Legendary percussionist Rat Scabies, was original drummer for seminal punk band The Damned is streaming with us today his debut solo album P.H.D. (Prison, Hospital, Debt).
Christopher Millar aka Rat Scabies had performed with The Damned from the band’s beginnings in 1976, until his departure twenty years later in 1996. Since then he has performed in various groups and musicians, including his short lived band The Germans, as well as being the protagonist in music journalist Christopher Dawes book Rat Scabies and The Holy Grail.
Following his first solo outing in covering Bob Dylan’s “This Wheels On Fire” under the guise of Rat and the Whale, the rat is now releasing his first full solo album, which features an eclectic mix of sounds, some harkening back to the sound and style of The Damned as heard on “Dazy Bones”, and others quite experimental, such as “Floating” with its use of samples and dub reggae.
Listen to P.H.D. below:
P.H.D. is out now. Order the album on vinyl or CD via Cleopatra Records or digitally via Bandcamp.
On May 13th, 1983, The Smiths released their debut single “Hand In Glove”. The song was written in January of that year between the first and third concert the band ever performed.
It is said that after receiving a demo tape from his song writing partner Johnny Marr, Morrissey quickly wrote the lyrics within the span of two hours, leading to the track being recorded in February at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, the same studio where Joy Division recorded “Love Will Tear Us Apart” three years earlier.
The song’s lyrics describes a gay relationship in which it is commented on how people would react seeing the pair together in public. This an obvious reference to Morrissey’s thinly veiled sexuality, in which “Hand In Glove” is the first of many songs written by the Mancunian singer about being a gay man, for example: “Lucky Lisp”, “Piccadilly Palare”, “Hairdresser on Fire”, etc.
As further evidence of the track being a gay love song, is the controversial sleeve featuring a muscular man with the exposed buttocks of model George O’Mara by photographer Jim French.
Much has been written about Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins‘ numerous projects, but the ink has yet to dry on their latest celebratory outing, Poptone. So the story goes, Ash was dozing with his headphones on and woke with a start at 4 a.m. to the telltale sounds of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.” The jarring urgency of the moment is what inspired him to get back on the road, this time drawing heavily upon (but not limited to) the work of short-lived project Tones on Tail. Enlisting Haskins on drums, the trio is rounded out by Diva Dompe, Haskins’ daughter, a formidable force fit to fill the shoes of both David J and Glenn Campling.
After a wildly revered tour, which pitted much of Tones on Tail’s transitional back catalog against the Ash-sung Bauhaus and Love and Rockets songs, Poptone cut their debut album with LA’s Part Time Punks. Due out across various formats on Cleopatra Records on June 8th, the record captures thirteen classic songs from the band’s repertoire, a testament to the strength and timelessness of the material. They’re also slated to tour again, kicking off a short stint of west coast dates this Friday, May 11th.
We were able to catch both Kevin and Daniel for two separate but parallel conversations about the band’s past, present, and future.
While Poptone celebrates your entire catalog as a songwriter, it draws heavily upon Tones On Tail, which I’ve always felt is the freshest and most vital, yet most criminally underrated project you’ve been a part of. How has it been revisiting this material live considering how much of it was created in a studio?
Daniel Ash: Well, it wasn’t quite a studio project – we would be in a room rehearsing the tracks before we got into the studio actually. A few tracks were created in the studio perhaps, but for the most part we’d be in a rehearsal-type situation, with some experimentation done after the fact – there were some tracks that would take on a different flavor. Things like backwards echoes and reverbs would be added afterwards, but the core of the song was written and played in the rehearsal room beforehand.
Out of the three bands, Tones on Tail is my favorite because we were completely free to do whatever we wanted. My plan on that band was to do music that sounded like it came from another planet but you could also tap your foot to it – in other words, it’s commercially viable. I think we achieved that. I think the band has aged well – it’s very simply recorded – but I think most of that stuff could have been recorded last week. It’s very fresh sounding even though in essence, it’s 30 years old. You can’t really put it into a category, which I love.
