Cult Bands – Dishing the Cult Band Clique – by Johnny Mystery

Written by on October 5, 2023

Cult Bands – Dishing the Cult Band Clique – Johnny Mystery.

They pretty much started out as cult, then for an unexplained reason, most of them became enormous, money-making machines.

I’m not the biggest metal fan. I’m certainly not a huge fan of The Misfits. Glen Danzig just looks weird. Scary, like if you asked him for the correct time, he’d smack you out. I do enjoy the premise of their act though. Oh really, you think they walk around with those hairdos in their haunted castles when nobody is looking? Somehow a copy of “Wolf’s Blood” found its way into my collection. I think I liked the cover. It was textured and glowed in the dark, plus it had a werewolf on it. The copy I got my hands on was also pressed on yellow vinyl, which I later found out was rare, very rare. That’s always a plus in my world. I never made it past the first song though, in fact I pulled up the tonearm halfway through. It just never pushed my buttons as it was neither punk or pop or anything I thought was very interesting. The Misfits however are like the pied pipers of the Horror Rock/Metal crowd, so much so that their early recordings command primo cash in the secondary market. I know first-hand because when I sold my copy of “Wolf’s Blood” I used the money I got for it to finance about half of a recording project!

Some say you fall in love with a band or a song because it has a significant connection to a special time in your life. Losing your virginity to a certain song might be the catalyst to your unexplained obsession. *BUZZER*. On the occasion of my loss of innocence, “Nektar” was blasting on my girlfriends’ stereo and that’s the end of that…. I’m not a huge prog fan either but that’s another subject.

Now we come to The Grateful Dead. What drove so many people to their concerts, besides an old micro bus, packed with a cooler full of cheese sandwiches? Why did so many people need to own every live recording of “Truckin” going back to 1972? Why did they release multi-record set albums with eight versions of one song on it? What could possibly be so interesting about listening to “Dark Star” for an hour and a half? You know, I really should not be harping on bands that do marathon cuts. I wore out several copies of the first Grand Funk Railroad Live album and that record contained a 12-minute cover of “Inside Lookin’ Out” and the live version of their own song, “Into The Sun,” takes up all of side four. Oh right, I had to learn those songs because if you had a band in the 70’s, you had to know a lot of GFR!

I’ve known my share of dead heads over the years and almost all of them bring up “the beautiful vibes of Woodstock.” They almost all describe Woodstock just like that. First off most of them were too young or not even born when it happened. Tell me please if you agree, if all the people who claim to have been there, actually went, The New York State Thruway would still be jammed up. Also, they should read a little bit about what “The Dead” had said about their experience. According to several of them, they thought the sound was terrible, the floor was built with cheap plywood and was wet from all the rain. They kept getting shocked. Bob Weir was heard to say, “It was one of the worst shows they ever did.” So much romanticizing going on about the 60’s. Okay, I will admit finding the first Dead album, mildly interesting. I also own the single of “A Touch Of Grey.” Their video for that song is funny as they are not really in it but have skeletons with guitars singing and dancing around. Other than that, I’m at a loss…

Swinging London in the Summer of 67’ took to Pink Floyd like a hot fudge sundae at an ice cream social. There was no bigger cult band that was poised to make a splash in the states. Their strange fairy tale songs and drug infused lyrics became the rage in England. They recorded “Piper At The Gates of Dawn” right next door to where you know who was recording Sgt. Pepper. Off to the USA for the big tour and then nothing. Pink Floyd was like nothing anyone had ever heard before and that’s the kiss of death to an up-and-coming group. Syd just threw it all away, a victim of his trendy chemical amusements. He just stopped caring and stopped trying. Floyd took off in new directions and became one of the biggest groups on Earth without Syd. Syd became the cult but somehow, he got the last laugh. For all the success Roger Waters brought to the band afterward, to this day, he gets the same Syd Barrett questions at every interview. He never lives it down…have you got it yet? The Madcap Laughs.

Last but not least, we come to The Velvet Underground. Even their name evokes underground music…the ultimate cult band. Music rife with off time playing, slightly out of tune 12-stringers and smokey vocals from Nico, a model turned singer. Their other singer/ writer, a sunglasses wearing early hipster named Lou Reed whose effortless cool was undeniable. Song titles with subjects only spoken about in hushed tones, in the seediest of dark back rooms. All financed and nourished at Andy Worhol’s factory who provided dancers, hype and multi-media effects. The Exploding Plastic Inevitable!! Nobody knew what to do with this and it didn’t last long. The Velvet Underground is the only band to remain a cult and have so much praise heaped on them; they were inducted into The Hall of Fame. They probably cared even less than Johnny Lydon but never let on. The legend goes that only a few thousand people bought their first album but every one of them started a band. Here’s to hoping somebody else makes another record like that and quick. Real quick.

Now go get some records.

By Johnny Mystery.

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