THE CURE’S AMER­I­CAN BREAK­THROUGH

Tol­hurst, Parry and Cure pro­ducer David M. Allen on come­downs, de­par­tures and devil’s ad­vo­cacy.

Mojo (UK) - - What Goes On! - As told to Mar­tin As­ton

DMA: “I started work­ing with The Cure on [1983 sin­gle] The Love­cats, and I was like an ex­tra band mem­ber for a long time [pro­duc­ing five Cure al­bums be­tween ‘83 and ‘91). They were a gang then, fun to hang around with. Af­ter shows, it would be ‘Club Smith’ or ‘Club Gallup’ with the boom­box, and they’d play dance mu­sic, not Leonard Co­hen. Like­wise, on Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me – ev­ery­one was at­tracted to dif­fer­ent styles. To do a disco song like Hot Hot Hot!!! was brave, but it all fit­ted the Cure canon. But maybe Kiss Me… didn’t hang to­gether. One re­viewer called it sham­bolic, which def­i­nitely in­flu­enced my thoughts on Dis­in­te­gra­tion, to make a huge slab of the same thing. It’s an amaz­ing al­bum, a def­i­nite state­ment at the peak of goth. To me, all Robert’s love songs were about [long-time girl­friend] Mary and all the hate songs were about Lol, and when you take that bal­ance away… To watch Lol, the friend you’ve known since child­hood, be­come a sham­bling mess, drink­ing two bot­tles of Grand Marnier a day – you have Dis­in­te­gra­tion right there. Ev­ery­one in the band was re­lieved when Lol went, though I wasn’t. You could view Lol as a muse, and a band’s chem­istry is a very dif­fi­cult thing to

“DIS­IN­TE­GRA­TION… A HUGE SLAB OF THE SAME THING.”

David M. Allen

cal­cu­late, or mess with. Af­ter he had left, when we made [1992 al­bum] Wish, I en­cour­aged a hate gallery of Lol, in the con­trol room, as if he was there in per­son.”

LT: “We’d gone from play­ing col­leges to are­nas, which changes a band. I saw Rob’s an­tipa­thy to­ward be­ing this new rock star, so he had to change things again, and that’s Dis­in­te­gra­tion – darker and heav­ier and more fo­cused. But the cen­tre wouldn’t hold, namely my sit­u­a­tion, which I think is why it’s called ‘Dis­in­te­gra­tion’. Cer­tainly, I was dis­in­te­grat­ing, I was so iso­lated in my own mad­ness, I didn’t no­tice what was go­ing on around me. When Robert sent me a let­ter to say I’d been fired, I agree that he saved my life [Tol­hurst im­me­di­ately booked into the Pri­ory re­hab clinic].”

CP: “Most Cure mem­bers came to me and com­plained about Lol. I was re­luc­tant to see him go. Call me old-fash­ioned, but T. Rex had two play­ers, didn’t they? And ear­lier on, Lol had been re­ally helpful in keep­ing The Cure alive. But the band were adults and I never coun­selled Rob. The best thing was to in­volve him with as lit­tle stuff as pos­si­ble – just get him into the box so he could play, whether it was a small room or an arena, or Giants Sta­dium in New York. I know Rob strug­gled with the mad­ness of tour­ing, and the dis­con­nect with arena crowds, and some­times he said, ‘This is it, the last tour’. But to me that was him carp­ing on, play­ing devil’s ad­vo­cate. You have to mea­sure it by the man you know to­day, and The Cure are still play­ing.”

Robert Smith’s Melt­down runs at Lon­don’s South­bank Cen­tre from June 15 to June 24. Lol Tol­hurst’s mem­oir Cured is pub­lished by Quer­cus.

Close­down: (clock­wise from main) Robert Smith in the US, Septem­ber ’89; the post-Tol­hurst line-up with Roger O’Don­nell (cen­tre), MTV Awards, 1989; Dis­in­te­gra­tion; David M. Allen; Dis­in­te­gra­tion 45s.

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