It’s funny because “Go!” probably has the most cross-genre appeal of anything you’ve done, including “So Alive.” I’ve heard “Go!” at sporting events, for example…
DA: Wow, yeah! It’s ironic, because it was a B-side. The DJs in the clubs would flip it over and play the other track, and it became a big hit in Germany for six weeks. It’s one of those magic moments in the studio, but for us, I saw it as a B-side. I was more into “Lions” at the time, you know, because again, ironically when I was younger, I preferred slow tracks. Now that I’m older, I prefer faster tracks – it’s very strange!
Kevin, I recall reading that Bauhaus – Undead was meant to be a celebration of your work with Bauhaus in light of years of negativity – is Poptone meant to keep that positive vibe going?
Kevin Haskins: Very much so, yeah. We all get on really well and have a lot of fun doing it. We’ve been rehearsing the past few days after not seeing each other for several weeks and we’re really enjoying dipping into the back catalogue and realizing what a great collection of songs that Daniel wrote. We’re bringing in possibly six new ones – we didn’t plan on doing that.
Any hints as to what the new songs will be?
KH: We didn’t want to talk about it until we were sure these songs would work in the set, but I’ll just say that “Haunted When the Minutes Drag” and “Burning Skies” are working out very well.
Otherwise, we’ve pretty much exhausted everything we can reproduce live with Tones on Tail on the last tour – so it’s going to be more Love and Rockets this tour. I think it was rather Tones heavy last year, and now it’ll be more of an even balance.
I love the guys at Part Time Punks and I’m excited to hear the recordings you made with them. It really feels like they’re tapping into the same level of support and enthusiasm that John Peel was back when. I’d love to hear more about the session.
DA: We originally recorded a couple of nights in LA in the spring, in last April, as a sort of a tester for us. The capacity was 250 people per night and we recorded both gigs. As the tour went on, the original idea was to put these recordings out as a live album, but as the tour progressed through the year, we were playing a lot better as time went on. When we listened back to those tapes in comparison to what we were doing into the middle of the year, and the stuff we were doing later was better in essence. We decided to go into that radio station and recorded a session. It’s all live in the studio. 1-2-3-GO!
KH: I’ve DJed for Nigel before, and we kept in touch. Occasionally we’ve discussed recording a session, so I thought it would have been prudent to do it while we were on tour. The crew would be there and everything would be all set up. I just thought it would be great instead of doing five or six songs, let’s do as many songs as we can in the time we have. It definitely reminded me of those Peel sessions where you only have six or seven hours, but it takes three hours to set everything up – especially now with all the electronic drums and computers and keyboards. So, we ended up with about two hours in the end and I said, “let’s just play as if we were playing live.”
We didn’t get everything, but we got most of the key songs down.
How has social media and streaming helped grow or sustain your music over the years?
KH: Well, I think any form that your music is put out there, it all helps to keep the legacy going and keep you in the public eye. We don’t get paid very much for streaming, it’s true, but there is the plus that your presence on those platforms is important for new generations – it helps reveal you to them.
DA: The bottom line is that it’s the new way of doing things. I sort of reacted against it a few years back – thought it was too many cooks, everybody having a go, too much stuff out there and you tend to disappear, but I’ve changed my mind on it completely. I think it’s a good thing because you can reach so many more people. In the old days, if you didn’t get a record deal, you were done, what were you going to do if you didn’t have a record deal? You’d just be playing at the bar at the end of the road and that was it. Now, kids can get on their iPhone, make a great video, put it on YouTube and it reaches so many people, so I’ve come to the conclusion now that all of those formats are great. I love it. I used to hate it but now I completely see its effect and I see its power and I’m embracing it, just like everything else.
I don’t think any medium is the solution, you know? There’s no one service or one way of doing that covers everybody – but it is incredibly useful when you’re seeking out hard-to-find material or trying to discover things on your own. Much easier than when I was getting into music in a big way, at least…
DA: Yeah, I mean, if you want to discover ANY band if you’ve heard the name, you just go on YouTube and there it is, and it’s great. This is the world we live in – everything is speeding up. It’s sped up SO much. I don’t know where it’s going to end. There IS concern that the generation growing up now – the ten year olds with their iPhones, they walk down the street don’t even look up, even to cross the road, and it’s freaky. I don’t know how it’s going to affect the psyche of these young kids – it’s SO different.
