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Mashing up the Commodores and the Cure is a shockingly good idea
07:04 am


The Cure
The Commodores

Who knew that Robert Smith would have made quite an effective Elton John/Billy Joel type in an alternate universe? I wonder how Billy Joel would fare if he were charged with belting out all the tunes from, say, The Head on the Door....

The second proposition will have to wait, but as for the first, we have some notion of what that might have sounded like, thanks to Daniel Barassi of BRAT Productions, who recently concocted the track “Easy Like Heaven,” which mashes up The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and The Commodore’s “Easy.”

[Update: Reader Scott F. Griffin points out that this has been bouncing around for quite a while.]

via Sonic More Music
Thank you Fred Gunn!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Yo La Tengo’s delightful cover of The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m In Love’
12:27 pm


The Cure
Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo have just released a video for their cover of the Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.” The song will appear on the album Stuff Like That There, due out late in August. It’ll feature plenty of covers besides “Friday,” including tunes by the Parliaments, Hank Williams, and the Lovin’ Spoonful.

Their version crushes the 1992 original, which has long been fanbase-breaker in the Cure’s oeuvre—mawkish, histrionic, popular as hell, but considered sub-par by just as many as those who adore it. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it song, and I’m pretty squarely in the hate-it camp. But Yo La Tengo’s version strips away all the Cure’s standard affectations, and the sincere, unpretentious rendition by YLT’s drummer Georgia Hubley reveals the lovely little song it could have been if the Cure hadn’t Cured it up quite so much. For revelatory covers of overblown pop songs, this ranks with Richard Thompson’s “Oops, I Did it Again.”

And the video is just wonderful. It features Hubely walking through the streets of Hoboken singing the song, apparently completely unaware that her singing is attracting giant exploding hearts to rain on the Earth. And as things get worse, the band’s sense of humor comes more and more to the fore.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Siouxsie and the Banshees with a young Robert Smith on ‘Something Else,’ 1979

Last week, when DM HMFIC Richard Metzger posted about Robert Smith and Steve Severin’s Siouxsie and the Banshees spin-off the Glove, it set me off on a kick. I’ve waxed rhapsodic on DM, probably more than once, but definitely once that I can specifically remember, about the surpassing excellence of the Banshees lineup with guitarist John McGeoch, also a vet of Magazine, The Armoury Show, and P.I.L. before his untimely alcohol-related death in 2004. When I listen to Siouxsie, it’s almost invariably one of the three albums McGeoch played on—Kaleidoscope, Juju, and A Kiss In The Dreamhouse.

But that’s kind of stupid, given that McGeoch’s tenure in the band was bookended by the two stints enjoyed by the Cure’s moonlighting poo-bah Robert Smith. Weirdly, as influential as both the Cure and the Banshees are/were, Smith doesn’t get a whole lot of accolades as a guitarist. Even Cure devotees know him more for his melancholic singing and his trademark hairsplosion. But the guitar stylings associated with that saturnine strain of UK post-punk that would become known as Goth owed as much to Smith’s deliberate and doleful playing as to the aggressive slashing of Bauhaus’ Daniel Ash, the disquieting Morricone-isms of the Birthday Party’s Rowland S. Howard, or McGeoch’s heavily chorused, layered picking. Check out early Cure songs like “Three Imaginary Boys” or “The Figurehead,” and it’s plain that Smith can wring a lot of emotive impact out of comparatively few notes.

And so, after that post last week about Smith’s excursion in the Glove, I started giving more attention to his time in the Banshees, and in the process I found this fantastic TV footage of Smith during his first Banshees go-round, from the BBC2 show Something Else (I love the “Watch Something Else” banners decorating the set!) in 1979. They perform “Love in a Void” and “Regal Zone” from Join Hands, an album on which neither Smith nor the drummer appearing here, Budgie, actually performed. The prior guitarist and drummer left very shortly after Join Hands’ completion, so Smith and Budgie, a refugee from Big In Japan and the Slits, were recruited to fulfill tour obligations. Budgie went on to stay with the band forever, and even wed Siouxsie, but Smith only stayed in for the duration of the tour (the Cure were the opening act anyway), so his first shift with the band was as an interpretive player. Smith wouldn’t write music with the band or perform on a Banshees album until 1984’s Hyaena, but as this was the transitional phase of the Banshees’ career wherein the band straddled punk and goth, Smith makes an apt fit even though the compositions being played aren’t his.

