FLOWERS OF LOVE

www.thecure.cz

Diary (1979)


Three Imaginary Boys


INFO

From 8 to 10 January 1979, The Cure returned to Morgan Studios to finish their first album. They recorded most of their songs like Foxy Lady with Michael Dempsey on vocal.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"Parry sat in the chair next to Hedges so I suppose that's tantamount to producing. Trouble is, he'd been a drummer in his former life and, like most people who play, he had an affection for his particular instrument so the first day of recording always consisted of poor Lol hitting the snare to get what Parry considered the all-important element of the song. After that things went very quickly - there were no overdubs apart from a little lead guitar and Robert's vocal and, because we'd played the songs so many times, it only took us three or four takes. We whipped through very quickly.
"Parry even managed to persuade Robert to invest in a Fender Jazzmaster guitar and a Roland JC160 amp to enhance the sound."
Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

First Coverage


INFO

On 27 January 1979, Sounds featured The Cure on the cover. This edition included interview with the band entitled "Stars In Embryo" written by Dave McCullough, took place at the Natural History Museum at the band's request.

London Dates


INFO

From 31 January to 9 February 1979, The Cure continued to record and mix in Morgan Studios, playing some concerts around London.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"The thing was, not living in London, I didn't know about these places. The only time I'd ever been to see a group was in Brighton or Croydon, we never used to bother going to London - it cost too much money to get there and back. I'd read about The Marquee, Hope and Anchor and The Nashville but I couldn't believe what they were actually like; they were horrible.
"We played The Nashville on 9 February and the National Front turned up because they thought Killing An Arab was really about Killing An Arab. There was continuous fighting. The NF were distributing leaflets which mentioned Killing An Arab so we had to publish denials and ended up playing the single down."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Killing An Arab


INFO

In February 1979, single Killing An Arab has been reissued on Fiction Records.

10:15 Saturday Night


INFO

In February 1979, the band was asked to go to London to meet the director for 10:15 Saturday Night video. Later, they discovered the mime they had done (thinking that was a rehearsal) would be the actual video.

20 Of A Different Kind


INFO

In February 1979, Killing An Arab was featured on 20 Of A Different Kind compilation album released by Polydor.

A Dose of Sundays


INFO

From 4 March 1979, The Cure played four Sunday nights at The Marquee Club in London, supported by Joy Division (4/3/1979), Fashion (11/3/1979), Local Operator (18/3/1979) and Scars (25/3/1979).


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"They were all full and the stage was regularly invaded. On the first night they let in 900 people, even thought the capacity was supposed to be 800." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I remeber Ian Curtis had a very sad aura about him. I wasn't all that shocked to hear about his suicide later." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I can't remember Joy Division at all. Backstage at The Marquee is about 20 people in there. We couldn't go out to see them play because we were too nervous anyway, so how the fuck Lol noticed Ian Curtis was sad, I'll never know." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Man Loses Ear At Pop Concert


INFO

On 7 March at Bournemouth Town Hall, some girsl pulled her boyfriend's ear off and the next morning the local paper ran a story entitled 'Man Loses Ear At Pop Concert'. The next day, at Hounslow Borough College, security - who were all off-duty firemen - clashed with skinheads whoo took exception to the reggae support band. The Cure played on only to discovered later that their jackets and money had all been stolen.

Fridge, Hoover and Lampshade


INFO

In West Runton where the band were playing the Pavilion, Robert saw the cover artwork for the album for the first time: a fridge, a hoover and a lampshade. He was horrified.

The band's only say in the cover was to be the list of names on the inner sleeve - a kind of who's who of characters who'd cropped up in their history, a kind of thank you in case they never got the chance again.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"He thought it was absolute cack and he was very disappointed that he wasn't in control. It was my decision to make it pretty obscure and, when I showed it to them and he started to bitch, I just said 'Well, we've done it anyway' so he had to go along with it.
"My problem with The Cure was, here was a band without an image but with strong music so I thought, 'Let's make it completely without an image' rather than go for the sort of blood, gore and angst display that was popular for album covers at the time.
"I thought, 'Let's make it completely dispassionate, let's pick the three most mundane things we can possibly find'. And, rather than giving song titles, we gave clues - the whole thing was a headache for programmers but it was an interesting angle. People might be upset and think it pretentious but that was a risk I was prepared to take."
Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I didn't dislike it. In retrospect, I'm rather pleased that it was done because it created a mystique which couldn't be construed as pretentious because it wasn't ably enough done. I think Robert was disappointed that it was done by someone who obviously had nothing to do with the group - the in-house artist or someone - and that it was presented as a fait accompli." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"We didn't want to be judged on what sort of look we had; so I'm the hoover, Robert's the lampstand and Michael's the fridge." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

