San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality
Garrett Harris noon, Oct. 13
Sound description: The Cure. Duh.
RIYL: The Cure
Inception: San Diego, 2004
Current Status: Playing wherever men wear makeup and women wear corsettes over their clothes.
Influences: The Cure
“Tribute bands like Atomic Punks [Van Halen], Super Diamond [Neil Diamond] and Dead Man’s Party [Oingo Boingo] can make upwards of $5000 for a single-set show, depending on the venue,” says Zippy Twombly of the local Cure tribute band the Cured. “There are other tributes out there that will play for $200. We’re currently somewhere in the middle but we play just about every week.”
Formed in 2004, at first only singer Twombly dressed and coifed like his Cure counterpart. “It took us a lot of struggle to get our bass player to wear lipstick,” he says “But when we started doing larger venues like the Belly up and House of Blues, the rest of the band threatened to hold him down and put it on him. We now have a clothes designer and a make-up girl and we spend a lot of time researching the look. Luckily, the Cure has had so many members that it’s easy for the band to look like one of them.”
Others in the band may or may not follow his visual lead, depending on who’s in the group at any given time. “Just like the Cure,” says Twombly, “we’ve had more than a few keyboard players, and three more drummers than Spinal Tap.”
So do tribute bands get tribute groupies? “It’s my contention that girls will always like guys in bands. Our audience is seventy-five percent women, most of them drunk and singing along to the songs. Nature will take it course, and if they’re confusing us with the band they’re really fans of, I’m not real good about correcting them.” He draws the line at impersonating Smith offstage. “That would be creepy, like Johnny Depp showing up at a club dressed like a pirate.”
Asked if he’s ever met Robert Smith, Twombly says “No, but our former keyboard player knew a girl who washed his hands after he made his imprint in the concrete in front of the Guitar Center in Hollywood.”
In summer 2008, Lol Tolhurst, one of the founding members of the Cure, joined the Cured onstage at L.A.’s Gibson Amphitheatre (formerly Universal Amphitheatre). “I arranged it a few months earlier by contacting him on MySpace,” says Twombly. “I first apologized that we were ripping off his work by pretending to be his band. He assured me that he didn’t see it that way and said he was happy that someone was keeping the old songs alive.”