Ian Astbury has long been one of rock’s most unique and readily identifiable voices. His work with The Cult is legendary. So much so that, former Doors founders Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek tabbed Astbury to take up vocal duties on their reimagined 21st Century take on The Doors.
When iconic guitarist Slash (Guns ‘n Roses, Velvet Revolver) was looking for vocalists to perform on his just released self-titled solo record, he reached out to his old friend Ian. Their collaboration on “Ghost” is not only memorable, but the track leads off the album, and is arguably the best on the record.
Now Astbury teams up with eclectic experimental rockers, Boris. The Japanese-based trio became a passion of Astbury’s a few years ago after hearing their 2005 album, Pink. When the two artists finally met they knew a musical melding of minds had to take place. The outcome, a finely-crafted four-song mini release, simply entitled BXI. The EP was tracked and mixed in Tokyo in late April.
Rather than attempt a complete album, Astbury and Boris chose to focus on three tracks. The goal, explained Astbury, was to make the best quality songs. A whole album felt like “too much” the singer said, soBoris worked on the music for, “Teeth and Claws,” “We Are the Witches,” and “Magickal Child.” Meanwhile, Astbury focused on the lyrical content and melody. When they finally came together in the studio, the actual recording took only 5 days.
The result is a very organic and enticing mix of raw edginess and brutal honesty as told through Astbury’s emotive vocal style, and the band’s earthy instrumental performances.As an added bonus, and perhaps a tribute to Astbury, Boris chose to cover a rendition of The Cult’s “Rain” for this project. Something that Astbury found very touching. Guitarist and vocalist Wata brings her own inspired and ethereal take to the song.
Southern Lord, will be releasing BXI on August 17th, and fans of Astbury and Boris should be pleasantly rewarded for their patience. Astbury confides that their will be at least one more BXI project with Wata, Atsuo (drums/vocals), and Takeshi (bass, guitar, main vocals).
While many are familiar with the body of Astbury’s work, Boris is still a mystery to most music fans. Getting to know them is highly recommended. Band Website.
This week I sat down with Ian to discuss the BXI collaboration. We also discussed his work with Slash, new music from The Cult, and the intriguing people he’d like to sit down and have dinner with.