On Tour


INFO

The tour continued and on 5 April, after gig at Chesterfield Fusion Hall, claimed to be the first pop concert there since Pink Floyd had played in 1968, The Cure tour was busted.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"Some of our roadies used to smoke dope and someone shopped them. I was sharing a room with Robert when, at about five or six in the morning, someone knocked on the door and announced themselves like the BBC. It was police. They searched the whole room - we didn't really know what was going on. They didn't find anything in our room but one of the roadies was arrested and had to go to court." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

On Tour


INFO

The Cure played Watford College and, again, there was trouble, local skinheads doing battle with police dogs.

Benefit Gig


INFO

The band played Northgate Community Centre in Crawley with Amulet in another benefit for Dr Weaver.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"He was thrown out of Crawley College for exactly the same reason he was thrown out of school - gross indecency - so he obviously hadn't learned his lesson. We had more status now, we'd become minor celebrities in Crawley so we thought we'd draw attention to his plight by doing a concert with Amulet, the band we played the first one with.
"The NF turned up again and went berserk. They ringed the community centre and tried to burn it down while we were playing. The whole night was a disaster really, pure violence from beginning to end, as all the Anti Nazi League people turned up as well. It was a shambles, but it made the papers..."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Three Imaginary Boys


INFO

That same week, The Cure released their debut album Three Imaginary Boys featuring the set the band had been building live since its inception. Robert's favourites were Accuracy - "the most perfect of songs, few words, little music" and Grinding Halt written by Lol and shortened by Robert so it only comprised the start of each sentence about apathy and decay. Another Day was "purely about boredom and repetition", ostensibly about Robert at home and Object was a fake horror, a black joke, Robert's attempt to appear "unwholesome. A pastiche of a sexist song". Subway Song was a story, a typical Smith fantasy: "I had this habit of telling people I knew someone who'd been murdered in a subway. It wasn't true at all."

Meathook was one of the first songs The Cure ever wrote "and probably the worst too. It's an in-joke of sorts, arising from an incident during the Hansa days when an old producer kept complaining that one song had no hooklines". Fire In Cairo was a vivid word painting, and Foxy Lady was a typically irreverent and minimal assault on the Hendrix classic of which Adam Sweeting in Sound International wrote: "Imagine Hendrix without the guitar flash, phasing and stereo trickery and you're left with a sparce, twitching skeleton... You lose the dream and get, instead, an uncomfortable necessity". The title track was the first of many songs based on Robert's dreams.

But, amid all this eclecticism, So What stood out for its sheer-deliberate mundanity. Robert, drunk, couldn't come up with any Iyrics so he read the special offer for a decorative cake-icing set off the back of a sugar packet. "I like the music but not the lyrics. Funny - it seemed a good idea at the time."


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"The reviews were generally very strong except Morley's. Funnily enough, if anything was ever like what he's done with ZTT, it was the first offering from Fiction Records." Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"The reaction to Killing An Arab had been universally good - even Tony Parsons didn't slag it - and it surprised us immensely. It went into the alternative chart, Peel played it virtually every night and I really didn't think it would have such an impact because I didn't think it was so radically different. Then again, I was Iistening to Captain Beefheart at the time so I probably thought what we were doing was tame...
"When we did Killing An Arab, no-one knew who we were - it was a single with no preconceptions but, when we brought out the album, we'd had a certain amount of press coverage, people knew what we sounded like and what we looked like and it got slagged horribly. Because of the way it was packaged, people thought it was arty."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Desperate Journalist


