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The Southern Death Cult

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The Southern Death Cult was a gothic rock band in the early 1980s. It is now primarily known for having given its lead singer and parts of its name to the multi-platinum hard rock band The Cult. Despite the similarities in the names, “Southern Death Cult” was distinct from “Death Cult”/”The Cult”.

The Southern Death Cult emerged from the ashes of the seminal Bradford punk band Violation. In place at that time were Aki Nawaz-drums, Barry Jepson-bass, Mick-guitar & Mick Brady-vocals. Notable songs in their set were ‘Boys in Blue’ & ‘Assault & Battery’- The high point for this line-up is probably their support slot to the Clash at Bradford’s St. Georges Hall in 1980.

In 1981, Ian Astbury had moved into a new house in Bradford and reportedly discovered a band rehearsing in the cellar. Ian Astbury (performing under the name “Ian Lindsay”) sang alongside guitarist David Burrows, bassist Barry Jepson and drummer Haq Qureshi (a.k.a. Aki Nawaz). Astbury renamed the band Southern Death Cult, after an obscure Indian tribe around the Mississippi delta area in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Southern Death Cult’s first ever performance was at the Queen’s Hall in Bradford, England, on 29 October 1981. The setlist the band played was: Crow, The Girl Apache, Vivisection, (unknown song), Moya, The Crypt, and there is a bootleg recording of that show in circulation.

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