Malice, Easy Cure and Social Security // Robert Smith Won't Get A Job

On December 20th 1976, a band called Malice, composed of Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Michael Dempsey and Porl Thompson, were booked to play a gig at St. Wilfrid's School Hall were Smith attended. He had previously misled the school's headmaster to believe that Malice were a jazz fusion band, and withheld the crucial information that he was a member of theirs, because he wasn't exactly the headmaster's favorite student. The band enlisted a guy named Martin Creasy, a journalist with The Crawley Observer for vocal duties, as Smith wasn't quite there yet, and they performed a setlist which included Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady, The Troggs' Wild Thing, David Bowie’s Suffragette City, Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak and an original by Smith, A Night Like This. It was a terrible performance. There were about three hundred people in the room, most of which walked right out. Malice were no more.

"We decided we needed another name if we were going to start playing again," Smith rightfully estimated. "One of our songs was called Easy Cure, a song written by Lol, and eventually, in desperation, we settled on that."

After the disaster of St Wilfrid’s, Smith still gave a shot at an academic career, passing nine O-levels and eventually planning to enroll at university, but he soon realized that a jobless life was a better match for him. He made a little money by flogging his father's home brew which he spent on records, and applied for Social Security, although he instructed the staff there not to try very hard to get him a job.

"It came to the point where I’d rather kill myself than get a job," said Smith. "I told Social Security to give the jobs to those who want them; I’d rather stay at home listening to music. But they’d tell me I had to work and I’d just ask, Why?"

More as a personal challenge, he passed the Oxford-Cambridge entrance exam, and showed up for his interview in a woman’s fur coat. Although he wasn’t accepted, Smith was offered a place at Sussex University. "It was supposed to be the best university for drugs in the country," he recalls.

Smith then was allowed by his parents to take a year off to explore more of his chances on a career in music.

"Once I started the group and they realized I was serious about it, I wasn’t just using it as an excuse to go around and get drunk all the time and pull women, they dropped all sort of ideas of me furthering my education."

In the end, it all worked out great in Robert Smith's life of unemployment. Happy 60th birthday!

Works consulted: Never Enough: The Story of The Cure by Jeff Apter, published in 2005 by Omnibus Press. Malice gig poster by Porl Thompson. Easy Cure photo (LR Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey and Porl Thomson) taken 1977 by unknown. Robert Smith photo taken 1978 by unknown.

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