It’s funny me saying this though, because when talking to friends my age, I start laughing because we sound just like our dads and granddads when they were talking about TV or whatever and saying, “when I was a kid I used to be climbing trees and mountains and going for a swim at four in the morning, and now you kids just sit there and watch TV,” and now we’re saying the same thing about the so-called millennials and their iPhones. There are pros and cons to every generation though, it’s just the way it is, so I try to keep an open mind on the whole thing.
I remember when I was getting into your music, how difficult it was to even find a Bauhaus CD, so I’m envious of the way things are now in a way.
DA: We were so left of center, we were so alternative, it was ridiculous. It was an irony there, because me personally, I’m a REAL fan of commercial music- there’s nothing better than a three-and-a-half-minute hit single. I love that stuff, and yet I was in the most alternative band you could get. I wanted Bela to be a big hit, but it ain’t gonna be because it’s nine-and-a-half-minutes long. It’s the weirdest thing, I have huge admiration for anyone who can write a hit single. I think it takes a lot more talent to do that than to make an album of obscure, weird, elitist alternative rock.
Which isfunny, because your guitar playing strays from that theory as well – you don’t play any solos, for example, and your playing is much more textural and minimal.
DA: I’m just a ball of contradictions, aren’t I? I give up! I just like, say one thing and then say something else. Someone asked me the other day if I was an introvert or an extrovert and quite honestly, I said BOTH, depending on the time of day…
How would you say your playing has progressed over the years? Each of your styles are both instantly recognizable, and in some cases, change radically from track to track.
KH: Well, I started drumming when I was twelve, and I would just play along to all sorts of different bands’ records and I’d pick up little things by doing that. Then I had drum lessons where I learned a jazz beat, a pop beat, bossa nova – it was bossa nova I used on “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” I’d also play along to Ringo Starr and Faces drummer Kenney Jones – I’d navigate towards simple drummers. When Bauhaus started, the first Banshees drummer Kenny Morris, and Joy Division’s drummer, Stephen Morris, were favorites. They were a big influence on me at the time.
When we’re writing and recording, even if you just listen to another song, it all goes into your brain and it’s filed away and I’ll find things coming out of nowhere. It’s really organic the way it happens. If I set out to do anything, it was to be as innovative and as unique as possible. I always tried to come up with something different to the previous song – I felt contrast was important.
DA: Well, it hasn’t really! I just do the same thing I’ve always done, ha ha! The big change for me, what made me sound totally different from other people – I remember when I was in art school, all the kids wanted to sound like Jimi Hendrix. No way was I going to do that for two reasons: Number 1, he’s already done that and got that sound, and Number 2, I’m much too lazy to learn to play like that. So I thought I’d go the other way and keep very innocent and not learn many chords and scales and all that, so that hopefully would make my guitar style sound very different. The main thing that changed for me is because I got a hold of an e-bow very early on and that little gizmo in my hand there changed the way I played guitar completely. It opened it up for me to get my own sound. There’s a lot on the records that you think might be a keyboard, but it’s not…
Having played live for so many years, how has the experience changed for you? Do you still get the same thrill?
KH: Oh, definitely. In fact, I thought that I was done with touring eight years ago, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it. I’m loving playing drums again. It takes more effort and practice because of my age, which isn’t surprising, but I still enjoy the whole thing. It keeps me fit too, which is great!
Has it gotten easier with all the new technology?
KH: I met with Roland and they gave me a really good deal on a TD-50, which has a lot of built-in sounds, but you can put your own sounds in there. I started triggering samples in the late 80s, because in the studio we’d come up with different snare drum sounds. I really love sampling and triggering all these sounds. It became an important part of the song structure. So I’m still doing that now – I’m using six pads and a trigger on the snare, and that’s basically what I’ve been spending hours on every morning this week before going into rehearsal. I have to go and try to find the samples, and if not, I have to try and re-create them, which is really difficult.
I enjoy it though, it’s a challenge and it’s creative. Live, it makes the songs sound more like the records and there are more of the elements – the cherries on the cake.
What’s your take on the Poptone tour so far, how has the response been?
DA: It’s been a blast, yeah. Touch wood, we rehearsed for eight weeks solid and it paid off. There weren’t any bum gigs, I mean, we were consistent. Hopefully it’s going to be the same this year. It’s a great little unit we’ve got – the crew, the band, we all get on great, it’s like one big happy Partridge Family on the road.
