Holy Barbarians was formed during 1996, after frontman Ian Astbury left The Cult. He was joined by guitarist Patrick Sugg along with brothers Matt and Scott Garrett. Together the band recorded one album, Cream. Astbury chose the name of the group as a referenced to 1959 novel by Lawrence Lipton of the same name.
The album was recorded at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, named after a local club. It was reasonably well received by music critics, who described it as taking influences from 1960s psychedelic music, mixing it with a rock sound. Promotional videos were shot for the tracks Brothers Fight and Space Junkie. Between February and November 1996, the band toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and North America. After beginning to write a new album in 1997, the band dissolved, with Astbury going on to record a solo record in 1998 (unreleased until 2000).
Cream, LP, UK, BBQLP 182
Cream, CD, JAP, WPCR-727, promo sample w/ obi + lyric sheet
Cream, CD, UK, BBQCD 182, ‘Bodhisattva includes a ‘Crass’ snippet, UK only'
Cream, CD, USA, 946223-2, w/ golden promo stamp
Cream, CD, USA, 2-46223-A, promo only advance cd w/ backtitle insert
Cream, TAPE, UK, BBQMC182
Cream, TAPE, ITA, OW008MC, stickered case
Space Junkie, 7", UK, BBQ 65, printed on clear vinyl
Space Junkie, CDS, AUS, D1370, different sleeve (image taken from the video for Space Junkie)
Space Junkie, CDS, UK, BBQ 65CD, standard jewelcase
Space Junkie, CDS, UK, BBQ 65CD, promo w/ release sticker on slimline jewelcase
Space Junkie/Dolly Bird, CDS, HOL, 825 054
Dolly Bird, CDS, USA, PRO CD 8092, promo
Brother Fights, CDS, USA, PROCD 8105, promo
* grey promotional T-shirt and Brian Astbury's re-make
IA: Holy shit. Now you’re really challenging me. I haven’t listened to that record since 1996. I couldn’t even tell you how it goes. But if you want me to talk about the era… Wow. Uh, what’s that film where Jeff Bridges was in a plane crash? Fearless? That was that period. [Laughs.] I’d been in a plane wreck, and I was walking around like I hadn’t been scathed or touched by it at all, but I was very much in shock, and I had no idea what was going on. I was like a dead man walking and wasn’t even aware of it. I just needed to stop. I needed to take a break and just take care of my business, and I did it. In public.
Holy Barbarians was just… From the get-go, everything was very up front. I know there are some very melodic moments on that record and some very melancholy pop moments. There was something happening in the UK, this harkening for another period. People were talking about a return to past glories. I know “Magick Christian” talks about, “That’s when football was football / That’s when we ruled the waves / Take it easy on yourself, my friend / You’re just a mortal / Not a super man.” I’m kind of paraphrasing it, but it was… Well, it’s just like being a human being. I’ve been through this period where I’ve been venerated, but think about it: You’re just a kid, you come out of a raw environment, then all of a sudden you’re on a stage and people are objectifying you and treating you like an object, you don’t even know who your friends are. They think of you in a certain way because they’ve seen you perform or seen a photograph, and that’s the relationship they have with you. They relate to that object, not the person. And you live inside of that for 12 years. No wonder it kills people, man.
It’s a lonely place to be, ’cause nobody really gets to know you, and you never really get to know yourself, because you’re constantly in something. Believe me, I never really took a break during that period. I just rolled straight through. So going into Holy Barbarians was kind of fearless, and maybe the beginning was a bit like making the eponymous Cult record in ’94, but the turbulence was starting, and I knew this thing was going down, and I didn’t know if I was going to survive or not. But I came through the back end of that, and then through making that Holy Barbarians record, I got to go do my solo record.
(from The AV Club interview w/ Ian Astbury - jun 7, 2012)
20.10.1996 Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL