Sonic Temple

Week Five USA June/July 2001

June/July With Monster Magnet

New York, Jersey Shoreline, Washington DC, Norfolk and Myrtle Beach.

A normal Cult touring day consists of a lot of different elements.  Ian and Billy D nearly always have two hours of phone interviews a day, Matt as well on a lot of occasions. I join in on the meet and greets which have become almost a daily thing as well. We all frequently have local TV or video stuff to fit in the day, as well as the bigger stuff like MTV and VH-1.  So now that you get the picture, multiply all that by ten and you have NEW YORK CITY!!

We wake up to the sound of car horns, pnuematic drills, shouting and general mayhem. Welcome to the Big Apple!! The car comes and whisks us all the way from Roseland on 52nd, downtown and to our hotel, The Tribeca Grand (very nice, by the way!!) We get told we have an hour and a half to unpack, work out, have a shower and meet back in the lobby……..”er….ok Boss!!”

Then its back in the cars and over to KROQ, which is back up past the venue on 57th. Now Im sure a lot of you know about New York traffic, but for those who don’t, let me just say that you don’t drive ANYWHERE in a hurry in New York!! Gridlock and traffic jams everywhere. Tempers get frayed, and the only way to get through is to stay calm. And there we were, 20 minutes late for our live on air acoustic performance on KROQ!!! STAY CALM!! Our driver was very cool and got us there with minutes to spare, and we ran through RISE and SANCTUARY together in the studio a couple of times and then did the show. And by all accounts it sounded great.

Back in the car, and back to Roseland for soundcheck and a VH-1 taping for Billy – a look around his guitars, amps etc. Lots of Spinal Tap references and technical questions! We soundcheck, and it sounds really good, so we get ready for the show. By the time we go onstage, Roseland is psyched for The Cult and we don’t let anyone down. The whole place is jumping by the time Sanctuary rolls around and the encore tops the whole night off nicely. Love Removal explodes and Ian is stagediving, not once but three times, and being carried aloft by the fans, and then we’re done. Anthrax, Gene Simmons from Kiss, Vinnie Jones (Lock Stock, and Snatch) all come by to congratulate us on a good show, and then its all over and we get changed and jump into the limo to go down to our party that’s being held by the label, in a posh club somewhere. Its all shaking hands and hanging out with the guests, and about three oclock in the morning, everyone calls it a night and the cars take us back to the hotel. Job done.

The next day is a press day and most of the afternoon is spent at VH-1, doing various interviews for TV. The main one is a VH-1 Rock Show, with Scott Ian from Anthrax asking the questions. He’s a very cool guy and we have a laugh with him as we tape the show. Eventually, after many questions, soundbites, quotes, etc, they have what they want and we get the evening off in New York. I spend most of it hanging out in my room, playing my new Fender guitars which arrived today. Billy and Matt are out on the town somewhere, so I go down to the bar with Tony for a couple of drinks and then I’m done. Bedtime.

Remember the song by Barry Manilow, called “Copacabana”…??? Well, we’re playing there today!! We pull up at the venue and none of us can believe it – the show today has been changed at the last minute, and the venue has been switched to a holiday type club, complete with two bars in the middle of the club covered in fake palm trees and coconuts!! Outside, in the waterfall, jacuzzi, swimmimg pool area, Pepsi are having a private party, and after a few failed attempts to get past the security (who are ridiculously dressed like some paramilitary organisation, complete with pants tucked into boots, and army caps!!!) I call them all Nazi’s, tell the organisers what I think of their corporate whoring, and go back on the bus. The club is just like a beachfront holiday bar, and when we go on, we are expecting the worst……but it is absolutely heaving with hardcore cult fans that proceed to go ballistic at every opportunity!! FIREWOMAN has the security completely outmanuvered as kids are coming over the top of the pit in hoards. It looks great from the stage, as the moshpit gets bigger and more hectic by the second. THIS is what we like to see!!! Tonights show was killer and the audience knew how to rock. Hopefully we will see more shows like this.

