1987 - Bravo (Germany)*
"Things donít look so black to me now"
In private with the stars
Robert Smith (The Cure)
"Things donít look so black to me now"
How did you manage KMKMKM? Eighteen songs at a go Ė thatís a real miracle for
Robert: Miracle? You think so? I think the album is good work. Thatís all. We had the right songs, thirty-six in all, the right mood. Then it all went well. Believe it or not, we needed little more than a week to record it. And we spent the days mainly walking and chatting. And then late at night we maybe recorded properly for one or two hours, after just messing around for ten hours.
So you didnít overexert yourselves? Sounds even more like a miracle, because
the album turned out really great Ö
Robert: Some songs we played precisely once, and that was it. Recently the band has grown really close. Iím really happy with them. For the first time I donít feel like Iím fighting on my own, I feel Iím part of a band.
Where did you record the album?
Robert: In a dump in Southern France called Miraval. We chose the studio because it was supposed to have a mixing desk like I imagined. And they had, but it didnít work. But there was something else: the studio was surrounded by vineyards, and the entire cellar was full of bottles. So we moved in straight away, bunked in sleeping bags on the floor. It was unbelievable!
Did you drink a lot at Miraval?
Robert: Yes, I must admit we did, sadly. It was a bit more than usual. The wine there tasted great, we were in a great mood all the time. We sent our managers home. Nobody worried about the record. Now and then, when we were in the mood we picked up our instruments. Thatís how we gradually jammed the whole LP together. Everything was quite spontaneous. Only ďHot Hot HotĒ and ďHey YouĒ had really been worked out in advance.
Are you an alcoholic?
Robert: Iím addicted to everything possible, sometimes alcohol too.
Tell me a couple of the things youíre addicted to.
Robert: Fast cars, black nights, my wife and the most important thing Ė suffering.
Youíre not serious!
Robert: Of course I am, you know me.
So you are a real monster. Has anyone ever locked you up?
Robert: I do it myself. But I donít even need a door with a lock. Sometimes I just feel that Iím locked in, even if Iím outside in the rain. Locked into my head, my life. Iím not religious, so I canít find a lot of meaning in life. But things havenít looked so black to me for a long time now. To be honest, sometimes I even enjoy my life. Maybe Iím a bit more relaxed than three years ago. At Miraval I stopped boozing immediately after I smashed up my car. Simon and I were driving one evening in this Lada with four-wheel drive round the hill. Suddenly the road disappeared. The crate dropped about a metre and rolled over. It was a miracle nothing happened to the two of us. And that cured me of red wine in an instant.
Whatís the strange psychedelic song ďSnakepitĒ about? Did you draw on memories
of drug hallucinations?
Robert: No, itís about something far worse! The song describes a terrifying experience for me: the last time I went out, about eight months ago. I ended up in this club, and suddenly had a lot of girls around me who wanted to shag me. It really felt as if I had fallen into a snakepit. And it wasnít a hallucination, it was reality. Dreadful! Since then I havenít gone out at night in London. The club was called ďSnakepitĒ or something like that, at any rate thatís how I remember it.
But there are also a lot of love songs on the LP. The girls donít appear to
disgust you that much.
Robert: There are love songs, as you say, but not such a screaming horde of girls. Most of them you can forget anyway, theyíve got nothing in their head and on the second look below the surface theyíre not even slightly sexy. Iím in love and I long for love. But you canít get love, the total, insane love only exists in fantasy.
Who are you mad about? Is it someone of flesh and blood?
Robert: Yes, itís my wife. Weíve been together for years. But only recently things have changed so that we can stand each other as well. Now we actually live together in the same house, and I feel at home there. I couldnít even imagine that before.
Is there anything apart from The Cure that fascinates you, that you spend your
Robert: No, the band takes up all my time. Since The Cure, the years have passed as quickly as months. All that time, just gone Ö
But you doss around a lot as well Ö
Robert: If you add it up, it wouldnít be a lot more than for other people. There are phases where I sleep between 16 and 20 hours a day, I think because everything makes me sick. Then there are times when I donít want to go to bed for weeks, and the most I do is doze off on a bench at the airport or whilst queuing at the bakerís.
Are you afraid of getting old?
Robert: Yes, terribly afraid. But I havenít found any cure for getting older yet. I donít want to die. And I donít want to get old and doddery. Most of all I donít want to be an old codger still on stage when I canít hold the guitar right any more. But I already said that ten years ago. Then I couldnít even imagine being 25. Now Iím almost 30, and the old Cure fans have their children with them when they come to the concert. Best not think about it!
But youíre a few years away from being old.
Robert: Thatís what you think! Age doesnít happen all at once; one day it gets you by the throat, for most people quite early, maybe even before theyíre twenty, and squeezes slowly. You only notice gradually. One day you feel a couple of pains in your heart. Or you suddenly lose the desire for drugs, because you still feel bad from them. You notice that you run down the stairs a bit more carefully because youíre afraid of falling. You suddenly notice that youíre gaining weight, if you donít take care what you eat, or you are kissing a girl and at the same time wish that you were far away and at peace. Thatís called getting old, long before your first tooth drops out. And all that happens to you long before youíre 30.
Is there actually anything you donít object to?
Robert: Yes, football. So far nothingís bothered me about that, except that you usually have to put on other shoes.
Are you interested in politics?
Robert: Itís sad, but it interests me passionately. I think Iím quite left-wing, but I donít know any party that I could really support with a clear conscience. Theyíre all just narrow-minded in the parties. No people with enough imagination to really change anything.
We saw nothing of The Cure in the many charity projects from Band Aid to Ferry
Aid, why not?
Robert: Itís not my style somehow. If someone had asked us, we would have appeared at Live Aid, sure. Of course, someone has to do it and all respect to what Bob Geldolf got going there. But I would have felt sort of funny in that position. As if I wanted constantly to scream in peopleís ear, ďLook, Iím really great.Ē But I should say that The Cure have done a lot behind the scenes for other people. If every band had done as much as we have, a lot of things might be better.
You must earn a lot of money, what do you do with it?
Robert: I try to get rid of it. I find money really weird. I buy everything I want, that is, a new car now and then. Driving is my favourite hobby. I hardly need any clothes. I wear my shoes until I lose them somewhere or they fall apart. We all reinvest a lot in the band. We keep right up to date technically.
Do you go on holiday sometimes?
Robert: Yes, but not often. I like travelling.
Do you like the United States?
Robert: Weíre going there on tour in June. Itís a great country, lots of room and beautiful nature. But culturally I find the USA quite dry. No other country could have invented anything like that stupid MTV channel, which plays the same videos the whole day until you want to throw up. But the worst place Iíve been is the Bahamas. We wanted to mix our tapes in Nassau, but I couldnít work there. The climate is humid and hot, unbearable. And then they have this tacky glittering faÁade in the town, and behind that they hide poverty and an absolutely wrecked country. The songs I mixed there sounded so stupid that I had to redo the whole job in Brussels Ö
Thanks so much Alison (usedtobe) for TRANSLATING.