Books — March 26, 2023 at 3:11 pm

History of goth explored in new books by The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst, The Membranes’ John Robb

From left: Lol Tolhurst and John Robb

The story of goth music and culture — from its post-punk origins to the modern era — is being recounted in a pair of new books by musicians Lol Tolhurst, the co-founder and former drummer and keyboardist of The Cure, and John Robb, bassist of The Membranes.

First up is Robb’s 650-page “The Art of Darkness: The History of Goth,” which was published last week in the U.K. and is due out May 16 in the U.S. (pre-order via It’s being billed as “the first major and comprehensive overview of goth music and culture and its lasting legacy.”

Robb, who also created and operates the long-running music site Louder Than War, examines the music, style and sociopolitical conditions that spawned goth culture and offers “a first-hand account of being there at some of the legendary gigs and clubs that made the scene happen.”

“The Art of Darkness” features interviews with members of The Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, The Cult, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Damned, The Cure, Einstürzende Neubauten and more. The book follows Robb’s “Punk Rock: An Oral History” and “The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996.”

In explaining his approach in the promotional materials for “The Art of Darkness,” Robb says:

“My deep-dive into the wider culture begins with the goths sacking Ancient Rome, subsequently covering gothic architecture, Lord Byron and the romantic poets, European folk tales, gothic architecture and painters; running through the first band to be called gothic — The Doors. We then journey through the Stooges and the Velvets and then on though glam rock and punk and the coalescing of all this into goth.”

Tolhurst’s book, the 256-page “Goth: A History,” is scheduled to be published by Hachette Books on Sept. 26 in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world (order via,

The publisher describes “Goth: A History” as “an entertaining and engaging historical memoir of the genre of goth music and culture,” touching on “creative giants” including The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Divison and more in an effort to shine light on “a misunderstood genre and culture.”

In describing “Goth: A History,” the publisher writes:

“This book offers a fascinating deep dive into the movers and shakers of goth with stories and anecdotes from Tolhurst’s personal memories as well as the musicians, magicians, and artists, who made it all happen — the people, places, and events that made goth an inevitable and enduring movement.”

The new book is Tolhurst’s follow-up to “Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys,” his chronicle of co-founding The Cure with Robert Smith, their years together, the eventual falling out, and reconciliation.

Check out the two books’ covers:







  1. it would be brilliant if smith and the other members of the cure ghost-wrote the book attributed to tolhurst ;)

  2. John Robb looks like sculpture in that photo. Wicked!

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