Why Did Boris Williams Leave The Cure?

Despite The Cure having had a lot of great drummers, Boris Williams was considered the best out of all of them, and he played on all of their most successful albums. So why Did Boris Williams leave The Cure?

Boris Williams left The Cure following guitarist Porl/Pearl Thompson feeling bored with The Cure’s sound and dissatisfied with Thompson’s replacement, Perry Bamonte, who had previously been the band’s keyboardist. He departed in late 1994 but has briefly returned twice.

After four albums and a decade spent with The Cure, Williams decided to move on. Although more than two decades later, he still finds it hard to explain his decision to leave the band.

Williams once stated:

“It was a question of identity. When you are in a band, you create a persona of who you are, and the rest of the band accepts that. I just didn’t feel like the person that I was in The Cure anymore.”

Boris further added to his statement:

“It wasn’t that I didn’t get on with everyone; I considered the band to be my best friends. My biggest regret is the way I did it.”

Although a new line-up slowly began to take shape, did The Cure recover from the loss? Could they have called it quits? Let us dig in deeper!

Was Boris Williams the best drummer The Cure had?

Boris Williams was undoubtedly the best drummer The Cure had out of the 3 other official drummers that have come and gone from the band. His powerful drumming, musicianship, and intense and creative patterns took The Cure’s music to the next level.

Unfortunately, by the end of the band’s 1992 album “Wish”, Williams announced that he wanted to move on. Boris phoned Robert Smith to tell him that he wanted to learn the tabla (an Indian percussion instrument). After Williams left the band, Smith faced difficulties finding another drummer who could fit into the set-up.

Robert Smith told the Los Angeles Times: 

“Not only did we have to find someone who would fit, who would get on with us and understand what the Cure is about, but also had to be as good a drummer as Boris, and it took months finding someone.”

Boris is lucky to have an entire fandom that confirms his genius.

According to the fan community, songs like “Open”, “Fascination Street”, and “Lullaby” are infused with great energy and style. They strike a good balance between keeping a steady groove and providing flair to the music.

This is the reason The Cure’s fans loved seeing Boris so much. And it’s not a coincidence that the band reached new heights of success as soon as Boris joined the band back in 2001.

How many times has Boris Williams rejoined The Cure?

Borris Williams has rejoined The Cure at least twice. Williams quit the band in 1994 and made his first comeback in 2001 for the acoustic versions of their greatest hits compilation. But he was also present at a few sessions for the group’s 2004 album, The Cure, although he is not officially credited.

In 2001, Williams helped The Cure record acoustic versions of their greatest hits. This ended up being a bonus disc for the regular greatest hits CD released at the time.

The 2004 album, simply titled The Cure, officially had Jason Cooper on drums (the band’s current drummer), so it’s unclear what role Williams had on that record. Maybe he just swung by the studio with a few pints to meet up with old friends.

Ultimately, William’s drumming was a huge part of The Cure’s sound for a decade, and on all their best-selling albums. So that can’t be overlooked.

But Robert Smith’s guitar playing is also often overlooked or at least downplayed.

In a recent article, I got into just how good a guitar player he is, despite being overshadowed by Porl/Pearl Thompson and some of the others that have come and gone from the band. But there’s 1 surprising twist about his guitar playing most fans don’t realize.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What did Boris Williams do after leaving The Cure?

Williams started a short-lived rock group called Babacar after leaving The Cure. The band featured Boris, Caroline Crawley, Rob Steen, Jemaur Tayle, and Roberto Soave. He does not appear to have been musically active in recent years.

Crawley (Boris’ then-girlfriend) was the founding member of Babacar. Before forming the band, She sang in another group called Shelleyan Orphan until they broke up in 1993.

Guitarist Rob Steen and bassist Roberto Soave played together for Presence, and drummer Boris had already spent a decade with The Cure.

Soave came to know Williams as he played the guitar part with Boris on Shelleyan Orphan’s third album, Humroot. Soave additionally got the chance to join The Cure live when Simon fell ill during the European leg of the “Wish” tour, and Soave was asked to fill in for him on bass.

But was Soave as good as Simon Gallup?