KH: The audiences have been AMAZING, another element of it that I didn’t predict. Especially as our demographic is older now, and as you get older, you tend to want to stay at home, but we’ve been getting a LOT of people to come and see us, and the enthusiasm is really wonderful. I feel very grateful and blessed that we have fans that still want to come and see us and have a good time. It’s such a celebration of the music and it’s a wonderful thing.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this a lot, but I know these things are always fluid – any plans to write or record new material together?
KH: Personally, I’d like to, but Daniel’s kind of hesitant – he sees it purely as a retrospective project. That’s how it started out, and it’s working really well as that. That’s what he wants to do with it, but I keep hope open all the time that maybe he’ll change his mind.
DA: Well, it sounds crazy, but yeah the original idea was to do put this thing together for a limited amount of time and play a LOT of Tones on Tail songs because the demand was there – we’d only done two very small tours in England and one in the US back in the ’80s. We’d done reunions with the other two bands several times, so this time we wanted to just do the Tones stuff. People wanted to hear that, and that’s what we’re doing now.
As far as new stuff, in the time off we had between Christmas and now, I came up with this song called “Alien Love,” which you can check out on my website. It’s a couple of tracks as a download or a limited personalized CD. I put that together on the break just to test myself and see if I could still write stuff basically because it’s been a while. I was satisfied, it was great fun doing it, so please do check it out!
Will Poptone be sticking around for a while?
KH: We have this west coast tour we’re about to go on and we’re also setting up an east coast tour for July. We’ll keep going where the interest is. We went to Mexico this year, and we’d love to go to Europe and South America and wherever else people will invite us.
DA: You know, we really don’t know. We’d like to do Europe, etc., but it’s all down to finances and whether or not we get the right offers in order for us to carry on. We’ll have been through the States twice now, so we can’t really come back and play again for another year or two…so it’s either going to be Europe or festivals.
After July, the whole thing’s up in the air!
Check out the Poptone tracklist and tour dates below:
Poptone- Poptone LP/CD 1. Heartbreak Hotel 2. Ok This Is The Pops 3. Mirror People 4. Movement Of Fear 5. Happiness 6. No Big Deal 7. Lions 8. Love Me 9. Performance 10. Christian Says 11. Ball Of Confusion 12. Go! 13. Slice Of Life
Poptone Tour Dates: 5.10.18 – Solano Beach, CA – Belly Up 5.11.18 – Pomona, CA – The Glass House 5.13.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom 5.15.18 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom 5.16.18 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst 5.18.18 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre 5.19.18 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom 5.20.18 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
Peter Murphy’s solo work is receiving a 5 Disc box set from label Beggar Banquet’s “The Arkive”, a reissue initiative for past and present Beggars Group labels & artists.
Murphy’s solo set, which follows a similar release from both Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, is packaged in a hard-cover book, chronicles the Bauhaus singer’s solo work that followed after the first demise of Bauhaus, and the interim project Dali’s Car he formed with Japan’s former bass player Mick Karn.
Simply titled Peter Murphy – 5 Albums, the collection contains 1985’s Should The World Fail To Fall Apart, 1987’sLove Hysteria, 1989’s Deep, 1992’sHoly Smoke. and 1995’s Cascade.
According to the official press release each album is:
“peppered with bonus tracks comprising of period rarities including original demos, single B-sides, early and alternate mixes and many previously unreleased recordings Including “Critic’s Choice”, “Groovy Place”, “Sail On White” and a full band take on “Cool Cool Breeze”. This set also features many production roughs of Peter’s final album for Beggars Banquet, the sublime Cascade, including a stunning seven minute plus early take of the title track, appearing here under its working title of “Satin Nights”.
