Diary (1976)

First Real Rehearsal


On 23 January 1976, the band did their first real rehearsal in the hall of St Edward's Church in Crawley.


"The first real band rehearsal was on 23 January 1976 in the hall of St Edward's Church, Crawley, and, after that, we rehearsed every Thursday evening. I think it all came about because Marc Ceccagno wanted to be a guitar hero. Michael had a bass, I had got hold of a guitar and our first drummer, Graham, had a drum kit. His brother had an amp and a mike so he sang." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I don't think we formed songs - more long jams, as was the style of the day." Michael Dempsey on Clinical Prescriptions (2003)

Line-up Changes


At the end of April 1976, the band decided that Graham's brother couldn't stay, because he couldn't sing. And the same night, Lol Tolhurst joined the band.


"One evening we decided he couldn't stay - he just couldn't sing - and the same night, around the end of April, Lol arrived and convinced us he could be the drummer. The problem was, he didn't have a drum kit! But we took him on anyway." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"We had to teach Lol the drums. We had no aims, it was just something to do, something to talk about." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I've never told you about Lol have I? I've never told you the story of how we found him? Simon and I went on one of these school trips, y'know, educational holidays, to Africa and one day we discovered Lol in the bush. He'd been brought up by ant-eaters and half his face had been eaten off by ants. Well Simon and I, we felt sorry for him so we brought him back with us and paid for plastic surgery, fed him soup under piles of earth and all that, and how does he repay us? He sneaked ferrets under his skin, that's what he did, sneaked ferrets under the plastic surgery." Robert Smith on A Visual Documentary (1988)



Marc Ceccagno left, and during October 1976, Porl Thompson joined the band. They've started called themselves Malice.


"We started practising three nights a week in October, without Marc because he wanted to play jazz. Lol was going out with this girl whose brother, Porl Thompson was known around Crawley as a good guitarist, so he started coming along. He was working at Gatwick Airport, I remember, and he used to turn up in his waiter's uniform." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I first met Robert in a record shop where I was working. He came in to buy Songs Of The Humpback Whale and we found we liked the same stuff. I joined, and we did covers of Bowie songs, Alex Harvey stuff, Hendrix..." Porl Thompson on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I joined the band after meeting Laurence. They didn't have a band name then and they were playing covers. Then when we finally got together we started working on original songs. Robert and I wrote a lot of stuff together then." Porl Thompson on Clinical Prescriptions (2003)

"When it first started I didn't have any objectives or ulterior motives other than not to have to work." Robert Smith on A Visual Documentary (1988)

"We called ourselves Malice!" Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Boys (1988)

First Live Show


On 18 December 1976, Malice played their first gig at Worth Abbey in Crawley.

18.12.1976 - Crawley, Worth Abbey (UK)


"We soon started writing our own songs and, on 18 December 1976, we played our first gig at a place in Sussex called Worth Abbey. It was an acoustic set, we sat on the floor and played bongos. We weren't called Malice for this one actually because, in order to get the booking, we had to pretend we were a folk band!" Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"It was acoustic - Laurence played bongos, and it was all instrumental. We may have been paid as well. Certainly in food and beer - in itself, no small attraction." Michael Dempsey on Clinical Prescriptions (2003)

Special Christmas Bumper Bundle Party


On 20 December 1976, Malice played another concert in the hall of St Wilfrid's School in Crawley with Amulet and other band called Bootleg.

20.12.1976 - Crawley, St Wilfrid's School (UK)


"Two days later, though, we played St Wilfrid's with Marc's new band, Amulet. I told the headmaster Malice were a pop group without telling him I was a member because he hated me! We got in this singer, Martin, a journalist with The Crawley Observer with whom we hadn't had a single rehearsal, and he turned up in three piece suit, a Manchester united scarf and a motorbike helmet which he refused to part with because he was scared someone would steal it! He turned out to be a cabaret singer... did good impersonations of David Cassidy. We started playing; Jailbreak, Suffragette City, Foxy Lady... but no-one could distinguish anything! It was just a screaming wall of feedback!
"Three hundred people came, 200 left, and the rest got up on stage! Lol started singing Wild Thing, Porl left so humiliated he hit him and Martin fled with the words 'This is shit!' No-one's seen him since... We immediately broke up the group!"
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"We pretend there was this jazz group and a choral quintet and sold about 150 tickets at 25p each. It turned into a riot." Robert Smith on A Visual Documentary (1988)

"Second errrr "gig"..... St. Wilfrids School Hall, Crawley 20th December 1976. Artwork by Porl Thompson Malice was The Cure's early provocative incarnation. "Three hundred people came, 200 left, and the rest got up on stage! Lol started singing "Wild Thing", Porl felt so humiliated he hit him............" Nobody present seems to remember "Bootleg" - it may have been a ruse to inflate the entrance fee to .30p. Amulet were characterised as a Jazz Rock Combo." Michael Dempsey on his website (2002)

"It was pretty chaotic. I don't particularly remember an audience, though feel sure there was one. It was probably a shambolic wall of noise. None of us felt confident in our singer and feeling was most likely nutual. We had our own songs as well as Rebel Rebel. I think we had a song called Malice Is In Love.
"Playing in Malice was slightly more serious; being in a band wasn't the career opportunity it is seen as today. It was more a mixture of shared interest, camaraderie and something to do. You have to recognise that the sound we came up with was defined not, as is typical, by listening to other bands and waiting to emulate their sound. It was shaped more by the negative than the positive. By the time we had stripped away all that we mutually detested in music - this was what we were left with. Our sound was what was left. We weren't blisteringly good musicians either, so this economy in sound was a convenient cover for our deficiencies."
Michael Dempsey on Clinical Prescriptions (2003)