Muziek Expres August 1980

19800801Muziek Expres was one of the oldest pop music magazines in the Netherlands. It already existed as of 1956. Until the mid 70s it was by far the biggest Dutch music magazine. The last (monthly) edition was released in December 1989.  In August 1980, The Cure got their (if I’m right) first feature article in Muziek Expres. Interestingly, it was an interview with Lol. He talks about the Dutch, doing concerts and the making of the Seventeen Seconds LP. Below you can read a translation of this article by Henk Bakker.

‘Simple music is an insult to the audience’

Very inconspicuously, within four years the English Cure made it into a prominent cult band. This is striking, because the trio, that later became a quartet, makes very special pop music which is not really easy listening. Henk Bakker talked to drummer Lol Tolhurst about the strange Cure-recipe…

19800801 RobertThe Cure vends this recipe with visible pleasure and success in our country. Why this sympathy for the Netherlands, I would like to know. “In comparison with the cool French or the friendly polite Belgians you are much more spontaneous and musically you accept much more”, Lol Tolhurst explains. “Our audience mainly consists of people who are accessible to different forms of music. Among our listeners you will not find real fanatics with the word “The Cure” in capitals on their back. The Netherlands are kind of comparable with England, with the exception of the press. The English journalists are apt to immediately compartmentalize you on the basis of your first record. That is pretty narrow-minded. If you do something after that which deviates from the label, then you are wrong. I don’t understand that from the press, who always preaches freedom of speech for itself and on the other side sets bounds to the freedom of expression of artists. I think this is more flexible in the Netherlands. We would like to maintain the freedom to be creative on the moments and in the ways that suit us the best.”

19800801 SimonYou open the record, but also the concerts with a passage which is not very easy listening for a lot of people… “Many others begin a concert or a record with a smasher to warm up the crowd. We think this is weak, because that way you play off every surprise. We open in a manner that raises question marks and expectations. Some think this is a form of suicide. However, usually it works out positively because we introduce a distinct atmosphere and with that provoke curiosity among the people and stimulate to listen consciously. We are not the kind of band that dishes up its audience with consumer music easy of digestion. That is insulting to your audience. Music has to be interesting, rousing the listener to follow you; listening then becomes more than a passive occupation. Of course this is not without risks, but we just don’t play safe. I know it all sounds a bit weighty and that is not the purpose. We are not that important and we don’t have a message for sure. We don’t believe in that. We believe in people with brains; most people have them!”

19800801 Matthieu“But,” I say, “not everybody is willing to use those brains at your request…”
“No, that is true,” he admits. “That’s why at times you can be unlucky with your audience. That’s a pity, but not dramatic!”
“Why? Is the audience not so important?”
“No, the music is the most important and an audience that is accessible to it is so much gained, but not necessary. When we make music, we are occupied with ourselves in the first place. Also, the pieces are being composed collectively, though Robert (Robert Smith, the singer/guitarist. Ed.) has the final say in the matter. Somebody just has to be in control and with him it is in good hands. Besides, it works excellent not only because we are friends but also our biggest mutual fans!”

“You have recorded the second LP, “14 seconds” [major typo there, LF] in a record amount of time. Why the hurry?”
“In the first place we had barely enough time. There were several businesslike reasons to release another record. However, we didn’t have any proper material. On top of that we weren’t in the mood at all actually. By coincidence all four of us were in private problems at the same time. Nevertheless we sat down together and took the private situation as a starting-point. Human relationships are being envisaged from different angles, scared, sad, aggressive etc. That’s why it’s a record which is very strongly connected with that specific situation, and also for that reason we had to record it all so quickly. We started writing around Christmas and towards the end of January it was all on tape! If we would have recorded the same tracks a couple of months later, it would have become a totally different and probably much less successful LP…”

text below picture of Lol:

At the end of ’77 we heard of The Cure for the very first time. At the time it was still a trio consisting of Robert Smith (guitar and vocals), Mike Dempsey (bass), and Lol Tolhurst (drums). Later Dempsey was replaced by Simon Gallup and the band was joined by Matthieu Hartley to perfect the sound after the first LP “Three Imaginary Boys”. The English group makes music which can be best described as very expressive pop music with a filmic tendency…