What Makes a “Cult” Band? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #107

What makes for a “cult band”? Not just a small audi­ence, because Grate­ful Dead fans are an arche­typ­i­cal cult. Not just a devot­ed, emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed audi­ence; no vol­ume of Swifties make Tay­lor Swift qual­i­fy as a cult act. Does the music have to be some­how inac­ces­si­ble, or the fans snob­by?

Your host Mark Lin­sen­may­er and three oth­er musi­cians try to fig­ure it out:

A few of the names that come up for con­sid­er­a­tion are Tom Waits, The Cure, XTC, Big Star, Bri­an Wil­son, Lou Reed, Guid­ed by Voic­es, David Bowie, R.E.M., The Res­i­dents, Os Mutantes, Tony Owens, Phil Judd, Mike “Sport” Mur­phy, and many more.

We talk about how the Inter­net has affect­ed fan­dom and the music busi­ness, the pow­er of musi­cians laud­ing each oth­er, and how music fan­dom relates to oth­er fan­dom.

Lis­ten to Tim on Naked­ly Exam­ined Music and The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life. Read his blog 5‑s­tar-songs. Read his arti­cle “Hope­less­ly Devote: Cult Bands.” Fol­low him @tbquirk.

Lis­ten to Aaron talk­ing about his songs on Naked­ly Exam­ined Music, on Pret­ty Much Pop last year (talk­ing about Borat), and as part of a Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life audio­play (also fea­tur­ing PMP favorite Eri­ca Spyres and cult actress Lucy Law­less). Lis­ten to the song he men­tions that result­ed from a Tik-Tok col­lab­o­ra­tion with cult artist Emma Free­man. Fol­low him on Face­book.

Read Chris’ post-mortem on cult artist Foun­tains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger.

A cou­ple of arti­cles that fed into this includ­ed:

Just to explain one of Mark’s com­ments, there real­ly was a play­set for “the hatch” for the TV show Lost.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choos­ing a paid sub­scrip­tion through Apple Pod­casts. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

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