Hagley Road to Ladywood, "a peek into media culture & society"

July 20, 2008

"This band spoke to me"

In 1988, a junior in High School, I was listening to some pretty terrible music. I lived in a small town about an hour outside of Las Vegas, with no record stores or radio stations, so Vegas was the only destination. I would listen to KLUC, a pop/top 40 station, enjoying whatever in the world was in the top 40 then. I don't care to remember- the only acts that really come to mind are Taylor Dayne and The Cover Girls. You get the idea.

I had a friend who was into "weird music." He's the first person I ever reached a different consciousness with, if you understand my meaning. We were out hanging around and messing about, and he gave me a couple cassette tapes to listen to. One was A Momentary Lapse Of Reason by Pink Floyd. The other was The Head On The Door by some band called The Cure. I never listened to Top 40 again. I'd heard the song Just Like Heaven on the radio from time to time and enjoyed it but never really thought anything of the group. I absolutely devoured The Head On The Door, especially Push, and this prompted me to explore their back catalog. I got into all the older albums, and it's like something just clicked: THIS was the band I was supposed to be listening to. This band spoke to me. Their lyrics explained my day to day life. I could believe there was something beyond the borders of this horrible little town I lived in. I could dream again.

Naturally, when 1989 rolled around, I got Disintegration on the day it came out and was lost. It was, honestly, the only thing I would listen to. My friends got tired of me talking about it. I became the absolutely biggest cure fan there was. And it's not like I dressed like Robert per se, with makeup and big hair. I was a pretty normal kid, wearing t-shirts and jeans. I did, of course, adopt Robert's look of baggy sweaters and high tops. I thought this was the coolest thing ever. I dressed like that until I was 25. Wish came around and things just continued. This tour was the first time I saw them live, at the Rose Bowl in 1992. I was blown away. I didn't think things could get any better than that. In some ways I was right, and in other ways I was very wrong. When Porl and Boris both left the group, I was crushed. Who was this Jason Cooper character? Why is Roger in the band again? Would Burn be the last great song?

Wild Mood Swings came out in 1996, and though I was into the album immediately, over time I started to think, "Hmmmm...this album is ok. There are some good songs, but wow, there are some terrible ones too. And the drumming's off, and..."But then the Swing Tour hit. The first time I'd seen them more than once, in multiple cities. The best night of my life (up to that point, at least) was in August of 1996 at the Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre. I'd driven out from Vegas with my friend Jennifer, and by some weird freak occurrence, we happened to meet a guy named Stymie who knew Daryl Bamonte. One call and we were on some sort of guest list, and after the show (an amazing show that ended with Faith) we strolled backstage and hung out with THE CURE!!! WOW!!! I talked with Simon for half an hour (coolest guy ever), spoke with Robert about music and laundry (private joke) and was basically in a dream world for two hours. What a night!Of course, time passes, people get older, tastes change. I met my wife in 1997 who immediately asked me, after coming to my apartment, "When are you going to take down these gloomy old Cure posters?"

The band went on hiatus, I discovered other music, and when Bloodflowers rolled around, I didn't even know it was coming out until I saw it at Tower Records. I of course bought it right away, and immediately knew something was wrong. Why was Robert's voice mixed so high? What happened to the lyrics? I saw them on that tour here in Los Angeles, but it was pretty forgettable. They didn't even play Pictures Of You. Right about that time, I discovered A Chain Of Flowers website and started keeping up to date on daily news, etc. Time passed again, and suddenly it was late 2003 and, apparently, the Cure were going to produce an album with...Ross Robinson? And then launch a festival-style tour? What was this?The less said about the 2004, self-titled album the better, as far as I'm concerned. Although there are some good ideas floating around and some decent pieces of music, it is, without a doubt, one of the absolutely worst produced, recorded and mixed albums I have ever heard. Wrong in every single way. I didn't bother seeing them at the Curiosa thing. What was the point?

Now, it's 2008. I've gotten all the re-issues (of course), and I've hunted down and downloaded all the unreleased stuff I could possibly find. I've read the forums on COF and waited patiently and impatiently along with everyone else for any and all news on the new album. I've listened to, and for the most part disliked, the live new songs that were released on Youtube. And I've pretty much lowered my expectations about as far as they can go. Is it because I'm older, and I've changed? Is it because Robert it still writing to some imaginary fan that he thinks only wants a particular type of thing? Is it because he's just lost it? Or is it a combination of all of those? I'm not sure, but I'm not really excited about whatever's going to come out. But I'm going to be at the record store buying it the day it comes out, because that's the kind of fan I am. I'm going to get whatever singles they release. I'm seeing them on May 31 at the Hollywood Bowl, and if I can get tickets to the Shrine, I will. But I won't buy any t-shirts or posters. I need money to eat!
(from: Scott Otto, Las Vegas, US)

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