New Robert Smith interview in RS (Oct. 2019)

Started by Ulrich, October 19, 2019, 11:53:06

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Ulrich

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/cure-band-robert-smith-interview-40-live-893005/amp/

A few quotes:
Quote from: undefinedI never found it awkward showing my emotions. I couldn't really continue without showing my emotions; you'd have to be a pretty boring singer to do that. So it was just an expression.

After "Boys Don't Cry," the band shifted into more atmospheric sounds. Why was that?

When we reached the end of the Three Imaginary Boys period with the three-piece, I was a different person and I wanted to do something different. I thought I'd outgrown that trio. I wanted to play the keyboard and other forms of music had influenced me when I was growing up. I listened to early Pink Floyd, because my older brother used to play it all the time. So I was looking back at other influences and I was drawing on things like Nick Drake, Pink Floyd, and Captain Beefheart. It didn't need to be a trio. It was a natural evolution and we kept adding members, and the sound just got bigger and more interesting. But I never lost sight of the three-minute pop song, and I think that helped particularly in the mid-Eighties when we could have turned into quite a grand thing. Pop singles helped us get through what otherwise would have become very pompous.

Speaking of that, when you're playing "Just Like Heaven," do you ever pause and think, "This is a perfect song"?
Yeah, it's one of a handful that when you're playing it in front of people [that I think that]. When I sing, "It's just like a dream," and Roger starts doing the piano bit, I look at people and everyone suddenly looks over at the piano and I look at the crowd and it's one of those really lovely moments. When I wrote it, I thought, "That's it. I'll never write something as good as this again." I remember saying to the others in the studio, "That's it. We might as well pack up." Thankfully, we didn't.

You recently turned 60. How does that feel?
I don't feel my age, really. I don't live the life of a normal 60-year-old, so maybe that's it. I don't have children. I think that's a huge part of how maybe I forget how old I am. The only thing that reminds me is just watching the world go down the tubes.

What got you thinking about that?
The working title of the new album is Live From the Moon, because I can remember the moon landing. I was 10 at the time, and I can remember standing out in the back garden with my younger sister and my dad, looking at the moon, and he was explaining to me what was going on, that there were men up there. And I thought, "Yeah, yeah" — an early skeptic. Then I was thinking, what is the world going to be like in 50 years, and it just dawned on me as we turned into 2019, good grief, is this it? Is this really 50 years on from the moon landing? It's so f*cking poor. It really is.

When was the last time you had hope?
There was a brief moment in the late Seventies, before Ronnie [Reagan] and Maggie [Thatcher], that you thought, "Hey, maybe the world is moving in the right direction very, very slowly. And honestly, since the Cure started, it's been a relentless downward slide as far as I can see. I have no idea. I can see the reasons why, and I've read books and articles about why, but it's very sad that kind of the hope that was around [the moon landing] is over. The technology and space race has had much more to do with the military-industrial complex than most people perhaps understand.
...

How did all this play into the album?

Originally, I thought it would be out on the anniversary date, complete with, like, NASA crackling vocals and stuff. In the studio, I brought in some 1969 memorabilia that I kept about the moon landing and stuck it on the wall. We had a glowing moon sphere hanging in the middle of the studio, and it was all a bit retro. I even bought a 1969 guitar to play on it just to get the vibe going.

In a funny way, I was trying to achieve nostalgia for a world that never happened. And I think that's still what I want the world to be. That's why I'm struggling a little bit with the lyrics. Musically, I think we've done it. It's just lyrically, I need to make sure that it's working.
...

I don't think the tone of it is going to change, but I think I'll probably structurally change some of the bits. Rather than editing the stuff inside a computer, I'd rather we just play it again. So we're booked to do another 10 days around the time we finish in Paris or Los Angeles. It'll be a rush mix. It's really just down to me to finish the words. We seem to keep rewriting songs. I don't think I've quite nailed some of them. I've sung most of it, but I think it has to be the best thing. I can't do the whole, "That'll do." I've never felt that with a Cure album, but with this one in particular, I think we've waited more than 10 years, and I can't just think, "Oh, that'll do." It's kind of hard because I'm measuring the songs and the whole thing up to Pornography and Disintegration, in particular, and Bloodflowers, maybe, too, to a degree. For me personally, [Bloodflowers] is such a great album. It turned out exactly as I wanted it to.

When will it come out?
Realistically, it's going to be November because there's no way it can get mixed in under three weeks. There's ways of speeding up the release of it, although I want it to come out on vinyl. I'm determined it's going to be a full-on double vinyl album. The other thing is we only did my demos, and the band has some songs they gave me to listen to, to turn into songs that I didn't get around to. So I feel like we should probably explore them for a few days, as well, in the studio now that we're playing again together just to see if something emerges. "Lovesong" was one of Simon's song ideas, so maybe there's something that I've overlooked.

