[dropcap]This[/dropcap] past October Lol Tolhurst released his book Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys which included an intimate recounting of The Cure’s early days. The band in it’s very first incarnation made it’s live debut 40 years ago on December 18th, 1976 at Worth Abbey in Crawley–with the first proper show occurring 2 days later. This gig even featured an early version of A Night Like This on the setlist!

“Personally, I consider the first gig we did as the band that became The Cure to be the one that we did on December 20, 1976, the Malice gig at our old secondary school, St. Wilfrid’s. True, we had done a gig of sorts a couple of days earlier in the minstrels’ gallery at Worth Abbey for Upjohn’s Christmas party, and a rather strange “performance” in 1973 as The Obelisk, but this was our first fullblown concert.”-Lol Tolhurst, Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Yes—before being named Easy Cure by Lol, the band was originally called Malice—and by the time of their first non rehearsal live gigs, the lineup had already shifted. Malice’s initial lineup was Marc Ceccagno, Robert Smith, and Michael Dempsey, with “Graham and his brotheron vocals and drums. HoweverThe brothers Graham were to depart in April of 1976, with Lol Tolhurst taking over on drums. Marc Ceccagno would later depart to form Amulet—with Porl Thompson stepping in to play guitar. Porl had been working at the Crawley record store L & H Cloake at the time, and brought in his former co-worker, a journalist named Martin Creasy, to perform vocals for Malice’s three live gigs—the second of which at St. Wilfrids School Hall is the most well documented:

from ‘Ten Imaginary Years’:
“… though, we played St Wilfrid’s with Marc’s new band, Amulet. I told the headmaster Malice were a pop group without telling him I was a member because he hated me! We got in this singer, Martin, a journalist with The Crawley Observer with whom we hadn’t had a single rehearsal, and he turned up in a three piece suit, a Manchester United scarf and a motorbike helmet which he refused to part with because he was scared someone would steal it!

He turned out to be a cabaret singer … did good impersonations of David Cassidy. We started playing; ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Suffragette City’, ‘Foxy Lady’ … but no-one could distinguish anything! It was just a screaming wall of feedback!”

“Three hundred people came, 200 left, and the rest got up on stage! Lol started singing ‘Wild Thing’, Porl felt so humiliated he hit him and Martin fled with the words ‘This is shit!’ No-one’s seen him since … We immediately broke up the group!”

from ‘A Visual Documentary’:
20 DECEMBER 1976
Malice support Marc Ceccagno’s new band, Amulet, at St. Wilfred’s Comprehensive School in Crawley. Vocals were handled by a local journalist named Martin, and the set included ‘Wild Thing’ (sung by Lol), ‘Suffragette City’, ‘Foxy Lady’ and Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’. Another Song from this period, ‘A Night Like This’, is later revived by Robert for the ‘Head On The Door’ album.

“We pretended there was this jazz group and a choral quintet and sold about 150 tickets at 25p each. It turned into a riot.”

from Vincent Rees:
“I actually worked with Porl Thompson when he worked at L&H Cloake Record shop, the chap who was in Pauls band when Easy Cure played at St Wilfrids school was Martin Creasy the monotone vocalist also an ex-Cloakes employee who at the time was working for the local newspaper. You may also know that Amulet also had kevin Cohen on keyboards who was also a Cloake’s employee so really everybody new everybody.
I also went to school with Robert , Laurence (LoL) and Michael Demspsey. And I let Paul borrow my Keyboards to use on the CULT HERO single!
I now also have my own band T-30 Control who released an album called “Blade of the sun” along with colleague Peter Smith another Cloakes’s employee and played with Porl in Exotic Panda’s.”

from Martin Creasy (the singer for that concert):
“Monotone? How dare you!! Seriously, though, I was attempting to sing through a crash helmet and I’m sure we were all rather the worse for wear. I remember it being a rather humiliating experience as just about every musician I’d ever worked with in Crawley was in the audience that night. I woke up the next day thinking That’s it, I’ll have to leave town. I did, within a month. I moved to join a band in Hampshire, returning only to pick up my little 60 watt Traynor PA which Robert and the boys had completely blown out at the famous Crawley bandstand gig. Happy days!”

h/t The Cure: Pictures of You

*Caption photo is of an Easy Cure lineup

Pick up a copy of Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys now—We recommend the audio book as well as a physical copy!