Read my recent article to know who is the better bass player in the band to date. And what was the deal with Gallup supposedly quitting for a hot minute in 2021?

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Did Boris Williams leave The Cure with Porl Thompson?

Boris Williams left The Cure several months after Porl/Pearl Thompson left in early 1994. So they both The Cure in the same year but not at the same time. And both the musicians left the band for artistic reasons. However, Thompson did make a more official return to the band from 2005-2008.

Boris explains that he left the band because he wanted to learn the tabla, and Porl gave a similar explanation that he wanted to pursue art.

In my opinion, 1993-94 was a time when Robert Smith experimented a lot with the band’s style and sound. He took quite a departure from their normal style, which may have pissed off Porl and Boris.

Case in point would be the band’s contribution to the Jimi Hendrix tribute called Stone Free.

Now The Cure covering Hendrix is not new. But this version of Purple Haze was done with hip-hop producer Bryan “Chuck” New, and it doesn’t even sound like any “real” drums were used, just drum machine.

That being said, I actually do like that version.

It is possible that this new sound, right on the heels of the uber-popular but poppily-controversial “Friday I’m In Love”, did not match Porl and Boris’s vision of what they wanted the band’s sound to be like. And they thought it best to leave.

Many fans are disappointed because they believe Porl and Boris brought so much more to The Cure than money.

If you listen to their fantastic sound, you will find that both the artists captured the most intricate and straightforward rock-centric sounds the band ever produced. So many songs of The Cure wouldn’t be the same without Porl and Boris’ unique parts.

Their collective sound became the backbone of the band. Unfortunately, they did not stay long and went on their separate paths. The band evolved through the years, allowing for the likes of Porl/Pearl Thompson to redefine their personalities. 

If you missed how Porl, aka Paul, became Pearl, I made sure to talk about it in my recent article for you to catch up. I covered why some fans thought he was a girl, while others questioned if he were now trans.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How many original members of The Cure are still in the band?

Through frequent line-up changes over 40 years, Robert Smith remains the only original member in The Cure, although bassist Simon Gallup has been in the band, on and off, since 1979.

The band was formed in 1978 by Robert Smith along with schoolmates Michael Dempsey, Lol Tolhurst, and local guitar hero Porl Thompson.

One year into the band’s musical journey since its beginning, founding member Dempsey left at the end of 1979. He helped the band tour extensively around the UK and released two singles, “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.”

The band was joined by Simon Gallup and Matthieu Hartley the same year. 

The quartet embarked on exploring Robert’s writing and carried on with the minimalist classic album Seventeen Seconds. After an intense tour, Matthieu left the group in 1981.

The band then set out on a second global trek, experimenting with despair and disturbing, atmospheric sounds resulting in my favorite album, Pornography, from 1982.

Pushing the limits of the band’s sound, Robert rejuvenated The Cure after a hiatus and explored more groovy electronic beats in 1983 and 1984.

This was also when Boris joined the band introducing his unmatchable patterns. The new line-up worked on “The Head on the Door” singles like “In Between Days” and “Close to Me.”

But in 1989, the final founding member Lol Tolhurst was kicked out from the band due to not being able to keep it together due to heavy drinking. Given the history of drug and alcohol abuse in The Cure, you have to figure that to actually get kicked out of the band for drinking too much, he must have drunk A LOT.

It is worth noting, however, that Tolhurst returned for a series of shows in 2011.

The current line-up consists of Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Roger O’Donnell, Jason Cooper, and guitarist Reeves Gabrels, leaving Robert Smith to be the only original member still in the band.

Conclusion

Boris Williams from The Cure is often identified as the best drummer in rock history.

He has garnered critical appreciation for setting a standard in drumming. However, he left the band in 1994 at the peak of commercial success.

Although he joined back in 2001, why Boris Williams left The Cure is still unanswered. If you believe a statement given out by Williams, he left the band for his state of mind.

But luckily, Boris came back and had been helping the band unofficially.


Photo which requires attribution:

The Cure by Christian Córdova is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text and graphic overlay added.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

 

Jeff Campbell

Hi, I'm Jeff Campbell, a former DJ, music journalist, musician, and music lover. I'm old enough to have seen all the cool bands and young enough to still remember them.

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