Monday, July 4, 2016


Hello NY, Pittsburgh, South Florida and everywhere else, I'm DJ Bird and you're in the Birdcage at

Way back in April, 1986 I had the great pleasure of interviewing Ian Astbury of The Cult. The tape was never produced, never broadcast anywhere and went missing. I always thought I had digitized it but over the years no matter where I looked, I just couldn't find the files. I know on the same cassette I had Ian do station ID's and I KNOW I played them at WLIR, NY and WXXP in Pittsburgh. That said, I couldn't locate the cassette, a reel to reel copy I dubbed at the WLIR studios in beautiful downtown Hempstead, NY 175 Fulton ave or any other version. This is something that ate at me for years.

WLIR air studios Maxx, Bird, Malibu Sue, Alain Jorgensen & Denis
I remember Denis McNamara asking me to do this interview. I recall doing the research and of course I remember the event and concert at Nassau Community College. I even recall beginning the process of producing it into a ready for broadcast show for WLIR. It just never got done. Perhaps going to Pittsburgh to take on the Music Director position at XX just got in the way. So, 30 years later I find an old CBS promo cassette labeled, Interview with Ian Astbury of the Cult at Nassau CC 4/2/1986. My guess is this is a copy of the original. I put it aside but sent out a message to Paul Cramer of WXXP fame. He runs the tribute website to the station and a internet radio station that plays WXXP music including old shows from some of the old jocks, including me. I promised him that he could publish it but I wanted to produce it. A year goes by. I stumbled on the tape during a cleaning session here at the house in Florida. At this point I no longer own a working cassette deck. By chance, we had purchased a used Santa Fe Hyundai as my oldest daughter was learning to drive and the Mrs. insisted on a large safe vehicle. It has a cassette deck with CD & AM-FM as the stock radio. My attempt at replacing it failed so I left it in. Thank God!

I popped it in and was blown away. After 30 years I found a copy!

Sadly, much of the interview isn't on this copy. But there was at least 25 minutes of audio and plenty to produce the thing. I found an old "Barbie" boom box purchased for the girls in 2003. I remember we used the CD function to play Mozart in the girls room while they slept. It's beat up but a few years ago I was able to listen to some old aircheck tapes that have since been sent to Paul Cramer for him to take and reproduce old XX shows for his station (outstanding job!) and some WLIR airchecks went to the producers of the upcoming documentary, Dare To Be Different. A film about how a little NY radio station changed the world!

This was a huge mistake. In my attempt to digitize the audio, Barbie began to eat the audio. Not the tape, just the data. I freaked out! It still played in the car so I cast aside Barbie and hung my head in shame. I was losing what remained of this lost treasure. I am a determined person so I dispatched to the local Walmart thinking they must have something no one else would buy......a cassette player with an AUX out so I could get the data into my computer. BINGO! I was able to save just over 13 minutes of this piece of history and began to work out what I could put together that would be fun to listen to and preserve what was once lost.

To give you some background, allow me to set this up.

In 1984 I heard Spirit Walker, a single on Beggars Banquet out of England. I'm quite sure I was dispatched by Larry The Duck to visit Camille at Dutch East Indy to pick up the latest imports for him. I loved the track and it was played by Bob Waugh on the famous import show, Sunday nights on WLIR "Off The Boat". It didn't make the LIR playlist. Not long after, Resurrection Joe suffered the same fate. But the Dreamtime LP caught my ear. something cool was happening and The Death Cult had become The Cult. When Beggars Banquet released She Sells Sanctuary, The Cult made the cut and after its "Off The Boat" debut was added to the WLIR rotation. I was still spinning at Paris NY and played the hell out of it. The Rain 12" followed and I dove in head first to the new release, LOVE. The whole album was fantastic!

