The Cure is an alternative rock band which formed during the punk era of the 1970s in Crawley, England, United Kingdom. The band started playing together in 1976 while Robert Smith and Laurence Tolhurst were still in secondary school. Their initial sound placed the band amongst the Post-punk/New wave movements while the darker music that followed, helped formulate the Gothic rock genre that developed through the 1980s. The Cure have released thirteen studio albums and over thirty singles during the course of their career, and as of 2004 have sold 27 million albums worldwide.
They remain one of the most enduring bands of the last thirty years, as proven by receiving the 'Godlike Genius' award at the Shockwaves NME Awards in February, 2009. The Cure has gone through several lineup changes, however, their current lineup resembles an early lineup consisting of founding member Robert Smith (vocals, guitar), original guitarist Porl Thompson (guitar), long-standing member Simon Gallup (bass) and Jason Cooper (drums). Smith is the only member who has continuously been in the band since its formation. The Cure's full lineup history is as follows: Robert Smith (Vocals & Guitar 1976-present), Lol Tolhurst (Drums & Keyboards 1976-1989), Michael Dempsey (Bass 1976-1979), Porl Thompson (Guitar & Keyboards 1976-1978, 1983-1992, 2005 -present), Simon Gallup (Bass & Keyboards 1979-1982, 1985-present), Matthieu Hartley (Keyboards 1979 -1980), Andy Anderson (Drums 1983-1984), Phil Thornalley (Bass 1983-1984), Boris Williams (Drums 1984-1994), Roger O'Donnell (Keyboards 1987 -1990, 1995-2005), Perry Bamonte (Guitar & Keyboards 1990-2005), Jason Cooper (Drums 1995-present).
Just as the group's lineup has changed, the band's sound has evolved throughout the years, starting off as a post-punk band similar to Wire and Gang Of Four before morphing into a gothic rock band in the early 80's, to a synthpop group in the mid-80's and a power-pop-alternative band in the early 90's. The Cure has always been an alternative and very independent band which was evident from the early days. Shunning the anarchistic tendencies of many punk bands after their formation in 1976 ,
The Cure's first release was Killing an Arab, based on material from French writer Albert Camus' "L'Etranger" (translated into English as The Stranger or The Outsider). This track courted controversy because of its theme (misinterpreted as racist, it was in fact, about the futility of killing any ethnicity), but it started to secure a small following, which grew following the release of debut album Three Imaginary Boys and non-LP single Boys Don't Cry in 1979, the latter of which would become one of The Cure's most famous songs. At that time, The Cure embarked on tour as the support for Siouxsie & The Banshees' Join Hands Tour. After the sudden departure of guitarist John McKay, Robert was recruited as guitarist for the Banshees as the band 'felt he was the only person capable of taking on the task.' As a result, Robert completed the tour playing two sets a night with The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The Cure moved from their punk leanings into the portentous post-punk territory, releasing three albums of doom-laden rock in three years, Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography, the latter of which charted inside the UK top 10, though the band were repeatedly dogged by the "Second-class Joy Division" tag. Following their third set of line-up changes, the group released Japanese Whispers, a compilation of three singles and their b-sides. Through their desire to escape the Joy Division description, the singles were a poppier effort, featuring danceable tracks like Let's Go To Bed alongside pop songs like Love Cats. Following the commercial disappointment of follow-up album The Top in 1984, The Cure returned to form with 1985's The Head On The Door. Featuring the singles In Between Days and Close To Me, The Head On The Door was distant from the band's punk roots, having more in common with successful alternative bands like The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen than their gloomier roots.
Two years later, the eighth studio album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was a more stadium-sized effort, though featuring audacious pop songs like Why Can't I Be You, it was seemingly caught between two styles. However, it was the band's ninth effort (following the departure of last surviving founder member other than Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst), Disintegration, that would be their greatest success, both critically and commercially. Disintegration spawned hit singles like Lullaby (no.5 in the UK), Love Song (an impressive no. 2 in the USA), Pictures Of You, and Fascination Street. The album itself was a culmination of
The Cure's directions through the eighties, featuring the poppier side combined with the more tender aspects, as well as the gloomier facets.