Also, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the reading of a pretty damn funny letter from an unhappy London viewer who wanted his vigorous opposition to all this “punk” nonsense noted for the record.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Glove: When Robert Smith and Steven Severin played hooky from The Cure & Siouxsie & the Banshees

During Robert Smith’s tenure as the guitarist in Siouxsie and the Banshees (1982-84), a period that yielded the “Dear Prudence” hit single, as well as Hyena and the live Nocturne album, while Siouxsie and Budgie were off doing The Creatures, Smith and Banshees’ bassist Steven Severin formed The Glove, a one-off side-project with vocalist/dancer Jeanette Landray (Smith’s Cure contract forbade him from singing with another group).

The Glove, named after a character in Yellow Submarine produced just one album, the experimental, druggy, yet still quite poppy-sounding goth psychedelia of Blue Sunshine (yes, they copped the title from the cult film about the bad LSD) and two singles, “Like an Animal” and “Punish Me with Kisses.”

The 2006 reissue of Blue Sunshine as a 2 CD set that features a second disc of Glove demos with Smith singing instead of Landray. (Many fans were annoyed to find that his vocals were only recently recorded.) Both Severin and Smith have indicated that they would like to record together again.

Below, “A Blues in Drag”:

Hear “Punish Me with Kisses” after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Trent Reznor and Robert Smith talk about the Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Psychocandy’

A lot of now-classic albums have grown into their reputations over the course of years or decades, but the Jesus and Mary Chain’s debut Psychocandy was one of those whose epochal nature was screamingly obvious right out of the starting gate. Because so many bands in the last 30 years have copped JaMC’s move of burying SoCal pop and surf tropes under layers of reverb, noise, and darkness, it might be hard to convey just how INSANE they sounded when they were upstarts. I’m going to date myself pretty seriously here, but the first time I heard them, I was 15, delivering my paper route (laugh all you want, it was money for records), and listening to college radio on my Walkman. The song “Never Understand” came on, and I don’t know how the hell I didn’t fall off my bike. It seemed amazingly assaultive—full of ugly squealing feedback and guitars that could just as well have been broken vacuum cleaners, propelled at a nervous clip by caveman drumming that somehow sounded like it was stalking you, and yet it was catchy as hell, sporting laid-back, almost drowsy vocals that didn’t belong anywhere near that out-of-control musical mess, but it all clicked perfectly, like there was nothing weird about it at all. These young noise-abusers from Scotland had managed the feat of making themselves the Velvet Underground’s second coming. Even if they’d done nothing else worth hearing (and that’s decidedly not the case, of course, they churned out a lot of very cool stuff), Psychocandy would have cemented their legend.
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Cure’s Robert Smith interviewed on a playground carousel, 1985
06:30 am


The Cure
Robert Smith

Robert Smith
This interview should be a delight to any Cure fans out there, as Master Robert is in awfully likable form, as the rest of the playground keeps sliding past him in the back. For the interview is being conducted on one of those carousels you surely played on when you were a child. As it happens, the origin story of The Cure actually involves a playground, so it all works out.

The questioner (in my head he is “the poor man’s Jools Holland”) is terribly interested in how they came up with the CRRRRAZY ideas for their videos for “Let’s Go to Bed” and “In Between Days” and “The Love Cats” (the first two directed by The Cure’s longtime collaborator Tim Pope, while “The Love Cats,” apparently, was not).

Easily the best moment comes at around 0:20, when Smith shouts at a bunch of rambunctious offscreen children to “SHUT UP!”

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Cure’s Roger O’Donnell discusses Robert Smith and being fired *twice* on ‘The Pharmacy’

This week The Cure’s keyboardist Roger O’Donnell talks about his relationship with Robert Smith, being fired twice from the band, and taking over and locking out an English radio station for twelve hours.

