IAN ASTBURY - VOCALS
BILLY DUFFY - GUITAR
MATT SORUM - DRUMS
(MARTYN LENOBLE - BASS ON 'BREATHE', 'SPEED OF LIGHT', 'TRUE BELIEVERS' AND 'MY BRIDGES BURN')
(CHRIS WYSE - BASS ON ALL OTHER TRACKS)
(TOURING MUSICIAN: BILLY MORRISON - BASS)
(TOURING MUSICIAN 1999-2002: MIKE DIMKICH)
In 2001, the band signed to Atlantic Records and recorded a new album, Beyond Good and Evil, originally being produced by Mick Jones of Foreigner, until Jones bowed out to tour with Foreigner.
Astbury and Duffy co-wrote a song with Jones, an odd occurrence, as in the past, neither Astbury or Duffy would co-write their material. Bob Rock was the producer, with Martyn LeNoble and Chris Wyse as recording bassists, as Mike Dimkich played rhythm guitar on tour, and Matt Sorum returning as drummer. Although Sorum has previously toured with the band on the Sonic Temple tour in 1989, this was the first time that he had recorded a studio album with the band.
However Beyond Good and Evil was not the comeback record the band had hoped for. Despite reaching No. 37 in the US, No. 22 in Canada, and No. 25 in Spain, sales quickly dropped, only selling roughly 500,000 copies worldwide. The first single "Rise", reached No. 41 in the US, and No. 2 on the mainstream rock charts, but Atlantic Records quickly pulled the song from radio playlists. Astbury would later describe the experience with Atlantic to be "soul destroying", after Atlantic tried to tamper with the lyrics, the record cover, and choice of singles from the record.
After the first single from the record, the band's working relationship with Atlantic was on paper only, with Atlantic pulling "Rise" from the radio stations playlists, and stopping all promotion of the record. The second single "Breathe" was only released as a radio station promo, and the final single "True Believers" was only on a compilation sampler disc released in January 2002 (after The Cult's tour had already ended). Despite "True Believers" receiving radio airplay in Australia, both singles went largely unnoticed, and both Astbury and Duffy walked away from the project. LeNoble rejoined the band for the initial dates in early 2001, and Billy Morrison filled in on bass for the majority of the 2001 tour.
The European tour of 2001 was canceled, largely due to security concerns after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the band flew back to the US to tour again with Aerosmith. But the eleven-week tour was considered by fans to be a disaster, as the band played only a brief rundown of their greatest hits. In October 2001, a show at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles was filmed for release on DVD. After the tour ended in December 2001, the band took most of 2002 off, apart from a few shows in the US to promote the release of the DVD, with Scott Garrett and Craig Adams rejoining the band.
Despite the commercial disappointment of Beyond Good and Evil and the supporting tour, the band was voted "Comeback of the Year" by Metal Edge readers in the magazine's 2001 Readers' Choice Awards.
In late 2002, Ian Astbury declared the Cult to be "on ice" indefinitely, after performing a brief series of dates in October 2002 to promote the release of the Music Without Fear DVD. During this second hiatus, Astbury performed as a member of The Doors (later dubbed The Doors of the 21st Century, later still renamed D21c, and most recently known as Riders on the Storm) with two of the original members of that group. D21c was sued numerous times, both by Jim Morrison's family and by drummer John Densmore. Astbury supposedly started work on recording another solo album that later became the backbone for The Cult's Born into This.
At the same time, Duffy was part of Coloursound with bassist Craig Adams and ex-Alarm frontman Mike Peters, then Dead Men Walking (again with Peters) and later Cardboard Vampyres. Sorum became a member of the hard rock supergroup Velvet Revolver.
In 2003, all of The Cult's records were issued on CD, with several bonus tracks being issued on the Russian, Belarusian, and Lithuanian versions. These eastern European releases had many printing mistakes on the jacket sleeves and lyric inserts. In October 2004, all of The Cult's records were again remastered and issued again on CD, this time in Japan in different cardboard foldout sleeves. "She Sells Sanctuary" appeared in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, playing on rock station V-Rock.