February 20, 2009
No Cure without pain, says Robert Smith
Keeping his band alive for so long has been a hard slog for Robert Smith, he explains to our correspondent
Robert Smith thinks that the band's over "every time we make an album". He grins his tiny, wicked, scarlet-swathed grin, looking for all the world like a cuddlier version of Heath Ledger's Joker. "Seriously, I do. With The Cure [in 2004], I called it that knowing that that was it."
Despite their 30 years as alternative rock legends; despite as many millions of albums sold; despite the 13 studio albums and stadium gigs across the globe; despite being about to be declared a Godlike Genius at the NME Shockwaves Awards on Wednesday and playing the huge Big Gig at the O2 Arena the following day, the Cure are the most unstable band in rock. Bar the Fall, obviously.
They're a rocking recession of a band: their future hangs constantly in the balance, each release may be their last, no member's job is entirely safe. And as the sole remaining original member, Smith, a man recognisable from three miles away in the thickest of blizzards, is the Cure's icon, helmsman and executioner.
His axe has swung many times over the ever-shifting Cure line-up since 1980, and as their celebrated Curiosa Festival tour of America wound to a close in 2004 he sharpened his blade once again for the necks of the band's long-term guitarists Roger O'Donnell and Perry Bamonte. "I knew that was it for Roger and Perry," he says. "I didn't spend more than five minutes with either of them on that tour apart from when we were onstage. When it's gone, it's gone. I told them both that I wanted to try something with Simon [Gallup, bassist] and Jason [Cooper, drums] and I'd let them know how it went. I felt that was the fairest way of doing it because I thought if it doesn't work with Simon and Jason then the group will be over. The thing drifts apart. The bigger the group gets the harder it is to hold it together."
It was a less acrimonious split than that in 1989 with the Cure's former drummer, founding member and chronic booze-hound Lol Tolhurst, who unsuccessfully sued Smith for unpaid royalties five years later.
Smith giggles ruefully. "The funniest thing about him taking us to court, or taking me to court in particular, was that he couldn't actually remember all the things that would've won him the case at a f***ing stroke. I almost felt obliged morally to stand up and say: 'Lol, don't you remember the time that . . .'
"The worst thing we did to Lol was when me and Simon stripped him on the bus. We were pulling up to a hotel in Chicago, it was about five in the morning, we're saying: 'We're going to a health club, Lol, we're all gonna get a rub-down'. 'Awloveeelovegreat.' 'We're going to strip now and it's straight out of the bus door, straight into a hot tub.' He's like: 'Riiightoootherewaaghh'. So we pretend to take our trousers off and he actually takes his trousers off and his pants and at the bottom of the hotel steps there's a porter with one of those luggage things with wheels. So we put Lol on it and go: 'Into the hot tub!' and we push him through reception of the Chicago Hilton. Simon rolls Lol into the lift and goes, 'You f***ing idiot' and the lift doors close."
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Thanks for posting this. Super interesting! :]
Thankyou for posting this :smth023
"Robert Smith thinks that the band's over "every time we make an album"
so maybe he wasn't really serious that 4:13 is going to be the last album.
yeah I'm hopeful, too!!!! i just can't believe that robert could actually stop making music. he'll always be doing SOMETHING..
thanks for posting. i really appreciate it :D