INFO

Robert and Parry both wrote to Morley at the NME, and, in their next Peel session, Robert changed the lyrics of Grinding Halt, parodying Morley's elaborate prose style and ridiculing his claims.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"What irritated me was that I agreed with some of what he said but the bit about the packaging making claims for social validity was nonsense. He was saying that we were trying to do something and then not achieving it, which was obviously not true.
"I didn't actually like the record. I didn't think it - sounded like The Cure at all. A lot of people said they liked it for its diversity but that's the exact thing I didn't like about it. It sounded like a compilation album or something."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Grinding Halt


INFO

With a view to releasing a second single, Parry sent out white labels of Grinding Halt but the reaction of radio programmers was less than enthusiastic so the idea was dropped although not before it was erroneously reviewed in Record Mirror.

Cashalton Open Air


INFO

The band's next notable gig was on 1 June at Carshalton Park on a mod revival bill with Secret Affair and the Merton Parkas. Record Mirror's Philip Hall noted 'Lots of ideas but little identity' while The Crawley Advertiser praised 'The delicate blend of bass and lead guitar which makes a pleasant change from the 90 miles per hour music offered up all too often as a substitute for talent'.

Boys Don't Cry


INFO

In late June, The Cure released Boys Don't Cry / Plastic Passion as the second single.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"On 28 June, in Port Talbot, Robert sat me down and said 'Look Bill, I don't want to be like The Boomtown Rats'. That made me laugh and gave me an insight into Robert's character, the first indicator of what was to come. I thought 'What does he mean? There's no way in the world he could be like The Boomtown Rats'. It got me thinking and it was only later that I supposed what he meant by that was that he wouldn't be manipulated. I took it as a sign of inherent weakness in terms of how much he'd be prepared to take to see through what he was doing and I started thinking about just how far this band could be pushed. It's very frustrating when someone says something like that to you - you just want to say 'Fuck off, get like The Boomtown Rats and then change it. Don't back off before you've found out what the water's like'. And the seriousness on his face, the worry of it all, struck me as very odd.
"I knew that Killing An Arab would be fun but Boys Don't Cry was my pick for the Top 10. It didn't get there because Polydor stitched us up. Boys Don't Cry was a hit song and it should have been a hit. Robert was disappointed and he had a right to be. It was a farce."
Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Lyceum


INFO

On 1 July 1979, The Cure played at The Lyceum with The Ruts.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"We topped the bill; the promoters mixed bands without giving a fuck about compatability, all they wanted was to fill the place." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I remember Malcolm Owen, The Ruts' singer, came to see us in our dressing room and was well pissed off that we'd managed to convince his fans we were good." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Dance Fools Dance


INFO

During July 1979, Robert Smith did some other projects. One was recording The Obtainers' 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' for his and Ric Gallups Dance Fools Dance label.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"They were Iike an accapella group, just the two of them, 10 or 11 years old, singing and playing on pots and pans. They just dropped a cassette through my front door and the songs were brilliant. I played it to a lot of people and everyone said they wanted a copy so I thought, rather than copy tapes, it would only cost L50 to get 100 records pressed and we could sell them for 50p each. So, that's what we did. We put Simon's band, The Magspies, on the other side, and all the copies sold. Peel played it quite a lot and I thought it was fun. I'd never realised it was so easy to make, package and sell records." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Cult Hero


