This interview ran in El Comercio on Saturday, April 13th, 2013. Thanks to Alfredo for translating it and sending it in.
“Rock from the eighties was crap”
By Francisco Melgar Wong
The first thing that surprises you is the way he speaks. Casual. Relaxed. As if he is watching a music video and calls you in the middle of the night to drop a comment on how to play guitar. "Hello. I'm Robert Smith ". The hard part is to associate the same voice with the image you have of him in the press photos and album covers. Yeah, well-think-is a guy like any other. Although his music does not resemble any.
"I do not know why we have not played in Latin America as elsewhere," he says when you ask him about their prolonged absence here.
"The Latin American public seems fantastic, but for some inexplicable reason we just did not." Let's talk about music then, I say. And so begins the conversation with one of the icons of the new wave.
The trilogy of "Seventeen Seconds" "Faith" and "Pornography" (The Cure albums released between 1980 and 1982) is commonly associated with depressive moods and stages of emotional darkness. Is there anything from that time that comes back to you when you sing those songs?
When I hear the songs of those albums, I realize that it was a very dark time for me. The lyrics I wrote then sometimes get to scare me. What I can say is that at the time when we were recording "Pornography" I already knew that time was running out and that opened a new era in my life and in the group. And yes, sometimes, when I'm singing these songs, I reconnect with the emotions of which you speak. The good thing is that now the feeling does not last more than four minutes.
The Cure fans never seem to agree on what is the best album of the band. Do you have a favorite album of The Cure?
If I had to choose an album by The Cure, that would be "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me". And I'll tell you why. Every time I think of that record I remember the time when we recorded it and it was a time when everything seemed perfect. Personally, I was happy. And as for the band, I was excited because I thought we were getting somewhere. There are a lot of light on that album.
Many believe that the eighties were the golden decade of rock. Do you agree?
Eighties music was crap. At least a big part of it was. That was one of our motivations, we wanted to make better music. The golden age of rock for me started in 1973 and ended in 1975. When Roxy Music, Bowie and Rory Gallagher were playing.
Do you remember when did you decide to become a rock musician?
Yes. It was in 1975, when i saw Thin Lizzy live. I had it all decided on the train back home from the concert.