The frontman and the bassist have been part of the band’s lineup since 1978 and 1979 respectively, helping to turn the band into one of the UK’s most beloved and iconic indie acts.
During the ceremony at Grosvenor House tonight, Smith and Gallup were presented the Icon Award by their long-time agent, Martin Hopewell from Primary Talent. “The best part of half a century ago when I was a young whippersnapper booking agent, I was persuaded to get down to a small hotel in Crawley, of all places, to see a new and even younger band called The Cure, who were playing halfway up the bill of some sort of talent night,” Hopewell reminisced as he introduced the musicians.
“I wish I could say it was some kind of blinding light, road to Damascus experience but nevertheless… when we met up on the street outside afterwards, I agreed to start helping them get some gigs and that makes one of very few decisions I’ve made in my life that I don’t want to go back in time and give myself a clip around the ear for making.”
Noting that The Cure had gone from playing “the smallest clubs and colleges to the biggest arenas and festivals”, he celebrated their “famously epic live shows and timeless songs that have inspired countless other artists and embedded themselves into the lives of millions of people”.
Hopewell continued to highlight the friendship between Smith and Gallup, while also praising The Cure as a whole for their “unique” artistry. “There’s never been any knee-jerking to changing friends or any pretence to be anything other than what they are,” he said. “It’s possibly because of that honesty that the music they make has continued to make a real connection with an ever-changing audience. Without wanting to break any trade secrets, these two icons happen to be really nice chaps, which also goes for the rest of the band.
“I’ve been a very lucky boy to be involved in Robert and Simon’s story. In fact, it’s been one of the great privileges of my life to work with them for the last four-and-a-half decades. I’m touched, chaps, that you’ve asked me to be here and more than a little bit proud to present you with the PRS For Music Icon Award.”
Collecting the award, Smith thanked the band’s agent, along with the PRS and the Ivors Academy. “It means a lot to the two of us, actually, it’s a real honour,” he added. “Thank you to all the people who’ve helped us over the years and have been involved in turning our songs into real songs. It’s been the best thing you can imagine.”
Speaking to NME backstage after their win, Smith said: “It is a strange one. I was thinking about it when we were walking up to collect the award – it felt strange to be leaving the other three at the table. We got an NME Award a couple of years back for Best Festival Headliner. That meant a lot because we don’t often get recognised for that side of what we do live, but this is completely different.
“For me, it’s really lovely that Simon is up there with me. It’s criminal really, because he’s been there all the time.”
Last August, Gallup announced that he had left The Cure, citing feeling “fed up of betrayal” as his reason for leaving. However, in October, he told a fan on social media that he was still a member of the band. The bassist appeared on stage with Smith at the Ivors tonight, although he did not make an acceptance speech.
Meanwhile, The Cure have been working on new material, as Smith confirmed to NME at the BandLab NME Awards 2022 in March. “I’ve been working on two Cure albums and one of them is finished,” the frontman said. “Unfortunately, it’s the second one that’s finished. [On the other] I’ve got to do four vocals, and there are 10 songs on each album. We’re mixing next month on April 1, so I’ve got three weeks left.”
Smith also revealed the title of the new album. “I know what it’s called – it’s called ‘Songs Of A Lost World’. It’s got artwork, it’s got a running order, it’s almost done! They’re so slow because of vinyl, but it might come in September. I’d rather it just came out. I can’t stand the anticipation.”
When asked about the sound of both of the upcoming records, he replied: “Well the first Cure album is relentless doom and gloom. It’s the doomiest thing that we’ve ever done. The second one is upbeat, and my [solo] one won’t be out until next year.
“I have to keep revisiting it. It’s a thing I’ve wanted to do for so many years. I realise I’ve only got one shot at doing it, so I’ve now started to add real instruments and acoustic instruments, whereas this time two years ago it was literally just feedback – but I’ve kind of grown a bit disenchanted with it. I’d listened to it like three times and I think it’s rubbish.”
Smith gave NME an update on the new records backstage at tonight’s Ivor Novello Awards. “We walked on [stage at the Ivors today] to a bit of new music, actually,” he said. “Hopefully no one recorded it!”
The frontman continued to say that the new material would be “worth the wait”. “I think [‘Songs Of A Lost World’ is] the best thing we’ve done, but then I would say that,” he said. “I’m not doing an Oasis when I say that, ‘IT’S THE BEST FOOKIN’ ALBUM’. A lot of the songs are difficult to sing, and that’s why it’s taken me a while.”