'Cure FM': Robert Smith at The Cure's 1990 pirate radio broadcast

Twenty years ago tonight, Robert Smith and the rest of The Cure — aided by a pair of American DJs and shadowed by MTV and the music press — set up a pirate radio station at Fiction Records’ offices with plans to illicitly premiere their soon-to-released remix album Mixed Up over the London airwaves.

Things didn’t go quite as planned; despite distributing 20,000 fliers inviting fans to tune in “at Friday Aug. 31 starting at midnight,” a technical snafu kept Cure FM — as the band had dubbed the pirate-radio broadcast — off the air for more than two hours. When the band finally went live on 98.4 FM, it was closer to 2:30 a.m. Sept. 1, according to this behind-the-scenes account by Q (from which the photo above was taken).

With DJs Mike Halloran, of San Diego’s 91X, and Lewis Largent, of Los Angeles’ KROQ, on hand to interview Smith and Co. on air, the band proceeded to play all of Mixed Up for the first time publicly, as well as The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” and their own newly recorded cover of it (for the Elektra Records compilation Rubaiyat).

Also on the playlist, according to this Vox write-up of the broadcast: Dinosaur Jr’s cover of “Just Like Heaven,” The Human League’s “Human,” Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance,” De La Soul’s “Eye Know,” “a number of Jimi Hendrix songs” plus tracks from Jane’s Addiction’s then-new Ritual de lo Habitual.

MTV News was on hand to film the proceedings, and, embedded below, we’ve got a one-minute clip of that original news report that was incorporated into the Dec. 23, 1990, episode of “120 Minutes” that Smith hosted, culled from the Slicing Up Eyeballs home video collection. (And if anyone has audio of the full broadcast, let us know.)

See the MTV News report on Cure FM after the jump…

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