Sacred News Bites

Ian Astbury | Interview -



Sometimes a book doesn’t just affect a musician’s art; it transforms their life. Ian Astbury, the frontman of influential British band The Cult, has a strong connection to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s spiritual text Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, a contemporary Buddhist work that reflects on one’s spiritual journey. Here Astbury discusses the book, how it’s impacted him and how literary works generally inspire music.


Describe this book in one sentence.

The dissolution of ego's attachment and perceived control.

How did you first come across this book?

It was introduced to me by an enlightened elder over 20 years ago.

How many times have you read it?
Countless times. It's a well I return to again and again.

Have you passed it on to anyone else?

Can you accurately judge this book by its cover?
No, it has to be experienced.

What emotion do you associate with this book?
Serenity, strength, courage.

Why should this book become required reading in high school English classes?
I believe this would be a perfect introduction that the true nature of life is about the acquisition of experience and spiritual knowledge over materialism and destructive behavior.

Is this the sort of book you typically read?
I tend to read more than one book at a time and am currently reading five or six books at once-- including the David Abram book mentioned above, Just Kids by Patti Smith and Seven Days In the Art World by Sarah Thornton and also various works by Osho.

How has it influenced your music?
I feel the book helped ground me more as a human being helping to contribute to better self-awareness.

Any specific songs?
I'm always dropping Buddhist references.

Do you find that books generally influence your music?
Books can certainly help open me to a space or area or sentiment I may not have previously considered.

Who should read this book?
Anyone who is a seeker.

Is there any book you must have on tour with you no matter what?
I have an iPad so with Kindle and Books apps, I can pretty much carry a library with me, which is amazing. Regardless, I always manage to bring home a ton of books I pick up on the road as well as vinyl recordings. I currently have The Essential Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche on my iPad and books by Allen Ginsberg. Can you imagine a world without the lyrical genius of Bob Dylan, who was hugely influenced by Ginsberg, who, as well as being a poet, was a Buddhist scholar?

Is there a musician you would consider more of an author than a songwriter?
Leonard Cohen.

What is your favorite piece of music based on a literary work?
David Bowie has always had great literary influences. Perhaps “Sympathy For the Devil” by The Rolling Stones that was influenced by The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

Do you think a song or album can tell a story in the same way a book does?
A song can certainly tell a story but a book usually takes you on a longer deeper journey. Songs tend to get to the main emotional intention a lot quicker... although there are always exceptions and no hard fast rules. It's truly an individual experience.


Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Shambhala, 1987
250 pages

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
The Cult | Facebook update: Vinyl! PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Cult announced on Facebook that they are back in the studio with producer Chris Goss to mix the new songs and they are planning when and how releasing the new music but one thing is certain: we will enjoy also a vinyl relase!
This news really fired me up and I'm sure you all collectors out there like me are on fire!!!







AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Comments (5)add comment

icafull said:

  long live wolf child
August 02, 2011

LuvIanApolla said:

  We want WEBCAMs in the damn studio! We want to see you guys working!!!
February 23, 2010

VladDraCULT said:

  My Saints are UP!
February 23, 2010

DirtyLilDevil said:

  Now I'm HORNY! smilies/cool.gif smilies/cheesy.gif
February 23, 2010

Cheryl Peterson said:

  My prayers have been answered... Thanks guys!!!
February 21, 2010

Write comment
You must be logged in to write a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 February 2010 )
< Prev   Next >

Sacred Soul | Visual Design diamondsmedialogo