I do want it to work in a way those really good Cure albums — my favorite Cure albums — work as pieces. I want people to listen to it from beginning to end and be taken somewhere through that period. So it's not quite as fixed as I thought it was around when we did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; but I know in my head pretty much how I want it to sound.

You've never been very political. Roger Waters, who played the day before you in Hyde Park, had a lot of anti-Trump messaging. Do you feel artists should be more political nowadays?
I don't think there's a rule. Some artists are very good at it. It requires a number of different things. One is the music that you make has to reinforce where you're going with what you're saying. And from a young age, I've always held what could be considered a socialist viewpoint on the world. That's why I wail against inequality. What's wrong with the world is essentially inequality. But it isn't reflected in what I want the Cure to be. I wanted the Cure to be something that I could escape into. For me, it was an escape from the world. Like when I was doing the "Love Cats" video, and I'm there caressing kittens, I can't turn around and say, "By the way, I'll tell you what's wrong with the world." It's beyond absurd. Although now cuddling kittens would probably be a political statement in the state we're in.

But you are political.

Behind the scenes, the Cure has always been politically active but usually pretty anonymously. It suits the way the band works, and everyone is much more comfortable with that rather than me being overt. They despair sometimes when I've had a few beers and I've done shows and I start spouting off. They're like, "Please, don't start." Because once I start, it's very hard to stop. I think it's a great thing to be able to get up in front of people and convince people of what's right and what's wrong, although that depends on who you think is right and who is wrong.

Your old sparring rival, Morrissey, has gotten heat lately for wearing a button that supports England's controversial For Britain party.
I don't really follow all that, but it has popped up because I've been told a couple of times that apparently, he's apologized for what he's said [about me]. It hasn't really been keeping me awake at night. I think that maybe people have invested so much in him that they're let down. I think people just assumed that he would be different. I don't know. I don't see how anybody can be on the right and be right. I think right of center is always wrong, and that's as political as I get in public.

Do you think much about where the Cure fit in in 2019?

I hope the Cure don't fit in in 2019. I don't think the Cure have ever fitted in, so no, it doesn't bother me at all. I'm overwhelmed by the love that the band gets as we play around the world this year. It really is genuinely overwhelming. I've never in my wildest dreams thought that we would be doing this this far along and getting the genuine reaction from a generation of people who weren't born when we first started. I think there's something that we do that just appeals to a certain kind of person. I don't think it has to do with age or time or whatever else is going on.

At various points over the years, you've talked about ending the Cure altogether. Why are you enjoying it so much right now? You're doing two-and-a-half–hour concerts?

I think the pace of what we do has obviously slackened off. I think the secret is taking enough time to do other things and actually live a little outside of the band. And those periods become longer and longer as you grow older, and that makes the band more special. It allows me to enjoy it more because when I come back, I think, "This might be the last time we do this." It also helps that everyone gets on so well. It's taken 30-odd years to get to the point where I think we can walk out onstage and I just know that we're going to be really good.

This is going so good that I just feel really good about playing music again. I never wanted music to be a career. I know that sounds a bit odd, but I never wanted it to be a job, so I walked away from it from time to time because I don't want it to become just something that I do or something I feel I have to do. I never ever bought into the idea of, "I have to do it." I don't, because I can sit at home and play guitar and I can sit outside and scream. I don't need an audience. But when we play as the Cure, I want it to be something that makes other people feel something. It's not really just about me. It's just that spark.
A day without substance, a change of thought
The atmosphere rots with time

Ulrich

Realistically, I'd say November (for the new album) is off the cards, as we would've heard of it by now.

Funnily enough, I do remember thinking "this is a perfect pop song" about JLH at a Cure concert many years ago (possibly at the "Dream tour" or earlier).

I like how The Cure don't fit in in 2019. ;)
A day without substance, a change of thought
The atmosphere rots with time

BiscuityBoyle

Such a great interview.

Quote from: undefinedI was never a big fan of goth. I loved the subculture. I love subcultural stuff like that where people have a vision of what the world should be, how they should be. I think it can be really charming. There's a slightly sinister edge to subculture-ism, but generally speaking, it's a good thing. It helps people feel they belong to something at the time that they probably feel they need to belong to something. And I'd rather goths than skinheads. And I also like the fact that it represented kind of "other." It's a dangerous thing to look like a goth. In certain parts of England, you run the risk of a beating if you look like a goth, which I think is f*cking outrageous. So in that sense, I feel a community of spirit with goths and other subcultures who choose to live an alternative lifestyle. But I wouldn't consider myself to be a part of it.

piggymirror

Quote from: BiscuityBoyle on October 19, 2019, 13:16:55Such a great interview.

