Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The drunken truth behind The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”

When The Cult were in the studio recording their Love album back in the middle 80s, they had a drummer problem. Nigel Preston was getting drunk quite a bit and kept messing up his parts in the song “She Sells Sanctuary.”

Because the band was on a tight schedule and an even tighter budget, they didn’t have time to mess around. To keep Nigel in line and to prevent him from overplaying his parts, the rest of the band kept taking pieces of his drumkit away.

In the end, all he had left was a snare, a bass drum, some hi-hats, and a cymbal or two. “Make do with that,” he was told. And he did. This is why the drum parts on “She Sells Sanctuary” or so minimalistic, which is exactly what the song needed. You don’t see it in the video, but that’s how it went down in the studio.

By the way, Nigel was fired shortly after the album was completely.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37808 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Ongoing History Daily: The drunken truth behind The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”

  • Hey Allan! Love what you do and have been listening for years! Just took in the Outsider music episode and would love to hear more! Would Alien Sex Fiend be considered outside music? Keep on keeping!

    Gary Reimer


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