O’Donnell has had a 20 plus year tenure in the influential English post-punk band.

He began his career playing for the likes of Arthur Brown, The Thompson Twins, The Psychedelic Furs and others and has been with The Cure since the 1987 tour supporting Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. He has contributed to 1989’s career-defining record Disintegration—discussed here—among others.

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Set list:

“Love Me” - The Phantom
“Hey Luciani!” - The Fall
“Dum Daro Dum” - Asha Bhosle and Chorus
The Cure - Roger O’Donnell Interview PT 1
“Grinding Halt” - The Cure
“Can This Be” - The Wipers
LA Nocturne Intro
“Baby Please Don’t Go” - Them
“Another Girl Another Planet” - The Only Ones
“Outdoor Miner” - Wire
“Ye Ye” - Elko Syuri
The Cure - Roger O’Donnell Interview PT 2
“Romeo’s Distress” - Christian Death
“Erase You” - ESG
“There but for the grace of God go I” - The Gories
“Don’t you want my Lovin’” - The Orlons
“Black Soul” - Bo Diddley
“Stereo Freeze” - Jackie Mittoo
The Cure - Roger O’Donnell Interview PT 3
“Mushroom” - CAN
“Mr.Pharmacist” - The Fall

You can download the entire show here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘I’m alive. I’m dead’: The Cure in Concert, 1984
06:46 pm


The Cure

I was never really a massive Cure fan or anything, but I was lucky enough to catch them at a career highlight, at one of the two London concerts taped for their 1984 live album, Concert: The Cure Live. I had a friend who wore a black leather motorcycle jacket with The Cure’s logo emblazoned on the back every day and he’d bought a bunch of tickets that it turned out no one else wanted. Bribed by a free ticket so he didn’t have to go alone, I went along with him to Hammersmith Odeon on May 9th, 1984.

I think it was the perfect time to see them. While it was still relatively “early” in the band’s history, The Cure had actually been around for quite a while at this point. Robert Smith had recharged his creative energies, playing guitar with Siouxsie and The Banshees and recording Blue Sunshine as The Glove with Steven Severin. The Top was an inspired album charting a new and more sonically-varied direction for the group. Certainly Concert features one of the best set lists—probably the very best—of any Cure tour before or since.

There were some super cool darkly psychedelic visuals projected above the band of things like goldfish shot from weird angles and an incredibly long, extremely slow and claustrophobic dolly shot down a long hotel hallway, probably the work of their longtime collaborator Tim Pope. In terms of trippy eye candy and a retina-searing light show, it was truly superb. The Top had just come out and the band were on good form, as you might expect them to be since they were obviously aware that there was a mobile recording studio outside the venue taping the show.

Here’s a concert from a few months later, taped in Glasgow at The Barrowlands on August 25, 1984 with a similar set list. Not nearly as atmospheric as the show I saw—which was much darker, with a lot of strobe lights (more like this clip, which IS the actual performance from Oxford that was used on the Concert album); the back projections are missing here, too, because they wouldn’t have worked for TV—but still it’s a smoking hot vintage set from The Cure.

I would be remiss in not remarking on something that has puzzled a lot of the YouTube viewers: Why is Lol Tolhurst pretending to play on songs where no keyboards are heard?

LOL, Tolhurst!

1. Shake Dog Shake
2. Primary
3. The Walk
4. The Hanging Garden
5. One Hundred Years
6. Give Me It
7. A Forest
8. Piggy in the Mirror
9. Happy the Man
10. Play for Today
11. The Caterpillar
12. 10.15 Saturday Night
13. Killing An Arab

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Lego my video: Tim Pope reacts to seeing one of his videos for The Cure recreated in Lego
10:07 am

Pop Culture

The Cure
Tim Pope

This is a guest post from renowned director Tim Pope.

OK, I admit it: I am the one that chucked The Cure over a cliff in a wardrobe.

The main part of the video was committed to celluloid in a large, wet floored hanger in London—in fact one of the largest spaces I can remember ever filming in. Weird, given the fact that we were literally doing the claustrophobia of the cupboard’s interior.

