THE CURE

Catching Up with The CURE

July 28, 2020 by Traci Turner

While most events have been canceled this year, The Cure has something for you to look forward to. In a few weeks, you can snag two of their albums on picture disc for the first time. For Cure fans, that’s a big deal.
For four decades, Robert Smith and company have remained successful, able to sell out shows even without new albums. They have had multiple lineup changes, yet continue to be a reminder of the glory days of ‘80s alternative rock. Their importance was recognized last year with the ultimate honor. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On that memorable evening, they were celebrated by everyone, and they were inducted by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Life doesn’t get better than that!
(As usual, I went down a “rabbit hole” and had to look at the other inductees. There are only 233 artists and bands inducted as performers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Thousands of bands spanning multiple decades and only 233 honored for their musical excellence!). Their induction was a major event for them of course, but last year they gave us much to view as well.
In May, they performed five shows at the Sydney Opera House to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Disintegration.” The footage is amazing and Smith’s voice remains iconic. They also look…happy!?

SYDNEY | DISINTEGRATION 30

LIFE IS SOMETIMES STRANGER THAN FICTION

The CURE

I had no desire to be famous; I just wanted to make the greatest music ever made. I didn’t want anyone to know who I was.
Robert Smith
They also blessed us with the release of “The Cure 40 Live” double concert film box set celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band. “Curaetion-25: From There to Here | From Here to There” covers the final night of the 25th Meltdown Festival at the legendary London’s Royal Hall.
The show includes songs off every album, plus new and unreleased songs. The second film “Anniversary: 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park London” includes 29 songs performed in front of 65,000 fans on a gorgeous stage.

Throughout all of this, Smith has said a new album is forthcoming. In early 20I9, Smith told Billboard it was in the works and “we cover different styles of music, but because it’s us doing it, it sounds like us.” But in February of 2020, Smith told Billboard the disc is almost completed. “The first one will definitely be out soon, we’re wrapping it up now and it’s going to be mixed,” he said. “But until it’s completed, no one will believe me. I look forward to it coming out more than anyone else, trust me!”
He even said it could be more than one album. “You’re lucky to get one the way I’m working… there’s only really two, the third thing is just me, it’s literally just an album of noise.” Smith even said it will be titled “Live From the Moon.”
Another mention of new music came from Smith at their Hall of Fame induction, where he described it as “so dark” and “incredibly intense” to Rolling Stone. “The songs are like 10 minutes, 12 minutes long. We recorded 19 songs. So I have no idea what to do now. The others are saying, ‘triple album!’ I’m saying, ‘no let’s not.’ I’ll pick six or maybe eight songs and do like a single album,” said Smith. “But I think I will delight our hardcore fans. And probably really, really infuriate everyone else. At my age, I’m still doom and gloom.”
Here we are in mid-2020 and…. nothing. But the entire world has had to put things on hold, so maaayyybe that’s the delay.

Formed in 1978, The Cure has seen various members, but Robert Smith remains the constant. With his unmistakable voice and trademark appearance of disheveled hair and black eye makeup, he is a recognizable symbol of the ‘80s. Then there was his sonic vision that transcended us to another dimension of sight and sound.
Watching recent interviews and performances, Smith appears charming and bashful to me, not at all “doom and gloom.” In fact, I hate to classify The Cure as depressing or dark because I have so many happy memories of blasting “Just Like Heaven” and “Friday, I’m in Love” while driving my red VW Bug to the beach. Sadly, my opinion does not control the world, and yes, looking back I can see why they were labeled gothic, dark, and gloomy back in the day.   

Circling back to when it all began, after releasing their first single, “Killing an Arab” in 1978, The Cure recorded their first album, “Three Imaginary Boys” in 1979. They followed it up with the classic “Boys Don’t Cry” and hit the road with Siouxsie and the Banshees (where Smith filled in as guitar player).

The band found chart success in 1982 in the UK when they released “Pornography,” featuring the single “The Hanging Garden.” Smith has admitted he was experiencing “a lot of mental stress” in his life at the time, and that it was reflected in the songs.
Each new single got them more attention in other countries. “Let’s Go the Bed,” “The Walk,” and “The Love Cats” opened up Australia, New Zealand, and Japan for them. The US finally started paying attention with the 1985 release of “The Head on the Door.” Still considered one of their most successful albums, “The Head on the Door” was the first album with all songs composed by Smith. “In Between Days” and “Close to Me” became the songs that gained them more attention, and “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Let’s Go to Bed” were re-issued.

The next album would include their most successful single to date. “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” gave us “Just Like Heaven,” “Why Can’t I Be You,” and “Hot Hot Hot,” in 1987. This album made The Cure commercially viable, critically legit and a worldwide music juggernaut.

With the “pop” songs making them well known, Smith was struggling with fame. According to multiple sources and detailed in Jeff Apter’s book, “Never Enough: The Story of The Cure,” Smith dove into hallucinogenic drugs and set out to create his most “depressing” record yet.
Unfortunately for Smith, 1989’s “Disintegration” is phenomenal and became their highest charting album. “Fascination Street.” “Lovesong.” “Pictures of You.” “Lullaby.” All classics. Sold-out stadium tours followed, along with a performance on MTV’s Video Music Awards, and the album has sold more than three million copies.

The Cure was internationally successful and Smith hated it. “Despite my best efforts, [The Cure] actually become everything that I didn’t want us to become: a stadium rock band.”
The aftermath of the touring led to line up changes, and Smith became the only remaining founding member. (Despite the strife that happened around “Disintegration,” the 2019 Sydney Opera House performance was a positive experience and an excellent way to celebrate the album’s anniversary.)
The Cure went back into the studio to cut 1992’s “Wish.” The album produced another monster hit, “Friday, I’m in Love.” With other singles “High” and “A Letter to Elise” doing well, “Wish” charted high and sold more than a million copies. It also garnered the band their first Grammy nomination.
The breaks between albums grew and we did not get their next release until 2000. “Bloodflowers” was not as commercially successful as the albums before it, but it scored The Cure their second Grammy nomination. The remainder of the 2000s gave the band their 2004 MTV Icon award and the 2008 release of “4:13 Dream.”
That brings us to 2020…
The current lineup features Smith on lead vocals and guitar, Simon Gallup on bass, Roger O’Donnell on keyboards, Jason Cooper on drums, and Reeves Gabrels on guitars. While their headlining gig at the Open’er Festival in Poland had to be bumped, they do have something for us in 2020. AND WE NEED SOMETHING TO GET US THROUGH THIS YEAR!
Vinyl has made a resurgence over the past few years, and The Cure would like you to return to your local record store. In celebration of Record Store Day 2020, Smith and crew have two new picture discs for us, exclusively for Record Store Day. The 20th anniversary of “Bloodflowers” on picture disc for the first time, plus “Seventeen Seconds,” also on picture disc for the first time and in honor of its 40th anniversary. Both albums will be available from local record stores on August 29th 2020.

Other great Cure singles from yesteryear to look out for include “Harold and Joe,” “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” “The Same Deep Water As You,” “The Caterpillar,” “Seventeen Seconds,” “Never Enough,” “Close To Me (Off Mixed-up),”… seriously, the list goes on and on.

I am choosing to ignore the gloom and doom that may be The Cure’s legacy, and I am going to take 2019’s happy version Cure to drag myself through 2020. If you want to see where music is headed, look at the Cure for it’s influence on its past, present and future.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RECORD STORE DAY

SID 200716 | JIMMY ALVAREZ, EDITOR

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