The Cure cofounder-drummer-keyboardist Lol Tolhurst has written a book titled Goth: A History, chronicling the enduring subculture bands like the Cure unintentionally helped create.
The goth subculture began in London in the late 1970s as an offshoot of punk and postpunk music. Fans of the music of bands like the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, and the Sisters of Mercy kicking around at London's Batcave club combined those artists' black-clad visual esthetic with an appreciation for Gothic literature and horror movies to spawn a subculture that continues today — from Tim Burton's Wednesday to newer artists such as Zola Jesus.
As a founding member of the Cure, Tolhurst was there at the very beginning even though Cure lead singer Robert Smith would bristle at being labeled a “goth” despite his dark music, penchant for black clothing, and shock of teased black hair. As reported by the Associated Press, Tolhurst refers to goth as “the last true alternative outsider subculture.”
Lol Tolhurst Says That Goth Is a Philosophy, Not a Fashion
Tolhurst, who previously penned a memoir titled Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, spoke with Associated Press about the misunderstood subculture. “People had (goth) confused,” says Tolhurst. “They saw the outward signs, the dark clothing, and they thought that was what it was all about gloom and doom. And it’s actually a lot more subtle than that. It’s not really a fashion. It’s more of a philosophy in a way of being, a way of approaching the world. And I think that ensures its longevity. It’s malleable, but it’s sort of basic premise is always the same.”
In Goth: A History, Tolhurst explores how goth music evolved from the anarchy of punk, saying that the main difference is that a goth song refers to “love and death” in the same song and that “the ideas are generally about the invisible and internal in life more than the external and visible.” The book draws connections between French existentialists and gothic literature such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and goth music's progenitors such as David Bowie, Nico, and the Doors to goth icons such as the Cure.
Tolhurst says of the book, “I’m showing people that I’m grateful to something, a way of being, a way of life, and a way of responding to the world. Which, in the end, is pretty much the whole point of being alive.”
Tolhurst's Goth: A History by Hachette is available now… no all-black dress code required for reading.