Interview: The Cult’s Ian Astbury on touring ‘Electric’ and the plague of cell phones (plus video of the heckle!)

cult electric 13Ian Astbury interview…

Let me ask you about the show from last night. You apparently got into with an audience member who was texting…

Yes sir.

What’s the story behind that?

Initially the guy was filming the whole show – he was filming everything.

With his cell phone.

Yeah. It’s kind of a disease that we have where people aren’t present and after while it kind of trips you up, it becomes a distraction. Usually you don’t let things like that trip you out, but when it’s right in front of you doing it… one guy was sitting on the side of the stage eating cake [laughs] and that tripped me out too, but I went over and ate his cake.

So the barricade was very close to the stage; and I think the subtext of this is, as musicians, we’ve seen our so-called industry be decimated to the point where the expectation level of individual fans raises to the point where you’re doing them a service, this idea that musicians are now the bottom of the food chain. When Spotify is paying 0.00004 of a cent per play – a million plays will get you 5,000 dollars. Who listens to a track a million times? Nobody. You wait like three years to get a royalty check for 18 dollars. It’s getting worse and worse and worse.

The only thing you have control over is the performance environment. When you have habitual filming going on, it’s disruptive to the performance. When you’ve got someone visualizing the show through a cell phone, that action spreads out through the crowd.

And this genius, first of all, I politely asked him to stop filming; I don’t mind if you take pictures, that’s cool, filming little bits – but don’t film the entire set; enough’s enough. At first I was kind of amused, but the next thing, he’s texting during a song. That’s incredibly disruptive, watching people in the front row so disconnected from the process – not even present. You might as well stay at home.

I commented to this guy, “Will you please stop texting?” He didn’t pay attention.

I had water in my mouth, I sprayed it right next to him, and he just exploded – exploded; trying to climb over the barriers, trying to get into a fight with me, he’s flipping me off, he’s screaming at me, “Fuck you…” And I was just like, “You’re rude. This is our house, you’re behaving disrespectfully, you’re disruptive, you’re affecting the functioning of the whole evening, and you’re disconnected – so why bother coming?”

When it goes on YouTube, it looks like shit, sounds like shit – you missed the moment. We didn’t spend blood sweat and tears creating this music to be snubbed in that way.

Stay at home.

via Interview: The Cult’s Ian Astbury on touring ‘Electric’, the plague of cell phones at concerts, and why NYC band Cults should get a new name – Vanyaland.

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