In 1989, the Cult’s Sonic Temple was probably my favorite album, and it was well-loved by many of the wildly disparate groups of people I hung out with. Metal heads liked it. Punks liked it. New wavers liked it, even if they preferred the Love album. Even the mainstream liked it. Singles from Sonic Temple enjoyed massive airplay on commercial radio, but even my friends who preferred underground music thought it rocked.
With Billy Duffy’s iconic black-leather, guitar-god pose on the cover matched by insanely catchy riff-rock on the tracks, Ian Astbury’s passionate vocals, and a cameo appearance by Iggy Pop, Sonic Temple embodied all that was awesome about rock’n’roll.
These days, I tend to prefer the Electric album for classic Cult, maybe because my high-school self played Sonic Temple so many times on cassette that I wore out the magnetic tape. But if you were to hand me a beer and tell me were about to listen to the entire Sonic Temple album from start to finish, I’d be all aboard.
Last year, I tried to find a t-shirt that featured the killer cover, but what bugged me was that I couldn’t find anything with an image from the inside of the cassette sleeve.
So, I went to eBay and picked up a copy of the original cassette for about five bucks to scan all the artwork. Yes, piracy is alive and well in the twenty-first century, but I doubt the Cult is going to send me a cease-and-desist order for making my own shirt for personal enjoyment. No one has arrested me for wearing my pirated Parasauralophus shirt I had made from a scan of Topps Dinosaurs Attack cards last year.
Collector’s Guide: Sonic Temple is available in a wide variety of formats on Amazon.