- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ian Astbury never had ambitions to be a rock god, saying that he intended to go to art school when he was asked to sing lead for The Cult, the hard-charging British rock group.

Thirty years on, Mr. Astbury still sounds amazingly philosophical of how successful he and his band have been.

“I was never a careerist. I never thought of this as something I wanted to do,” Mr. Astbury told The Washington Times. “I was asked to join a band and I never really looked back.”

Mr. Astbury and The Cult will descend upon The Fillmore Silver Spring in Silver Spring, Maryland, Sunday evening as part of their tour to promote their most recent album, “Hidden City,” which was produced by the legendary Bob Rock.

“Bob’s the patriarch. He’s of Icelandic descent, so he’s a bit of a viking,” Mr. Astbury said. “He’s a very strong personality in the room, so he’s very good at delegating and ultimately serving the song.”

In addition to his vocal duties with The Cult, Mr. Astbury made rock history when he joined up with surviving members of The Doors Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger for a project known as The Doors of the 21st Century.

Trying to describe the experience of stepping into Jim Morrison’s shoes, Mr. Astbury said, is “impossible to articulate.”

“I didn’t approach it as trying to mimic Morrison or trying to do my own spin on it,” Mr. Astbury explained of channeling the late baritone. “It wasn’t just as simple as learning lyrics or melody. Lots of times when you see people cover or perform someone else’s work, there’s no real understanding of what the song means. And I think to give these songs any weight, there has to be a connection to the intention of what the lyrics were about in the first place. That’s why they grabbed me.”

Mr. Astbury said playing the nation’s capital is always an invigorating experience given that the District audiences are particularly passionate about his band’s music.

“It’s just ultimately a sense of community and a sense of passion for music [that] is most attractive,” Mr. Astbury said of returning to Washington. “Plus the cultural diversity of the region is really important as well.”

The Cult will share the bill with Holy White Hounds at The Fillmore Silver Spring Sunday evening. Tickets are available at LiveNation.com.

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