I made a pest of myself as I felt the WLIR playlist was leaning too much on the electronic dance music and missing out on harder, more guitar oriented stuff. The Cult was a prayer answered. They were a dance club hit AND they sounded like a Rock & Roll band. In 1985 supporting LOVE, The Cult toured in support of this LP and when they came to NY I had to be there. The Ritz in NYC (the original place became Webster's Hall) was a place I loved seeing bands play, I DJed there many times and hosted a slew of shows for WLIR. That show by The Cult was recorded for a WLIR Radio Concert and filmed. It can be found on YouTube and I've only recently found and watched it. The show had a huge impact on me and I was now a big fan! It's around this time when we get a call at WLIR from Sire Records owner, Seymour Stein. Seymour and Denis were friends and I was introduced to him at Studio 54 when WLIR was doing the "New Music Wars" featuring up and coming local bands and combined that with some great headliners. Mr. Stein had signed many of his artists after Denis recommended them.  As a big LIR listener, Seymour heard the Cult and wanted our opinion. If I remember this correctly, Denis handed me the phone. I told Mr. Stein that I believed The Cult to be on the verge of stardom and recommended he sign them. I can't be sure he wouldn't have anyway but I'm very proud to be a small part of The Cult's first American record deal. LOVE was released and another U.S. Tour was under way. Now it's 1986 and on March 29th, The Cult plays the Beacon Theater in NYC. This is a fantastic venue and the band blew the roof off the joint! JJ Jackson, the MTV video jock sat behind me and we discussed how this band would succeed and JJ also revealed that MTV listened to us at WLIR and relied on US to hear new music.

Denis&Bird 2015
Several days later, April 4th 1986 The Cult had a show at Nassau Community College, a Monday night. Days before, Denis asked if I wanted to interview Ian. I had once spent time with Billy Duffy, the Cult's amazing guitarist before a live interview on Denis' show. We cut station ID's including the famous one where he referred to Larry as "Larry the Dick". It was so funny that Larry played it during his morning show. Billy and I discussed many topics and I used that and anything else I could get my hands on to prepare. Arriving at NCC I was walked into the dressing room and sound check was taking place. The drum tech was pounding away trying to tweak the sound so it was loud, but good quality. Ian came in and we just chatted a bit. He had asked an intern to bring him a football. When the kid brought a soccer ball, Ian ripped him a bit. He had spent a lot of his youth in Canada and wanted a FOOTBALL! Ian then disappeared for a bit, I'm told he was throwing the ball around with the NCC Lions Football team. Pretty cool!

Ian returned and we sat down for our interview. I remember before we started he asked for a light as we both smoked cigarettes. He then commented that he was very pleased that WLIR had been playing the band and was impressed that I knew his story beginning with Southern Death Cult. He sighed with relief that, in his words "you're not going to ask me stupid questions" and said he was much more comfortable doing this interview than most others. I was on cloud nine!

The interview began and we just kind of eased our way through the bands history, Ian's views on The Cult, music in general and a lot about life. Much of what we discussed has been lost but the following is what I was able to salvage and its more than enough to give you a feel for that time period and who Ian is. The running time is just over 57 minutes and our discussion is surrounded by the great music from Love and opens with Resurrection Joe from the Dreamtime LP. I'm posting it in several different formats. Small files, large files, what ever suits you. Please remember that not only is the audio a little rough, we had sound check background noise, people coming in and out and of course, loss of data over the 30 years this tape sat around.

Bird 2015
I'd also ask you to forgive my horrible diction and tone. Denis had not yet given me voice lessons and I did not yet develop my shows at WLIR or WXXP. By the time my voice got better I had moved on to other adventures but thanks to Denis, the voice got much better. In addition I need to add that I tried my best to emulate Denis' interview style. He has a way of very comfortably turning an interview into a brilliant discussion that one feels like you are there just listening to two friends talk. Since this was my first one, I had no practice and it sounds like it to me. Still, I'm quite proud of this and I think it stands the test of time.

Here are the files for your listening pleasure in various formats:

Regular MP3 format: 26.3 MB

 High Quality MP3 format: 131 MB
AC3 format: 79.1 MB

FLAC format: 172 MB

NOTE: The Cult remain active and you can purchase music and other stuff here

DISCLAIMER: 1997-2016 all rights reserved. All images and music belong to their respective owners and are borrowed for this interview. We stopped being a commercial site back in 2007. No funds are generated any longer. If you own something borrowed here, send me email at and we can talk. I hereby give you the right to play, download or otherwise use this recording as long as it's not SOLD. If you wish to do that, contact me, I'm sure we can make a deal :-) Share it with your fiends and enjoy it with the same love and passion I have for it and that Ian & Billy has for their music.

Special Thanks: I wish to thank the following for their support and the rights to publish.
(all my co-workers at both stations)
Paul Cramer at
Denis McNamara
Elton Spitzer (may he rest in peace)
Seymour Stein and all at Sire Records
Nassau Community College
Billy Duffy
Ian Astbury
The Cult and all it's fans worldwide
Dare to be Different, The Movie!


All you listeners of WLIR & WXXP, the reason why we do this. Thanks for still Daring To Be Different! 2016 all rights reserved

----}- Bird

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I may know where the original recording is.