(July/August 2004)

The Cure: Robert Smith is still feeling bad

Cure me! Cure me! Cure me!

No, the Cure singer isn't sick, he just needs to win his fears. What fears? Death, waking up in an unknown world and the advice of a
mysterious book that makes him feel very, very strange...

by Alessandra Roncato
It's not good before an interview to repeat yourself that, if not for the person you're about to meet, your life would have been different. Maybe easier, but surely less intense. If not for him, probably, tonight, since it's saturday, you'd go dancing in one of those exclusive discos and now your problem would be: "What shall I wear?". It's not good to think all this. It's not good for me while, sitting in this chair in a dressing room of Heineken Jammin' Festival in Imola, I'm waiting for the Cure's Robert Smith to walk in this room. "Hello, do you want anything to drink?" Robert enters, shakes my hand, in the other hand he has a bottle of beer. "We've already met, haven't we?". Yes, we met a year ago in Brussels, when the Trilogy Dvd was released: "I remember you", he says. Slowly he seats beside me and waits for me to begin the interview. Suddenly I'm not able to say a single word. I start stuttering something, but it doesn't make sense. He gets up, goes to the table across the room and turns the stereo volume off. "Actually, this
music is a bit too loud" he smiles. It's not true, the problem is not the volume and he understands it. For a moment I got lost. Like he sings in one of the songs on the last album, "The Cure": "I can't find myself And I wonder where I am... I got lost" he says in Lost. And that's what we, finally, start talking about. "Last year in this period I had a really terrible experience. I began feeling not at ease for things that have never made feel like this. People I've known for a very long time suddenly looked like strangers. It was like everyone around me behaved in a strange way, as if unknown people had replaced my real friends. I understood only a few months later that their way of behaving was only an answer to my being so absent. It's a really scary thing because you realize it's not them, the problem has to be yours. But I didn't feel different. This thing had already happened twice in the past. The first when I was very young, I was about 13 and maybe it was something related to hormones. The second when I started working on Pornography. I was so strange that I entered my flat and I didn't even recognize it. It looked like a Polanski film. But maybe it was also because of the drugs I was taking". Robert talks of the Pornography period as if it was the darkest of his life. He's silent for a few seconds, bows his head: "I felt a
sort of horror for everything physically related. I hated the fleshy world, I hated myself more than everybody else. I thought the inner side of life was horrible. It's strange to think about it now. At the time I disliked the human race and I didn't give a damn if we all died". Behind the curtains the sun is setting and the room is getting darker and darker. "Now I'm 45 and I often stop to think about this, and I wonder how much I know myself. I'd like if it was true that I can face the fact I have to grow old and die. I don't believe those who say they can conceive their end. It's intellectually impossible. You can arrive very close to it, you can even imagine your last moments, but you can't go beyond. It's terrifying but, somehow, you can accept it. I've tried very hard in the last years: I've seen people die, people I was very bound to. This made the thing more real". The door of the dressing room opens, the manager warns us our time is out: "Ten more minutes" asks Robert.
The door silently closes. "But when I'm angry, I'm not afraid of anything", he goes on. He also sings it in Us or Them: "There is no terror in my heart / no dread of the unknown / ... get your fucking world out of my head", he screams angrily. "All the media say I have to be scared for what's happening in the western world in this period. You should always wonder: 'what's gonna happen now?'. It's all shit. I refuse to live in fear. I'm not going to be terrified by others. The only fear I have inside and I want to cope with is the fear of my end, and it's something I can't get rid of". He drinks another sip from the bottle, then lays it on the ground and watches outside the window: "If you left this room now and I drank another pair of beers while I watch darkness come, I would probably be in the right mood to write a song. I'd think of how beautiful this night will be (it's the first date of their world tour) and not of how bad it was yesterday. I need the right atmosphere to write a song. Once I wrote a lot more. Then I worried I could become one of those who watch life intead of living it. Especially during the making of Wish (1992): I found myself watching people and I realized it wasn't good for my mental health. That's why from then on there have been four years between an album and the next one. Actually at home I still write a lot, I'm also trying to do a poetry book in two years. Writing poetry is much more difficult, but I feel I don't need music in every moment of my day anymore". The door opens once again: "Another ten minutes", Robert asks again. I wonder how his life can be when he's not busy at work. "My life is quiet: I read, play soccer with my nephews, walk. I never go shopping: it's something I hate. I don't even remember the last time I entered a shop. I buy clothes on the internet. But I love watching the moon with the telescope. The moon makes me feel detached from everything else". He also sang it in Three Imaginary Boys: "Sweet child the moon will change your mind", he said. He smiles and watches me strangely: "I reveal to you an experiment. On the beautiful summer evenings, when there are no clouds in the sky, go out in a lonely place and lie down. Imagine the earth doesn't exist and you're stuck to the sky. After a while you'll feel very, very strange: it's an exceptional sensation. It's like losing yourself in space. I'll tell you another: when you're alone in a room, start repeating your name, call yourself. First low, then louder and louder. This will make you feel
very strange too. I read it in a book titled more or less 101 ways to feel bizzarre. I stopped at page 10 and took a pause, I might become too

We get out of the room together, the light of the hallway is blinding. I stay behind and watch him walking before me: his feet move as if he has just landed on the moon. Now he'll get on stage and return to be the man who has changed my life. Instead, after the concert and after meeting him again, I'll go to the hotel and start calling me. First low, then louder and louder. And I'll feel very strange.
There's also a little box about Simon and Perry:

When I enter the dressing room, Simon Gallup (bass) and Perry Bamonte (guitar) stop practising on their instruments only to shake my hand.
Then they restart. Interviewing the other group members today is a compulsory stage. Robert Smith wants the journalists to meet also the
others. But they don't look eager to speak at all. Mostly Gallup who keeps doing scales on his bass with skulls. But when you speak of Ross
Robinson, the producer of the new album, he becomes furious: "Don't tell me he's a great producer, for me he's only been a nightmare. From my
mouth will never come out a positive word about him, he's just an idiot". Bamonte tries to explain: "In the studio Ross intentionally created tension inside of the band. But every person reacts in a different way to provocations. He didn't consider everybody's feelings, if he could reach the result he wanted he really didn't give a damn". Then Gallup goes on: "The album is beautiful because the songs are beautiful. And tonight, live, they'll be even better".


(Thanks to Andrea & Chiara for translating and typing it all up)