Adelaide Now
(July 22nd, 2007)

The Best Cure In Town

THE love of playing brings legendary The Cure back to Australia for the first time in seven years.
“That's one of the reasons we're going out on the road again to tour now before there's even a new album out,'' says Robert Smith, frontman of the English band which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Not everyone sees the sense in Smith's decision to hit the road without a fresh album but, to him, it's pretty straightforward for the influential dark pop act.

“The record label thinks I've lost my mind,'' Smith says. ``They don't understand but it's simple, innit - we're going out to play Cure shows.

“We don't need to try to sell the next record. Being honest, people don't really want to hear 13 new songs at a show. They wanna hear a few new songs and loads more they recognise.''

As it turns out, Adelaide holds a very special place in Smith's heart.

“Yes, it's true,'' he says with a smile.

“I've got a lot of love for the place.''

While he has a very special, at-yet-untitled new recording project on the boil, we'll have to wait until October for it to arrive.

Smith's wrangling with lyrics is infamous and once more contributed to the delay in arrival of the new album. But he assures us it will be worth it.

“I have to be proud of what I've written and I'm not happy just banging something out for the sake of it,'' he says. ``It has to fit and so I have to think about not only what I want to sing about but also what do I want to hear.

“Lyrics are always the hardest part of the process and it's rewarding when I get it right, but it is the only part - that ever feels like work.

“The writing of the music is sometimes as simple as just picking up an instrument and start playing.

“When I'm playing with the others nowadays, particularly with Porl (Thompson, guitar) back in the band, I find a vitality that was starting to get lost in the last line-up.

“It's like I've rediscovered why I love to do this.''

Smith is quick to clarify he is casting no aspersions. ``We played some fantastic shows in the previous line-up - don't get me wrong - but something disappeared along the way: the joy of playing music for the sake of playing music and for no other reason,'' he says.

Audiences will get plenty of opportunity to hear their Cure favourites as this four man line-up (sans keyboards) is planning on a very long show.

“We’re having such a good time playing that people will definitely be getting value for money,'' Smith says.

The lead singer is conscious the band is about to reach a couple of important milestones.

“Blood scary, innit?'' he says. ``This is the 13th Cure album and we're getting close to our 30th anniversary as a band. I wanted to do something really special and grand to celebrate.

“About this time last year, we all went into the studio for about three months without really knowing what we were going to do. We were all in the same room, playing live and creating music naturally as we went, and it came together really well.

“I figured it would hopefully turn out to be a happy experiment so we just kept recording. We ended up with 33 backing tracks.

“I originally wanted to write the words as we went along but my idea very quickly fell by the wayside because I just couldn't keep up.''

Other commitments sprang up to delay work on the album.

“Some people have wondered where weve been all this time, but we have been busy, believe it or not,'' Smith says. “Honestly, we've probably spent less time in the studio working on this record than we did on the last three albums.

“Instead of concentrating on lyrics, I got co-opted into other projects during the time off, including the 30-song Festival 2005 DVD.

“But I ended up being dumped on the other side of it near Christmas with no words written.''

Smith's high spirits show that, rather than negatively effect the new record, the break seems to have been just the ticket.

“The funny thing is, by having a nine-month break between the first and second recording sessions, it's actually become a better album,'' Smith says. “Everyone has had a fresher perspective on it. We've had a lot of time to think about it without going over it too much.

“We've been able to come back and play them with much more freedom than if we'd laboured to death over them. That's when I came up with the idea of reworking the material into a double album.''

Trying to convince a record label at large in the real world that a Cure double album is commercially viable might normally be a tough prospect. But Smith takes it all in his stride. “We're at that stage in our career where, to be frank, I don't really care what anyone else thinks,'' Smith says.

“Who gives a toss what people think is commercially viable? We're the bloody Cure, aren't we?

“If I had a penny for every time someone's told me I was committing commercial suicide because I took a left turn with my creativity, I could've bought my own island. Commercial viability means nothing if I'm not happy with the record, so the question I've got to ask myself is: is it creatively viable?

“Because that's a much more pertinent line of inquiry.''

The Cure's influence has been noted by many critics .

“Personally, I'm really touched and flattered when bands cite us as an influence,'' he says. ``Interpol for instance. I really like them and think they're probably one of the best live bands I've seen in ages.''

Smith uses this example to show how what goes around, comes around.

“No one exists in a vacuum,'' he says.

“No one seems to have picked it up, but one of my biggest influences is Jimi Hendrix - but I'm more influenced by the way he sang and the songs he wrote than I am by his guitar playing.''

The Cure plays Adelaide Entertainment Centre on August 6. Bookings: Ticketek.