INFO

The other project was Cult Hero.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"I wanted to record with Simon. I never really knew Michael, we never had that much in common. I would chat to him but I would never really talk to him. There were lots of little differences in our characters and, if it weren't for the group, I wouldn't have socialised with him at all because I don't think we particularly enjoyed each other's company .There were other people I had more in common with and it got difficult on all those journeys to all those places just the three of us, sharing a room. Lol and I grew closer because we would laugh at the same things and get angry at the same things but Dempsey wouldn't.
"Sometimes it would go quiet for two or three hours, no-one would say anything, and Lol was always trying to break the ice, patch things up, make everything right and I just wouldn't indulge in small talk because I knew, at some point soon, that I was going to have to stop playing with Michael. I wasn't enjoying going on stage or anything. It was fine when we were just rehearsing once a week and playing at The Rocket but, when we were on tour, doing three or four concerts a week, I began to find it very difficult."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Michael always used to take as many vitamin pills as possible and yet he was always ill." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"We just began to diverge and then it began to spill over into the music. I was then going out drinking on a Saturday with Simon and his lot in Horley and I thought it would be great if Simon was in the group, it would be much more fun and really take off." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Simon and Robert both had a liking for Indian food and it was my undoing. I hated it." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I was in the pub one night with Simon's crowd and someone said that Frank Bell, this local Horley postman, had always felt he had the makings of stardom. I knew him - he was one of the wrecking crew and he used to wear a tee-shirt saying 'I'm a cult hero'. So I thought 'Get him in the studio and write him a disco song'. I wanted Simon there and I got in Porl, and Janet, my sister, as well so it wouldn't look like I was just replacing Michael with another bass player." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"The atmosphere in the studio was very different to how it had been over the previous couple of months. Everyone was falling about - it was really good fun. Then we invited another 10 or 15 people from Horley and they all arrived about seven o'clock clutching their bags of goodies and we stayed overnight." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I'd been on holiday and, when I came back, Simon had already learned the bassline. It didn't bother me actually so I went down to the studio and played some synth with a wine bottle. I think that's the moment when Robert came to see that Simon was more suited to the group. He felt more at ease with him, they had a lot more in common." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"We recorded it with Hedges at Morgan. Bill didn't object. There was no 'Is this a good career move?' He thought it peculiar that Frank sang and not me though - he didn't understand that particular part of it." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I like spontaneity but I had the sense to say 'Well, get the backing track done first, then we'll have the party'. It made immense sense to me - the only thing is, I think we picked the wrong side. Robert wanted 'Cult Hero' but 'I Dig You' is really the one the Americans went for." Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"It did very little except in Canada where it sold about 35,000 copies: so there it worked; there Frank is a cult hero!" Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

In Holland


INFO

On 29 July, The Cure played an open air festival in Sterrebos, Holland, their first trip abroad as a band.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"It was pissing with rain and we thought we were going to get electrocuted on stage. But we liked the gig so much that we went to a club that evening and played a secod gig at the request of various people. I remember they paid us in drinks. And then we went on to Amsterdam, we had rooms booked in a hotel that looked alright from the outside but, after 10 flights of stairs, we arrived in a room with six camp beds, dirty curtains and an open pipe running across it giving off this stinking smell. We went back out immediately and stayed out drinking 'till five in the morning before we could face going back." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Robert Smith Met Steven Severin


INFO

On 3 August 1979, Robert Smith met Steven Severin of The Banshees at a Throbbing Gristle gig at the YMCA off Tottenham Court Road.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"I was watching Throbbing Gristle and it seemed they were pumping car fumes into the audience from a truck outside so I went to the bar and Severin was there. Bill was there too and he introduced us and we just chatted over a few drinks which set the scene for the next five or six years really. I remember the occasion distinctly - I was wearing sunglasses and my green check Charlie Cairoli suit and it made Severin laugh." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"We'd signed to Polydor thanks to two people, one of whom was Chris Parry. When he left the company to start Fiction, he gave me a copy of Killing An Arab which I really liked so, at the YMCA, he introduced me to Robert who was wearing a strange green suit. The first thing I asked him was why he lived in Crawley as I couldn't understand how he could be in a band and not live in London. He replied that it was more peaceful there." Steven Severin on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I was pleased to meet him because I liked The Banshees a lot, they were really good, and so when he asked me if we'd be interested in going on their tour, I said yes." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Rock Reading '79


INFO

On 24 August 1979, The Cure played Reading Festival with The Tourists, The Police, Wilko Johnson, Doll By Doll and Motorhead. They shared a caravan with Lemmy, dedicated Boys Don't Cry to 'the Motorhead men' and went down remarkably well.

