Saturday, June 9, 2018

Robert interview in The Guardian

The Cure's Robert Smith: 'I was very optimistic when I was young – now I'm the opposite'

New interview in The Guardian. Some excerpts:

This year, the Cure are marking the 40th anniversary of their first concert under that name (they started in 1976 as Malice) with a flurry of activity. Smith has been rummaging through boxes for a documentary directed by regular collaborator Tim Pope. “I knew a few people wanted to – what’s a nice way of saying exploit? – celebrate the 40th anniversary with projects,” he says. “I said no, but I knew that they would probably go ahead anyway unless I made it very obvious that we were doing something.”

First up, Smith is curating the Meltdown festival at London’s Southbank Centre: a walloping 90 artists over 10 days. Smith will close the event under the name Cureation 25 – which promises a lineup of previous bandmates and more – shortly before the Cure headline a sold-out Hyde Park. “Meltdown’s going to be doom and gloom and Hyde Park’s going to be hands in the air,” he says. He sent a handwritten letter to each name on his wishlist and almost all of them said yes. It’s striking that everyone on the lineup, from the Manic Street Preachers to Mogwai, Nine Inch Nails to the Twilight Sad, has been influenced by the Cure in one way or another. Does Smith only like bands who like the Cure?

“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many artists who don’t like the Cure,” he says. “I think people admire us, even if they don’t particularly get the music. It sounds very conceited, but it’s not about me, it’s about the band. We’ve stayed true to ourselves. If you’re in a band, you realise how hard that is. I think people admire our tenacity.”

The Cure’s position is certainly enviable: loved with cult-like fervour yet mainstream enough to be covered by Adele (Lovesong) and featured in Ant-Man (Plainsong). There’s even a Reese Witherspoon romcom named after their 1987 hit Just Like Heaven, not that Smith has seen it. They are the only band, Smith notes, who are routinely perceived as both suicidal and whimsical. And they have maintained their integrity. Currently without a record label, manager or publicist, they tour (often) or record (not so much) only when Smith feels like it. It’s not true that he’s the only Cure member who matters (if bassist Simon Gallup left, then “it wouldn’t be called the Cure”), but he has always been in the driving seat. When was the last time he did something he didn’t want to do? He points at my Dictaphone and laughs. “Sitting here.”

These days, the Cure are predominately a live act, renowned for their epic, multi-encore shows. In Mexico City, as a 53rd-birthday treat, Smith tried to break Bruce Springsteen’s record of 4hr 6min, but miscalculated and fell three minutes short. “I was a bit crushed,” he says, “because we could have honestly kept going for another half an hour.” Friends, bandmates and critics have all suggested he leave the audience wanting more, but he keeps going because he enjoys it so much, and because he thinks he owes it to the fans. “I still think of that person who’s there thinking, ‘I wish they wouldn’t stop. I wish they wouldn’t stop.’” Hyde Park, he warns (or promises), will be a relatively brisk two hours.

It has been a decade since the last Cure album, 4:13 Dream. “I’ve hardly written any words since then,” Smith says glumly. “I think there’s only so many times you can sing certain emotions. I have tried to write songs about something other than how I felt but they’re dry, they’re intellectual, and that’s not me.” He wistfully quotes a line from the Cure’s The Last Day of Summer: “It used to be to so easy.” Would he be disappointed if he never made another album? “I would now, yeah. Because I’ve committed myself to going into the studio and creating songs for the band, which I haven’t done for 10 years. Meltdown has inspired me to do something new because I’m listening to new bands. I’m enthused by their enthusiasm. So if it doesn’t work, I’ll be pretty upset, because it will mean that the songs aren’t good enough.”

He has been revisiting old unused lyrics to see if he can repurpose any, but “some of them don’t make any sense to me any more. It would be weird if I felt the same as I did when I was in my 20s. I’d be mental!”

How has his outlook changed? “It’s slightly more cynical and slightly less optimistic, which is strange. I was very optimistic when I was young, even though I wrote very dismal songs, but now I’m kind of the opposite. I have a very dismal outlook on life.”

Smith worries that, at 59, he has become a reactionary who scorns social media, smartphones and the like. “I’m at war with a lot of the modern world,” he says. “I really hate how things have ended up in the last 20 years. I don’t know how it’s happened. There’s a certain tone to this country that’s really changed for the worse.” He’s building a rant, but a melancholy one. “It’s weird how the 70s is often referred to as a period of great unrest and the three-day week, blah, blah. It’s bollocks. The period from the second world war to the 70s, we were on a great trajectory for equality and so forth. It’s only since the end of the 70s, Maggie and Ronnie, that things have inexorably gone wrong. It’s insane, people’s lust for technology and new things.” He sighs. “I’m just turning into a grumpy old man.”

