April 24, 1996
- After 20 years in existence, the Cure changes (the literal definition. is "to
run" but it doesn't really fit) all the time. You have often changed form.
Is this the group's secret to longevity?
- It's a big part. There have been 5 different Cures since our debut
(?); the group molts and transforms. The new people always bring something
neat, the ideas, attitude, and humor. The group is a sum of the people who
are technically competent. (?) Certain members were frightful musicians but
they were my friends. Alone, I don't amuse myself... I like the company.
- Is it difficult to work with you?
- Not as much now. But ten years ago, without a doubt. . I used to push
my desires on others... it was easier for them to let me do all the work.
Now, I ask that they give their opinions. Roger told me that during the
period of Disintegration, he never suggested anything because he knew I
wouldn't listen. Today, he suggests, he suggests... He can't stop. (laughs)
- Since the debut, you have been the author/composer of the Cure, however
the songs are always signed by the entire group. Why?
- I don't want others to think I impose my compositions on the other members
to get all the money. Then, everybody wants to sign the author. I didn't
want the Cure to end like The Jam who separated because their leader, Paul
Weller, didn't want to sing their songs. I wouldn't be happy if I received
a lot and the others got nothing. They would beat me!
- The group seems to have a large part in your life. Can you exist without it?
- I have always had difficulty with my ties with these men and it is still
difficult today. How to meet someone who hasn't prejudged me? How to be
Robert Smith in the real world, anonymous among the anonymous? I must put a
lot of energy into making friends. It has taken me years to know Jason (the
new drummer). Now, I can talk with him as an equal. I don't have five
genuine friends... most of them are in the group.
- Over the years, people have talked about your solo album. Will you leave
- At the moment, there are 8 songs, written between 1981 and 1983, at the
time of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography. They are the work of
youth and dreams. If I did them today, they would end up in the garbage.
The recordings are at my house, well hidden, and I won't publicize them
while the Cure exists. I don't want anyone to think that I don't have
enough with the group.
- Jimi Hendrix, whom you paid homage to by performing Purple haze on a
tribute album, seems to have a privileged place in your musical pantheon...
- I wouldn't have played the guitar on that disc for anything. It would
have been an insult! You must have the pretension of a guitar hero like
Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck to dare to measure him. Hendrix was a model.
When I was a schoolboy, I lived in a narrow universe. When I heard his
music in my room, I imagined a another world, extraordinary. Hendrix was
supreme freedom incarnate. His music had a profound effect on me. That he
became a cult symbol didn't bother me, the death did nothing to remove his
genius. My sentiments in regard to Joy Division or nirvana didn't change
after the deaths of Ian Morris or Kurt Cobain. The force of their first
albums remains intact.
- What do you say of other artists who would perform on a tribute album to
- If the Cure still exists then, it would embarrass me. But under the
guise of an epitaph after our separation, why not... On one condition...
that I would choose the groups myself (laughs).
- Who would you want?
- Supergrass, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr, Heather Nova....
- You didn't mention U2...
- I promised not to say anything nasty about anyone... they are not my
favorite group. In any event, they are too occupied with Pavarotti!
- Your fans look for a way to look like you. They cut their hair and dress
like you. It doesn't frighten you that your image might multiply infinitely?
- The first times, frankly, it made me ill at ease. But I'm used to it. I
understand, in speaking with them, that they would feel a need to identify
with me. For them , the Cure is something to count on. In any event, I
can't go against them. My image is no longer mine.
- Did you reach success with some harassment?
- When we played in Brazil, for example, there was huge pressure. Not a
second went by that people didn't stare at me. Also, when I go to the
bathroom, the fans follow me to see what I'm going to do. The others think
it's funny. Not me! It's too much of a test, mentally.
- What do you think of these bands who put their names on songs for
- Like us? (laughs). We get at least 10 offers a year. To believe that
it's fashionable to have the Cure on your album sounds (?)... But never for
the films I like. But, generally, we refuse. We wrote the title song for
The Crow because I loved the comic strip. The director John Woo made a good
film. We wanted to help. On the other hand, our collaboration on Judge
Dredd was very ironic. We grew up reading his adventures and the money
would have made it difficult to make a bad film. If Stallone kept his
helmet on all the time and not opened his mouth, it could have been good.
Unfortunately, he said dialogue... What's more, we missed the song. (?)
- Tim Burton has offered to collaborate on his films with you many times....
- He talks to us regularly but each time, we are touring or about to record
an album. I don't like Batman but his other films aren't bad, especially
Edward Scissorhands. I think his best work is still to come.
- Your imagination, it is many parts childhood, stories, macabre poetry,
seems to be close to you... (???)
- (Embarrassed) Yes and no. It's normal to associate with us but I'm not
as monolithic as you want to believe. I don't spend my time reading
romantic French poetry or watching Tim Burton movies. It's just that what I
do with The Cure is only one part of my personality. You seem surprised
that I revealed an intimate part of my life. Unfortunately for you... you
won't see more. (???)
- Do you have Alice in Wonderland? Who is your favorite character?
- Alice (burst of laughter). Always Alice. She amuses me most. I have
two dolls at home. One is Alice and the other is the Cheshire cat. I love
the Disney cartoon. The scene where the multi-colored cat sits on the
mushroom and interrogates Alice amazes me every time.
- Do you consider yourself a real adult?
- I don't believe someone can know. The winter, my parents came and
celebrated my father's 75 birthday. Contrary to their age, they aren't
always adults. We talked for three hours and ended up drunk(?). We took
them for a walk around the garden and made a fort with snowballs. I never
really saw much point in being an adult. Obviously, I'm responsible for the
people around me, of the group. We've never had a manager, we've always
controlled our own affairs. When I stop, they stop also. The makers, the
record company contacts, all the adult conversations where they recommend
stuff for my career, I know. I force myself to do it, but it makes me
crazy. I much prefer the company of children. I want to be like them (?).
At 37 years old, that's pitiful. But I understand their reactions. The day
one doesn't understand children, one has become a real adult.
- You've never hidden your penchant for alchohol...
- It's useful in a band. You lose your inhibitions. The difference is the
day after. With a glass, adults can feel the effects of it: the children
don't have hangovers...
Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 14:59:59 CDT
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