The Cult’s Ian Astbury has never been a man overly-troubled by modesty.
“If you’re a fan of rock music, our new record’s essential,” the singer stated boldly in October. “I don’t think there’s any recent releases of rock music that comes close to Under The Midnight Sun.”
The man has previous form here. Back in 1985, Astbury declared that his band were “like Big Country and U2, only better!”
“I respect those people,” he assured The List, one after The Cult’s second album Love debuted at number 4 on the UK albums’ chart “but they’ve become rather conservative. People are coming round to our way of thinking and we’re at a stage where we can break into a world-wide audience.”
Twelve months earlier, however, The Cult’s prospects looked rather less certain. Though the group’s debut album, Dreamtime, reached a respectable number 21, its second single, Go West (Crazy Spinning Circle), peaked at number 90 in the UK, and record companies in Europe weren’t falling over themselves to court Astbury and Billy Duffy’s band.
An August 1984 booking on a popular West German TV show offered an opportunity for the Bradford band to put themselves in the shop window.
Traditionally, bands showcased on Music Convoy would perform on the back of a truck, or trailer, parked up in the centre of a German town. For reasons unknown, however, it was decided that The Cult’s August 27 performance of Go West would be filmed beside an outdoor swimming pool, complete with high board divers, and a cameraman in the pool.
Not having to worry about remembering lyrics, or indeed strum the guitar hanging around his neck, Astbury was free to issue a novel approach to European record labels to come and get his band, flipping his guitar over at one point to reveal the hand-written please ‘SIGN US NOW!’
The Cult wouldn’t break into the German Top 40 until 1989’s Sonic Temple album, but who’s to say this wasn’t where the seeds of their Teutonic triumphs were sewn.
Watch the clip below: