10/29/1983 Smash Hits
Q: What do The Cure, The Banshees, The Royal Ballet and Crawley all have in common? A: Robert Smith
Seems a bit surprised to be back in England, does Robert Smith of The Cure. Why, there he was, beavering away in Scandinavia with the Banshees, when he was suddenly called home to perform "The Walk" on Top Of The Pops
Gratifying really. After several albums and line-up changes since their beginnings as a trio in 1978, last year the remaining Cure persons Robert and Laurence ("Lol") Tolhurst decided to try "the loosest arrangement possible".
Robert explains: "It was becoming a trap, like any other group. We decided to just use it as a vehicle for things we wanted to do. No commitments or pressure."
Theyíve effectively been in hibernation since their "Letís Go To Bed" single late last year, and Robert is pleased that this hasnít stopped "The Walk" from making the charts.
"It proves the new arrangement can work. After this thereíll be a lot of pressure to follow it up though."
The current "loose arrangement" has meant The Cure spending only about six weeks working together so far this year. That isnít because they donít get on, Robert explains. "Weíre still friends... strangely. Laurence usually materializes somewhere in the course of the evening." And Robert, who still lives in Crawley, often sleeps on his floor.
"I couldnít stand living in London myself. When I get back to Crawley and away from all the vices London offers itís a real rest. A couple of days there is like a fortnightís holiday. If I stayed in London I think Iíd soon go under."
Laurence, on the other hand, is apparently, "immensely into vice" whatever thatís supposed to mean. "More so than anyone Iíve ever met," Robert muses. Heís also into "Living the life of an artist", pursuing various vague-sounding solo projects, and may well be producing a French group called The Rock Bordello.
"I reckon," Robert remarks, "that they only reason heís interested is because theyíve got a girl singer."
Meanwhile, Robert himself has been having a hectic time. Since last year heís been guesting on guitar for the Banshees; another "loose arrangement".
"Itís as permanent as any of us want it to be. Thereís nothing written down. As long as it works, weíll continue... which is how I always thought a group should work."
Then thereís Glove, a project he and Steve Severin began work on when Siouxsie and Budgie disappeared off to Hawaii to do The Creaturesí album. The Glove stuff is "a bit hard to describe, itís all so different", but thereís a single out soon called "Like An Animal" which is apparently "summery". An album, "Blue Sunshine", will follow, featuring Ginny Hewes and Annie Hogan of the Mambas (get everywhere donít they?).
When heís finished in Sweden with the Banshees, Robert will be jetting back for more Cure work. "Some time this year" theyíll be recording an album (their fifth), performing at a festival in Cornwall and playing a few dates in America.
"Weíll be using the American audience to experiment with new material."
Oh yes, and Robertís also supposed to be scoring an adaptation of Jean Cocteauís Les Enfants Terribles for the Royal Ballet. Heís done some of it already, but is finding it hard going.
"Iíll have to finish it in my sleep with all the things Iíve got coming up."
Thereís also been some talk of Robert actually appearing in the final show, but he seems to find the idea of prancing about in a leotard and ballet pumps rather daunting.
"I canít see it happening somehow," he chuckles. "I just donít want to let myself in for that much ridicule."