Doctor Smith's Fleurs Du Mal
From 1989 “disintegration” to the awareness of “Bloodflowers”. The Cure strikes back, touring across Italy from May 4th to May 8th.
Milan – The Cure strikes back, more visionary, more passionate and more psychedelic than ever. The surprising return album is called Bloodflowers and from the burning title we can already perceive the lyrical and cathartic power the English band seemed to have lost. Even if the members are the same as for the previous album Wild Mood Swings, dated 1996, The Cure is more and more addicted to Robert Smith. His unusual voice sings dizzy ballads that sound between acustic and electrical, with a sort of intensity which he had maybe never reached before, at least not in a live album. He put on a little weight, he is kind and polite, his hair’s loose as usual, but without lipstick on his lips for a once, “Gloom Messiah” looks more serene, in a very good mood. A new man. And he defines this way the eleventh studio album signed by The Cure: “ It wasn’t my choice to release the album in the year 2000: it was the record company which wanted to avoid Christmas and Millenium rush. I didn’t agree because it is a very nostalgic album and maybe it was right to release it in 1999. In this case I had more time to rehearse with the band and get ready for the new tour.”
Where does all this nostalgia come from? “ In 1989, When I was close to my thirtieth birthday, we recorded an album called Disintegration which was for me a very private matter. Since then I’ve never recorded an album like that one, about me, if you know what I mean. Even if I sang in first person, it wasn’t really me. Last year, at the age of forty, I felt the need for an album which could be the counterpoint of Disintegration. It is my most introverted album and it reflects my feelings in this period of my life. I put in it things we have already done before to find the proper way to the inevitable change. This is why I thought it was more logical to release it last year and then, in 2000, I could have dedicated myself to my solo album.”
We have heard of this Robert Smith solo album for a long time: is this time the right one? “ During the last twenty years, I began to work on it two or three times, but then I always stopped. I still have some songs up my sleeve”. Have you ever think to become the new Nick Drake? “ It was just a very high ambition. Nick Drake has been an inspiration when I started to be a singer and a song writer, but the album I’ll record this year won’t have neither words nor singing. It’s a weird music. I made the other members of the band listen to it, but it wasn’t appreciated. I would like to take care of this project for a couple of years, but before I want to be absorbed by this pop experience; because I wanted The Cure to record this cd first. I feel really different today, I feel positive again, after a long period of depression. I perceived that the band was kind of tired and I wanted it to show me we could still make a great album”.
How can you find new motives, new vital nourishment at the end of this century which has been so creative and so full of memories? “ My motives to write music are always the same and they are still as strong as in the beginning. Working every day doesn’t steal me strength, on the contrary I like it a lot. The problems begin with the public stuff: tour, interviews, pictures, videos, I make fewer and fewer of them. Until the day I’ll definitively disappear from the public eye. I’m planning my work in order to keep separated the two things: music and singing, I don’t want them to be dependent one on the other. The problem is not about the motives or my mood when I wake up in the morning. I’m usually pretty good in writing music. The matter is not about being young or less young, you can make music until you dye and you’re very old. It’not usual in pop music, but today it’s becoming possible, because pop artists refuse to grow. Also when I was young my heroes were Jimi Hendrix, Nick Drake and David Bowie, I’ve never made distinctions based on their age. Hendrix and Drake passed away early, another one I admired a lot was Alex Harvey, but for me they weren’t neither young nor old, they were just good musicians. I think the only difference is how you look, if you want to appear contemporary, fashonable, or you want to seduce just the younger ones. Youth doesn’t allow anyone to move in any kind of music”.
Beyond The Cure – the myth, who is Robert Smith today? “I feel more spiritual and I’ve got a lot of affinities with a young Scottish band, Mogwai, which recorded just two albums. They sound very ‘noisy’ and they have a spirit pretty much like mine. But I respect artists such as Neil Young, even if I don't drive crazy for the things he does, or David Bowie, whom I met a couple of time. We don’t have many things in common, but I admire him. Generally I prefer the youngsters because they are more positive and optimistic. Cynicism comes when you’re older and you have much more experience. Even if The Cure had a lot of success I’ve never longed to be famous. I’m married with a woman who has never wanted to be attached to The Cure. I met her in the beginning and success has got nothing to do with the moment we first met. Our relationship is very secret and private, we don’t have any sons, but we can play with 21 nephews and nieces. We live in the north, in tranquillity. My wife loves Bloodflowers, she said this is The Cure best album”.
Have you gained much money during these years? “ Yes, I have. When I was young I never thought I could make money with The Cure. In the beginning I just wanted to do an unusual job”. What don’t you like of this job? “ I don’t like flying. I did it hundreds of times, but I still don’t like it. I loose control in the airports. Travelling is the part of the tour I like the least. We’ll come to Italy in February for a showcase and we’ll be back in April for the tour. We used to do hundreds of gigs, now we won’t have more than twenty gigs across Europe, maybe two or three in Italy.
- Giacomo Pellicciotti