Legendary rock band The Cult will play the Fillmore in Detroit on Friday, November 19th. They are also preparing to release new music entitledCapsule 2: New Blood Deep Cuts on November 16th via their innovative capsule concept. Frontman Ian Astbury explains, “We are stepping away from the conventional system. By including new music, live music and film, we are giving our fans the opportunity to own other creative visions. The Capsule is a way of delivering music in bites, quicker and fresher than in the context of an album format.”
I got the chance to speak with Astbury and learn a bit about him and the new musical concept.
When you were growing up did you always want to be a musician?
No, actually when I was growing up I was more interested in film and clothes. I loved David Bowie, but my interest when I was a kid was film. I loved going to the movies, it was kind of a huge departure from what I grew up in, which was in a post war environment. In the early 70s there were still bombed out buildings from World War II. When you’d go to the movies you would be transported into another world and I used to love the opportunity to go and experience that.
What inspired you to become a musician?
I think punk rock was really a vehicle for that. I loved punk rock, it was pretty much; get a guitar, learn three chords, start a band and make a record. The fact that the audience could do it themselves and DIY was really being pushed at this time. It wasn’t about having some trained musical ear, it was about if you could get noise out of the guitar and screech into the microphone and then you were in business. That is what it was kind of like for me when we started. We really didn't have a clue of what we were doing, couldn’t even plug in a PA, nothing. At first we were mimicking other artists and then eventually I found my own style. We were in the basement of an old house in Bradford, England and I was rocking out smoking cigarettes and drinking tea and occasionally if we could afford a can of beer we’d have that and we’d have at it.
What do you think is the most difficult part of a career as a musician?
I think the hardest part is dealing with when you’re not out and playing. Coming off the road is difficult, re-entering into a normal circle. You know, normal life, paying the bills, washing the dog. When you’ve been on the road there’s a very intense period when you come back to a normal domestic environment, it can be crippling. Hmm… they say idle hands makes the devils work. You sit around on tour buses and backstage environments for a long period of time you tend to get into trouble sometimes. Make bad lifestyle choices, let your imagination run with that. Sometimes you just sit and read a book. (laughs) You can get fed up with it, one of the hardest things is touring.
You'll be releasing a musical capsule soon entitled Capsule 2: New Blood Deep Cuts. What exactly is the concept of a capsule?
Well, first of all the tag album has kind of become a little bit worn out. It’s a very ambiguous term for what once was a vinyl format. It’s no longer a vinyl format, I mean obviously there still are albums that come out in vinyl for the connoisseur. But for the most part a body of work comes out cannibalized as soon as it’s put up on the internet. We’re kind of in this strange situation right now where we haven’t settled into the new format. It seems we’re going the way of applications or musical apps. You’ll be able to buy a CD as long as they keep making them, vinyl possibly for the afficianados but you’re very limited. You’re dealing with an industry that’s more interested in collecting your email address than really engaging you with what the intention of the artist was. For us it’s like a quick strike, write music, release music. The capsule comes in lieu of the fashion industry, where you see designers do a small collection or another outlet provides the main line and they call it a capsule collection. A capsule is like a small taste, you know we usually associate it with pharmaceuticals, like a pill and that’s what it is I guess, a musical pill. With the entire format it gives us the opportunity to be more flexible, release as we go and give the audience something that’s more exciting, you can actually listen to a couple songs without distraction.
Zane Lamprey has been making his living in what some may consider the ultimate dream job. He travels the world and drinks; he's been the host of the cult sensation "Three Sheets," recently seen on the Travel Channel and his current show he's working on is called "Drinking Made Easy"featured on HDNet. His job includes experiencing different cultures and places and soaking up the local drinks of choice. He will be coming to theRoyal Oak Music Theatre on November 9th to "Sing The Booze." Lamprey will be serenading the crowd with his comedic songs about drinking and in between he'll be telling tales of his adventures and experiences. I got the chance to chat with him a bit and learn about his boozy career.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
That’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. A veterinarian.
What has led you to the pathway of this most boozy career?
The funny answer would be, my first beer. But the truth is at an early age I got bit by the acting bug. In the middle of college I changed my major from art to pre-med and then finally to acting which is where I ended up in the end. Then I moved out to LA back in the late 90s and pursued my acting career. Then at one point I was approached after doing a bunch of projects. I was approached to do a travel show where I would travel around the world and drink. It seemed too good to be true, like a lot of conversations in Los Angeles often are. But we went out and shot the pilot for "Three Sheets" and ended up shooting 52 episodes of that and who knows if that’s even over. Now we’re shooting a show on HDNet called “Drinking Made Easy,” and traveling across the country doing the same thing.
What do you think is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is... It’s tough to say. The travel, you get to hang out with people doing things that most people consider a leisure time activity. I don’t know, it’s kind of like of like asking me what my favorite drink is. I don’t really have an answer for it. I’ve been asked that a bunch of times, I think the very best part of my job is my job.
What do you think has been one of the most strange or unique beverages that you’ve had?
Probably the most unique one was called the Scorpion Shot. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin it was a shot of overproof rum that had a scorpion sitting in it. You drank the shot of rum and the dead scorpion. Then I asked the guy what the most anyone has ever done in an evening and he said nine. I said well… I’m here to beat that record. I had twenty-three dead scorpions, that was definitely the weirdest that we’ve had.
(I commented on being afraid of eating a scorpion)
I was afraid, but you have to accept the fact that you’re on television and you’re representing the rest of the country. You need to sometimes eat the scorpion.
What do you think has been one of coolest cities you’ve been to?
Again, it’s like asking what my favorite drink is, I mean every city is unique. Obviously New Orleans was New Orleans and Vegas was Vegas. I hadn’t been to Detroit and I had seen the movie 8 Mileand I was pleased to realize that there was very nice places in Detroit. We went to Royal Oak which is where we’re doing our music show in a couple of weeks. It was nice, it was beautiful there.
I’m personally a big fan of vodka, has there been any stand out brands or types of vodka that you’ve come across in your travels?
Yes, we tried a bunch. I’ve been around the world trying a bunch, but there’s one that I didn’t even mention in the show called 44 North. It was Huckleberry flavored vodka that is only available above the 44th parallel which runs through the Northern United States. It was unique and you couldn’t get it below that, so that makes me think that it’s awful close to that parallel. That was the one that someone got a hold of and we went and bought a case of it for the rest of our journey.
What is the "Sing The Booze" Tour all about?
We have the music show that’s coming through there on the 9th and we had a great time there the last time. This is a completely different show from last time. It’s ten original drinking songs which people can get off of my website. They're fun and funny drinking songs and between that we have stories. It’s been going great and the crowds really like it. Even the people that were at the last show on the last tour which was more of a stand up thing like it, which is great! Comedy music is more my thing, I’m having fun and the audience is having a good time and it’s really been a great time!