by to say hello. Ian’s brother is there, and so is Taryn, who does all our independent press in the UK and sorted out all the VH-1, MTV stuff for Ian and Billy. A long time friend of mine and Ian’s, Dave Carroll drops by with his son, Travis, and by the time we get onto our UK bus (a massive double decker affair!!) we are all tired, but feeling ready to play. Next stop, Leeds Festival.

At some point during the night, we must have stopped at the hotel in Leeds, got off the bus, checked in, and gone back to sleep. I only know this, because I wake up in a bed, as opposed to a bunk!! A slight exaggeration, but you get the point!! By the time I’ve checked my emails, showered, and got downstairs to the lobby, my friend from London, Tony, and his girlfriend Nicky have arrived at the hotel. It’s good to see them both, and I introduce them to the others as, one by one, they appear in the reception. Ian, Matt and Mike go off into town, to see what the Leeds branch of Vivianne Westwood has to offer, and I jump on the bus, with Tony and Nicky following in their car, and we go to the festival site.

Tents……nothing but tents…..thousands of ‘em!!! That’s the first thing we see as we arrive at the site. The festival is about fifty thousand people, and it seems like all of them are camping in the surrounding fields. It is literally a sea of canvas tents – multi-coloured fabric of differing sizes, all pegged out about two feet from each other and stretching as far as the eye can see. We pass through various security gates until we finally park up right behind the enormous main stage. The rest of the afternoon is spent hanging out and meeting up with friends – Coby from Papa Roach, Manson, the QOTSA guys…..everyone is here and it’s looking to be a good day. Its raining slightly, and the site starts to resemble a battlefield in Northern France, circa 1944, but spirits are high, and late in the afternoon, our intro tape rolls, and The Cult hit the stage for their first UK show in years. And we are greeted warmly. For an audience that primarily wants to see Eminem, Manson and Papa Roach, they are on their feet from the start, punching the air and singing the words and our fifty minute, nine song festival set goes down a treat. We leave the stage having had a lot of fun, and the kids wanting autographs are a sign that we did well. The bus leaves for Glasgow shortly after we come off stage as the drive is a long one, so we don’t get to see all the other bands. But tomorrow, in Scotland, we won’t be leaving until midnight, so I will be watching the rest of the show, side of stage, and seeing just what the Glasgow audience have to offer.

Its basically the same set up in Scotland, as it was at Leeds – Portacabins for dressing rooms, set up in a backstage area that’s kinda like a mini village. Manson is next to us, Papa Roach are next to them, and the QOTSA cabin completes our area. Most of the day is very social, and we hang out with everyone and watch each other play. There’s a good vibe here in Glasgow, and The Cult go down well again. Lots of jumping around and hands in the air from the audience, and another fifty minute set from us. I enjoy the set (my onstage sound has got ten times better than it was, and I can actually hear everything…….now there’s a novelty!!!!) and when we finish playing and get back to the cabins, everyone seems pleased. Another successful UK show done, and a chance to relax, eat a meal in catering, and watch my personal favourites, Papa Roach, tear it up on the main stage. Those boys amaze me everytime I see them play. And we all end up on the side of the stage for Manson. There’s a lot of mutual respect, and Matt and Billy and I stand stage left for the whole of his show – and what a show!!! Pure rock and roll theatre, and some great songs as well. If you get a  chance, boys and girls, go and see them play………and tell Manson that The Cult sent ya!!

The drive to Reading is overnight – about eight hours – so we all decide to leave as Eminem goes onstage, and we crash out early, ready for tomorrow, the big one, The Cult at Reading Festival.

BANG! CRASH!………bump,bump,bump,BANG!………thump,thump – it’s six oclock in the morning and our bus is making it’s way onto the festival site at Reading in a very noisy, bumpy fashion and I’m woken by the consistent banging around, as our driver trys to negotiate the huge craters, holes, trees and god knows what else that’s in our way. You’d think that with the huge amount of money generated by these events, someone would think to lay a bit of tarmac down for the busses to park on. As it is, the area around our bus turns into a swamp as the day progresses. But at six in the morning, I’m only concerned with going back to sleep. But it’s not happening. Billy D is up, and so is Matt, and I decide to go for a walk around the empty festival site. I have a friend working at the site called Terry, and once we’ve met up (I haven’t seen him in months ) we go wandering. Jesus, this place is big!!! Without any audience, it looks vast, and I imagine what it’s going to look like from the stage, later in the day.

