Robert Smith lead singer of The Cure.

The Cure Announces U.S. Tour

The Cure, seminal British post-punk band, announced that they’ll be playing 25 shows in North America next year. At this point they’ve only revealed the times & locations of three of the dates. There is some speculation that they might be headlining at Bonnaroo. The few dates that have been announced can be found below.

This is probably the best Cure-related news we’ve heard since Robert Smith sang on Crystal Castles‘ superb cover of the Platinum Blonde song “Not In Love” in 2010.

05/22 – The Cure will play in Los Angeles, CA, at Hollywood Bowl. You can purchase tickets here with the presale code “CUREBOWL.” Make sure to enter it with all-caps (and omit punctuation marks).

06/10 –The Cure will play in Chicago at the UIC Pavilion. You can buy tickets by clicking here and providing the presale code “thecure2016.” Enter the letters in all lower-case (and, again, omit punctuation marks).

06/18 –The Cure will play in New York City at Madison Square Garden. You can pick up tickets here with the presale code “DISINTEGRATION.” Again: All caps, no punctuation.

The Twilight Sad will be opening at these dates. There’s no indication as to whether or not the critically acclaimed Scottish shoegaze act will remain attached as openers for the remaining 22 dates yet to be announced.

While the band doesn’t highlight this fact in their press material for the tour, 2016 marks The Cure’s 40th anniversary. Robert Smith, the only remaining member from the original roster, played his first show in middle school with a few friends a few years prior. His first attempt to really “get a band together” was in 1976 at which point they were still in high school — Smith was 16 — and took to calling themselves Malice. There were a few shifts in the roster, name-changes, and a couple of close calls with labels, but the band came out with their first single “Killing An Arab” on Fiction/Polydor in 1978.

Killing An Arab" by The Cure
Record-sleeve of 1978 7″ single “Killing An Arab” by The Cure. [Creative Commons]

NME interview with The Cure. Photo taken by the author.
NME 1978 interview with The Cure. [Adrian Thrills/CC BY-SA 3.0]
Within a few months, The Cure was opening for Wire and recording the songs that would appear on their first full-length LP Three Imaginary Boys. The following year they went on tour with Siouxsie & The Banshees.

siouxsie and the banshees with robert smith of the cure and steve severin
From left to right: Steve Severin, Unknown, Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith (primarily known as the lead-singer of The Cure Robert Smith was also in a side-project band with Steve Severin called The Glove). [Hyæna/CC BY-SA 3.0]

Whether they’d already become — by the late ’70s — established as the most important proto-goth/industrial bands is open to debate (Robert Smith later rejected the “goth” label as kind of insulting & inaccurate). David Bowie, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Public Image Limited and Siouxsie’s Banshees* would be among the other contenders for that title. But The Cure’s legacy & association with the genre was sealed by the time they released Pornography in 1982.

While the band’s gloomy epic Disintegration was still to come, The Cure started heading in a poppier direction from that point forward. He was further entrenched in goth-subculture when a slew of beloved characters appearing in comics and films during the late-’80s used his trademark look as their template — dark and exceedingly unkempt hair, raw-boned pallor, smeared eyeliner and lipstick.

The 'look' of Neil Gaiman's Sandman was quite consciously modeled on Robert Smith of The Cure.
The ‘look’ of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was quite consciously modeled on Robert Smith of The Cure. Creative Commons. Sam Kieth (the series’ 1st illustrator) describes his rendering of the Sandman character as the “David Bowie/guy from the Cure” version, and said that the Robert Smith look of the character was “really heavily championed” by Neil Gaiman and DC Comics editor Karen Berger.
Tim Burton based the look for Edward Scissorhands off of Robert Smith from The Cure--he even approached The Cure to ask them to do the soundtrack for his film. <a href="">Creative commons.</a>
Tim Burton based the look for Edward Scissorhands off of Robert Smith from The Cure–he even approached The Cure to ask them to do the soundtrack for his film. Creative commons.

Forty years into the game, we have to say: Robert Smith has looked better.

Robert Smith, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of The Cure, in younger days.
Robert Smith, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of The Cure, in younger days. [Photo by Nancy J Price/CC BY-SA 3.0]
<em>Robert Smith, lead-singer of iconic post-punk band</em> The Cure<em>, more recently. <a href="">Creative commons.</a></em>
Robert Smith, lead-singer of iconic post-punk band The Cure, more recently. [Bill Ebbesen/CC BY-SA 3.0]
In terms of longevity, The Cure is now part of a relatively small alumnus of bands still producing solid work in the studio and touring fairly regularly. David Bowie and Scott Walker still do solid work in the studio and they’ve been at it for about ten years longer than Smith. Bob Dylan is still alive, which means he’s still touring. Just five years younger than The Cure, The Melvins have been touring and putting out stellar work since 1983. You could arguably tack on a few more obscure and less steadily productive acts like New Order or Sparks.

That’s like eight bands. There have to be a few major artists not mentioned — but, still, even if you double that number we’re talking about a very small, very special group of people.

The Cure falls somewhere between Melvins/Bowie/Walker and The Stones/Dylan on the spectrum of continuing creative vitality. The Cure’s best albums are now most definitely at least a quarter century old but the work they’ve done since then has been for the most part totally respectable and even “pretty damn good.” They sound good on their most recent live album Bestival Live 2011.

If they’re coming to a city near you on this tour, it might be worth the price of ticket to go out and see them.

*Robert Smith functioned as a member of Siouxsie & the Banshees during a period in the early 80’s among his many other musical side-projects.

Artwork for the featured image is based off of a classic Disintegration-era Robert Smith photo found on Pinterest. Origin unknown.