The Cure are going to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame early next year, but what exactly is going to happen that night isn’t exactly clear. Every current member of the band is getting in besides guitarist Reeves Gabrels (who joined in 2012 and has yet to play on a proper album), but they’re also bringing in five ex-members. Will Robert Smith allow them all to play with the current lineup for a Cure super jam or will this be a Deep Purple situation where no former members are allowed near actual instruments?
There is precedent for former members of the Cure being allowed back into the fold. Founding guitarist Porl Thompson had three distinct periods in the band (1976-1978, 1984-1993, 2005-2010) and seems to still be on good terms with everyone. He left to focus on his art career. The situation with original drummer Lol Tolhurst was more complicated. He was fired in 1989 because of his excessive drinking, and then four years later he unsuccessfully sued the band over royalties and name rights.
The lawsuit cost Tolhurst $1 million and, for a long time, it seemed like it was also going to cost him his friendship with Robert Smith, but in 2000 he wrote a long apology letter where he conceded the suit was a product of bitterness and his drinking problem. They met up again backstage at a gig in Los Angeles and made amends. Eleven years later, Smith invited Tolhurst back onto the road as a longterm guest on the Cure’s Reflections tour where they played their first three albums straight through.
The show began at the Sydney Opera House on May 31st, 2011 and you can watch their performance of “The Holy Hour” from 1981’s Faith right here. “It was such an amazing, emotional thing,” Tolhurst told Rolling Stone earlier this month. “The first show at the Sydney Opera House was really like an out-of-body experience for me…It was wonderful and a good point in life to sit and do that sort of stuff and reacquaint ourselves with each other. Maybe we’ll do something like that again in the future.”
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction seems like as good a time as any to do that, but until March we’ll probably have no idea what’s happening. But as of now, it feels like a safer bet than Brian Eno playing with Roxy Music or any member of Radiohead coming within even 100 miles of the building.