Reading is a big shmooze day – everyone who’s anyone is there, and Taryn and Kaz work the band, getting interviews and photo’s done and generally building the anticipation of our appearance at this years festival. A lot of friends are at the show, and it’s nice to see everyone. I retire to the bus with Billy to start warming up about an hour before we play, and sense that it’s going to be a good one. Ian is psyched and we walk onstage to a really cool reception, and blast straight into L’il Devil. The crowd love it, and we respond. Ian is up and down the stage, in the audience, on the drum riser…..everywhere!!! He gives it everything, and I’ve gotta say that this show feels very special. The Reading festival is an institution in the UK, and every year, all the British music business, all the bands and all the fans show up in one place to rock out. I’ve seen bands fail miserably at Reading, and it can be a very formidable gig. But The Cult are greeted like returning heros. We play a really good set, and leave the stage very happy. And the audience love it. Thank you to everyone who came to Reading and made it such a great day. The rest of the band leave for London halfway through Mansons set but I stay behind with a bunch of friends that I haven’t seen since I moved to the States, and just hang out, watching Eminem, and eventually catch a ride back to the hotel in London with Tony. All in all, a very cool day.

Its Monday morning, and today is our own Brixton Academy show. We’ve sold the show out, all the bands from the festivals are on the guest list, and we have our own production. It should be a great end of tour gig. Most of the afternoon is spent in the venue ( a great old theatre in South London ) soundchecking and getting everything just right. The show is in Brixton, an area known mainly for being the scene of two major riots in the eighties. Now both Billy D, and myself used to live in Brixton, back in the day, and we were both there when the riots happened. It’s a bizarre thing to walk outside the venue, see ‘THE CULT’ in massive letters outside the building, and then to remember ten years ago, standing in the same spot, dodging bricks, bottles and petrol bombs, while watching the police station opposite the venue burn!! Today, the people of Brixton are a little more settled, and there are no bottles being thrown as I take a walk around the shopping centre. Lets hope they don’t decide that tonight would be a very good time to re-live 1989!!

Back in the Academy, the doors are open, and the gig is filling up. The dressing room is not a place for calm tonight, and as I sit there, trying to warm up, a constant stream of people that I’ve never seen before stick their heads around the door and say hi, and ask inane questions like…”so are you looking forward to tonight?” Well I would be if you would just all FUCK OFF and let me warm up in peace!!! Finally, it’s time to do the show. We have the Kabuki tonight, and as we all stand behind it, waiting for the intro tape to finish, I can hear the cheers from the sold out crowd, and I feel amazing. The tape finishes, the intro to Rise starts, the Kabuki drops and we are off and running. The Academy looks stunning, with people wall to wall, jumping around and singing along. We play for just under two hours, throwing in Spiritwalker as an extra song. At one point, I look over into the wings, and there are rows of chairs that have been set up for guests to watch the show from the side of the stage. Manson is in the front row of seats, with most of Green Day in the next row and various other celebrities behind them. ‘Oh shit!!’ No pressure, then!! I jump around a bit more, and hope that I look cool!!

It’s over before I know it, and we leave the stage sweaty, tired and very very happy. The aftershow party is full of people and we all shake lots of hands, get our pictures taken with lots of people, and say ‘thanks a lot’, a lot of times!! And that’s it. End of show, end of tour and end of days!….until October, when we do it all over again, with Aerosmith. I could tell you about the ‘Kerrang Awards’ that we attended in London the day after our Brixton show. I could tell you about my holiday in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. I could tell you about a lot of things……….but I’m not going to. Why? ‘Cos I need to get off this fucking computer for a couple of weeks, write some tunes, sit in the sun, relax, and re-build myself in readiness for the three month Aerosmith tour that will take us up to Xmas, and the end of 2001. As you will know by now (if you read some of the absolute drama that gets written in our message board!) we are not touring Europe this year. That DOESN’T mean we won’t ever tour Europe!! It just means that the band left home at the end of April, got back home in September, and need a few weeks rest before doing it all again. If we had gone around Europe, there would have been about three days rest before the Aerosmith tour…….Sorry, not possible folks!! And as The Cult are a hell of a lot bigger in the States than they are in, say Portugal (no offence to all you Portugese Cult fans out there) ………well, work it out. We all want to go over to Europe and I’m sure the powers that be, will arrange it.

For now, it’s the Aerosmith tour of the United States and Canada, preceded by some well earned R+R. Thank you to every single one of you who came to a show, said hello, hung out, bought the new album (and bought all the old ones, too!) and made us feel welcome. A special thanks to you guys who made me feel a part of The Cult, read the diaries, and spoke to me at the shows. We’ll be back in October – get ready to ROCK!!!


Billy Morrison