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Lol Tolhurst
Tolhurst in 2020
Tolhurst in 2020
Background information
Birth nameLaurence Andrew Tolhurst
Born (1959-02-03) 3 February 1959 (age 65)
Origin Horley, [1] Surrey, England
  • Drums
  • keyboards
Years active1976–present
Formerly of

Laurence Andrew Tolhurst (born 3 February 1959), known professionally as Lol Tolhurst, is an English musician, songwriter, producer, and author. He was a founding member of The Cure, for which he first played drums before switching to keyboards. He left the Cure in 1989 and later formed the bands Presence and Levinhurst. He has also published two books and developed the Curious Creatures podcast. [2] This has led him to collaborate with Budgie and Jacknife Lee and the release of an album, Los Angeles (2023).


Early years

Lol is an English abbreviation of Laurence. [3] Tolhurst was born in Horley, and is the fifth of six children to William and Daphne Tolhurst. His family later moved to nearby Crawley, where he first met future bandmate Robert Smith when they were both five years old. Tolhurst's grandmother lived next door to Smith's family, and Tolhurst and Smith attended St. Francis Primary and Junior Schools together. [2] During their teen years, the two played together in several early bands, with Tolhurst on drums. These bands eventually evolved into The Cure in 1978. [4]

The Cure

Tolhurst played drums and occasionally keyboards for the Cure on their first four albums. After the tour for the Pornography album in 1982, Tolhurst decided to abandon the drums and switch to keyboards and synthesizers full time. [5] During this period he also produced two singles and one album for the band And Also the Trees. [6]

By 1985, Tolhurst's contributions to the Cure were diminishing due to his alcoholism, and during live performances some of his keyboard parts had to be supplemented by guitarist Porl Thompson. [2] Shortly after the release of Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me in 1987, Tolhurst's apparent lack of preparation for the album's upcoming tour caused the band to recruit a second keyboardist, Roger O'Donnell. [7]

During the recording of the following album Disintegration in 1989, Tolhurst's alcoholism became so severe that the other members of the band threatened to quit, and Tolhurst contributed very little to the album even though he was credited as a co-writer on all songs. [8] While it was later revealed that Tolhurst contributed to the song "Homesick", [9] his contributions to the rest of the album were nearly nonexistent, [9] [10] and he was ultimately credited with "other instruments" in the album's liner notes. [11] Tolhurst was fired by Robert Smith shortly before the album's release. [12]

After the Cure

Following his departure from the Cure, in 1990 Tolhurst formed the band Presence with singer Gary Biddles, who had been an early member of the Cure's road crew and was previously a member of Fools Dance. Presence released the album Inside in 1993; a second album titled Closer was recorded during this period but was not released until 2014. Meanwhile, Tolhurst had moved to Los Angeles in the United States and successfully overcame his alcoholism. His son Gray was born in 1991. [2]

In 1994, Tolhurst sued Robert Smith and Fiction Records for unpaid royalties, claiming that he had been coerced into signing an unfavorable contract in the mid-1980s while debilitated by his alcohol problem. That contract had removed him as an equal partner in the Cure with Smith and relegated him to a paid employee. Tolhurst also claimed part ownership with Smith in the Cure's name. [13] Tolhurst lost this lawsuit and was ordered by the court to pay Smith's legal expenses. [14] Smith refunded the money to Tolhurst years later after they reconciled their friendship. [13]

In 2002, Tolhurst and his wife Cindy Levinson formed the electronica band Levinhurst. [15] This band released the albums Perfect Life in 2004 and House by the Sea in 2007. For their third album Blue Star in 2009 they were joined by another former member of the Cure, bassist Michael Dempsey. [16] Tolhurst also composed music for the film 9000 Needles, which won the Best Documentary award at several prestigious film festivals. [17] [18]

In 2011, Tolhurst contacted Robert Smith to suggest a collaboration to honor the 30th anniversary of the Cure album Faith. Tolhurst had also discussed the possibility with another former bandmate, Roger O'Donnell. The Cure decided to organize a short tour commemorating three of their early albums. Tolhurst temporarily appeared with the band for several shows, first at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, playing keyboards and percussion. [19] [20] However, he did not officially rejoin the band. [21]

Recent activities

In 2016, Tolhurst published his memoir Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, largely recounting his childhood friendship with Robert Smith and the early years of the Cure. [22] Tolhurst undertook an extensive book tour of the United Kingdom and United States. In 2018, he was featured in an episode of the BBC Radio 4 series Soul Music, in which he discussed the history of the Cure song " Boys Don't Cry". [23] In 2019, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Cure. [24]

