A full re­cov­ery

In­his new book, found­ing mem­ber of The Cure Lol Tol­hurst lifts the lid on the band and puts his own de­mons to rest, he tells Éa­mon Sweeney

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

Con­sid­er­ing The Cure sold more than 30 mil­lion al­bums, it was in­evitable some­one in their in­ner cir­cle would even­tu­ally write a mem­oir to counter the slew of cut-and-paste biogs.

Former key­boardist, drum­mer and found­ing mem­ber Lol Tol­hurst has penned Cured: A Tale of Two Imag­i­nary Boys, one of the most hon­est and mov­ing mu­sic books of re­cent years. It can­didly chron­i­cles The Cure’s emer­gence from the grey gloom of Craw­ley in West Sus­sex dur­ing the Thatcher years to blos­som into one of the big­gest bands in the world. Tol­hurst be­gan writ­ing the book after singer Robert Smith claimed he didn’t feel up to the task.

“A few years ago, I asked Robert if he was ever go­ing to write a book about the band,” Tol­hurst re­calls. “Robert joked that he might do a 16-page comic, but he didn’t have enough for a book. He never ob­jected to me writ­ing it be­cause, while I know where the bod­ies are buried, I’m not go­ing to sully the rep­u­ta­tion of the band for the ben­e­fit of my own ego.

“I hate it when some me­moirs and au­to­bi­ogra­phies turn into score-set­tling ex­er­cises. I gave Robert the first copy of Cured... last year. If there was any­thing at all in it he didn’t like, I’d have heard from him.”

Tol­hurst hasn’t al­ways en­joyed such a good re­la­tion­ship with Smith. The singer fired him from the band in 1989 dur­ing the record­ing of Dis­in­te­gra­tion. In 1994, Tol­hurst sued The Cure and Fic­tion Records over roy­al­ties and joint own­er­ship of their name. He lost the case, but re­la­tions healed enough over time to the ex­tent that Tol­hurst re-joined The Cure for a tour in 2011.

The same cer­tainly couldn’t be said for one of Tol­hurst’s 1980s con­tem­po­raries, The Smiths, who are still mired in ac­ri­mony over Mike Joyce’s court case, or New Or­der, who former bassist Peter Hook is re­port­edly su­ing.

“I think bands of­ten for­get the rea­son why they started in the first place,” Tol­hurst says. “Al­co­holism en­abled me to rec­on­cile, even though it has hurt me in so many other ways. Robert, Si­mon Gallup, Michael Dempsey and Porl Thomp­son are my teenage friends. No­body else knows me like they do, and I still speak to them all on a very reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“The Cure are like fam­ily and we al­ways come back to­gether. Un­til the day I die, I will be as­so­ci­ated with The Cure. When I read Peter Hook and Mor­ris­sey’s books, es­pe­cially the bit where Mor­ris­sey goes on and on about how much he hates Mike Joyce, I found it very sad be­cause at one point I know they were liv­ing in each other’s pock­ets and shared so much joy over the years. They’ve kind of for­got­ten that.”

In ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing read­ers a glimpse into life with The Cure, Tol­hurt’s mem­oir is a re­demp­tive story about over­com­ing al­co­holism and re­con­nect­ing with his es­tranged friends.

“After ev­ery sin­gle book event I do, I get at least one or two peo­ple com­ing up and telling me Cured... re­ally helped them,” says Tol­hurst. “This is in­cred­i­bly flat­ter­ing, ob­vi­ously, but also very, very hum­bling. Peo­ple need to be recog­nised. When I first be­came aware of my is­sues with al­co­hol, I just thought I was go­ing mad. A mu­sic re­hab fa­cil­ity in Detroit has made Cured... re­quired read­ing, which to­tally blows my mind.

“In the last cou­ple of days, I’ve been read­ing about Adam Clay­ton talk­ing about his own bat­tles with al­co­hol. It’s very healthy that this stuff is com­ing out into the open. Peo­ple are start­ing to recog­nise that al­co­holism is a dis­ease that can oc­cur re­gard­less of how wealthy or well-known you are.”

Even though both U2 and The Cure sound­tracked the 1980s, Tol­hurst didn’t bump into Bono and com­pany too of­ten.

“We seemed to cross paths more with peo­ple like Madonna and Mot­ley Crue,” Tol­hurst laughs. “I be­came great drink­ing pals with Tommy Lee at one point, which prob­a­bly wasn’t such a good idea. Our main con­nec­tion to Ire­land is that the very first song The Cure ever played to­gether was Jail­break by Thin Lizzy. We first toured Ire­land in 1981. I re­mem­ber play­ing the Trin­ity Ball in Dublin and driv­ing around the bod­ies passed out on the street at six o’clock in the morn­ing. Book tours are far more civilised be­cause you’re fin­ished around 8.30pmin the evening and you can go out for din­ner. There’s no driv­ing around Pitts­burgh at two in the morn­ing look­ing for some­thing to eat.”

Lau­rence An­drew Tol­hurst plans to fol­low up Cured... with an­other mem­oir, while also work­ing on a graphic novel and mu­si­cal project with former Cure band­mate Porl Thomp­son.

“To me, it’s all art, whether it’s mu­sic or writ­ing,” Tol­hurst says. “I’m ex­tremely for­tu­nate to find some­thing else I en­joy as much as mu­sic. Who knows what the fu­ture holds? If I’m lucky, maybe I’ve got an­other 20 or 30 years left, so we’ll see what hap­pens. For me, re­al­is­ing in my late mid­dle age that there is some­thing else I can do with my life has been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing.”

Lol Tol­hurst reads at the Roísín Dubh, Gal­way on Sun­day, July 16th; Crane Lane, Cork on July 18th; Dolan’s, Lim­er­ick on July 21st; Bone­yard Records and An­nie’s (DJ set), Omagh on July 22nd; Boyle Arts Fes­ti­val on July 24th, and Whelan’s, Dublin on July 25th. Cured - A Tale of Two Imag­i­nary Boys is out now

I gave Robert the first copy of Cured... last year. If there was any­thing at all in it he didn’t like, I’d have heard from him the very next day

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