Warm Up Gigs


INFO

On 5 September 1979, The Cure played in Belfast as a support group to Siouxsie & The Banshees.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"We drove into Belfast and stopped at a police post to ask directions to the Europa Hotel. I was wearing all black at the time and I leapt out of the car and ran towards this policemen and the next thing I knew I had a gun in my side.
"That was just the start! When we arrived at the Europa, there was nothing on the first four floors except a bar and there was this 15 foot high fence all around it. It was horrific, you had to go through all these searches to get in. When we got to the Ulster Hall, we found the crew had all fallen asleep in Liverpool so there was no gear whatsoever, nothing. So Terry Hooley, who ran Good Vibrations, scouted around all the bands that he knew and we played after The Banshees with all The Outcasts' gear. One of their guitars disappeared as I remember and they weren't very happy about that."
Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Tour With The Banshees


INFO

On 7 September 1979, they were in Aberdeen and everyone arrived off the ferry to discover massive policing because Maggie Thatcher was in town. The traumas continued that night when, after a frosty public appearance at a record store, Kenny Morris and John McKay, The Banshees' drummer and guitarist, pinned their tour passes on their pillows, took a train to London and quit the band. This didn't exactly come as a shock to The Cure.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"I remember after a warm up date in Bournemouth, we'd finished our set and we were sitting backstage and Severin and Sioux came in and chatted to us, just getting to know us, but Morris and McKay wouldn't say anything. If we bumped into them and said hello, they'd just turn their heads away like superstars!
"The first we really knew about them leaving was the pandemonium backstage at the concert. Dave Woods, The Banshees' manager, was in a panic as we came off from playing our set and asked us if we could go back on and play some more. I said okay and Sioux and Severin went on and made the announcement. The crowd started chanting and we went back on and played some unfinished new songs like 17 Seconds, ones that we'd written the music to but not the words. I think we did M and then they joined us for The Lord's Prayer. Severin was shouting to me 'E! Just play E!' and, as it turned out, that wasn't to be the last time he shouted it at me either!
"I thought it was a good night. We went back to The Banshees' hotel afterwards and I ended up staying there with Sioux and Severin getting drunk together for the first time. They were discussing what they were going to do and I wanted the tour to go on. It was important to us so I just suggested that I'd play with them if they needed me. Severin told me they'd audition some guitarists and it was left at that."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

New Pop Festival


INFO

On 9 September 1979, The Cure played at the New Pop Festival in Rotterdam, playing in front of 10,000 people and televised nationally. After returning back to Britain, they went into Morgan Studios and worked on their next single.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"It was a reaction to the mod movement that was going on at the time - that explains the sub-Pete Townshend opening chord. I remember writing the words in the bar at Morgan. The tune was a left over - I was writing songs like 17 Seconds by then. I thought it would make a good single but it was about the last thing we did like that and I realised it would be the last thing we did with Michael. We'd had a couple of rehearsals and he didn't like the new stuff. I wanted the basslines to become really simple and he wanted to get even more flowery." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"It was really the last Cure song in that style. It had a little bit of everybody in it, all the groups we'd been following around. There was a syn drum, a poppy bassline and a little bit of The Jam in there. Robert just gave me a tape with a chord structure and no lyrics, Lol only had one beat so we knew what that was going to be and that was it really. We didn't work on it together so I don't know if Robert hated the song or if he liked it." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Sioux and Severin came to visit us while we were doing Jumping Someone Else's Train and Sioux sang on I'm Cold, the B-side, wailing backing vocals. It was an old song from when Porl was in the group, so we recorded it normally and then slowed it down to half speed, just so I could put psychedelic guitar on it!
"The Banshees had had two days auditioning guitarists and then they'd invited me down as they hadn't found anyone else who could play what they wanted. I'd rehearsed a couple of their songs so I could be really impressive! I think we probably actually covered six or seven songs because I knew them, and it was then they decided I'd be right. So they finalised everything - they'd found Budgie from The Slits - and they told me the news at the Morgan session. Everyone was quite happy about it, although they initially wanted another support group. But I said I'd only do it if it was The Cure."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Robert Smith In The Banshees


INFO

The Banshees tour started again in Leicester on 18 September, Robert Smith playing two sets.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"I don't remember it being difficult. After what we'd been doing for the past two or three years, it was a piece of piss really. We were driven around, there was food in the dressing room and the only difficult thing was the mental strain of the first few nights because I knew people were looking at me, thinking 'Is he going to be able to do this?'.
"I got through it okay, though it was the first time I'd ever tried to copy a guitarist. I found that peculiar, but more rewarding than exhausting."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

