From the ashes of the Southern Death Cult, The Cult was born. In 1982, the Southern Death Cult generated a buzz in gothic-rock circles, with the iconic post-punk outfit Bauhaus taking them on tour as their support act. Shockingly, the group quickly disbanded, and singer Ian Astbury went on to form Death Cult, taking on guitarist Billy Duffy as his creative foil and eventually dropping the word “Death” from their name, signifying a shift to a heavier, Led Zeppelin-influenced brand of hard rock. Through personnel changes and stylistic transformations, their partnership survived, as they segued from the darkly psychedelic storm of their 1985 single “She Sells Sanctuary” and early albums Dreamtime and Love into the three-chord metallic crunch of 1987’s Electric, a Top 40 album in the U.S., and its strutting first single “Love Removal Machine.” The metamorphosis was complete when, with new drummer Matt Sorum onboard, The Cult released Sonic Temple, their most successful album. The single “Fire Woman” helped catapult Sonic Temple into the American Top Ten. Inner tensions would bubble over, and The Cult eventually lost its momentum, leading Astbury and Duffy to pursue other projects, including Astbury’s stint with the remaining members of The Doors. The pair has since reunited, releasing Born Into This in 2008 and Choice of Weapon in 2012. Early handbills advertising shows featuring The Cult can sometimes go for around $100, while others from the band’s commercial peak might bring in around $20 to $25 or more. Concert tickets and tour ephemera, such as vintage t-shirts, are prized by collectors, although stage-worn clothing and instruments used by the band have much greater value. Meanwhile, there are Cult posters that can fetch hundreds of dollars, including a Rick Griffin “Wildflower” poster from 1987.
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