Following this, a remix compilation named Mixed Up was released in 1990, featuring one new track, Never Enough, and two years later tenth studio album Wish surfaced, which was a hit mainly from the momentum gained by Disintegration, though it also featured their most famous pop song, Friday I'm In Love (no.6 in the UK and no.18 in the US). During the years following this, the band became distracted and discouraged by the lawsuit launched by former member Lol Tolhurst, who felt he had been deprived of royalties. As a result, the 1996 album Wild Mood Swings felt unfocused, and was a critical and commercial failure, though the single Mint Car was a moderate hit.
The Cure released the compilation Galore, featuring new song Wrong Number. Three years later, at the release of original album Bloodflowers, Robert Smith announced it would be the last album for the band, the album itself being a return to the gloomier rock of Pornography and Faith. Resultantly, another hits compilation was released in 2001. However, in 2004, the band surprised all by returning with a self-titled album, their twelfth studio album, which was a surprise hit, reaching the US Top 10, its lead single - The End Of The World - becoming a modest hit on Modern Rock radio, and receiving a relatively warm reception from the press.
In May 2005, Smith fired Roger O'Donnell and Perry Bamonte from the band, along with Bamonte's brother Daryl, who had been The Cure's tour manager for many years. The remaining members of the band (Robert Smith, longtime bassist Simon Gallup and Jason Cooper) made a few appearances as a trio before it was announced that founding member Porl Thompson would be returning to
Their thirteenth studio album was pencilled in for the first quarter of 2007, but its release was postponed. They played one live concert in Miami (23 March 2007) at the unlikely dance-focused Ultra Music Festival. Further concerts in 2007 followed in Australasia: Fuji Rock Festival, Japan (27 July); Hong Kong (30 July); Singapore (1 August) and a tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The Australasian concerts were the first in the region since the Dream Tour of 2000 in support of Bloodflowers. These 4Tour dates featured a heavier, guitar-based sound (with Roger O'Donnell's departure The Cure's signature delicate guitar/keyboard layering also vanished) and no new songs were included in the sets. However, fans were treated to close to three hours of pure, classic The Cure, the band playing a long string of hits and fan-favourites before ending their shows with thrashing encores which delved into their back catalogue to some of their earliest recordings such as, Fire In Cairo, Grinding Halt and Three Imaginary Boys.
An Autumn US tour was to follow but was eventually cancelled to enable the band to finish the recording and mixing of the new record. Despite the cancellation of the tour, four shows were played in October 2007, the last three in Mexico City. Here The Cure introduced a handful of new songs which displayed both the melodic/pop as well as the sombre/tender aspect of their songwriting.
In 2008, The Cure embarked on the next leg of the 4Tour, starting in Stockholm (9 Feb) and continuing through to London (20 Mar) before heading across the Atlantic to complete the previously cancelled tour of 2007. The European 4Tour saw the band deliver powerful shows lasting over three hours, none more exhilarating and charged than their superb performance at Vienna's small-sized, 3000-capacity Gasometer (23 Feb). In Paris, Bercy (12 March), The Cure returned to the stage for an amazing fourth encore, ending the 3 hour 30 mins show with their emotional classic, Faith. In London (20 Mar), The Cure were again in top form, performing for over 3 hours and offering a great set including brilliant versions of A Night Like This, From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea, Friday I'm In Love and Disintegration. Also notable was the magnificent, swirling guitar playing of Porl Thompson on the often over-looked Wrong Number and Never Enough, featuring a guitar-less and dancing Robert. The set included a large number of pop hits drawing a huge reaction from the crowd; amongst them: Hot Hot Hot !!!, The Lovecats, Close To Me and Why Can't I Be You?. New songs played were: The Only One (formerly known as Please Project), Freakshow (formerly known as Don't Say Anything) and the emotional A Boy I Never Knew.