Washington DC and the 9.30 club. Overnight from the Jersey gig and we check into the Ritz-Carlton for a couple of days. Nice hotel, and I take the opportunity to chill out, do the Starbucks hunt (successfully!!) and buy a new game for the P2. That machine is saving my sanity, I swear!!  Billy D, Tony and myself take a cool walk in the evening around The White House, Lincon Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial – very poigniant, seeing all those names engraved onto the wall. The actual show is a sold out affair – the venue is probably a bit small for The Cult but the only suitable one available at the time, so the show is VERY hot and sweaty and the crowd are VERY noisy. I don’t play particularly well tonight, but Ian and Billy both have great shows. Billy D is throwing all the shapes and sounding amazing recently. It’s a pleasure to be onstage with these guys. But I’m a bit down on myself after the show, and go to bed with my head full of how to make it better up there for me. I decide to focus more and make a commitment to warm up for longer.

We check out of the hotel in the morning, and drive to Norfolk, VA and our date with Buck Cherry. They are out doing their own shows, but have a day off today and are going to support us. Should be a big rock show tonight!! Most of the day is spent hanging out on the busses, and doing the meet and greet thing. Buck Cherry play and Matt, Billy and myself go and watch the guys. They play a lot of new material (my fave is the title track of the new album, Timebomb) and throw in the best of the first album. I enjoy their set, and they warm the crowd up nicely. We hit the stage at 10.30pm and Matt is playing his ass off, as is Mr Duffy. I look over at them and both are doing the whole Arena Rock thing and look amazing. Its hard to follow Ian, as he is running all over the place, singing great and throwing himself about. The show is a good one for everyone except me again. Im suffering from a head thing – cant get my head focused – and I get really down on myself after the show. Cant hang with anyone, and just want the day to end so that I can go to sleep.

The next day is The House Of Blues in Myrtle Beach, and immediately I wake up I’m feeling a bit more positive. Billy D goes off to the beach, and Matt’s still asleep, so once Ive got my emails taken care of, Tony and I go and visit the alligator farm which is right next door to the venue. Im blown away!! 25ft Alligators, 35ft Anaconda’s, five “baby” siberian tigers, who look like they must be 400lbs each and are only cubs!! They will grow to be twice that size, we are told. That’s why both pics this week are from there – it was my highlight of the week. Not many 30ft snakes where I come from!! It’s a great break from the everyday grind of the tourbus, and the day gets better when we jump in a car and go down to the sandy beach, to go swimming in the ocean. The water is nice and warm and the surf is getting up, so we spend an hour swimming, catching some sun, and relaxing PROPERLY!! Apart from a meet and greet, the whole day is very chilled and gets me in a much better headspace for the show. The actual venue is the biggest H.O.B. and looks great, and tonight is a much better show for me. I’m more focused, and spent a lot of time warming up before the show and that has a positive effect on my performance. After the show, we hang around signing stuff – there seems to be a lot of people tonight – and we all make an effort to sign everything that’s asked of us. Ian hangs out and signs stuff and we then start to light fireworks that he’s bought, and keep trying to blow shit up with the bangers, until the venue security come and put a stop to our terrorism!!!

That’s it for this week, but I just want to leave you with a thought. Music is a spiritual thing, that comes from the heart, gets communicated by passion, and gets experienced by the soul. How, then, does it get mutated today, into the huge corporate entity that is the music business? How does an artist continue to create the works that mean so much to them, and avoid being turned into a lfeless, soulless machine? This is one of the reasons that I enjoy being in The Cult so much. Because although the band are signed to a major label, and experience the trappings that brings along, when it comes to standing on a stage and playing the songs that have meant so much to us all, this band somehow manage to do that every night from the heart. Sanctuary is sixteen years old this year, and every night when we play it, right next to brand new songs like Rise and War, it gets played with the same amount of heart, and sounds just as current. This, I believe, is why The Cult are still here. What do you guys think?? Till next week….


Billy Morrison