Next year marks the 40th anniversary of The Cure’s recording debut, a milestone that’s already got fans wondering whether bandleader Robert Smith is preparing something special — speculation both aided and fueled by social media postings from current and former members.
To be certain, nothing formally has been announced, though the anniversary has not gone unnoticed by The Cure. The band this week put a 40th anniversary calendar on sale, and declared via social media that it would be clearing out all 2016 tour merchandise from its web store “by next week.”
Though The Cure’s roots date back a few years earlier, the 40th anniversary presumably is tied to the 1978 release of debut single “Killing an Arab,” which was followed the next year by Three Imaginary Boys.
The announcement of the calendar got fans wondering, and one tweeted at founding member Lol Tolhurst and raised the “wild idea” of a 40th anniversary concert in London. Tolhurst responded, “You would be surprised how many wild ideas are happening in 2018” before adding, three days later, “my lips are sealed” when prompted for more information.
You would be surprised how many wild ideas are happening in 2018 …
— Lol Tolhurst (@LolTolhurst) November 19, 2017
UPDATE: On Nov. 30, Tolhurst tweeted again, clarifying that his original tweet about “wild ideas” was not a reference to plans by The Cure: “It would be nice, but so far Robert and I have not talked about that.”
So, just to make it clear when I said some wild ideas are happening next year I was referring to my own projects. I’m sorry if I helped sow any confusion it was not my intention.As to 40th-anniversary stuff? It would be nice but so far Robert and I have not talked about that.
— Lol Tolhurst (@LolTolhurst) December 1, 2017
The day after Tolhurst’s initial tweet, guitarist Reeves Gabrels — who joined The Cure in 2012 — posted a photo to Instagram of his guitar and amps with the caption “and so it begins…” That, too, got fans wondering whether he’s gearing up to record or rehearse with The Cure, though Gabrels also has his own band and has played with all manner of musicians over the years.
He’s posted several more gear shots since then, including photo of somebody at a drum kit and a short video, uploaded just yesterday, of himself playing a bluesy, very un-Cure-like solo.
So what might Robert Smith and The Cure be up to?
Well, a new tour seems the most likely scenario, since that’s largely all the band has done since the release of 2008’s 4.13 Dream. The Cure took 2017 off, following an extensive, and very well-received, world tour the year before. It could be time to make good on 2014’s plans for another series of “Trilogy”-style concerts (Smith announced, but never followed through with, plans to perform The Top, The Head on the Door and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me in their entireties that year).
Those plans, though unfulfilled, followed the 2002 performances of Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers and the 2011 “Reflections” concerts with performances of Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and Faith — the latter concerts featuring appearances by the long-estranged Tolhurst.
There’s also the possibility of new releases as well. Earlier this year, we detailed a whole list of things — albums, DVDs, reissues — that Smith has announced (some more formally the others) in recent years, only to never be mentioned again. That includes the 4.13 Dream companion album 4.14 Scream (once just “a few months” from release). The band did premiere a pair of new songs on the 2016 tour — unusual in and of itself for The Cure — though it’s not known if they were part of that record, or something else.
For fans, it’s certainly promising to think Tolhurst — coming off his excellent memoir “Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys” — might be involved in any grand 40th anniversary plans for 2018. Yet it’s always good to remember that Robert Smith is quite well known for changing his mind — even when it means abandoning sometimes-grand plans for The Cure.
So keep an eye on the recently reactivated A Chain of Flowers — an invaluable resource — for further reading of the tea leaves. And here’s a recent look by Spanish site Muzikalia at some of the speculation around possible 40th anniversary activities by The Cure.
How would you like to see The Cure celebrate its 40th anniversary next year? Feel free to offer up your suggestions in the comments section below.
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