Superstar side projects have always rattled around the music scene, one-off outings conceived for any reason you like — to scratch a creative itch, to fulfill a personal vanity, or simply just to confuse and confound an audience that has been growing far too complacent. Occasionally, however, it works. The art rock underground still thrills to the memory of the nights that Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Lydia Lunch, and Foetus came together as the Immaculate Consumptives in 1983; and the gothic crowd still trembles at the memory of the Glove, the similarly short-lived but superbly styled union of the Cure's Robert Smith and Siouxsie and the Banshees' Steven Severin.
The Glove wasn't that great a stretch of the imagination. The pair had been friends since they first met in the late '70s; the Cure undertook their first ever British tour as special guests of the Banshees, in late 1979, and when the headliners' guitarist went unexpectedly AWOL, half a dozen concerts into the itinerary, Smith was quick to fill the gap, playing two full sets every night.
The tour over, the Banshees ushered in a full-time replacement and Smith returned to the Cure. But when that band apparently broke up in June 1982, Smith's first move was to record a single for Flexipop magazine, alongside Severin ("Lament"), and when the Banshees once again required a guitarist, Smith stepped into the breach.
Over the next six months, of course, the Cure did creep back into action, even as the Banshees worked constantly, while Smithand Severin also birthed a project they had been discussing since 1981, the Glove (so named for a character in the Beatles' Yellow Submarine movie).
With the "group" completed by vocalist/dancer Jeanette Landray, the duo's original idea was to cut a one-off single only. Their writing sessions, however, knew no such boundaries. Days turned to weeks, which transformed, in turn, to months. Smith later boasted, "when we went into the studio, we ended up with 15 songs after three days. And we put them on a record. An odd record."
In fact, the entire project consumed close to three months, but Smith was right about one thing. It was an odd record. According to Banshees drummer Budgie, he and Siouxsie "looked in on a couple of sessions, and couldn't believe what was going on...a situation obviously fuelled by parties and various substances."
The project was doomed to obscurity, however; by the time Blue Sunshine was actually released, that late summer of 1983, both the Banshees and the Cure were enjoying their biggest hit singles yet ("Dear Prudence" and "The Lovecats," respectively); both were preparing to record new albums; both were appearing on British television on an almost weekly basis. The Glove was simply buried beneath the weight of its peers.
A pair of singles went unnoticed, and hopes of a Glove tour — or even a handful of concerts — were dashed. The group did make a couple of TV appearances, the first in October with a couple of Smith's Cure bandmates accompanying the lead trio through a version of the "Punish Me With Kisses" 45 and, with the entire thing completely forgotten by all but the most obsessive fans, the following March, when Britain's Channel 4 TV network invited the Banshees to take part in a new series called Play at Home — a series of rock mock documentaries that essentially allowed the lunatics to take over the asylum and present whatever they wanted to the watching millions. The Glove turned in a suitably addled performance, but that was the end. Although occasional rumors have resurfaced around a reunion, the band remains nothing but a memory. A very odd memory. ~ Dave Thompson