Finally, the 4Tour reached stateside in May/June 2008. The Cure again thrilled fans by playing epic, yet energetic shows. Although the setlists on this leg of the tour followed a similar structure to those heard in Europe, the band also mixed in a few songs and encores that added a darker energy. To open and close the main set, the band occasionally played, Out Of This World and Bloodflowers respectively, whilst The Holy Hour, Other Voices, Faith and the rarely-played Forever entered their set as part of The Cure's hour-long three-section encores. A further glimpse of their forthcoming album was heard via the inclusion of more new songs: Underneath The Stars, The Perfect Boy, Sleep When I'm Dead and Baby Rag Dog Book. In addition to the recording of the Paris, France show, both the Charlotte, N.C. and New York City, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) concerts were filmed for a possible TV/DVD release.
In preparation for the release of their new album 4:13 Dream, The Cure released 4 singles and a remix EP in 2008. Starting with the long-awaited release of The Only One/NY Trip on May 13, each single was due to be released on the 13th of each month leading up to the release of the album. The artwork for the singles, The Only One/NY Trip, Freakshow/All Kinds Of Stuff, Sleep When I'm Dead/Down Under, The Perfect Boy/Without You and Hypnagogic States EP (remixes of all 4 singles), was produced by Porl Thompson and
Andy Vella's 'Parched Art' and was reminiscent of the covers for, Primary, The Caterpillar, Lovesong, High, Friday I'm In Love, A Letter To Elise and the album Wish.
Continuing with the '13' theme, 4:13 Dream was scheduled for release on October 13 and included thirteen tracks:
01 Underneath The Stars
02 The Only One
03 The Reasons Why
06 The Real Snow White
07 The Hungry Ghost
09 The Perfect Boy
10 This. Here And Now. With You
11 Sleep When I'm Dead
12 The Scream
13 It's Over (formerly known as Baby Rag Dog Book)
The Cure premiered the 4:13 Dream album on October 11, prior to its eventual release on October 27, at a free concert in Piazza San Giovanni, Rome. Recorded by MTV, The Cure played the new album in full, followed by a greatest hits encore which was originally supposed to also contain thirteen songs. This was the first and only time that The Cure would play the 4:13 Dream album from start to finish. During an MTV interview at the concert, Robert Smith referred to 4:13 Dream as 'album number one' from the 32 songs recorded and that it was initially intended to be a double album. The first album is 'accessible', 'tuneful' and 'upbeat', said Smith, while the 2nd album shows 'the darker side of The Cure'. The release of a 2nd album is uncertain, however, Robert Smith himself has alluded to a 'dark album companion piece' to 4:13 Dream possibly being released at some point in the future...dreaming on!
The release of 4:13 Dream was met with a swathe of press reviews from across the globe. In a world exclusive interview, Robert Smith featured on the cover of NME, where it was revealed that The Cure was set to be crowned 'Godlike Genius' at the Shockwaves NME Awards in February, 2009. Although they didn't win, a further accolade for The Cure in 2008 included a nomination in the MTV European Music Awards in the Best Headliner category.
The Cure ended a very busy 2008 with a brief promotional tour of the US where they recorded performances on the Carson Daly Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tonight Show with Jay Leno and KROQ 'Almost Acoustic Christmas'. The Cure also took advantage of the final '13' of the year by playing an unexpected, full concert at the 500-seater Troubadour in LA on December 13. This show, presented by MySpace Secret Shows, was entitled '12:13 Dream An Evening With The Cure' and was the first to include songs from the 4:13 Dream album integrated into the band's set. Fans were given a copy of 4:13 Dream and an exclusive poster for the concert. The full concert can be heard on The Cure's official Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thecure.
