I find you interesting...
"I detest the idea of being considered a
British group, that's just the worst thing. I hate the American idea of
nationalism, it's bullshit. I don't see why there should be such stupid
things as countries. If I were French, I'd hang myself!" (Robert Smith)
Story: where Robert, dignified singer of
famous current group The Cure, opens up talking for hours about his
obsessions: from Mary to lipstick, and passing by a lamb...
"I made a video of us the other week. I put a
video camera in a corner of the room. After two hours, you forget it's
there: I was honestly horrified by all the stupid things we said! It's like
listening to a bunch of retards."
"Actually, Mary and I have known each other
for so long that I don't have to finish my sentences. A word is enough and
she knows what I'm going to say. We can actually have a conversation... I
don't dress up, but Mary does. She used to dress like a witch to scare
little children, and she likes practicing on me. I feel more natural in the
company of people who are mentally unstable because you have to always be
alert, you wonder what they'll do next. It's funny if you are with someone
who all of a sudden starts crying. Actually it's not funny, it's rather
annoying. She likes that more than I do. I can never bring anyone home
because I never know who's going to open the door. She says, 'please, don't
bring anyone because I feel limited'. The only person who came into this
apartment in the last three months was Simon Gallup, our bassist, but then
she was wearing my pajamas. I think she was pretending to be me."
"I can imagine our songs inspiring people to
commit suicide, but not murder. I've met people obsessed with music. And two
people obsessed with me. But if it weren't me, it would probably be
religion. They just need to be obsessed with something. I don't want to do
anything for those people. Giving money to the church or giving money to The
Cure. What's the difference? None. Both can save you... I met the pope once
- not the real pope, there are about three of them. I was quite young and I
was at St.Peter's and it was a bloody mess. He was being carried in a chair
and I caught his hand... Severin went to a place in Rome called the Club
Vatican where he was served by nuns. He pretends they really were nuns, but
I never believed him. All nuns are thieves anyway! Listen, I know five nuns.
One of them is a relative of Mary's. They are very bitter about life in
general. One of them is a good nun, the other four are cunning. The best
place to meet them is the Heathrow airport. They come and go. If you
sit down for a while, you'll see hundreds of nuns hurrying together. They're
always carrying records in their bags."
Did you know, Robert, that Madonna thinks nuns
"What does she know, Madonna? I hate her. She
"We broke up, Simon Gallup and I, because I
thought he had changed too much. He was pretending to be someone else, that
I didn't really like. And also, he didn't like me that much anymore either;
he thought I was selfish and ignoring everybody, which I was probably, but
that was my problem... I wasn't feel at ease with him anymore. So we broke
up after a fight, one too many, in a bar in Brussels, because I thought he'd
been too tough with a young barman. He thought I was defending someone else
for fun, and there'd be no end to it. I left the club at five in the
morning, took a taxi to the airport and I waited for the next flight to go
home. I left all my clothes behind. It was dramatic. After eighteen months
without seeing him, I thought it was stupid, I couldn't not like him
anymore. One night, I went to this pub where we used to go drinking: I knew
he'd be there. It was pretty funny because when I walked into the pub,
everything went quiet, just like in a western. I walked towards him and
started talking. Now he is back in the group."
"The last time I took acid was at Christmas.
The first time I tried it was with Severin a few years back and I was stoned
for a week! I think it was God's acid! There were clear blue, gelatinous
tablets from America. Jobson was there too. I think he's the funniest person
I've ever met. Anyway, it was snowing and the whole world was white. I was
in a lot of pain. But no, I don't take a lot of drugs. 'The Top' was very
influenced by drugs, but it was only for fun. The thing is that I didn't
change after taking LSD, no matter how many times I took it. It didn't
change or alter my vision of the world, nor my perception, which it usually
does to other people. I've always had a twisted view of reality, and my
value sense has always been the same. When I tripped for the first time, I
realized that it was just as I was anyway. I stopped taking it in the end
because it was making me sick and I had headaches. It's like drinking. There
are various reasons for drinking. You can drink socially, or you can drink
by yourself and become morbid and boring. No, I don't think that it's so you
don't feel the pain of living anymore. The worst is when you want to do
something and you can't, that pushes you to drink more. But people like
Dylan Thomas drink for the pleasure of it. Like some sort of recreation, I
think. I used to drink by myself before, but I don't do it anymore. Take
Dylan Thomas (that alcohol ended up killing) for example. He was doing it
because it was fun. I imagine he was drinking for three reasons. The first,
because it's fun; the second, because you become this sort of myth, a
legendary drinker, and you get addicted to that. The third reason is that in
the end you don't have the choice anymore: you're hooked! I am almost an
alcoholic now. I haven't spent one night this year without being drunk - a
sad observation, I suppose. Ummm, I'm very conscious of it. Everything goes
into my face. If I see myself in a mirror or in a photo I think 'God, I'm
fat and horrible', and then I stop eating, but I compensate by drinking even
more. I really like beer, which is the worst, so now I drink vodka instead.
