The Solo Career of Robert Smith

ideas by Jon Baker, Loren Fiedler and Jessica Gluckman
article written by J. Gluckman
After disappointing sales of their final album, Happy the Album (from which their cover of Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows was released), the Cure split up permanently. Left with nothing else (and a marred reputation due to his marriage to a seventeen-year-old whose knowledge of the Cure begins with Friday, I'm in Love), Robert Smith accepted an offer to do endorsements for Mrs. Smith's pies.

Having been paid in pies, Smith gained weight. Over Eaters' Anonymous and a two-month stay at the Jenny Craig clinc proved futile. At three-hundred-plus pounds, however, Smith admitted in an interview for People magazine, he had never been happier and planned to profess his obsessive love for food musically.

The first Robert Smith solo album, Pienography, was criticized as being nothing more than Pornography with different lyrics, which in fact it was. The album did not sell well at first, but sales improved slowly after the Pienography tour. Sponsored by Mrs. Smith's, the tour did fairly well. With his new back-up band (which included former members of the b-52s), Robert danced about in colorful muumuus, but the highlight of every show was when Smith changed the opening lyrics of A Hundred Meals from It would be great if we all had pie to I'm going to give all of my fans pie, at which point a hundred roadies dressed like chefs would emerge distributing slices of pie to the audience.

In an interview with US magazine, Smith stated that Pienography, recorded in a Marie Callendar's was more rewarding than anything he had ever done with the Cure. Due the the extremely high catering bills rung up during its recording however, it was not his most rewarding effor financially.

Meanwhile, several former members of the Cure decided to regroup and continue. Smith protested and attempted to stop them, but it was proven that Michael Dempsey had a legal right to the Cure. Eager to exact revenge upon Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst joined Michael Dempsey in his fight to gain control of the Cure.

It was during his legal battles that Smith recorded his second solo album, Cake. Once again, critics lambasted Smith for his lack of originality, pointing out that Cake was simply Faith with new lyrics.

Smith defended himself in a YM interview, explaining that, the album Cake was influenced strongly by Faith, but it is ludicrous to suggest one is merely a facsimile of the other. For example, the song 'Faith' goes 'nothing left but faith,' whereas the song 'Cake...' that's 'nothing left but cake.' True, they are somewhat similar but the similarities are very subtle.

The Cake tour, sponsored by Sara Lee, was quite similar to the Pienography tour, except his team of roadie chefs (reduced to sixty) dealt slices of cake to the audience.

Cake proved to be a flop and Smith was shortly the butt of many industry jokes. Smith's musical failure was compounded by the death of band member Fred Schneider and the loss of his legal right to the Cure.

The reformed Cure released its "debut" album shortly after smith wrapped up the Cake tour. The album, Re-Integration, featured Andy Anderson, Boris Williams, and Jason Cooper on percussion, Simon Gallup and Michael Dempsey on bass, and Lol Tolhurst playing "other instruments" (as was stated in the liner notes). Though musically awkward, the album sold well among Cure fans who had always really liked Simon Gallup the best and those who believed Tolhurt was unfairly ousted from the band earlier. Shortly after the release of the album, Tolhurst was kicked out of the band.

In a drunken stupor, Tolhurst turned to Robert Smith and begged to take the place of the late Fred Schneider in Smith's back-up band. According to Smith's interview with the Pennysaver, It was a difficult choice - whether to work with Lol again. So I ate a couple cheesecakes, took a nap, and when I woke up, I figured it was worth a try.

The reunion produced the album that picked Smith up out of the gutter, Seventeen Slices. Compared to Cake, Seventeen Slices sold successfully, though cynical critics linked Smith's climb in popularity to the tragic murder of "Weird Al" Yankovic, suggesting distraught fans merely flocked to another artist who sang excessively about food.

Smith's own explanation, as presented in USA Today, was, I think Cake did so poorly because we focused more on cake instead of pie. The new album has more references to pie than the last one. The theory was illustrated with a pie graph.

While critics did not resist the temptation to compare Seventeen Slices to the Cure's Seventeen Seconds, some did note Smith's ingenuity, particularly on A Frosting, in which Smith eats several pieces of pie during the intro.

The Seventeen Slices tour drew larger crowds than even the Pienography tour years back and Smith did not disappoint. Not only was pie once again distributed, but every show ended with Smith, draped in a sequined muumuu, eating an entire pie in seventeen seconds.

Despite the fact that Lol Tolhurst was intoxicated during the entire tour, Smith kept him with the band, explaining on the Gilbert Gottfried Show, How sober do you need to be to play the woodblock, anyhow?

****more to come**** Note: Yes indeed, this was a parody.

Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 15:00:05 CDT

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