In early 2009, it was revealed that The Cure had received a nomination for Best Album Artwork for 4:13 Dream at the NME Awards. This award was not won but Robert Smith accepted the 'Godlike Genius' award which was presented to him by Tim Burton at the ceremony held at the London Brixton Academy on February 25. The band then played a short 'hits' set including: Lullaby, Inbetween Days, Just Like Heaven, Boys Don't Cry and Friday I'm In Love. In celebration of their award, the band headlined the Shockwaves NME Awards 'Big Gig' on Thursday 26th February at London’s O2 Arena. In contrast to the Brixton set, here The Cure played a range of songs from each album spanning their 30 year career, including several tracks from their current album: Underneath The StarsThe Perfect Boy, Sleep When I'm Dead, The Only One, The Hungry Ghost and It's Over. After playing A Forest early on in the set, Robert announced to the crowd that they would then be playing one song from each album before launching into Three Imaginary Boys and mixing into the 90 minute set tracks such as: Shake Dog Shake, Maybe Someday, Want, Primary and Disintegration. The Cure were supported at the show by Franz Ferdinand, Crystal Castles and White Lies.
The Cure played as the headliners for the closing night of the Coachella Festival in California, on April 19, 2009. This was an epic festival performance with The Cure in strong form. Defiant as ever, the band exceeded the midnight curfew by 33 minutes, causing festival organisers to respond by literally pulling the plug on the band during Boys Don't Cry. The band continued regardless, playing two more songs to close the festival in triuphant celebration of 30 years as a band. Prior to this the band played in Las Vegas at the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort on Fri, Apr 17. Again, this was an excellent concert which showcased The Cure's current set including new favourites: Underneath The Stars, The Perfect Boy, The Hungry Ghost and It's Over.
On April 21, 2009, Robert Smith celebrated his 50th birthday.
Prior to The Cure's own re-releases in 2010, Almost Alice, the soundtrack for Tim Burton's film version of Alice In Wonderland was released on March 3. Robert Smith's recording of Very Good Advice features on the album which also includes tracks by Franz Ferdinand, Avril Lavigne and Wolfmother. Also, a new album by UK band 65daysofstatic, who supported The Cure during the band's 4Tour, was released on April 26th. The album, entitled We Were Exploding Anyway, includes the eight minute track, Come to Me, featuring vocals by Robert Smith.
In preparation for the re-release of The Cure's 8th studio album, a Disintegration microsite (
see links) was launched on the band's official website on May 14 and included links to a gallery of wallpaper downloads; tracklistings for each CD; audio streams of songs and rarities from the 3 CDs; the four Disintegration singles videos and a live stream of the entire Disintegration album, recorded on Sept 15, 1989 at Dallas Starplex during The Prayer Tour. Additionally, there is another collection of ALTERNATIVE RARITIES 1988-1989 which includes the highly emotional bootleg version of Faith (Live Rome Palaeur 04/06/89 - Crowd Bootleg).
On May 24, 2010, The Cure released Disintegration (Deluxe Edition) (21st anniversary edition), as a remastered 3CD Deluxe Edition, single CD and on double vinyl. The second disc, Disintegration (Rarities 1988-1989), features demos, studio out-takes and instumentals of the band rehearsing early versions of the songs. The disc also contains four unreleased songs: Noheart, Esten, Delirious Night and a previously unreleased cover of Judy Collins’ Pirate Ships; the latter being a solo performance by Smith that was recorded at the end of 1989 for Rubáiyát, a 1990 album celebrating Elektra Records’ 40th anniversary. The third CD, Entreat Plus, is an expanded version of Entreat and includes the previously unreleased live versions of Plainsong (live), Lovesong (Live), Lullaby (live) and The Same Deep Water As You (live) from the band's Prayer Tour shows in July 1989 at Wembley Arena, London. Entreat Plus also became available on 6th December 2010 as a strictly numbered, limited, double LP edition on uniquely patterned vinyl.
The Cure Disintegration (Deluxe Edition) entered the UK charts as a new entry at number 68 on May 30, 2010; testament to the lasting appeal of an album that many fans consider to be the band's best and which captures the group at its peak. Also scheduled for release in 2010 were Mixed Up 2,
The Cure @ the BBC Box Set and the eagerly-anticipated concert DVD releases of The Cure in Orange and Show. As yet, these releases have not appeared.
On December 1, 2010, The Cure was announced as Saturday headliners at Bestival 2011. The festival, which takes place on the Isle of Wight will host The Cure on Sept 10th. Robert Smith commented,
"I am delighted and excited that The Cure's only European festival performance in 2011 will be at Bestival… We will do all we can to help make it a weekender to remember!" Festival organisers decribed the group as, "one of the most influential bands around," adding, "The Cure has inspired countless bands in the last three decades."