17 Seconds


INFO

On 3 October 1979, The Cure played in Newcastle.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"It was a very peculiar night. I got into a fight in the lift with these three businessmen which carried on down the corridor. I put this bloke's head through a glass door and his two mates really did me over.
"There wasn't much I could do about it. I did manage to get out at my floor with them still after me, and I pounded on Lol and Michael's door, shouting 'Help me! Help me!' but, of course, they thought I was pissing about. By the time they eventually rescued me, I was really scarred. I had cuts all down the side of my head and my hand from the glass door and I felt terrible.
"I wrote virtually three-quarters of the 17 Seconds album that night. I just stayed up for seven or eight hours and wrote because I was so unhappy. It was one of those nights when I felt filled with all the horror of the world.
"The other great night on that tour was in Hull on the 8th. Me, Lol and Severin were drinking seriously in the bar when Lol decided suddenly to go for a walk. When, about two hours later, he still hadn't returned, we thought we should go and find him."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"All I can remember about that is going out to the Humber and never making it back." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"It was really foggy and Severin and I were walking along with a lighter each so we wouldn't get lost. Every now and then, we'd stumble over an empty bottle on the footpath so we knew we were on the right track. We eventually found him asleep on the banks of the river, but as he wouldn't move, we just left him there covered in mud to sleep it off!" Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I remember there were all these bullrushes by the side of the river and there was a point where I thought I had to grab hold of something and I just went down, bathing in the rushes. Good one that." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Severin really liked Lol after that and the three of us became a sort of group within the groups because he could have a type of fun with us which he couldn't with The Banshees." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

But, Robert Smith was spending more and more time with The Banshees.

"I don't think Lol minded so much because he was really enjoying the fact that we were touring with them but Michael didn't particularly like them and I think he resented the fact that I had even started to travel around with them.
"They had a luxury bus while Lol and Michael were travelling around in my green Maxi. The Banshees didn't want me travelling in that because they thought it might break down - which it frequently did - and they thought 'Why jeopardise the entire show?'
"There was also one other particular incident, I think it was in Birmingham, when we'd been swimming, but Michael wasn't there, and we were sitting around the breakfast table with Sioux and Severin and a few other people and Michael came down and there wasn't room for him. He had to go and sit at another table and I thought 'Oh no, this is going to be the last straw!'
"I realised that, after The Banshees tour, I couldn't just go back to The Cure as it was but I was really looking forward to The Cure as it was going to be. The Banshees tour had given me time away from Lol and Michael to think about what I wanted The Cure to be."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I think Robert was going through a lot then. Lol and I were, well, not blind functionaries, but we were just on the tour, whereas he was looking forward to the next thing. I remember him saying he wanted to make the next album really boring and I couldn't quite grasp that concept. Still, at that point, he was still decent enough to realise that Lol and I would be worried that he might join The Banshees - I'm sure they tried to persuade him - so he tried to divide his time between everyone." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I thought 'Fuck it, if the guy wants to play with The Banshees, something will come of it though Lord knows what!' Robert's in love with life - he'll do just what he wants. During that period, I had lots of other things going anyway - The Passions, The Purple Hearts, The Associates. I was a label boss so I was really unaware that Robert was spending a lot of time in the company of The Banshees." Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Departure Of Michael Dempsey


