FOR THE ANIMALS
Released: 23rd March 2012
Recorded: Ocean Way Studios and East West Studios, Los Angeles.
Producer: Bob Rock, Chris Goss
Label: Cooking Vinyl
This song is for the folks who don't always fit in. Ian Astbury explained: "It's really referring to the outsider. I think when you're a kid, you go to school, you find your peer group, you find your social group very quickly. And it becomes evident what kind of path is going to be laid out for you. I went to like 12 schools when I was a kid growing up, so I always found myself on the outside of the group. The typical definition is like the jocks versus the nerds - that's the classical boundary. But it's a little bit more complex than that.”
“I immigrated to Canada when I was a kid, so I had quite an experience in school being an immigrant. They weren't really concerned about the color of my skin, my ethnicity, it was more about the fact that I was an immigrant. I was just thrown in with everybody else. I had one friend from Turkey, Ankara. I had another friend form Kingston, Jamaica - Leroy. There were native kids I used to hang out with, Iroquois kids, these two brothers. We used to hang out together, and that was my peer group. So it's about being the eternal outsider. I know where that place is."
"For The Animals" asserts the rising tensions, the rage and hostility of the growing group of disenfranchised youth in our society.
For The Animals, CDS, UK, FRYDL475P, 2-track promo
For The Animals, CDS, USA, 1-track promo w/ info at backsleeve
IA: It’s pretty hard to encapsulate that song in a sentence. I think it’s just an observation. For me, rock ’n’ roll was never beholden to any authority. Rock ’n’ roll came out of social situations, a liberation of spirit as the institutions began to fall down in the early part of the 20th century and individuals started to move up the class system. [Laughs.] Barriers were thrown away or broken—racial, sexual, spiritual—and it’s interesting now, because with the Internet, everyone’s now an authority. Everyone’s a cultural policeman; everyone believes that their opinion is the best opinion. And I’m saying this in very general terms, but there are a lot of institutions that set themselves up as being the arbiters of a cultural high ground, and we don’t ask for their credentials. We immediately accept that somebody who’s set up a website and uses erudite language must know what they’re talking about, that we must defer to their wisdom. But we don’t ask for their credentials, and it’s interesting that we’re finding ourselves with art that seems to get more and more anemic. We have a Pavlovian response to culture and media. So my retort is coming out in the kind of music that we make.
The kind of things that I’m interested in and the kind of energy that I’m drawn toward has nothing to with these self-imposed cultural savants. It’s not for them. I’m not creating it for them, I’m not trying to get onto their blog, I don’t care for or need their approvals. We continue to lead our lives the way we lead our lives and make the choices that we make, but it’s amazing how many people pander to get in good favor with certain cultural editors. It somehow feels that being associated with a certain website or editor will give them the approval that they’re worthy of, some kind of accolade or attention in the culture. It’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Everything that comes along that’s got a nice, new haircut and a shiny keyboard, people jump on. And then five minutes later, they jump onto something else. So it’s interesting to see a lot of the more traditional bands that came out of the late 20th century still soldier on. They just continue to live the life.
Another thing that’s pushed in the culture is that youth has the only voice and perspective that’s worth listening to. It’s been shoved down our throats. But that’s actually a fault. We tend to shy away from our elders and their experiences because maybe they’re not fresh and exciting, but it’s interesting: Things don’t stay on the grill very long. Things are turning around so quickly. So I guess “For The Animals” is my way of saying that there’s more wisdom in the wild state, where you get really authentic individuals who live a life with great authenticity. It’s not something that can be quantified or boxed up or branded. So that’s reclaiming some of that for us and everybody else out here who don’t respond to those kind of “experts.” [Laughs.] I’m not going to name any of them. You know who I’m talking about. Fuck ’em. That’s what I say.
You know, as we’ve been doing this… It’s kind of strange being on the other side of things, when you’re asked to objectify the decades. It’s not “the years” anymore, it’s “the decades.” Someone will say something to you like, “Remember that thing you did with Debbie Harry [on 1989’s Def, Dumb & Blonde]?” And you’re like, “What? Oh, shit, wow, yeah…” But it’s been interesting doing things outside of The Cult. Like working with Tony Iommi, for example. Or working with Boris or UNKLE. Or stuff I did with Trent Reznor that never came out, or working with Gordon Raphael, who was producing The Strokes, which never came out. I seem to get around quite a bit. I’m like Forrest Gump. [Laughs.] It’s interesting, ’cause even singing with Ray [Manzarek] and Robby [Krieger], going back to those cultural advocates, you read what they’ve got to say, and you wonder, “Were you not paying attention? Why would these people have me in the room with them if they didn’t think I had something to offer?” Maybe part of it was the fact that we weren’t complicit. Or I wasn’t, anyway. I wouldn’t kiss the ring, so at least I know I can sleep at night. I know there are many who can’t. Not that I take any kind of perverse pleasure in that. The Cult just keeps right on going.
(from The AV Club interview w/ Ian Astbury - jun 7, 2012)