Disc 1: 1. Canvas Beauty (Romance Version) 2. The Light Pours Out Of Me 3. Confessions 4. Should The World Fail To Fall Apart 5. Never Man 6. God Sends 7. Blue Heart 8. The Answer Is Clear 9. Final Solution 10. Jemal 11. Canvas Beauty (Up Version) 12. Should The World Fail To Fall Apart (Version 3) 13. Stay 14. Final Solution (Club Mix Version 1) 15. Tale Of The Tongue (Extended Version)
Disc 2: 1. All Night Long 2. His Circle And Hers Meet 3. Dragnet Drag 4. Socrates The Python 5. Indigo Eyes 6. Time Has Got Nothing To Do With It 7. Blind Sublime 8. My Last Two Weeks 9. Fun Time 10. Tale Of The Tongue (Single Edit) 11. I’ve Got A Miniature Secret Camera 12. Critic’s Choice 13. All Night Long (U.S.A. Edit) 14. Socrates The Python (Demo) 15. Fun Time (Cabaret Mix) (Demo)
Disc 3: 1. Deep Ocean Vast Sea 2. Shy 3. Crystal Wrists 4. Marlene Dietrichâ??s Favourite Poem 5. Seven Veils 6. The Line Between The Devils Teeth (and That Which Cannot Be Repeat) 7. Cuts You Up 8. A Strange Kind Of Love (version One) 9. Roll Call 10. Roll Call (reprise) 11. A Strange Kind Of Love (Version 2) 12. The Line Between The Devil’s Teeth (12″ Remix) 13. Cuts You Up (U.S.A. Alternate Edit) 14. A Strange Kind Of Love (Remix Edit Version) 15. Deep Ocean Vast Sea (Instrumental)
Disc 4: 1. Keep Me From Harm 2. Kill The Hate 3. You’re So Close 4. The Sweetest Drop 5. Low Room 6. Let Me Love You 7. Our Secret Garden 8. Dream Gone By 9. Hit Song 10. Volga Boatmen (Outro) 11. The Sweetest Drop (Rave Edit) 12. Cool Cool Breeze 13. You’re So Close (Radio Edit) 14. The Sweetest Drop (Radio Edit 1) 15. Hit Song 16. The Sweetest Drop (Rave 12″ Mix)
Disc 5: 1. Mirror To My Woman’s Mind 2. Subway 3. Gliding Like A Whale 4. Disappearing 5. Mercy Rain 6. I’ll Fall With Your Knife 7. The Scarlet Thing In You 8. Sails Wave Goodbye 9. Wild Birds Flock To Me 10. Huuvola 11. Cascade 12. Wild Birds Flock To Me (Production Rough Mix) 13. Groovy Place (Demo) 14. Wish (Production Rough Mix) 15. Sail On White (Production Rough Mix) 16. Satin Nights (Cascade) (Production Rough Mix)
Coy joined the popular New-Wave/Synthpop band in 1982, initially as the group’s drummer, eventually taking on the roles of guitarist, and keyboardist, and the band’s manager after pairing down the lineup to the duo of Coy and Burns.
Coy’s tenure with Dead or Alive saw the band’s first hit with the cover of KC & The Sunshine Band’s ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’ in 1984, and for the next 4 years the band would have a string of hits, most notably “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”—and songs like “Lover Come Back To Me”, “In Too Deep”, “Brand New Lover”, “Something In My House”, “Hooked On Love” and “Turn Around And Count 2 Ten”.
So sad to hear about the passing of Steve Coy from Dead Or Alive.
On May 3rd, 1982, Modern English released their second studio album After the Snow. The album was released on 4AD records in the UK, and Sire records in the US, and featured three singles: “Life in the Gladhouse”, “Someone’s Calling”, and “I Melt With You”.
Atypical of Modern English’s more punk and avant-garde sound, “I Melt With You” is probably the recognized post-punk song used in advertising—selling cheeseburgers, to M&Ms, but the real irony is that the song is actually about two lovers literally melting together during a nuclear holocaust.
Singer Robbie Grey explains:
“I don’t think many people realized it was about a couple making love as the bomb dropped. As they made love, they become one and melt together.”
In the digital age, thousands of records have been discovered and have become instant classics, forgotten gems finally receiving the love and adoration they deserve. End of Data‘s 1984 debut Sahrah is one of the best LPs to have been unearthed in the era of the music blog, and Spanish label B.F.E Records have just reissued the classic coldwave LP on limited edition vinyl.
As one of the flagship bands of the French la vague froide movement (also known as coldwave throughout much of Europe), End of Data shared members with the like-minded Charles de Goal. The band released two LPs during their tenure, both landmarks of the genre. End of Data perfectly blended incisive guitars, pummeling drum machine rhythms, and unsettling electronics, and in doing so, were one of the most unique bands in the genre.
