Billy Duffy

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For the Irish hurler, see Billy Duffy (hurler).
Billy Duffy
Billy Duffy di Cult.jpg
Background information
Birth name William Henry Duffy
Born (1961-05-12) 12 May 1961 (age 53)
Hulme, Manchester, England
Genres Hard rock, rock, alternative rock, post-punk, heavy metal
Instruments Guitarist, songwriter
Years active 1979–present
Labels Virgin, Situation Two, Beggars Banquet, Atlantic
Associated acts The Cult, Coloursound, Theatre Of Hate, The Nosebleeds
Website www.billyduffy.com
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul
Gretsch White Falcon

William Henry "Billy" Duffy (born 12 May 1961, Hulme, Manchester[1]) is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known as the guitarist in The Cult.

Early days[edit]

He grew up in Manchester, where he began playing guitar at the age of fourteen. Duffy got his start playing in different punk line-ups in the late 1970s, but these earlier years were more notable for his introducing Johnny Marr (The Smiths) to the guitar and encouraging Morrissey to make his singing debut with Duffy in The Nosebleeds.[1]

When the initial punk rock movement (led by the Sex Pistols) died out, Duffy eventually settled as guitarist for the moodier and more arty Theatre of Hate. He eventually met Ian Astbury (the frontman for gothic rock band Southern Death Cult) who was impressed with Duffy's playing and abandoned Southern Death Cult to start a new band with him. Together, they exploited the Southern Death Cult's success by calling themselves Death Cult. Despite some initial fanfare and a couple of singles, the band chose to shed the name in 1984 in favor of the shortened The Cult, as less artistically limiting.[1]

As early as The Cult's debut single "Spiritwalker", Duffy began establishing a distinctive flanged sound with an offbeat choice of guitar, a mid 1970s Gretsch White Falcon.

Late 1980s and 1990s[edit]

Duffy helped change The Cult's sound into metal-blues for their third album, 1987's Electric, the credit for this change goes to producer and AC/DC fan Rick Rubin. Fresh from his work producing the Beastie Boys' debut album Licensed to Ill, Rubin gave both Duffy and The Cult a new musical direction.

Duffy moved to Los Angeles in 1988 with Astbury, where both remain. There, the two writing partners (with longtime bassist Jamie Stewart) turned to stadium rock and recorded Sonic Temple. The Cult reached a larger, mainstream audience, but the public's attention could not be sustained with their next album, Ceremony, at the dawn of the grunge age.

Following the 'Ceremonial Stomp' tour of 1992, Astbury pressured Duffy to return to their roots, with The Cult's The Cult album. This would ultimately lead to Astbury's departure from Duffy and The Cult in 1995.

During The Cult's four-year hiatus, Duffy played with Mike Peters of The Alarm in a project called Coloursound.[1]

Duffy plays on the title track from Japanese musician J's 1997 debut album, Pyromania.

Cult reformation[edit]

Duffy reformed The Cult with Astbury in 1999,[1] which led to a new recording contract with Atlantic Records. This was capped off by a show at Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival in May 2001, where over 60,000 people watched them perform, leading up to the release of Beyond Good and Evil.

Their single to promote it, "Rise", which reached No. 125 in the US and No. 3 for 6 weeks on the mainstream rock chart, was removed from radio rotation a week after the album's release. Disappointing sales, reviews, and tour attendance ensued, and in 2002 Astbury sent The Cult onto a hiatus once more, when an offer to sing with The Doors came his way.

2006 onwards[edit]

The Cult reformed in early 2006 and after playing several US concerts toured Europe. Duffy appeared in Ethan Dettenmaier's film, Sin-Jin Smyth, which was filmed in 2006, but remains unreleased.

In early 2006 Duffy recorded a debut album with his new band, Circus Diablo. The album was recorded with Duffy playing lead guitar and former Cult touring bass player Billy Morrison handling lead vocals and bass guitar duties. Former The Almighty frontman, Ricky Warwick, played rhythm guitar on the CD. The former Cult, current Velvet Revolver drummer, Matt Sorum also played on the record.

After the completion of the album, former Fuel member Brett Scallions was added to be the bassist, so Morrison could focus on being the lead singer. Then, Jeremy Colson formerly with Steve Vai, was brought in to be the full-time drummer for the band. Duffy's involvement ended in 2007.

In 2007 he was a judge on Bodog Music's Battle Of The Bands.

In 2010 Billy Duffy appeared on the TV-series Married to Rock, which starred his girlfriend AJ Celi.

2011 – He toured with The Cult

10/9/2012 - Performed with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony at the Cabo Wabo Cantina for Sammy Hagar's Birthday Bash in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Guitars and Equipment[edit]

The full selection of Billy's Duffy's guitars and gear can be found in the gear section of Billy's official website, www.billyduffy.com

In January 2013, Gretsch introduced the Billy Duffy White Falcon G7593T guitar.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Michael Sutton". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Gretsch Billy Duffy White Falcon G7593T