10 Things You Didn’t Know About Simon Gallup

Simon Gallup

For a long time, The Cure has endured ups and downs throughout the band’s career. Since its formation, the lineup has kept changing, with Robert Smith becoming the constant member. However, Smith said there would be no success without Gallup, who has played an integral part in the live band, The Cure. Therefore, after Gallup entered the band in 1979 and quit in 1982, Smith asked the bassist to return in 1984. Now it is unlikely that Gallup will ever return after feeling betrayed by his band members. Here are a few facts to know about him.

1. He Does Not Consider Himself a Great Bass Player

If you search the internet for the greatest bass players of all time, you will come across names like Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee, and Les Claypool. With such legends to look up to, Gallup does not feel he can even compare to them. He told Pictures of You that he loves watching bands play and always looks at the bassist wondering how they play so well because he is yet to be a great bass player himself. Funny enough, Roger Smith, The Cure’s frontman, said no one plays bass as good as Gallup.

2. He Taught Himself to Play Bass

Gallup started his music interests by playing the guitar before shifting to bass. He learned the skills by going through rough books, and he would continually play the scales; the bassist considers practicing the scales as exercise. He compares it to how athletes have to keep themselves in shape by going to the gym. Besides, once he practices the scales, he feels he enjoys playing the instrument more.

3. He Gets Into His Creative Space When Watching Television

For most of us, watching television is how we relax after a long day at work but for Gallup, sitting in front of the TV gets him into his creative space. He argues that when you are not concentrating 100% on something, your mind will wander, and you can develop different ideas. Therefore, he watches the television without plugging his bass into an amp and experiments by strumming different chords. This approach helped him create “Taking Off,” though he said he hated playing the song live due to how the chords kept fluctuating.

4. His Bass Influences

When Gallup started playing the instrument, he was drawn by Pete Way, who played for UFO, a British heavy metal rock band. Way had a Gibson Thunderbird that Gallup had fallen in love with so he could relate to the UFO bassist. Gallup also cited Paul Simon of the Clash as another significant influence. However, the biggest of them all had to be J.J. Burnel, the Stranglers’ bassist. He was captivated so much by Burnel that he tried copying his playing style. When the band recorded “A Forest,” he ensured that his whole bass line sounded more like Burnel playing.

5. He Chooses a Bass Based on Its Shape

As a musician, you would think that Gallup would prioritize the sound coming from the bass, but he revealed that the first thing he looks for when picking the type of bass to play is the shape. For each of the albums that The Cure has released, the bassist has used a different bass, and he said tone comes secondary when making selections. He praised the Thunderbird for its shape that will stand the test of time.

6. His Advice for Up-and-Coming Bassists

Although he encourages upcoming bassists to listen to other legendary players as a way to learn about harmony and bass lines, he believes that you can’t develop your own style if you keep listening to others. He, therefore, advised those interested in becoming bass players to venture into the unknown, whether they are learning to perfect their rock music, their punk, their country, or anything else they are doing. He recalled how he would start playing along to a keyboard and learn how to incorporate the parts to create perfect harmony.

7. He Fought with Smith over an Unpaid Bar Bill

There was tension in The Cure, according to Far Out Magazine, and it split over into their personal lives. As per the article, Smith and Gallup were embroiled in a fistfight when a barman mistook Gallup for Smith. The bassist explained that he was about to leave when the barman said he had not paid for drinks, yet it is Smith who still had an unpaid tab. Smith, however, noted that Gallup did not want to pay for his drinks because he thought the frontman was also defaulting. The disagreement got them fighting for the first time, and Smith was so fed up that he booked the first flight home, saying he would not return to the band.

8. He Does Not Mind Airing His Dirty Linen in Public

After the bar fight with Smith and the frontman leaving, it seemed like the band was over. However, Smith’s father would not let him into the house, saying he owed it to his fans to keep entertaining them. Therefore the singer returned to complete the tour. There was still some unresolved anger between them, so it was no surprise that Gallup took the microphone and shouted an insult to Smith on the last night of the tour, and the singer responded by throwing drumsticks at the bassists. Given the heightened tension, Gallup left the band after the tour.

9. Other Legendary Bassists Look Up To Him

In the discussion on Talkbass, people talk of how much they love Gallup’s bass-playing skills. One said that he was tired of hearing others talk about how great Flea is, adding that although Flea is good, the public should appreciate others like Gallup. Now that the bassist has announced quitting The Cure, Flea took to Twitter to wish Gallup the best in his future, saying the lines on “Seventeen Seconds” were an inspiration.

10. He Cited Betrayal as the Reason for Leaving

In 2019, Smith talked of how close he and Gallup were, revealing that they had endured some patches along the road, but they overcame it all to forge a strong friendship. Smith added that it would take something extraordinary to break that kind of friendship. Therefore, you must wonder what happened to The Cure band members for Gallup to quit because he felt betrayed.

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