At least, I'm not a professional alcoholic like Tom Waits is sometimes. I
think he makes everything look romantic. He doesn't give a true
representation of American life, or he has to get himself really drunk for
it. I think that someone living in a trailer, a bottle in their hand,
somewhere in the deep interior of America, would be more qualified to speak
about the States. I mean, would Tom Waits dance with Bananarama? We taped a
show for Dutch TV and Bananarama mimed playing the instruments, 'cause we
were too stoned. I had to mime the song because if not we would have had to
redo it a thousand times. I just fell down when I finished. Bananarama were
the first band I met who managed to drink with us until the end."
"I took a lamb on tour, but it was stuffed; it
was full of little bars of strawberry soap and I used it as a pillow. It was
fluffy and I kept my pajamas inside it. I am not an existentialist. There
are too many forms of existentialism and I find it difficult to choose. In a
way, I've always agreed with the idea of being at the center of your
existence and of building your environment, God and everything else comes
from you. But now, I am not so sure. I don't have any philosophy or such
interests - this week. I've reached a point where I'd rather play football
than be an existentialist!"
"We weren't invited to participate. But we
wouldn't have done it anyway, to be honest. It was good, but useless,
because if people had donated a percentage of their wealth, like the people
who sent money, that would have doubled the benefit. It's the most
disgusting thing I've ever seen on television: Freddie Mercury was ok, but
Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Ron Wood took the cake, they were so terrible!
It was humiliating in the extreme, it was that bad."
"I decided last year that if I were to put all
my manuscripts together, I'd have a book of short stories without endings.
I've always known the title. All these stories would have the same title.
Mary found it: 'The Glass Sandwich'. I am very serious about the subject
when I feel I'm starting to fall asleep. It's a very good mental exercise,
but most of the stories aren't funny. I have to get away from the idea that
I can totally control my destiny."
"Ah, the lipstick! I'm not putting it on
carefully because otherwise people are going to think I'm doing it out of
vanity, when it's for theatricality. I used to draw lipstick all around my
eyes and my mouth, and once we were on stage I'd be sweating and it would
look like someone had punched me in the mouth and my eyes were bleeding. But
I had to stop because my eyes started hurting. I kept using it on my lips,
because it's not really in my private character to do something like that."
- interview by Fionna Russell-Powell
- French translation: Fabienne Shine
Chasing The Cure: by a head-hunter
Paris, November 6, confirmation of flight AF
806 to London.
"His head, do you understand, I want his head,
dead or alive, on the cover." These were the only instructions I had for
this mission. In fact, what is the difference between a mummified iceberg
and a frozen mummy? To verify this definition of death, the Robert would be
very useful to me in vitro.
London, Ivor Place, Thursday, 1pm.
Introductions: "This is Antonio from Depeche
Rock Paris." The advantage is for him, and he knows it. "Hello", short and
polite. Should he have engaged in conversation? Later, I knew that no. Also
polite, I say: "Do you have any ideas for the portrait I was requested to
take of you?" Before responding with the voice, his eyes had translated the
eternity of boredom that my question had invoked. Crossing my gaze for the
first time: "You know, I just woke up 15 minutes ago." 1-0 for him. As for
me, I just made myself look like a clown. A French one. Meeting the next day
at 4pm. I should have known that a reputation can cross the seas, and even
easier the Channel, and stay accurate all the while becoming legendary.
The sun is going down coldly over London. In
the pubs, endless talk takes place and, within the space of one song, the
glasses empty. It is 6:55pm. Ideas for the trophy I want to bring back to
Paris, I have a few: big plan, he puts on makeup and with a pseudo-clumsy
gesture, he ends up with a line of lipstick over his cheek - funny, no?
Pregnant silence after the explanation. "Bad idea and I'll tell you why. Not
shaven and with lipstick, I'll look like a drag queen."
Big Ben strikes 7pm (cliché). Return to square
one but you don't even touch 20,000 francs.
Chasing this ghost won't be refreshing and
Joker! "How about making faces?", "All right".
Seen from afar, the moment is classic. He is not part of the setup as much
as he is being set up. Cut from the others (press official, editor,
manager...) by my flashes and by the barricade of my 6x7 camera monster
(compared to a 24x36), he is alone. More accurately, both of us are alone.
Face to face, little bothered by a mechanical
mirror, 100,000 copies and 400,000 readers, my noisy frog of a camera can
start its love song: "BRINKZ, VRAOUCC, SCHLAQUE". Between us, there is only
him and me and the simplest tricks relax: miming a frog, a madman, hate, the
landing on the Moon (yes, yes!) and then the surprise. The iceberg touches
Him: "Actually, I'm never surprised." I sense
a vague existentialist plan. Me: "Already read Sartre?" Him: "Yes, a lot,
Jean Genet also." Me: "And do you like him?" Him: "No, Sartre has no
mother." Did I understand him well? Sartre, son of a whore? Me: "And you, do
you have a mother?" "YES!" If Sartre has no mother, he doesn't want to be
his son, and me neither. We are both unworthy offspring.
