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Music fans: Think you know The Cure?

“Curepedia: The A-Z of The Cure,” by Simon Price, was released Tuesday. (Courtesy)
New book, ‘Curepedia,’ gives readers the A-Z of the iconic band

Full disclosure: I’ve been a maniac for the English band The Cure since I was a teenager – it was 1986, and a friend lent me her copy of the band’s tape “Standing on a Beach,” which I’m pretty sure she didn’t get back.

That was all it took. I was smitten.

Since then, I’ve gone from extensively quoting The Cure in my senior yearbook blurb, to chucking a copy of Albert Camus’ “L’Étranger” on stage as the band came out at Nassau Coliseum in 1992. (The book was picked up and put on top of a speaker, so surely the guys got it. Having written my name, address AND phone number on the title page, I’m sure a call is coming.) And then more recently, as a married woman with three kids, getting all blushy and swoony at Fiddler’s Green in 2016, writing the show’s set list in a little notebook bought just for the occasion (total “Last Dance” kind of stuff).

Not to mention lugging my Cure vinyl album collection twice across the country ...

And The Cure itself has been having a moment: Earlier this year, lead singer Robert Smith took on Ticketmaster for outrageous ticket fees and prices. And for local fans, the group played both in Denver and Albuquerque over the summer.

Not bad for a band that formed in 1976.

Buy the Book

“Curepedia: An A-Z of The Cure,” by Simon Price is available through Maria’s Bookshop.

For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/42c68w8s.

That’s a long way to say I thought I knew all there was to know about The Cure. Man, was I wrong.

In his new book, “Curepedia: An A-Z of The Cure,” British music journalist Simon Price took on the task of going deep with all there is to know about the band, whose members now include Smith; bassist Simon Gallup; Roger O’Donnell on keyboard; Perry Bamonte on guitar and keyboard; Reeves Gabrels on guitar; and Jason Cooper on drums.

“Curepedia” is a huge lift: Every entry is heavy with facts and references that can keep a reader busy forever. It’s possible, of course, to read the book beginning to end, but it’s also fun to just open to a random page and learn something new.

I had the opportunity to chat with Price via email about “Curepedia,” which was released Tuesday. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: How did you get involved in writing “Curepedia”? How long did it take to write?

A: I hadn’t written a book since “Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers)” in 1999 and I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder. The publisher of “Curepedia” in the U.K. had been trying to find the right fit for me for years, and eventually said, “Why don’t we just do a big A-Z of The Cure?” They’re a band who made a big impact on my teenage life, and they rose to fame during an era I know a lot about, so saying “yes” was easy. It started in February 2020 as a lockdown project and didn’t end until Easter 2023. It definitely wasn’t meant to take more than three years, but there were external factors which caused that. Also, the more I looked at The Cure, the more there was to see. They’re such a rich subject matter that declaring the book to be finished was hard.

Q: While reading the book, I got the impression that you had a blast writing it – was this fun for you?

A: Yes. Initially, I was worried that the A-Z format might seem like a gimmick, but it actually liberated me from the linear timeline of a traditional biography, and allowed me to write thematically, with essays about all manner of topics from religion to make-up to politics to soccer, and how they relate to The Cure. That approach really fits my style. Also, of course, it was a real privilege to be able to fully immerse myself in The Cure’s music and to be able to tell myself it was “work”. However, getting inside the mind of Robert Smith means following him to some dark places, which wasn’t always fun. There was definitely a period about halfway through when I never wanted to hear another Cure record in my life. I’ve come out the other side of it now.

Q: Were there any surprises?

A: One thing that surprised me was just how much there is to find out about The Cure. The more you zoom in with the microscope, the more you see. I found myself disappearing down research rabbit-holes, and finding out about asteroids crashing into Jupiter, spider-based mass panics in mediaeval Italy, patient restraint practices in Victorian lunatic asylums, all of it somehow connected to The Cure. They’re like being handed a box with a key, and when you open it, all this stuff comes spilling out, a thousand times more than the box ought to contain.

Q: Have you heard from the band about the book?

A: No, not as such. We kept Robert informed of what we were doing, and sent him the manuscript in various states of completion, but this isn’t the official book and there was no involvement or interference from the band. There was nobody looking over my shoulder, so I was free to write whatever I wanted, some of which might not be what they’d have wanted to read. It’s very much “my” book, and my take on the band. But I’ve tried to be honest and balanced throughout, and fair to all concerned.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from “Curepedia”?

A: I would hope they come away with a greater understanding of what makes The Cure such an enduringly important band, and with an enhanced enjoyment of the music itself. I also hope they’ll find it entertaining and enlightening, just as a piece (or pieces) of writing, regardless of the fact that it’s about The Cure. If people who aren’t even particularly huge fans of the band find something to enjoy in the book, I’ll feel like I’ve done my job.

Q: What do you think it is about the band that continues to resonate with hard core fans and even newbies?

A: The Cure are one of the small handful of bands who truly mean something. Robert Smith is an icon, which is an over-used word but it’s true in his case: even simply the way he looked, at his late ’80s peak, is infused with meaning. He’s externalizing the way he feels internally. The Cure express so much about heartbreak and trauma (but also about love and joy), and they have something profound to communicate about alienation and nonconformity. For anyone who feels they don’t fit in or they aren’t understood, The Cure will always be there, waiting. And misfits and the misunderstood will always be with us.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: My wife has our first baby on the way very soon, so there’s that! But I need to get another book project going soon, and not leave a 20+ year gap this time. The exact subject matter is undecided, but I won’t be surprised if it’s something else to do with the alternative side of the ’80s.

Q: Finally, will we ever see the new album?

A: Hah, this is a controversial topic. There’s a whole chapter in “Curepedia” about the elusive 14th Cure album, which has been started and abandoned several times since 2008. Robert vowed that he wouldn’t tour again unless there was a new album ... but then he did. However, that tour included many new tracks from the proposed “Songs Of A Lost World,” which sound fantastic, so he’s clearly proud of the album he’s hiding up his sleeve. Obviously the one thing I was dreading was a new Cure album on the eve of my book, making it immediately out-of-date. Thankfully for me, that didn’t happen. But within the next twelve months, we may see it. I’m 60/40 that he’ll actually release it this time. And, considering how long “Curepedia” took me, I can’t exactly criticize anyone else for taking a while to deliver ...”


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