In 2021, Tolhurst developed the podcast Curious Creatures with Budgie, a member of longtime Cure associates Siouxsie and the Banshees, in which they explore " post punk’s enduring legacy and contemporary relevance" along with invited guests. [25] Tolhurst’s second book Goth: A History was published in 2023. The Guardian wrote that the book "traces the genre from its 18th-century literary roots to its flourishing as a music subculture". [26]

During this period, Tolhurst took up drumming again and teamed up with Budgie and Jacknife Lee on the album Los Angeles, released in November 2023. [27] The album features guest appearances by James Murphy, the Edge, Bobby Gillespie, and Isaac Brock. [28] Mojo praised the album as "thrilling", saying that "Los Angeles lands with a visceral impact, rich texturing and smart distortions adding a destabilising wobble". [29] Tolhurst and Budgie announced a US tour for May/June 2024. [30] [31]


With the Cure

With Presence

With Levinhurst

With Budgie and Jacknife Lee


  1. ^ Apter, Jeff (2009). Never Enough: the Story of the Cure. Omnibus Press. p. 42. ISBN  9780857120243.
  2. ^ a b c d Price, Simon (2023). Curepedia: An A-Z of The Cure. New York, NY: William Morrow. pp. 367–373. ISBN  978-0-06-306864-3.
  3. ^ Sherburne, Philip (27 September 2016). (ed.). "The Cure's Lol Tolhurst On Blackouts, Breakups, and Escaping the '80s Alive". pitchfork. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  4. ^ Uncut, ed. (2016). "The Cure". The Ultimate Music Guide. pp. 6–9.
  5. ^ Uncut, pp. 32-36.
  6. ^ Price, p. 12.
  7. ^ Jeff Apter (5 November 2009). Never Enough: The Story of The Cure. Omnibus Press. p. 227-229. ISBN  9780857120243.
  8. ^ Banulescu, Eduard (27 August 2023). "The Cure Albums Ranked: What's Their Greatest Album? - from Worst to Best". Alt77. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Lol Tolhurst – Interview".
  10. ^ "Roger O'Donnell: Recording of the Cure's 'Disintegration' a 'happy, jokey' time". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 28 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  11. ^ Brown, James (8 April 1989). "Ten Years in Lipstick and Powder". NME.
  12. ^ Apter, p. 240.
  13. ^ a b Price, pp. 215-216.
  14. ^ ""Drummer beaten in cash battle" 27 June 2007". Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  15. ^ Tocino, Kevin (3 April 2017). "Cindy Levinson, wife of the Cure's Lol Tolhurst, chats with John M". Y101fm.
  16. ^ Price, pp. 218-219.
  17. ^ Uncut, p. 144.
  18. ^ Simpson, Melody (2 April 2011). "Documentary Review 9000 Needles". Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  19. ^ "The Cure playing first 3 albums in Sydney with ex-members Lol Tolhurst, Roger O'Donnell". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  20. ^ Uncut, pp. 134-137.
  21. ^ Michaels, Sean (24 August 2010). "The Cure's original drummer asks to rejoin band". The Guardian.
  22. ^ Pearlman, Mischa (27 July 2016). "Boys Don't Cry: A Story of Rock 'n' Roll and Surviving the Cure". Vice. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Boys Don't Cry". BBC Radio 4 - Soul Music. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  24. ^ Grow, Kory (30 March 2019). "Read Cure Frontman Robert Smith's Gracious Rock Hall Induction Speech". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  25. ^ Price, p. 82.
  26. ^ "Goth: A History by Lol Tolhurst review – the dark is rising". The Guardian. 21 September 2023. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  27. ^ Breihan, Tom (2 August 2023). "Lol Tolhurst, Budgie, & Jacknife Lee – "Los Angeles" (feat. James Murphy)". Stereogum. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  28. ^ Trendell, Andrew (24 July 2023). "Lol Tolhurst, Budgie and Jacknife Lee talk new project Los Angeles". NME. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  29. ^ Segal, Victoria (27 October 2023). "Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee Review: The Edge, LCD Soundsystem, Bobby Gillespie and more join post-punk drummers' dystopian party". Mojo. Archived from the original on 3 November 2023. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  30. ^ "Cruel World Festival 2024 Lineup". Brooklynvegan. 4 December 2023. Retrieved 22 January 2024.
  31. ^ "Miki Berenyi Trio (Lush, Moose) announce US tour with Lol Tolhurst x Budgie". Brooklynvegan. 22 January 2024. Retrieved 22 January 2024.

External links