An one of a very few in which we get a glimpse into the real Robert.

piggymirror

Quote from: Ulrich on October 19, 2019, 11:53:06https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/cure-band-robert-smith-interview-40-live-893005/amp/

A few quotes:
Quote from: undefinedYou've never been very political. Roger Waters, who played the day before you in Hyde Park, had a lot of anti-Trump messaging. Do you feel artists should be more political nowadays?
I don't think there's a rule. Some artists are very good at it. It requires a number of different things. One is the music that you make has to reinforce where you're going with what you're saying. And from a young age, I've always held what could be considered a socialist viewpoint on the world. That's why I wail against inequality. What's wrong with the world is essentially inequality. But it isn't reflected in what I want the Cure to be. I wanted the Cure to be something that I could escape into. For me, it was an escape from the world. Like when I was doing the "Love Cats" video, and I'm there caressing kittens, I can't turn around and say, "By the way, I'll tell you what's wrong with the world." It's beyond absurd. Although now cuddling kittens would probably be a political statement in the state we're in.

But you are political.
Behind the scenes, the Cure has always been politically active but usually pretty anonymously. It suits the way the band works, and everyone is much more comfortable with that rather than me being overt. They despair sometimes when I've had a few beers and I've done shows and I start spouting off. They're like, "Please, don't start." Because once I start, it's very hard to stop. I think it's a great thing to be able to get up in front of people and convince people of what's right and what's wrong, although that depends on who you think is right and who is wrong.

Your old sparring rival, Morrissey, has gotten heat lately for wearing a button that supports England's controversial For Britain party.
I don't really follow all that, but it has popped up because I've been told a couple of times that apparently, he's apologized for what he's said [about me]. It hasn't really been keeping me awake at night. I think that maybe people have invested so much in him that they're let down. I think people just assumed that he would be different. I don't know. I don't see how anybody can be on the right and be right. I think right of center is always wrong, and that's as political as I get in public.

I can assure you that he REALLY is a pain in the arse when he starts.
But I guess that no one is perfect... :D
At least, he's good enough to NOT have translated that into his music, this I'm eternally grateful for, I assure you!! :D

Note: I am not disclosing absolutely anything else.

SueC

(There's a missing post I deleted because I initially thought you were talking about Roger Waters and had a good laugh about that and sent a response! But you weren't! ;)  Shame about my hard drive error.  We could all have had a good laugh...)
SueC is time travelling

word_on_a_wing

Quote from: piggymirror on October 22, 2019, 05:42:48I can assure you that he REALLY is a pain in the arse when he starts.
But I guess that no one is perfect... :D

Hmm, 🤔 do tell.

This discussion reminds me of a memory from their Oslo show this year, where RS is talking, pauses and ask something like "am I going on a bit too much?" and I and others adamantly reply "no!", and he continued talking.
I'm glad to hear from him, and interested in what he has to say. It doesn't mean we necessarily need to agree, and I think that's a good thing.  I imagine he'd be repulsed by people hanging on his words and treating it like gospel.  But if it invites people to increasingly THINK for themselves ...awesome.

"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

word_on_a_wing

Quote from: SueC on October 22, 2019, 06:24:45(There's a missing post I deleted because I initially thought you were talking about Roger Waters and had a good laugh about that and sent a response! But you weren't! ;)  Shame about my hard drive error.  We could all have had a good laugh...)

Talking of Roger Waters... Did anyone see the recent concert film that was screened in cinemas? ...and particularly did anyone see the short 'behind the scenes' film shown after it?  ... I found it freaking wierd...did anyone else see this? 

"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

SueC

Not me, @word_on_a_wing, as we don't live in Melbourne, but in Lower Woop-Woop!  ;)

That's a nice scene you related above.  I think it's great that Robert Smith isn't rash-inducing onstage.  We smiled a lot at his intros for the Opera House gig.  He seems to be more comfortable talking to the audience than he was when younger.  It's just a nice development, for both sides I think. :)
SueC is time travelling

word_on_a_wing

Quote from: SueC on October 22, 2019, 16:46:13I think it's great that Robert Smith isn't rash-inducing onstage.
😆 what a saying! Nope certainly no rashes 😆
"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

SueC

No rashes in interviews either!  :)  Have you ever read an interview with the lead singer of Echo & The Bunnymen?   :1f631:  It's like he thinks the universe revolves around him.  (Brett says:  "He's wrong.  In actual fact, the universe revolves around me."  :rofl )

I have this general consumer awareness of not wanting to sponsor deleterious things with my money wherever I can avoid it (and often it's unfortunately hard to avoid it).  I apply those ideas to the purchasing of music as well.  So when I found myself thoroughly impressed after listening to the album Bloodflowers on my husband's iPod five years ago (it's an album you can listen to all the way through, and then immediately start again, like a good album used to be when albums were a thing pre music-on-tap), I needed to apply the usual testing to help me decide whether to trawl through their extensive back catalogue as well, purchasing more albums in the process.

