rock hall 2019

The Cure’s Rock Hall Performance Was a Tribute to Late Ex-Drummer Andy Anderson

Robert Smith. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It was rumored that Robert Smith wouldn’t accept the Cure being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if one of their newer members, guitarist Reeves Gabrels, couldn’t go into the Hall with them. In that same spirit of making every member count, the Cure also paid tribute to their late former drummer Andy Anderson, who died of cancer last month, in their performance. The band played a medley that began with “Shake Dog Shake,” which Smith explained backstage was specifically chosen in memory of Anderson. “It’s a weird choice maybe for people who don’t know The Cure, but because Andy Anderson died recently, and he was the drummer on that album and he’s known for that song in particular, it was a tribute to him.”

Picking the rest of the setlist — “A Forest,” “Love Song,” “Just Like Heaven,” “Boys Don’t Cry” — apparently led to a lot of bickering and, at one point, Smith never even wanted the band to perform at their own induction. “I didn’t really know if we should do this at all. A few years ago, I was convinced it’d be a pretty foolish thing to do,” he said. (The Cure would be far from the first to skip performing; neither Radiohead nor Janet Jackson did it this year.) Smith continued, “Once we were inducted, I thought it was a bit childish to not join in. And then we got into what songs to play. We’ve never rowed as much as a band in the last seven or eight years about what we should play.” If it were up to him, he said, they’d have performed a new ten-minute song but the band talked him out of it: “Right up until about two days ago, we were still arguing.”

Though the band ended up happily playing and accepting their induction, Smith admits he’s still pretty on the fence about what it all means. “I’m not quite sure about the whole thing. It’s probably a cultural thing. And I just don’t know,” he said. “On the red carpet, they asked me was I super excited? In a funny way, I feel like we’ve been subsumed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” And Smith is certain his younger self would be aghast at all the fuss if he saw them now: “There’s a part of me who’s like, ‘C’mon if you were 15, you’d be like, ‘Fuck this.’” “But,” he added, “at the same time, there are people in it who are my heroes. So it would be really really wrong of me to be anything other than delighted to be part of this.”

The Cure Pay Tribute to the Late Andy Anderson at Rock Hall