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Monday, May 8, 2017

Painted On My Heart

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The Cult to perform at The Strand on May 25

One of my favorite songs is The Cult’s “Painted on My Heart” – a remember-where-you-werewhen-you-heard-it type – in the car and had to know more about it immediately, so called the radio station.

Ironically, it is not a song written by the band, which is performing part of its Cult Live 17 tour spanning from May 3 to May 27 with a stop at the Strand Theatre on May 25. Billy Duffy said it was a song that they liked or they wouldn’t have done it. On the soundtrack of “Gone in 60 Seconds,” it was a hit because of the “muscle of the film studio,” Duffy said in a phone interview. I got the movie to hear the song.

Duffy writes the music for The Cult and Ian Astbury the lyrics, so he could not speak to lyric questions, but did say Astbury is drawn to injustice in the world and that they like to “trod that ground.”

The band has released its tenth album, “Hidden City,” which Astbury realized was the final chapter of a trilogy – one that would complete a circle that had been forming a long time before. One that, when complete, would encompass their acknowledgment of the global community within a metaphor for our spiritual lives, our intimate interior lives ... one that spoke for those with voices who are not heard … those who live outside of the public eye, within the “Hidden City.”

“Hidden City” isn’t an album as much as it’s an environment, a world of layers that, when peeled away, you begin to discover the wild spaces that The Cult inhabits, said a news release. It is an intense internalization of concepts and invented realms that build “Hidden City,” its framework built on tightly woven stories of experience and visions with underlying themes of redemption and rebirth, and its facade – The Cult’s visceral and textured music.

More specifically, the name “Hidden City” stems from the Spanish phrase “La Ciudad Oculta,” which is essentially a ghetto in Buenos Aires, Argentina, also the birthplace of Pope Francis.

There is unfathomable poverty in the hidden city, a town the Argentine government turns a blind eye toward while highlighting the cosmopolitan and European flair of the more proper sections of the city. They “hide” the evidence of the deep social inequalities present in Argentine society, the news release said. “Hidden City” became the perfect metaphor for a revolt of the self and soul, and the framework for The Cult’s third record of three in nine years.

Duffy said the band had one of its biggest shows in Buenos Aires in 1991 that can be found on Youtube. He said Argentina is a “hotbed of Cult fandom and rock ‘n’ roll.” He said it is a passionate place, and they don’t have many inhibitions. An Argentinian designed the sleeve for “Hidden City.”

The Cult has also played the Superdome but will play in a more intimate setting in Shreveport at The Strand. Duffy said there are places he does not enjoy going, but the South isn’t one of them.

Duffy said a fun Cult fact is that the name is derived from an anthropological term. Astbury originally formed a band called Southern Death Cult, derived from the 14th-century Native American religion, the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex or Southern Death Cult, as it is sometimes known, from the Biloxi, Miss., area.

Duffy is one of the original members of the British band – since 1983. There have been split-ups and reunions. He said there is no “slugging it out” after all the years in the band. “It isn’t a struggle. I choose to do it. I love it. And that’s the best reason of all.

“When it stops feeling right, I’ll put my feet up in Key West,” he said.

He said they have been in “heavier scenes,” but try to be lighthearted as people.

The closing chapter of the album trilogy the band had built with 2007’s “Born Into This” (“The Fall”) and 2012’s “Choice of Weapon” (“Dark Night of the Soul”) preceding it, 2016’s “Hidden City” (“Rebirth”) features Astbury’s signature baritone and blood-soaked lyrics paired with Duffy’s smoldering, textured guitar tones, creating a musical environment that is fearless and peerless.

The Cult asks but one thing: Defend the beauty of “Hidden City.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Visit www.billyduffy.com. The part I like best is “Memora-Billy-A.”

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