THE CULT frontman Ian Astbury has spoken out on the incident at the band’s August 13 concert at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when a fan attending the concert was ejected from the venue for allegedly texting and being disrespectful during the performance (see video footage below).
Speaking to Michael Christopher at Vanyaland.com, Astbury said: “Initially the guy was filming the whole show — he was filming everything…. 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.
“I’ve been at performances on Broadway where the actors stop to say, ‘Turn off the cell phone. Stop texting. You’re breaking the spell. Be present.’ If you want to do it, go to the back and text – almost like smoking at the airport, you should have a texting area.
“If you feel like you have to? Then you have a little area you can go do it in. It’s amazing how possessive people are of their entitlement in these environments. Don’t poke the animals in the cage — you will get bitten.
“Some people say, ‘You’re being self-righteous and indignant, these people paid to come to the show they should be able to do what they want.’ So if you invite people into your home, and it is our home for the evening, would you expect them to piss on the floor and shit in your flowerpot?
“Initially when we walk out onstage, pretty much 60 percent of the audience had a phone up. That’s pretty much just the way it now, upfront, and that’s cool, we have no problem with that. But when it bleeds into the entire show and you’re doing songs like ‘Embers’, for example, which is a very intimate song, a very revealing song, and people are just really disconnected and it does break the spell. It’s like a cancerous cell of disconnection in the room.”
THE CULT‘s current “Electric 13” tour sees the band performing its 1987 album “Electric”, on its entirety. The live show also includes a second set pulling from the band’s eight other studio albums.