INFO

After the tour with The Banshees, Robert Smith wanted to change the line-up.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"After the tour, I looked at The Cure long and hard and decided that they had to become an international band. I was bored with going up to Birmingham and Manchester and, fair enough, you use bands as your passport to travel, don't you? You push them out and share experiences.
"So, I called them in and said 'There's a whole world waiting out there and I want to take you round it' and, typically, Dempsey said 'Why Bill? Things not going very well in Britain then?' but Robert said very little and I kept looking at him, wondering what was wrong.
"Anyway, after a few platitudes, they piled into Robert's green Maxi and shot back home and, later, Robert phoned me and said that he was going to change the line-up of the group. I remember he said 'Don't worry Bill. It'll be okay'."
Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"After the tour I spent time making tapes on my own at home. I used my sister's Hammond organ which had bass pedals and a little drum machine and I wrote almost all of 17 Seconds with a bossa nova or swing beat. I had the words from Newcastle, I strummed out the chords on the Top 20 and I'd built up six or seven songs within a week.
"I remember I had Michael and Lol round to listen and Lol was really excited but Michael was... well... cool, he just continued reading his paper so I thought 'Right that's it!' and I went straight round to Simon's house and played the demos to him. He was really enthusiastic, especially as the band he was in at the time were playing fairly icky pop songs and I knew he was frustrated so I asked him then and there if he wanted to play in The Cure. I remember he said 'Why, have you got rid of Michael?' and I said 'No, not yet. But if you come and play bass, he won't be able to will he?'"
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I always felt I ought to betheir bass player but I never dreamed Robert would ask me. I was resigned to spending my life working in the factory from 7.30 to 5.30, coming home, playing bass for a couple of hours, spending the rest of the evening with Carol, my girlfriend, and then, at the end of the week, going down the pub with my 18 quid." Simon Gallup on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Robert wanted to tighten it down to strict disciplines, he wanted to strip it down to the real basics and, if an open E string was plucked endlessly for five minutes, that would do him. But it didn't interest Dempsey. He was, and still is, a very eloquent bass player.
"I wasn't that happy with the decision because I thought they were the perfect pop trio, better than The Police, better than The Jam. But Robert wasn't interested and he closed the doors.
"Well, I thought, 'I'm not gonna knock my head against the wall. The boy wants a change, he's either gonna be successful or he's not and, if not, I'll find another band'.
"It was hard to say goodbye to Dempsey though because I rather liked him and still do. He's a very funny, dry, witty man, very underestimated in his abilities. I can spend more time with him, sitting down chatting in a hotel foyer than with almost anyone else I know. But I thought 'Well, life's like this... bitch... bitch... we change course'."
Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I don't know how I actually told Michael. I probably didn't. I probably left it to Lol." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I actually phoned him and it seemed as if he didn't really care about it at all." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I knew something was in the air. I had a long conversation with Robert - quite a friendly one under the circumstances - and he said he didn't care about the band, that he couldn't go on the way it was and that he was prepared to change the name if necessary. I said there was no need. Simon was very suited to them anyway. He was very much the New Wave bass player who could play his bass at pelvic level. I could never do that, I had to have it under my chin like some sort of funkster. Maybe that was my undoing!" Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Jumping Someone Else's Train


INFO

On 3 November 1979, the British music press reviewed new single Jumping Someone Else's Train b/w I'm Cold.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"It was probably the best-sounding of all the early singles, a fine moment for Dempsey, a swan song." Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

I'm A Cult Hero


INFO

Cult Hero single has been also released in the same month.

New Line-up


INFO

In November 1979, Simon Gallup and Matthieu Hartley (keyboard player with The Magspies) joined The Cure.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"I used to see him wandering round Horley with different coloured hair every week." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I thought it was a bit much asking Simon to step in, I thought he might be resented by his mates in Horley so I asked Matthieu to join as well. I didn't know him very well at the time and I wasn't even sure we'd need any synth lines but I knew we'd need another instrument at some point and, also, it would mean Simon wasn't the new boy, wasn't the odd one out.
"Matthieu had a Korg Duophonic synth which was perfect because you couldn't play more than two notes at a time and we just started rehearsing straight away. I was really excited at the time - we started setting up concerts before we even had the songs ready. We set ourselves a deadline and rehearsed for seven or eight days solid."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"When Robert asked me to join The Cure, I said yes immediately because the prospect was so exciting. My role was reasonably detached though, I wasn't an integral part of the band but I wasn't on probation either. I just did what Robert told me to do." Matthieu Hartley on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Given hindsight, I think it was a rather hedonistic choice - bang two in instead of one, But I quite liked the idea of four - it shattered previous illusions and I felt 'We're going somewhere!
"Robert rang me and said 'I think you'd better come down and listen to what we're doing' so I went down to his mum and dad's house in Crawley and, I must admit, my gut reaction was less than enthusiastic. I instinctively took a liking to Simon and a disliking to Hartley - I found him a bit overbearing. Simon was nervous, Lol was trying hard, Robert was trying to please but Hartley was just boorish."
Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"There was something between Chris and me from the start - a personality conflict. I didn't hate him, I just didn't get on with him, that's all." Matthieu Hartley on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"They played and I felt better - I automatically noticed the downbeat quality of it which, musically, was a bit of a shock, and I wasn't quite sure where this thing was going to go. But, I'll give Robert his due, he knew where he wanted to go." Chris Parry on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Michael Joined The Associates


