Extended Howling Mix

Picture a scruffy skinny long-haired student walking home from university – big white Hi-Tec baseball boots, religion-revealing ripped jeans and a grubby band T-shirt, you know the sort.  This chap had to pass no fewer than three second-hand record shops on his way home from the library to have a bit of a midday sleep, it wasn’t an easy life for him.  Our hero passes the first two disc emporiums without breaking stride, knowing he has just enough cash in the pocket of his patched denim jacket to buy a sandwich from the bakery*, fair enough.  Just before the bakery on Headingley Lane in Leeds, next to the dusty and permanently empty barber’s shop, were a darkly enticing set of steps leading down into a subterranean record bazaar, possibly established by Satan as a snare to entrap the mortal soul of weak-minded sinners like him, or equally possibly by a nice man called Geoff^.  Our hero slackens his pace, caught between duty and depravity for a brief second we know he will ultimately do the right thing.

Thirty minutes later he strides back up into the sunlight clutching the 12″ of Cult Wildflower.  Food’s for wimps anyway.

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I’ve no idea how the Special Limited Edition Australian Tour EP 12″ Cult Wildflower made it into that shop in Leeds whose name I can’t remember, I’d like to think it had some dramatic back story involving star-crossed lovers, a car chase, betrayal, bad drugs, a drag queen knife fight and windsurfing, but I suspect someone probably just bought it on import in HMV.  Anyway, two remixes of great Cult tracks – one of which was an ‘extended rock mix’ no less and three live tracks, has to be good right?

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Second track first, an 8-minute beast: ‘She Sells Sanctuary (Howling Mix)’.  takes one of my favourite ever rock singles and de-rockizes it good style. It begins with a few oddly synthesized wolf howls** and then adds a ‘rock’ beat that sounds suspiciously like one of the pre-set ones found on cheap keyboards of a certain vintage, usually next to bossa nova.  It’s all a bit shit and then after a certain point the keyboard trills die down a bit and they start phasing in Billy Duffy’s incredible guitar noise and it all starts to make sense.  I mean it’s as ‘authentic’ and ‘rock’ as Paula Abdul, but that’s okay.  After 8 minutes I’ve submitted entirely.  Interestingly nobody seems to want to take credit for the remixing here, there are literally no credits for this version.

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Whereas Rick Rubin, George Drakoulias, Andy wallace, Ron St. Germain AND François Kevorkian^^ are all jostling to take credit for ‘Wildflower (Extended Rock Mix)’, which is slightly puzzling to me given that it’s a big shiny heap of bollocks.  I really like the basic track and most of it is here, albeit occasionally obscured by extraneous phased drums and surplus-to-requirement strums.  Sorry but it really is an exercise in gilding the lily^*.

My attempt at doing a Mapplethorpe
My attempt at doing a Mapplethorpe

The live tracks are … okay, I’m never much of a fan of live B-sides to be honest.  ‘Love Trooper’ sounds live in the studio, ‘Horse Nation’ is full on raggedy and raucous and I thoroughly enjoyed the bits of Zeppelin’s ‘Bring It On Home’ they drop into an otherwise loud, but undistinguished ‘Outlaw’.

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I’m glad I own Wildflower and not just for the yonic symbol on the front cover.  It is definitely worth the price of a sandwich.

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682 Down.

I'm really pleased with the textures on this one, he said in a self-congratulatory fashion.
I’m really pleased with the textures on this one, he said in a self-congratulatory fashion.

This video captures the extreme excitement of the extended rock mix:

*fool hasn’t realised that actually getting his shit together enough to buy bread and stuff to make his own sandwiches every day would save him enough cash to buy even more LPs.

**reminding us that Mr Astbury wasn’t in fact a slightly comical man from Bradford, but a wolf child howling at the moon, free, wild and sexy; or something a bit like that.

^an inordinate amount of record shops are run/staffed by men called Geoff.  There should be some sort of enquiry.

^^Not sure why this track needed an assisted death, but there you go.

^*with golden poop.

26 thoughts on “Extended Howling Mix

  1. Without wanting to sound like a practising freeganist (it’s a sort of dirty self abuse me thinks?) what it with students and the inability to budget properly for food?
    If i knew you back then, I’d have just encouraged you to spend ALL your grant on beer and then taken you round to the back of Pizza Hut in New Cross in the wee early hours to show you how much free food was on offer the a wily dumpster diver. (Yes, I was doing it before it was fashionable!) We would go to a gig,my younger brother and me, say Anthrax at the Hammy Odeon, ora mad night at Butts and Spikes in Soho (you know of dis place?) then head back to his with any waifs and strays we’d picked up and hit them all up with mix and match pizza slices. Warmed up under his manky grill (not he dentistry type) we’d feast until our bullets belts were unbuckled, spent and unrepent. Then, being the decadent scum-bags that were, we’d chomp on piles of garlic bread, washed down with the obligatory bottle of shop-lifted Thunderbird wine. Oh happy days.
    Sorry, what was this post about? The Cult. Oh yeah, I once woke up on the tube sitting opposite Ian Astbury and his girlfriend? Which was weird as I was just dreaming about picking shells up from the beach, inhabited with cheese-covered hermit crabs… not a comment on this record, which I like. Just what happened.

    1. I was doing my best! Trouble was beer was REALLY cheap in Leeds then. Butts & Spikes, I used to read about places like that in Kerrang! I’d shrink from Googling it, at work at least!

  2. I would go without food for records now, never mind when I was a tad younger. That there is real life struggles!

    Also, this looks like a good wee E.P. to have in the collection. Certainly worth the price of a sarnie …

  3. Australian tour EP?? What is this?

    I notice it’s missing a song. I have this on CD single. The CD also has Wildflower (Dub Mix).

    And HOLY COW on the remix credits. That’s like, everybody who does remixes. I even have a David Lee Roth EP remixed by Kevorkian.

      1. You weren’t remixing then you liar. I own you biography — you didn’t start remixing until at least 1988.

        Anyway this is a great little EP and a great writeup!

  4. I think you have discovered the reason that students are so often skinny. Or as old Will said “If music be the food of love see Geoff at the dodgy record store over yonder and you will be a chick magnet young man.”

  5. So-so versions or not, this is a pretty stellar piece to have in the collection. I was never that into The Cult, but I admired them from afar. They seemed to hold onto their own sound despite so many schleppy bands in the late 80s and early 90s.

    And I rarely used my lunch money for lunch. I’d pocket it so I could buy cassettes each week(yes, cassettes.) I’d just eat when I got home after school.

  6. Impossible to improve Wild Flower.
    It sounds like the band was performing inside a cavernous ummm, yonic like wild flower.
    If they find their keys maybe they can drive out.

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