Siouxsie and The Banshees were one of the first post-punk bands to make it big, forming in 1976, and already well onto releasing their second album Join Hands by September of 1979.
During the tour for said album, however, the Banshees’ guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris (both now referred to as The Blackheads) quit the group, leaving founders Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin in a lurch, scrambling to find replacements for the tour.
Slits percussionist Peter Edward Clarke aka Budgie was recruited on drums, becoming a permanent member of the band—but Severin and Sioux still had a hard time enlisting a guitarist.
After the tour, Robert returned to full-time duties with his own band, and Sioux and Severin then had a proper audition, and the pair recruited Magazine and Visage guitarist John McGeoch to join the band, which was the perfect arrangement until his departure from the Banshees following a nervous breakdown at a gig in Madrid.
Robert Smith was then recruited a second time into Wonderland to join his hand on guitar as a Banshee, now becoming a full-time member. Smith at the time was still recovering from the emotional anguish of The Cure album “Pornography” (which led to Simon Gallup leaving The Cure, a major reason for the band’s hiatus).
This was a pivotal moment, as this was period where Robert Smith fully developed his trademark big backcombed hair and hooker red lipstick initially developed during his Pornography era—possibly having its permanence influenced by being part of Siouxsie’s entourage, and hanging out at The Batcave.
“Robert’s mad. His nickname’s Fat Boy, but he looks so big half the time because he forgets to take his pyjamas off when he gets dressed. He’s very cuddlesome. Sometimes we don’t speak for a month, for some unknown reason, and then we bump into each other and have a month of conversations in one night.”-Budgie in Smash Hits May of 1984
Smith would then go on to record the cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, and shortly thereafter become an official Banshee for the September 30th, and October 1st concerts at The Royal Albert Hall that would be recorded as the Nocturne concert film and live album.
Smith would also record the singles “Melt!”, “Dazzle”, “Swimming Horses”, and the fantastic Hyaena LP. Smith is also featured on the Oxford Road Show performance of the reworking Overground (which was released later as a single credited with his replacement John Valentine Carruthers from Clock DVA.
In addition to his work with directly with the Banshees, Smith also formed a band The Glove with Steven Severin, which included Porl (Pearl Thompson), and Andy Anderson from The Cure, as well as Jeanette Landray, a dancer featured on Top of the Pops, who was the ex-girlfriend of Budgie.
Sadly, The Cure had ended their hiatus in 1983, and Smith was juggling too many bands at once, and had to leave The Banshees before they could tour in support of the Hyaena LP.
This, unfortunately, did not sit well with Sioux:
“It wasn’t like he was ill. He was one of those people who just didn’t say ‘no’ to anything, so when it’s self-induced it’s hard to have sympathy. To actually say two days before a tour that’s been planned in advance that he can’t do it – f*** off! What a lightweight.” Siouxsie from a 2005 issue of Uncut Magazine
Robert however, meant no hard feelings:
“. . . but I think Severin understood and, by then, my mind was made up. After all, I’d given them two weeks’ notice, which was longer than any guitarist had given them before!” Robert Smith Ten Imaginary Years
Robert Smith and Steven Severin have always remained friends it seems, recently meeting up in Scotland to catch up after Severin had been recovering from an illness. It remains unclear today if the ice had ever thawed between Siouxsie and “Bobby”.
Regardless, we thought their collaborations worth celebrating, and below is a gallery just about all the photos and videos we could find from one of the greatest collaborations in the history of Post-Punk and Goth.
*Siouxsie also contributed backing vocals to “I’m Cold”, the B-side to The Cure’s “Jumping Someone Else’s Train”.
Interviews and other stuff
1983 Riverside Special featuring Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Creatures, and The Glove
An interview when they visited Wellington New Zealand in February 1983
Television and Live Performances
Something Else’ 1979
Love In A Void
Old Grey Whistle Test’ November 11th 1982
Oxford Road Show December 3rd, 1982
Overground (with The Venomettes)
French Television for Christmas 1982
I’l Est Né Divin Enfant”
Top of the Pops, September 1983
‘Nocturne’ Royal Albert Hall 1983
Live 1983 at Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen Denmark
Red Over White
The Tube 1984
- Running Town
- Bring Me The Head of the Preacher Man
- Blow the House Down
The Tube 1984
Top of the Pops 1984