Smith is feeling his age in other ways. He notes that Tom Petty’s last UK show before his death last year was also a 40th-anniversary concert in Hyde Park. “Last time we sold out places in America that we’d never sold out, even in the 80s,” he says. “A darker part of me thinks they like watching us because they think I’m going to fall over and they’re not going to get to see us again.” He shakes off the joke. “I’m just being silly. It will stop, of course it will. I do wake up on a day like today and think, ‘Am I really talking about this band, still?’ I’m honestly astonished at how much love there is for the band. If you’d told me when we started, I would have been quite shocked.” One more encore, then. Maybe two.

More bands added for Meltdown

Some new bands have been added to the Meltdown lineup, as part of the free Sunday Surprises series. The shows take place at the Riverside Terrace, Level 2, outside Royal Festival Hall

June 17th - False Advertising (1 - 1:30 PM), De Rosa (2 - 2:30 PM), Is Bliss (3 - 3:30 PM), Midas Fall (4 - 4:30 PM), The Penelopes (5 - 5:45 PM), and Kagoule (6:15 - 7 PM).

June 24th -  Kite Base (1 - 1:30 PM), Martinez (2 - 2:30 PM), Blue Crime (3 - 3:30 PM), Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard (4 - 4:30 PM), Skinny Girl Diet (5 - 5:30 PM), and Pumarosa (6 - 7 PM).

Monday, June 4, 2018

'Mixed Up' Deluxe pushed back a week

The release of the Deluxe Edition of 'Mixed Up' has been pushed back a week to June 22nd.

Cure in the new Q Magazine

Cure in Mojo

Cure in Uncut

Cure in Rumore magazine

Meltdown flyer

Meltdown version of 'Obscure' released

Note: The only difference between this "exclusive" version and the regular version is the cover. Here's what Amazon says: "This special edition features a new cover in celebration of Robert Smith's curation of Meltdown Festival in London June 2018. The cover image is Vella's photograph of Robert featured on the posters advertising the festival. The content is the same as the original book." Thanks, @AaronLaw92.

Albums You Need To Hear: Pornography

From Let's Talk Music Reviews:

On May the 4th 1982, the album, Pornography by The Cure was released. The Cure had originated in West Sussex, England and Pornography was their fourth studio album to be unleashed on a waiting public, who had pushed the previously and equally morose sounding Faith, into the Top 20 in their native home.

The line up was down to the three core members of vocalist/guitar/keyboards Robert Smith, bass/keyboards Simon Gallup and percussion/keyboards Laurence (Lol) Tolhurst.

It was released on the Fiction Record label and produced by Phil Thornnally with the grand total of 8 tracks on it.

From the beginning you hear the programmed beat for “One Hundred Years” which has a very iconic guitar line which is hard to forget. This is like a darker version of Alice Through The Looking Glass if you on a bad trip. The imagery is quite bleak. Fear, death blows, exploding heads and a small black-haired girl pushing her face through a mirror.

The slowed down repeating lines of Smith singing, make you feel a bit off kilter in “A Short Term Effect”. It is a rather clever use of sound. A round-a-bout of discordant musical sounds adds to the feeling of ill ease.

“The Hanging Garden” was the single and is a favourite for many fans. Smith singing ‘fall fall fall fall, into the wall, jump jump out of time, fall fall fall fall out of the sky, cover my face as the animals die!!’ gives this a heavy feeling. A lovely heavy bass from Gallup and that wonderful drum beat makes this danceable.

A slow beat and again that very purposeful bass lead into the melancholy vocals of Robert in “Siamese Twins”. Such a moving and descriptive piece of lyrical poetry. It feels like an opiate malaise and you will definitely remember his voice as he asks ‘Is it always like this?’

A gothic love ballad of purity and darkness. This is the “The Figurehead” with its meandering beat with a realization of loss of innocence. The song is so sad and filled with longing.

Next is the gorgeous “Strange Day”. While this sounds like a number about loss, it swells with that great guitar playing from Robert Smith. Would you not want a strange day to wander through the mist?

The keyboard chords for “Cold” are spine tingling. Brooding and atmospheric as you feel the cold doom seep into your bones.

Tolhurst picks out a pretty amazing drum beat on the last song on the album which of course is “Pornography”. This is a graduating build up of sound upon sound, making this highly unusual in this period of music. Again that discordant giddy feeling where Smith‘s voice can be heard within the hurdy gurdy maelstrom.

Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography were The Cure‘s trilogy of nihilistic gothic rock. The bands by this time were using drugs heavily and drinking copious amounts of alcohol which probably account for the strange and trippy lyrics.

While the drug use and Robert Smith‘s ever deepening depression, brought their music to new heights, it also took its toll on the band, ripping at their seams. Simon Gallup left the band after Pornography was recorded after falling out with Smith and it looked like the end for The Cure even though the album went on to be in the Top 10 in the UK.

Luckily for us it wasn’t, but that is a whole other story or five.

This album, Pornography, with its bass driven sound, unique vocals and experimental music is a product of its time. For me, this is one of those landmark moments and as a young goth, this was often on heavy rotation. This is the dark side of The Cure and it is a wonderous place to be.

What is Tim Burgess up to?

Cure in the NY Times crossword puzzle

39 down in the New York Times crossword puzzle. Saturday, May 26th.

