Fire! Whoa!

After a seven-year absence, the Cult's Ian Astbury is back to show other would-be rock stars how it's done

Right now, however, Astbury is too concerned with matters at hand to evaluate his chances of immortality.

"To tell you the truth, I'm so wrapped up in the tour that I haven't had a chance to think about anything," he says. "I'm doing between four and eight interviews a day, and then by the time I'm getting ready to do a show, I'm pretty fried."

By the bored tone in his voice and the humdrum way in which he answers the obligatory questions (How's the tour going? What can we expect when the Cult descends on South Florida? How are you and Billy getting along?), one could assume that Astbury has finally had it with rock stardom. He still wears the famous frilly shirts and nut-hugging black leather pants, but he's shaved his jet-black mane. The skull and crossbones cowboy hat comes off the shelf from time to time, but the baby face is gone. The sole remaining constant in Astbury's stage presence is that piercing, cacophonous rattle that runs through his wails and moans.

Southern death: Sorum, Astbury, and Duffy -- sans the horse they rode in on
Southern death: Sorum, Astbury, and Duffy -- sans the horse they rode in on


7 p.m. Friday, July 20. Tickets cost $35; call 954-946-2402.
Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach

Astbury is the ever-searching journeyman, more consumed with the getting there than the being there. "I learn stuff every day," he says from a tour bus in "riveting" Kansas City. "I speak to people every day. The people who come along really forward my culture."

Still, some shows, Astbury says, are insane. A recent gig in Montreal comes to mind. Others, like the KROQ one, are a wash. He has some advice for South Florida concertgoers when the band plays Pompano Beach Friday:

"For God's sake, you paid the money," Astbury pleads. "A lot of our audiences stare at us like frightened animals. We never really had that problem in Florida. Florida's pretty cool. I mean, look: I ain't here to party. I'm serious about what I do. I don't dick around. When I get on-stage, I put my guts into it. We're not like kids trying to find their way around the bedroom. We know where everything's at, and that's the intensity of the band. I don't have time for hitting on girls or scoring drugs. That's for little boys who think they're badasses. I read books, I study, I do martial arts. I'm a serious motherfucker."

Yet Astbury condones moderate violence (as long as it's done tastefully) and examines the profundity of life's little mysteries. Remember to breathe, he advises.

"A venue that's run by people who love music, who understand it -- that's the ideal show," he says. "They understand that there's going to be a certain amount of behavior which might not fall in the parameters of lawfulness. People are going to get in activity that might not be legally correct. But it can be morally correct. People can get ripped up. That's fine. For me, as long as nobody's getting hurt and as long as people keep it to themselves, that's cool. I quite like a mosh pit. I like aggressive behavior."

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