The exterior bit was filmed at Beachy Head, a beauty spot in the UK’s west Sussex, where the snowy white rocks fall away to the ocean, 162 metres below. A frocked priest even drives this stretch of coastline in a Landrover vehicle to talk people out of committing suicide here, for which it has become synonymous, and there are on average sadly over three attempts a week.

Little did I know that I was shooting something I would be talking about thirty years later. To me, this was just another in a string of videos I made for the group. All in all, I probably did 37 Cure videos. I say “probably” because I honestly don’t know—let’s just leave that to the experts. Ask the average Goth in the street “how many videos did Tim Pope shoot for The Cure?’ and he or she will tell you, with precise dates, the meaning of the video and most of all about what haircut Robert sported that day. See, these videos seem to ‘run deep’ with people, indeed. I often, still to this day, get people contacting me to ask if their university thesis might be about our videos. I of course made, and do make, videos for many other artists, of which I am exceedingly proud: Neil Young, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The The, Talk Talk, Paul Weller. More recently, Fatboy Slim, Amanda Palmer, The Kaiser Chiefs, others. But still it is generally The Cure ones that people want to come back to, especially as the fans seem particularly fervent and loyal.

Often on a cab ride, when it comes in the conversation to the part about what your job is, I will portray myself as a plumber, or private detective, or fireman. Anything, but to talk about ‘that’ video. However hard I try, though, it always seems to come back to: “Oh, you did the wardrobe video! I love that video! It’s my favorite from the eighties!” I guess it’s going to be etched on my gravestone: “Tim Pope. Yeah, he did the wardrobe video.” Still, mustn’t grumble, eh? Like they say, “better to be remembered for something.” There were others that (amongst the guesstimated canon of 37) have gone in deep to people’s psyches, seemingly penetrating their inner beings like syrup tentacles. “Lovecats” for The Cure saw Robert dance in circles about a room, talking about “cagey tigers,” while he sent the audience giddy with his cat-like choreography—oh, and I punched him on the nose with a stuffed cat.

“Love Song” saw him and band—Simon, Porl, Boris, Roger—in a cave of penises; shocking even to me when I saw the film back in the harsh light of the editing suite: “Oh God, I’ve gone too far this time!” “Inbetween Days”, where I placed the (very expensive) camera in a shopping basket attached to a piece of rope, so we could give the effect of Robert chucking the camera away, and then catching it again. “Lullaby”—and here we come to the point of why I am writing this now—where Robert (to quote the lyric) “feels like” he’s “being eaten by a thousand million shivering furry holes” (One of the best lines of any pop song, ever, surely?). What was I to do with the video?

Famously, Robert was shocked to see my interpretation of a spider’s mouth—go check the video for yourself and tell me if you think what ‘eats’ him resembles any part of the female anatomy. In other parts of the video, where he is bed-bound, he spent a day inside a spiderweb made from glue like candy floss and doubtless had colorful, solvent-based dreams that night. The byproduct of the glue was that it pulled out half of his hair when he tried to remove it from his face. Which, when you are a RS, is, I guess, bad news—bad news if you are anyone, really.

These videos are all part of my misspent youth—the equivalence of the “naughty things” others got up to behind bicycle sheds. Mine just happened to be a little more, erm, public. I am used to seeing piss-takes, versions, ripoffs, of my work with The Cure, but I was particularly taken with the intriguing version of “Lullaby” in, wait for it, Lego.

Yes, like most people, I have built many a building or airplane from this iconic stuff, but never a video. See it here on Dangerous Minds for the first time. Part of me wants to know why someone would go to all this trouble? To replicate an entire video, frame by frame, cut by cut, shot by shot—wow! My congratulations to the person who made it, credited on the end title card as “Lucas Tuzar.” Lucas says something, in further words, about it being “for Nicola Tuzar’s birthday” and a few others “all of them are big The Cure fans”. I don’t know if he means “big” in terms of their physical size, or he is referencing their passion for the group. Probably the latter, I would guess.

So, there you have it: one of my videos now made in Lego. Thank you, Lucas!