Sahrah was originally released on the legendary Divine imprint, also home to Fra Lippo Lippi, Mecano, Complot Bronswick, Flue, and Tuxedomoon. The LP is a latter-day classic, with the mid-tempo title track appearing in DJ sets on both sides of the pond. The fast-paced punk rave-up “If I’m Not a Killer” is another standout, while both “Follow Me and So” and “Like a Succession I & II” are built around dreamy synths and minimal electronics, the latter exploding into a chaotic synth frenzy.
That said, the entire album is an essential genre masterpiece from front-to-back. The original LP fetches high prices in the resellers market, which makes this reissue long overdue and extremely welcome. The B.F.E edition has been lovingly remastered and includes rare photos and liner notes from the band. Check out the tracklisting below, alongside the video for “Sahrah.”
End of Data- Sahrah 1. End of Data 2. If I’m Not a Killer 3. Follow Me and So 4. Like a Succession I & II 5. Trottodaf 6. Sahrah (Symphonie Inachevée)
Peter Murphy and David J reunited in Mexico last night after 12 years apart—for the first in a series of Summer Festival dates celebrating 40 years of their seminal post-punk band Bauhaus—a group who undeniably set the mold for gothic rock.
While the other half of the Bauhaus lineup Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins are only performing select Bauhaus tracks in their Tones on Tail, and Love and Rockets heavy project Poptone, The bass and voice of the haus of bau graced the festival stage in Mexico to perform a set of 12 Bauhaus classics ahead of their twice rescheduled run of shows in San Francisco this summer.
The scene was not unlike the what fans saw during the 2006 tour with Nine Inch Nails, with the sun was still shining bright at the Roxy Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico, while Peter Murphy and David J opened their set with the trademark “Double Dare”, leading into “In the Flat Field,” “God In An Alcove”, “Silent Hedges,” “Boys”, “She’s In Parties”, “Kick In The Eye”, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “Stigmata Martyr,” “The Passion Of Lovers”, “Dark Entries” and the standard set closer of Bauhaus’s fantastic cover of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.”
Below, check out the setlist from yesterday’s concert, with inclusion of some video via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook:
The Cure’sRobert Smith is perhaps the most beloved musical icons of our day. A living legend, Smith’s mainstream popularity is shocking if looked at objectively—as the 59 year old musician is lauded as the patron saint of misfits and outcasts.
Regardless of this, Smith has undeniably has a spellbinding ability to compose passionate music that brings together all who listen into a fandom where they know that, however odd or ordinary, they are indeed not alone.
To quote one of these fans:
“For some of us he’s just the voice of our souls. And I’m sure he doesn’t need everyone’s love. He is just himself. As it should be for all of us.”
When David Bowie calls you an eccentric, it probably means that your unconventional persona is perhaps so bizarre, that even Bjork emulates your mannerisms.
Such is the case with Robert Smith, whose backcombed hair has superseded that of Albert Einstein’s in the echelon of wild hairdos. This taken together with his messy use of lipstick and eyeliner created the archetype for what is “Goth”.
Regardless whether or not you think Smith meets the criteria for the above label, ultimately Smith doesn’t take himself too seriously, and could care less what anyone else thinks.
Helping Fellow Musicians
Technically Robert Smith played along side Joy Division three times, but one of those times was the infamous March 4th Marquee Club gig series of Sundays where The Cure chose a different band during each night of the residency.
This attitude continued with the booking of tour support band’s like and also the trees, Shelleyan Orphan, and Cranes, as well as with Mogwai and Interpol (among others) performing at 2004’s Curiosa concert tour.
This trend continues to this day, with 3 of the above bands slotted to at either the 25th annual Meltdown Fest in June, or The Cure’s 40th anniversary concert in this July.
One of the bands on the bill for the latter event that will take place in London’s Hyde park is the newly reformed Slowdive. In a 2014 interview with Post-Punk.com, the band had stated that it was their dream to open for The Cure. Robert Smith has now made that dream come true.
But it doesn’t stop there, as we can verify that for Meltdown Fest Robert Smith did indeed send a personalized letter to each band requesting that the play the event—which meant alot to newer and more underground acts such as Kælan Mikla, The Soft Moon, The KVB, and Tropic of Cancer.
