Released: 23rd November 1992
Produced: Rick Rubin
Label: Beggars Banquet, Sire
- The Witch (Edit)*
- The Witch (Extended)*
- Heart Of Soul (Acoustic Version)
- Edie (Ciao Baby)
Originally taken from 'The Cool World' soundtrack (released 14th July 1992)
* Australian promo cds
AVC: Listening to “The Witch” immediately after listening to Ceremony, that song certainly seems to be the definition of the “transitional record” concept you mentioned.
IA: Well, not for me. [Laughs.] “The Witch” was very much my baby. I mean, I was really into break beats and distorted bass. I was and still am a devotee of Peter Hook. I think Peter Hook’s a genius bass player and really drove Joy Division and New Order. I love nothing more than putting on the bass and flicking on the distortion and just grinding it out. If someone’s putting out really great break beats, I can stay there all day long. I love hip-hop for that reason, especially when you get someone who really understand how that moves you. I love R&B as well. There’s some Barry White stuff that kills me, that just floors me. [Singing.] “Keep on doin’ it. Right on, right on doin’ it...” That drives me. I go mental. I hear that stuff, I fucking go crazy. And with “The Witch,” that dirty bass is just like dirty sex. Raw, animal. And that’s really where I was trying to drag The Cult. To that place. Because that’s what I was feeling. You know, the pomp and ceremony of Sonic Temple and the whole arena-rock place that we’d gone into, the MTV profile... We were pop stars. We had a pop moment. We weren’t really a pop band, but we’ve definitely had that life, where we’ve had singles and pop success and been on the front cover of magazines and all that. But the real business for me was going deeper and fatter and getting right in the grind of things.
So I was trying to drag it in that direction, and with Rick Rubin in the room, he’s like, “Yeah!” You listen to that and you listen to “99 Problems,” and they’re kind of similar. They’re in the same food group. But what came first, the chicken or the egg? That bass line came before “99 Problems,” I know that for sure. And I kicked that out. It was just a moment. And I think I scared the shit out of everybody with that. [Laughs.] But that song, when we play it, it just comes across as, “Okay, dog’s off the leash.” I dunno, maybe it is something you could make a whole album of. I felt it was. But, again, it was great because we were able to go to a place that we'd never been before, and now we have awareness, an internal reference point, so I can say, “Okay, let’s lay down something like ‘The Witch.’” In fact, you can hear some bass lines on the records that I’ve actually written. I’ve been very involved in writing the bass lines. Obviously, Chris [Wyse] is the main bass player, but there’s something very distinctive in my playing. I have a certain way of going about it. Also, I get off on it. [Laughs.] I totally get off on it.
(from The AV Club interview w/ Ian Astbury - jun 7, 2012)
The Witch, 12", UK, CULT16, promo w/ press release sheet
The Witch, 12", USA, PRO-A-5599, promo, purple vinyl
The Witch, CDS, AUS, 891940 2, cardboard, sample record - not for sale
The Witch, CDS, HOL, 891940 2, jewelcase
The Witch, CDS, USA, PRO-CD-5708, promo
The Witch, FLEX, RUS, 32 32, 6" brown flexi disc