You can see more of my videos at my website, or you can get my Twitter feed @timpopedirector.

Below, the original Tim Pope-directed “Lullaby” from 1989:

The Lego remake:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hot Hot Hot!!! A make-up session with The Cure
12:46 pm


The Cure
Robert Smith


A behind-the-scenes look at a 1991 make-up session with The Cure.

And here, I thought Robert Smith just woke up that way!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Cure live at the San Miguel Primavera Sound festival in June
10:54 am


The Cure

The Cure onstage at the San Miguel Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona on June 1, 2012.

Great set—with good audio quality—but with each passing year Cure leader Robert Smith looks more and more like a roly-poly version of “The Joker.” His look is getting to be a bit tragic for a man his age. I wonder if his fans would abandon him if he ever cut his hair (like when Felicity‘s Keri Russell cut hers) or gave up on the smeared-lipstick thing?

01. Plainsong
02. Pictures Of You
03. High
04. The End Of The World
05. Lovesong
06. Push
07. Inbetween Days
08. Just Like Heaven
09. From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea
10. Hungry Ghost
11. Play For Today
12. A Forest (Happy Birthday Dear Simon)
13. Bananafishbones

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Babyface (and skinny) Robert Smith & The Cure at Dutch rock fest, 1980
12:01 pm


The Cure

Watch a young, fresh-faced Robert Smith and The Cure running through seven songs at the “Berg En Bos” Dutch rock festival, held in Apeldoorn in 1980. The band’s line-up at the time was Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Laurence Tolhurst and Matthieu Hartley.

The set list: “A Reflection,” “Play For Today, “In Your House,” “M,” “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” “Another Journey By Train,” and “A Forest.”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
One pill makes you larger: Siouxsie and the Banshees’ lysergic ‘Home’ movie, 1984

I saw Siouxsie & The Banshees’ Play At Home Channel 4 television special when it originally aired in 1984, and as a rather enthusiastic aficionado of LSD at the time, it was immediately apparent to me that this trippy trip down the rabbit hole was a program made for acidheads, by acidheads. No other drugs could explain this one! I’d have to say that this was probably in the top five of the very oddest things I’d ever seen on network television at that point. I can’t imagine what “normal” people must’ve made of it at the time.

The Play At Home series offered four musical acts—New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, Virginia Astley and the Banshees, during the period that Robert Smith of The Cure was in the band—an hour of TV to do pretty much whatever they wanted. When they saw what the Banshees cooked up, I’m sure the execs were both thrilled and nervous (What happened to Channel 4 over the years???).

The Banshees’ Play At Home episode was finally released as a DVD extra on the reissue of the 1983 Nocturne concert film in 2006. Note inclusion of music from side-projects The Creatures and The Glove. Longtime Banshees producer Mike Hedges makes an appearance as the Queen of Hearts and Annie Hogan, once Marc Almond’s musical collaborator, can be seen as the Doormouse.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Glove: Robert Smith and Steven Severin’s experimental side-project, 1983

During Robert Smith’s tenure as the guitarist in Siouxsie and the Banshees (1982-84), a period that yielded the “Dear Prudence” hit single, as well as Hyena and live Nocturne album, Smith and Banshees’ bassist Steven Severin also formed The Glove, a side-project with vocalist/dancer Jeanette Landray (Smith’s Cure contract forbade him from singing with another group).

The Glove produced just one album, the experimental, druggy, yet still poppy-sounding Blue Sunshine (yes, they copped the title from the cult film about the bad LSD) and two singles, “Like an Animal” and “Punish Me with Kisses.”

The 2006 reissue of Blue Sunshine as a 2 CD set features a disc of demos with Smith singing instead of Landray.

Below, “A Blues in Drag”:

After the jump, the video for “Punish Me With Kisses”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith - ‘Not in Love’

The Cure‘s majestic Robert Smith has recorded vocals for Canadian duo Crystal Castle’s ‘Not in Love’ taken from their self-titled second album. The track is released on 6 December 2010 on Fiction Records - the perfect antidote to the ghastly ‘X-Factor’.

With thanks to Nicola Black

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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