Wasted on the Youth Guest Blog: Elf Power's Andrew Rieger on The Cult | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Wasted on the Youth Guest Blog: Elf Power’s Andrew Rieger on The Cult

Sep 10, 2010 Web Exclusive By Andrew Rieger of Elf Power Bookmark and Share

(Under the Radar’s Summer 2010 Issue is a special issue named the Wasted on the Youth Issue that features musicians and actors talking about their childhood memories and things they loved when they were kids. We’re also posting web-exclusive essays that were not printed in the issue, including this one by Elf Power’s Andrew Rieger.)

Growing up in the small town of Greenwood, S.C. in the 1980s, it was a challenge to seek out and discover strange and new music. The local radio stations played either Top 40 or classic rock, and the record store at the mall was stocked with the same. Luckily, my dad, an English professor at the local college, was really into music, and would drive my friends and I to Columbia, S.C. or Athens, GA to stock up on good records at great stores like Manifest Records in Columbia, or Wuxtry Records in Athens, where we’d also buy music magazines like The Bob, Option, and NME, to learn about new bands. I remember buying Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain, solely based on a review I read in NME, and the band’s sheer wall of noise was so alien to my 13-year-old ears, which had yet to hear Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth, that I thought I had received a bad pressing of the record. When I tried to return the record, the clerk explained to me that the noisiness of the record was intentional, and once I got used to it, it became one of my favorite albums.

Another way of discovering cool music in the cultural vacuum of Greenwood, was a late night cable T.V. show on the USA network, called Night Flight, which came on late Friday nights. This is where I first discovered bands like Sonic Youth, Lime Spiders, The Cult, and many more. They would also play full-length documentary movies like the Social Distortion/Minor Threat tour movie Another State of Mind. We would tape these shows on VHS tapes and watch them over and over.

The Cult quickly became one of my favorite bands. Their album Love‘s mix of pychedelic, goth, and hard rock, mixed with vague mysticism and spirituality really appealed to me. I got the chance to see them open for Billy Idol in Columbia, S.C. and knew this was my big chance to meet my hero, singer Ian Astbury. My dad and I got to the show early and waited out back of the venue with a copy of Creem magazine with The Cult on the cover that U intended to get signed by the band. Sure enough, a limo pulled up and out came Ian Astbury. At this point, his Jim Morrison/American Indian obsession was in full bloom, as I noted his cowboy boots, vest, hat with a long feather in it, and a large belt-buckle that spelled out “WOLFCHILD.” I managed to get him to sign my magazine, but my attempts to engage him in conversation about what songs they’d be playing at tonight’s concert went unanswered as he scrawled a signature and walked off with his entourage. I looked down at my magazine and realized to my horror that he had signed it “Wolf Astbury.”

Even at 14 years of age I could see through the ridiculous sham of this Englishman pretending to be a Native American shaman. This experience soured me on the band, but I was still enough of a fan to buy their next album, Sonic Temple an overproduced turd of hard rock posturing that put the final nail in the coffin of my love affair with The Cult.

(Andrew Rieger is the guitarist/vocalist with Elf Power. The band’s 10th album, simply titled Elf Power, is due out September 14th on Orange Twin.) (www.elfpower.com)


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September 23rd 2010

Elf Power, another great band from Athens, GA, is featured a great deal on http://www.radiofreeathens.fm, which plays all local music, all the time. We even have an all-Elephant 6 block on rotation!

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October 11th 2011

Andrew, that probably would have put me off the band as well…The Cult always made me feel kinda wrong when i listened to them…Ian Astbury always kind of reminded me of either a bizarro Jim Morrison, or later, a dime-store Glen Danzig rip off…just kinda weirded me out

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