Billy Duffy Exclusive
Photo’s By Mick Peek – www.billyduffy.com
What were your favorite artists / musicians growing up in England?
“Initially rock and glam so Bowie, Thin Lizzy, Queen, AC/DC etc then into punk rock circa 76/77 Pistols, Buzzcoks, Generation X…”
What is your favorite guitar that you like to play on stage?
“That has to be the Gretsch White Falcon for obvious reasons…..”
Do you play any songs with alternative tunings?
“Like all the tunes from the ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ album ‘Rise’ is drop D. Also the band live has for decades tuned “half step down” to both make the high notes easier to sing night after night but also add a little “weight” to the sound live.”
What other things outside of music influence you as a guitar player and an artist?
“I’m a bit of a nature nut… geography… topography…. landscapes speak to me. I’d say check out the photographer Ansel Adams and that’s where I like to think my head is at on a good day.”
Can you speak a little to how The Cult formed?
“ That’s simple… in 1982 I was playing in a band in the UK called ‘Theatre of Hate’ who had a bit of a hit at the time and were touring their “Do you believe in the Westworld” album. Our support band for the tour was the ‘Southern Death Cult’ and Ian (Astbury) was their singer.
We became friends and about a year or so later after I’d left ‘Theatre of Hate’ Ian came and found me and asked if I’d like to form a new band with him from scratch. That was the ‘Death Cult’ and after a couple of singles we changed the name definitively to ‘The Cult in January 1984.
I believe Ian liked my guitar playing 🙂
What do you do to prepare for show / tour?
“These days I try to keep in good shape… enjoy life but eat right. I guess I’m what you might call an active senior these days…. hahha… the southern California climate works for me in that respect.
Both the Black and White Falcon guitars are amazing, what kind of pickups and strings do you prefer to use on your set?
“I have always used Ernie Ball strings since time immemorial…. either Regular Slinky or Power Slinky depending on if I’m playing live (down half a step) or in the studio (regular tuning). So, 10 to 46 Regular and I think 11 to 48 for drop… but hey I have guitar techs to handle that for me hahahha. But yes I still can change strings and tune a guitar if I have to… and pretty quickly I might add.”
What’s your favorite record?
“That’s a very tough question… for ‘The Cult’ I always have to say the ‘Love’ album as it was a pivotal record and a little groundbreaking for us and I’d like to think post punk rock music in general considering when it was made in 1985. Very good vibes abounded when we made that record.”
Where in the world is your favorite venue to play a show?
“I like Manchester in the UK for obvious reasons and the crowds there are always superb… but I’m biased as that’s my hometown where I grew up. I have to give a shout out to the Latin American fans and oddly enough the good folks of San Diego for consistent Cult mania too…..oh and Holland….and… and…. and………. haha”
What are some of the current musicians/bands you are listening too at the moment, and which guitarist have had the most influence on your style of playing?
“I’m gonna have to be that guy who says I don’t really have much respect for modern music in general it mostly sounds contrived and almost apologetic. BUT if a gun was placed to my head I’d obviously have to give huge props to Jack White and the Black Keys.
Guitar hero wise I couldn’t say one as there’s so many… Mick Ronson, Mick Ralphs, Paul Kossoff, Malcom and Angus…. Hendrix transcended comment of course, a genius…. Brian May for his early Queen work…… Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe…. Johnny Thunders… James Williamson…. John McGeoch of the Banshees… the list goes on and on….
…. and of course the sire of Wilshire Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols.”
What was the first album you bought with your own money as a kid?
Who was the one person who influenced your career the most?
“hmmm… good question… perhaps my first bandmate back in Manchester who sadly passed away in the early 1990s from alcohol related issues… Robin Allman…RIP”
Any one concert that was your most memorable?
“It has to be two. Slade, Thin Lizzy and Suzi Quattro all on the same bill in late 1972 at Manchester Free Trade Hall (my dad took me and a friend) yes I was 12 and the Sex Pistols, Slaughter and the Dogs and The Buzzcocks in July 1976 at the Lesser Hall of the same venue.”
What is there still that you’d like to accomplish in your career?
“Probably immortality haha.”