A post shared by Reeves Gabrels (@reevesgabrels) on

The clue was "Friday I'm in Love band".

Reeves and the Yamaha THR 100

Ken Haas talks with Reeves

Lol Tolhurst DJ set in Phoenix

Facebook Event Page

VIP Option One – $50
(1) Cured Paperback book
(1) GA Ticket to the DJ Set
(1) Invite to an intimate question and answer/book signing/meet and greet with Lol before the DJ Set. This is a private pre-show event and space is limited.

VIP Option Two -$35
(1) GA Ticket to the DJ Set
(1) Invite to an intimate question and answer/book signing/meet and greet with Lol before the DJ Set. This is a private pre-show event and space is limited.

GA Tickets for DJ Set – $10

Topographies shows, EP, and new video

Crawley Museum planning Cure exhibit for July

Update (June 4th, 2018): Article about this in the Crawley Observer.

Can you help Crawley Museum celebrate The Cure?

They may have been less than complimentary about Crawley over the years but the lads of The Cure will be forever linked with our town, whether they like it or not. In his book, Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, founder member Lol Tolhurst describes Crawley as “a place where it is always raining and a slate grey sky hangs over everything...a suburban swamp built around shops, schools and factories”.

A bit harsh, to be sure, but there are no hard feelings!

Growing up in Crawley clearly did them some good as they produced songs of the calibre of Boys Don’t Cry, Love Cats, Lullaby and Friday I’m In Love.

Now the newly opened Crawley Museum is planning a temporary exhibition celebrating 40 years of the group – and they need your help.

The museum, which is based at The Tree, on the corner of The Boulevard and High Street, is asking people to share any photos, flyers, tickets or posters which might have survived from the band’s early days.

They would also like to hear any memories and anecdotes people have of the new town boys who would go on to conquer the world.

Perhaps you went to St Francis Assisi School with Lol and Robert Smith, or Notre Dame School, where they met Michael Dempsey.

Were you at St Wilfrid’s School with them when they performed their first gig in December 1976 under the name Malice?

Or were you part of the Wasps (Three Bridges) football team in 1975, for whom Robert was a rather useful winger?

The museum is currently only partially open. The Cure exhibition will coincide with its full opening and will run from July 1-22. Opening times are Wednesday to Saturday 10.30am to 4pm, Sunday 2-4.30pm.

In addition it will be open on Monday July 9 and Tuesday July 10 from 10.30am to 4pm. Anyone who can help, is asked to contact the museum on 01293 539088 or by emailing Andrea (at) crawleymuseums (dot) org .

Photo Exhibit June 14th-July 9th in London

Update (June 4th, 2018): Some info on the exhibition from Agnes B.

Richard Bellia presents around thirty photos of the mythical group The Cure in the London agnès b. shop agnès b. of Covent Garden, from June 14th till July 9th, 2018… an attractive way of taking part in their concert of July 7th that will celebrate their 40’s in Hyde Park, during the British Summer Time Festival!!

Richard Bellia and agnès b. did not have the opportunity to meet very often, but it is always with a great pleasure that the stylist has been exhibiting in her shops the magnificent black and white photos of the photographer for almost 10 years now… first within the Lyon Nuits Sonores Festival in 2009, then in Paris, Montpellier, Brussels!

event facebook

Born in France in 1962, it’s in October 1980, during a Cure concert, that Richard Bellia decided to become a rock photographer. In 1985, he settled in London and quickly began to work for the famous Melody Maker magazine. This new contribution sparked an interest from the French press and Bellia became a regular correspondent specializing in the British music scene. He only works with silver-based photography and the majority of his photos are black and white. In addition to practical reasons, Bellia has mostly chosen black and white as a quest for perfection while in the dark room. He has exhibited in United States, England and Europe.

"I turned to photography at the age of 18. There was a camera lying around at a friend’s party, I took it, I took photo after photo and when my friends saw the result, they all said, “Your photos are really great!” and I told myself that was what I should do.” Richard Bellia

The photos exhibited are taken from the book Un Å’il sur la Musique 1982 – 2007 by Richard Bellia: 375 photos, colors and black & white commented by the author. Many musical genres are approached on this book: rock, punk, electro music, metal, rap and in a general way, all which attracted the ear of the author since he goes to concert with his cameras.
“A very beautiful object where we meet Robert Smith with no make up on, Chemical Brothers in a pharmacy, Morrissey in his big time, a Ramone being sucked. ” – Libération (in November, 07)

“Rarely a work of artists’ photos did disturbed me so much by what they say of their time: from 1982 till 2007, Richard Bellia painted a portrait of the rock, punk and new-wave’s  history. Moved, rough, immediate, accompanied with incisive comments, these photos make the identity of the rock. A magnificent book.” -Sophie Loubière – France Inter.

exhibition from June 14 to July 9
opening Thursday 14 June, 6-9pm

agnès b. 35/36 Floral street, London WC2E 9DJ.

Cureheads events around the Hyde Park show