He doesn't like my 6x7 and he ends up
expressing it. Using gestures and his voice, he mimes the rapid fire of the
paparazzi: 10 automatic photos in the time it takes me to take one. 1
against 10, he declares me KO on technique.
Actually, he says, philosophically he prefers
the simple things (he didn't say the word philosophy). Simple things - cheap
- good deals! Kodak discs and bare-bones guitars, simplicity of use
permitting an unbridled spontaneity. Same thing for his clothes and shoes,
always the same and once worn out, he buys the same model again. Does he
have the immortal look?
The iceberg has turned into ice-cream and the
mummy makes fun.
Me: "Can you scream very loudly?" And in my
head, I think like a wolf.
He points his sharp gaze into each of the
pupils of my eyes in turn: "Yes, but you're screaming with me!" (Communion
of the cry or shared ridicule?)
Him and me: "One, two, aaahHAHA
With all our force and from our guts, we
screamed together, solitary wolves of course, but solitary weirdos above
The scream is amplified and invades the whole
space before echoing with violence across the floors. Around us, the
British candy phlegm tastes like panic for only one instant, but a memorable
So the trial is finally over for us.
Collective sigh of relief. After the repeated grimaces, the quiet and
insolent expectations, and the screaming, does he feel like killing me?
Savoring his beer with a wise and completely relaxed look, he fixes his gaze
on mine: "I wanted to kill you before, not after." His face (no more mask)
expresses a complete determination. Behind the trellis of his hair, there's
a wildcat - a lovable one.
-- Antonio Pagnotta
The Biggest Fan
The biggest fan of The Cure? It is without any
doubt Chris Parry, who discovered the group in 1978 and signed them
immediately to his own label, Fiction Records. More than a manager, Parry is
friends with Smith, whom he has always supported, including in the most
"My relationship with The Cure is first of all
based on confidence; in the seven years that I have been working with
Robert, I learned to know him well even though he still surprises me. I
think I would follow him anywhere, but I am not blind. I have a pretty
critical ear when I listen to his demos and it's been years since I've tried
- without really believing it will happen - to convince him to write less
obscure lyrics. Our only serious quarrel goes back to the time of The Glove
because he absolutely wanted to sing on all the Blue Sunshine songs
and he wasn't realizing it was becoming a Cure album. The Head On The
Door cost 65,000 pounds and the numbers for the tour are going to be
somewhere around one million. The group will have to be happy with at most
5% of the profit, if there is any, because we have invested so much to make
it as perfect as possible. Aside from that? The barometer is at 'perfectly
sunny', Robert had to renew his passport and it's the first time that he
declared himself as "author/composer" when he was asked his profession."
-- interview by Alexandre de Teilloy, August
The Cure by Satellite
Tickets for The Cure's French tour are being
snapped up the moment they go on sale, rumors of a second Bercy show grow,
and VTS announces that the Toulouse show on December 12 will be broadcast
live to the hundred cinema halls of its network that covers cities with less
than 100,000 population. The idea - already tested with Kid Creole, Jeanne
Mas, Johnny - is a satellite link (Telecom IB) between the place of the
concert and the halls equipped for the reception and distribution of image
streams that travel 72,000 kilometers in a few fractions of a second,
putting the event within the grasp of kids far from the big centers visited
by the group. Technical aspects perfected, editors trained on the fly,
simultaneity despite the distance, we live - isn't it? - in formidable
For the complete list of participating cities,
please contact Video transmissions Services at (1) 126.96.36.199.
-- Alexandre de Teilloy
Photo 1: Chris Parry: President of Fiction
Records, manager and biggest fan of The Cure. This man loves wine and good
2. The Cure in a pub: during the filming of
"Children of Rock", in the pub opposite Fiction Records, the group's
publishing house. "But why did they decide to go to a pub?"
3 and 4. Robert Smith and the spinning top:
"It is time to know that 'The Top' means perhaps the summit, but before
everything else it is the spinning top. Remember the strange noises from the
intro to the song 'The Top': they were made by a member of The Cure playing
with a spinning top... you will also recognize in the photo the psychedelic
drawings used as the theme for the cover of 'The Top'."
5. Robert Smith and his girlfriend Mary: she
is "M" in the song of the same name on "Seventeen Seconds" and "Mary Mary"
on the back of the insert. She has known Robert for at least 13 years and is
at once his little sister, older sister, mom and lover. This is the first
time that they have authorized the publication of a picture of them for the
press. We promised them: it is the first and last time that this photo will
be published! On the back of the photo, Robert wrote a few words by hand:
"At this point, I was whispering to Mary
about her peculiar choice of parrot. She replied: "Get closer and I'll eat
you." I have never understood this girl..."
(photo: Richard Bellia)
A BIG THANKS to: Aria Thelmann
@ Music For Dreams for the TRANSLATION.
Link to more Cure Magazine covers