Compassion and Forgiveness
Our editorial staff wept several times while reading Cure co-founder Lol Tolhurst’s memoir Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, that recounts his disintegration into alcoholism that resulted in his being ask to leave the band. Tolhurst would later sue Smith and Fiction Records, claiming joint ownership of The Cure, and royalty payments, which was ultimately a painful experience for all.
Tolhurst would eventually come to terms with his alcoholism, and after years of sobriety, with a reconciliation with Smith culminating with the two standing on a beach, and performing together one more time during the “Reflections” series of concerts in Sydney, New York, London, and Los Angeles.
Love Of Poetry and Literature
Far from being one to charm with superficial wit, Robert Smith perhaps is more concerned with the deeper emotional content culled from the books upon his shelf.
Starting with his exploration of absurdism in Albert Camus L’stranger in the band’s first single “Killing An Arab”, to angry the nihilism of Pornography, and theNietzschean idea of transcending despair through art during the production of Disintegration.
The album Faith had songs inspired by the steampunk Gormenghast trilogy of novels, and the stand alone single “Charlotte Sometimes” was based on the book of the same name featured author Penelope Farmer’s series of three fantasy novels featuring the Makepeace sisters, Charlotte and Emma.
Kiss me Kiss Me Kiss Me’s “How Beautiful You Are” lyrics are almost identical to Charles Baudelaire poem called The Eyes Of The Poor, which begins with the line, “So you would like to know why I hate you today?”
And the album Wish’s track “Open” has lyrics that allude to Sylvia Plath with the line “and the way the rain comes down hard / that’s the way I feel inside…” resembling what she originally penned in In Letters Home: “I am glad the rain is coming down hard. It’s the way I feel inside.
Robert Smith is a very hard working musician, who at one point was a member of The Cure, The Glove, and Siouxsie and the Banshees—all at the same time. When the workload was too much for him, he did the right thing and quit The Banshees and The Glove to focus on The Cure.
(Note that Smith joined Siouxsie & the Banshees twice, the first time replacing guitarist John McKay when he quit in 1979, and the second time after John McGeoch had a breakdown and was dismissed in 1982).
Early in The Cure’s career, Robert made it a point to not overspend on extravagances, and keep the band economically sound, despite drugs and alcohol use.
Robert has also ensured to this day that neither he, or the band had any harmful publicity, save for the unfortunate legal battle with Tolhurst, for which the former Cure drummer and keyboardist takes full accountability for.
Additionally, Robert Smith has stated that he is not comfortable with politics being expressed through music, which is ironic however, because of both the band’s frequent donations to Amnesty International, and by the singer/songwriter “non-political” stance against racist’s co-opting the existentialist song “Killing An Arab” into something literal.
Smith would later during the promotion of the Standing On A Beach/Staring At The Sea compilations request that radio stations not play the song, and to this day when The Cure perform the track live, do so with variations on the lyrics such as “Kissing An Arab”, or “Killing An Ahab”.
Robert Smith and Mary Poole have been together since a 14 years old Robert asked ask Mary to be his partner for a school activity in drama class, but got a partner for life instead.
The couple married in 1988 and are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this year.
Mary appears in the 1987 video for The Cure’s hit single Just Like Heaven, dancing with Robert on the cliffs of Beachy Head, and the next year the Cure singer would penn “Love Song” as as a wedding present for Mary.
“I’ve never regretted not having children. My mindset in that regard has been constant. I objected to being born, and I refuse to impose life on someone else. Living, it’s awful for me. I can’t on one hand argue the futility of life and the pointlessness of existence and have a family. It doesn’t sit comfortably.
Despite this, staunch atheist Smith loves Christmas, and it is alleged that he and his wife Mary spoil mercilessly each of their 25 nephews and nieces.
21st Century PUNX Deconstructors, Trouble Making Agitators, DIY noise insurgents & Manufacturers of Dissident Political Wear.
PUNX.UK was formed by a Manchester anarcho punk collective in 2013 as a webzine sharing info on local gigs and bands.
Originally focusing on creating a DIY gig guide for our city we then expanded to cover the whole of the UK scene in 2014.
Since then we've faithfully tried to promote all the events, blogs, websites and sounds of resistance throughout the country and beyond.
In 2016 we partnered with Sabcat Workers Cooperative to produce dissident political wear providing financial support to the activist causes, benefits, unions, bands, and community groups that we work with.