INFO

On 10 November 1979, the story about Michael Dempsey's departure was in the British music press. Then he joined The Associates.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"Certainly the period after I left was awful but - Chris pretty quickly picked me up and I soon found that The Associates were, musically, more mature than what I'd been doing before. The Cure were a sound that you had to be part of but The Associates were more lively so I recovered reasonably quickly." Michael Dempsey on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Future Pastimes Tour


INFO

On 16 November 1979, The Cure played in Liverpool, first concert of the Future Pastimes Tour, with other bands like The Associates and The Passions.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"Something happened - I think the bus broke down or we ran out of petrol or something but, anyway, we didn't arrive at Erics till about 10 o'clock and The Passions had already played. There were only about 100 people there so we just went to the bar, got a beer, got onstage and played. We were really just playing for ourselves, chatting between songs and that. I remember we'd been drinking on the way up and I couldn't remember which words went with which songs so I just started making them up.
"It was the best concert I'd done by far and I suddenly realised how awful the last six months had been. But now I was onstage with people who were really enthusiastic. It was a new start."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"It was great - the first night I'd ever had free beer. I remember thinking 'So this is stardom!'." Simon Gallup on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

On Tour


INFO

On 17 November 1979, they played London School of Economics.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"We stopped at a motorway cafe on the way back down from Liverpool and I ate some very dodgy sausages. That night, 10 minutes before we were due on stage, I was suddenly stricken. It was fucking freezing and I was shivering like a dog.
"It was a good show though. A lot of the Horley crowd came up and it got so boisterous I forgot I was ill until just towards the end when I threw up all over this punk in the front row.
"All the bands used to drive around together and it was a pretty volatile mix. There wasn't really that much good feeling on that tour. The only thing that held it together was, if it was cack for one group, it was cack for us all. We were only headlining because I guess Bill pinned more hopes on us, but there wasn't any sense of priority. We all shared the same dressing room. In fact, at one point I think there was even talk of alternating headlines but we thought that was stupid because we'd never be able to decide who should headline in London."
Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

On Tour


INFO

On 7 December 1979, the tour ended at Crawley College.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"Some skinheads came and smashed the place up - they always did in Crawley. I remember we came off pretty disgusted because it was our home town concert and there were a lot of people there who liked us and wanted to see us and alll could see was people bottling each other." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"There was a lot of jealousy too. I remember going to the local record shop and people'd say 'My mate's much fucking better than you are. I don't know why you got the job'. We never played Crawley again." Simon Gallup on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

The Cure Moved To Europe


INFO

In December 1979, The Cure travelled abroad for the first time to make a continental tour, featuring shows in Netherlands, France and Belgium.


WHAT THEY SAID..?

"We all really went to town. We thought 'This is it - the start of a new era'! We had a day off and got taken to a cafe in the morning where we ended up drinking 13 bottles of red wine between the four of us. Later, Lol went into a coma. We were sitting in, someone's room back at the hotel when he suddenly started screaming and flipped out. He went running down the corridor puking up red wine everywhere." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"Me and Robert followed the trail - I like a sick paper-chase. Really good." Simon Gallup on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"He kept going into different corridors, trying his key in different doors so, eventually, I took pity on him and let him in my room where he commenced to enter the bathroom with, he said, the intention of committing suicide." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"They were all banging on the toilet door, going 'Let us in! Let us in!' and I was groaning. 'Let me die! Let me die!' I lay with my face in the turned on shower for hours, woke up about five in the morning and crawled to bed." Lol Tolhurst on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

"I pissed in his suitcase as retaliation; he was still alive." Robert Smith on Ten Imaginary Years (1988)

Then they returned to Britain...