1996 - Tutto (Italy)
Ever closer together...
Ever closer together...
... given that the new album will come
out in February 1996. And yet, the imprevisible Robert Smith is as always
given to dismantling certainties and contradicting himself. It is of course
part and parcel of what we expect from the cult band pas excellence.
Meanwhile, their concert summer goes on with full sails.
Here pictured is the British quintet
photographed with the occasion of the show in Sonoria this past June. A
fabulous concert during which vocalist Robert Smith introduced two new
songs, Want and Jupiter Crash.)
- by Stefano Bianchi
- photos by Max Quinque
"I want, I want, I want. And I drown, I
drown, I drown. I sailed this far, drank water and gold and drowned in my
tears." Stories of ordinary claustrophobia, of the dark corners of the
spirit, the rollercoaster ups and downs of the mind. Today, like yesterday: as
when trapped in an old wardrobe falling, falling down into the abyss (in the
Close To Me video, classic image of the 80's).
In Sonoria as in Roskilde, in Glastonbury as in
Costanza, Robert Smith held the microphone in his hands with extreme
determination, as if it was the last support of his very existence, and sang
the lines from the yet-unreleased Want.
The summer belongs to The Cure. It seems a
paradox for these lovers of darkness that they have chosen to play the most
prestigious open air rock festivals. "We didn't think too much about it",
said Smith; "it's an excellent way to spend the summer vacation." He
hasn't changed: the same tousled mane of hair, the same shadowed eyes, the
same lips colored scarlet red. And under the makeup lies a sense of irony that
hasn't abandoned him:
"I look so tired and sad only because I'm
too lazy to, for example, put my hair in order. I'm not doing it consciously:
I may have a funeral air, but the simple reason is that I drank too much red
wine and I have a terrible headache. And I am moving very little on stage
because I'm rather shy and I often get stomach cramps."
Robert Smith is touring Europe together with his
loyal companions: Simon Gallup, Perry Bamonte, Roger O'Donnell and Jason
Cooper. They are reaping endless ovations and seeing their cult status
reaffirmed, now celebrating 19 years of a prestigious career (first concert in
1976, and in 1978 the first single, Killing An Arab, inspired by the
Albert Camus novel The Stranger, to mention only two of
their innumerable artistic milestones), punctuated by records like Boys
Don't Cry, Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography,
The Head On The Door and Disintegration.
Everyone could see and admire the closeness of
the quintet, but there are those who swear to have heard Robert Smith, during
the Sonoria show, whispering the word "dissolution". We are doing great, we
are playing divinely, but we are quitting. But then, how does that add up with
the new album, that the rock press has announced will be released in February
'96? And what about Want and Jupiter Crash, the two new
songs that Robert insists on playing live? We won't dispute the absolute
truthfulness of his declarations: "Since I called Roger O'Donnell to
rejoin the group (keyboardist on the Disintegration record in 1989,
afterwards the owner of a clothing store in Toronto, Canada - n.ed.), and
we got Jason Cooper as a drummer, I've had the clear feeling that the sense of
adventure is once again part of the spirit of the band. It is a very important
prerequisite for pursuing new artistic goals."
It would be indeed a deadly sin not to have a
follow-up to Wish (1992), their last studio record (Show and
Paris, both released in 1992, were live albums). On the other hand,
the pale signor Smith isn't a stranger to just such pronouncements: he meets
rarely with the press, and speaks even less, but often, when he does, it is to
announce the "de profundis" of The Cure. But this time, why would he? This
summer has been smiling on Robert, at least until the tour stopped in France:
at the end of June, the Parisian authorities denied the group a permit for
playing a free show in the Place de la Bastille. Reason: The Cure might have
disturbed the public order. An incident par for the course that reaffirms, not
casts doubts over the splendid concert season of the band. And yet... "once
the new record is released, we will go on tour. And it might really be the
So spoke Robert Smith, with his well known
penchant for taking certainties apart. To further feed the myth of The Cure.
Roger O'Donnell (keyboards).
Hair: so that's not a poorly put on wig?
Shoes: dark, obviously
Jason Cooper (drums).
Hair: a beautiful page...
Shoes: old canvas with a worrying smell...
Robert Smith (guitar and voice).
Hair: but what's a barber?
Shoes: the Monsters from the Green Lagoon
Perry Bamonte (guitar).
Hair: enough to reforest the Amazon.
Shoes: oh, how scary!
Simon Gallup (bass).
Hair: the dream of every hairdresser
Shoes: but who's that, Michael Jordan?
Robert Smith (born March 4, 1959 <- mistake in
the text; Crawley, Great Britain; Pisces). Founded The Cure in 1976. The first
single was Killing An Arab, inspired by the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus.
By the end of 1990, the year of release of the Mixed Up anthology, the band
had sold more than 12 million records worldwide.
BIG THANKS to: Aria Thelmann for the