Working with Canadian band Crystal Castles, Robert Smith contributed vocals to the electronic band's single release of Not In Love. The single was released in December 2010 and included a Robert Smith mix. It was well-received by fans of both bands and critics alike.
Just three weeks before the actual concerts, The Cure “Reflections” was
added to line up for Stephen Pavlovic's VIVID Live 2011 at Sydney Opera House. In a similar vein to the Berlin Trilogy concerts in 2002, a press release announced that The Cure will be
'appearing onstage with a uniquely evolving line-up of band members past and present,' including Laurence Tolhurst and Roger O'Donnell, playing keyboards and percussion, to perform their first three albums live, in their entirety on May 31 and June 1.
Robert Smith said,
“Vivid LIVE is an exceptional event, and we are very excited to be taking part. We have played a lot of memorable shows in Australia – we first performed here in 1980, and this will be our seventh trip – but it will be our first time onstage in the Sydney Opera House, and we want to do something unique to mark the occasion. Combining Cure members past and present in a live filmed interpretation of our first three albums feels to me like it should do the trick!”
Details of the concerts are as follows:
Three Imaginary Boys (1979)
The Cure Trio: Robert Smith (voice & guitar), Simon Gallup (bass), Jason Cooper (drums)
Seventeen Seconds (1980)
The Cure Quartet: Robert Smith (voice & guitar), Simon Gallup (bass), Jason Cooper (drums), Roger O’Donnell (keys)
The Cure Quintet: Robert Smith (voice & guitar), Simon Gallup (bass), Jason Cooper (drums), Roger O’Donnell (keys & percussion), LaurenceTolhurst (keys & percussion)
Similar in structure to the Trilogy shows in Berlin in 2002, The Cure performed its first three albums, Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and Faith in their entirety, plus encores, during the nearly four hour sets. The Reflections shows, which were filmed for DVD, saw the band receive superb reviews from both fans and media alike.
The setting of the Sydney Opera House which was illuminated beautifully for the Vivid Sydney festival, as well as the stunning Concert Hall itself, added a celebratory feel to these shows. If having past members, Roger O'Donnell (first shows since 2005) and Laurence Tolhurst (first shows in 22 years), wasn't enough, it was also Simon Gallup's birthday on June 1 which Robert acknowledged by singing 'Happy Birthday' lyrics to him during Three. The band were in very good spirits here with several reports of smiles and laughter amongst them by fans.
The main sets apart, the real treat here was the evolving sound as the concerts progressed. From the punchy rawness of Three Imaginary Boys, to the atmospheric paranoia of Seventeen Seconds and the full percussive moodiness of Faith, The Cure Reflections drew an emotional response from the loyal audience. The keyboard sounds were extremely authentic (programmed by O'Donnell) and added a depth and beauty to The Cure's sound that has been missing in recent years.
As ever, the encores showed the band at its best, including contemporaneous b-sides, live rarities and fantastic pop singles. After a full three album set, The Cure returned three times to work its way through a fourteen song encore of: World War, I'm Cold, Plastic Passion, Boys Don't Cry, Killing an Arab, Jumping Someone Else's Train, Another Journey By Train, Descent, Splintered In Her Head, Charlotte Sometimes, The Hanging Garden, Let's Go To Bed, The Walk and finally, The Lovecats.
For anyone present, there was little doubt that The Cure had definitely succeeded in presenting a 'unique' set of concerts. Leaving the stage at the end of each night, Robert Smith gave his adoring fans a hint of what was to come for this most enduring and original of bands:
"See you again for The Top!" he said at the close of the first night and after the second, a less revealing yet appreciative, "Thank you very much and good night! Thank you, and see you again..."
The Cure official website: www.thecure.com
The Cure official Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thecure
The Cure on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/thecure?ref=ts
The Cure - Disintegration Microsite: http://www.thecuredisintegration.com/bin/thecure
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