Pearl Thompson

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Pearl Thompson
Thompson performing with The Cure in Sweden in 2007
Thompson performing with The Cure in Sweden in 2007
Background information
Born (1957-11-08) 8 November 1957 (age 64)
Surrey, England
OriginWimbledon, England
GenresPost-punk, gothic rock, new wave, alternative rock, psychedelic rock, lo-fi, experimental
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, poet, artist
Instrument(s)Guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, keyboard, piano, saxophone, kazoo, banjo, vocals
Years active1976–present

Pearl Thompson (born 8 November 1957 as Paul Stephen Thompson[1]) is an English musician and artist. Thompson is best known as a member of the English gothic rock band The Cure from 1983–1994 and 2006–2010, credited as Porl Thompson and playing mainly guitar with occasional keyboards and saxophone. During and after The Cure, Thompson was active with a few other bands and projects but has since retired from music and turned to painting.


Thompson was a member (alongside Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey and Lol Tolhurst) of the Easy Cure, which was a precursor to The Cure.[2] Thompson left Easy Cure to go to art college;[3] his style did not mesh well with Smith's approach to songwriting.[2] Thompson went on to become a member of The Exotic Pandas and occasionally played with The Glove, a collaboration between Smith and Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees.[2] Thompson rejoined his bandmates in The Cure in 1983, initially playing saxophone on several tracks that would appear on the group's 1984 album, The Top. During the Top tour, he expanded his instrumental contributions to include keyboard as well as guitar, also continuing to perform with The Glove when they appeared on television. Over time, Thompson became known principally as a guitarist in the band, and is sometimes seen as the most technically proficient musician in the band's history after Reeves Gabrels.[1]

In 1994, Thompson left The Cure to play with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin during the Page and Plant tour of 1995. He also played with Babacar, a band formed by long-time Cure drummer Boris Williams. Later, Thompson formed another project called Quietly Torn. Thompson continued working with Plant, joining the singer's group for the 2002 release Dreamland.

In June 2005 Thompson rejoined The Cure,[4] and was with the band for the recording of the live DVD The Cure: Festival 2005; for the recording of the band's 13th studio album, 4:13 Dream; and for the band's 2007–2008 4Tour.[5]

In 2007, Schecter Guitars released a Pearl Thompson Signature model featuring graphics by the British artist Kev Grey. The guitar was featured in the book 108 Rock Star Guitars by photographer Lisa S. Johnson.[6]

Thompson is featured on the album Callus by Gonjasufi, released in August 2016.[7]

As an artist[edit]

Thompson and background designer Andy Vella were the co-founders of Parched Art. Parched Art produced many of the record sleeves found on The Cure's albums. The most recognisable record sleeves were primarily drawn, painted, or photographed by Thompson.[8][9]

In 2002, Thompson also had an exhibition of paintings in Cornwall, UK, and Canada titled "100% SKY".[citation needed]

In March 2015, Thompson's first US painting exhibition of abstract landscape paintings was held at Mr. MusicHead Art Gallery on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The exhibition was entitled "...Through the eyes of birds". Remote Malibu canyons inspired the work and desert landscapes.[2] Also in 2015, Thompson announced that he would focus his endeavors on his artwork.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Close friends had long used "Pearl" as a nickname. Thompson's first name was legally changed to "Pearl" in 2011.[10][11]

Pearl is noted for being reclusive and private.[12] From his early time in The Cure Thompson dated Janet Smith,[13] the younger sister of Robert Smith. Thompson and Smith are married and have four children.[1]


The Cure
Page and Plant
Robert Plant
Shelleyan Orphan
  • Humroot (1992)


  1. ^ a b c Chris Gerrard (2021)The Cure FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Most Heartbreakingly Excellent Rock Band the World Has Ever Known. Backbeat, ISBN 9781493053988, p. 155
  2. ^ a b c d "The Cure Guitarist Pearl Thompson's Art Goes on Display". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ Ten Imaginary Years - ISBN 0-946391-87-4
  4. ^ "Triviahead: Can anyone rival the Fall for lineup changes?". The Guardian. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Porl Thompson | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  6. ^ "The Cure 2007". Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  7. ^ Patrin, Nate (18 August 2016). Gonjasufi - Callus (review), Pitchfork
  8. ^ lorenashleigh (2 May 2013). "Parched Art". LorenAshleigh. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Andy Vella design interview". Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  10. ^ a b (8 March 2015). The Cure Star Legally Changes His Name As He Leaves The Music World For Art, Contact Music
  11. ^ (23 September 2014). Ex-Cure star to exhibit art for the first time, Express
  12. ^ Davroy, Gabrielle (10 April 2016). Let's Talk About Sex : Porl Thompson The Cure, RTBF
  13. ^ Apter, Jeff. Never Enough: The Story of The Cure, (2009), Omnibus Press, pg. 34; ISBN 978-1-84772-739-8

External links[edit]