So, a good way to do an a-hole test is to read / look at interviews with people in a band.  It's part of my "job interview" for the job of someone putting more of their CDs on my shelf.  First of all, I have to really really like a CD - and then, to assure myself I'm not going to sponsor a-holes.  You can generally tell overt a-hole-ness by the lyrics, but sometimes it can slip under the radar.  Like with The Killing Moon, I was unprepared for encountering the "worship me" attitudes the Bunnymen lead singer has.   :evil:

So like with any job, you have to have quality work to show, and then interview well on top of it.   :angel

We've figured out that we've probably bought the members of The Cure a couple of cups of coffee each with our CD / DVD purchases so far, and we have no issues with that at all.   :smth023   We'll keep buying them coffees.  Or green teas or whatever.   :angel

And that is indeed another really great interview.  :cool

PS: Brett says that as he's seen them in concert, he's probably funded a couple of guitar re-strings for them as well!  ;)
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

I think it's "unusual" when Robert talks a lot during a concert. He explains it in the interview, too.
QuoteThe key to a good performance for me is actually getting completely lost in it. So, often during the first song, particularly when we start with a slower song, I just try and take in where I am and what I'm about to do and then I forget about it for the rest of the show. So I think at the beginning you'll see me take it in and I think at the end of the film, when we finish the last song, it's like a "click back" into reality.

I don't usually talk onstage because I've kind of lost the ability to communicate with words. It's very odd. I have to kind of get back into reality and start thinking about sentence construction and what I'm about to say.  ...
When I'm singing and I'm playing I'm just kind of transported and that's what I feel like doing. For me, it really gets in the way, having to communicate verbally with an audience because I'm doing it through the music. It sounds hippie-ish, but it's always been like that with me. I just feel like if I'm getting lost in the songs, I think there's a fair chance that everyone else is as well.

I like that attitude and I can understand it.
If/when I see a Cure concert, it's often an intense experience for me and I don't really want to talk during it.
A day without substance, a change of thought
The atmosphere rots with time

SueC

Yeah, I read that too, @Ulrich, but he still seems to be more talkative now than in the past, comparing recent gigs we watched online to Trilogy or earlier concerts we've seen.  He was even telling a joke at Lodz, and it was funny.  :rofl  He just seems very relaxed talking to the audience in gigs we've seen from recent years and doing quite a bit of it - at the Opera House, for instance.  So maybe he's learnt to dive like a duck, instead of like a Blue Whale!  ;)  In smaller increments, but still "underwater" when it's useful!

On the other hand, maybe someone who's seen hundreds of gigs over the last 4 decades would have a better statistical basis for comment?
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Well, I haven't seen hundreds of gigs, but I remember a few during which he said "Sorry if I'm not talking much", which was good enough for me.  :beaming-face
A day without substance, a change of thought
The atmosphere rots with time

SueC

Haha! :)  You'd get on very well with Brett, who is also prone to making statements that can be interpreted as misanthropic, when he's not really a misanthrope (although he claims adamantly that he is, but I think that's because the kid in him wants to be Darth Vader :rofl).

He'll say things like, "The advantage of watching a gig on a screen is that you don't have to go in a crowd with all those other people."  :rofl

You know, I went away thinking about that immersion thing after you mentioned it.  I "get it" for musical performance, because that was the only way I ever played violin in a way that didn't sound like I was strangling a cat - when I got "in the zone" - because the moment I thought about it, I was making mistakes and overcorrecting and losing confidence etc. The only way to play it half decently was to not think about it, and go on autopilot, and just imagine where you were trying to go sound-wise, without thinking about technique.  And I always played worse when there were other people in the room, because it distracted me, and also I'd think about all the mistakes I could potentially make.  And you really do have to completely forget where you are to be able to play the best, until you're just immersed in the sound, and then it almost makes itself.

When I'm listening to music, I only get that kind of intense immersion with (external, not plug-in) headphones in the dark - and on a good day, reasonable immersion up loud in the living room.  The moment I'm at a gig, I'm interested in how people are putting the music together, and watching like a hawk, so that's a completely different experience for me, but still really really enjoyable.  It's more multi-dimensional.  The music then becomes something that human beings are making in cooperation with each other in very interesting ways, while interacting in other ways as well.  I find that fascinating, whether watching The Cure or a chamber orchestra or a school band.  "Disembodied" music is more immersive for me musically, sort of pouring out of deep space into inner space.  But when it's embodied, it's about so many many things besides that, for me. :)

SueC is time travelling