music pictures by Pat Blashill

The Cure has been Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Lol Tolhurst and others.

Robert Smith dislikes air travel. Or not. But that was the reason given for The Cure's journey to New York on the Queen Elizabeth II in 1989 for the beginning of their Disintegration tour. Bassist Simon Gallup claimed that they spent their time at sea "playing shuffleboard and learning how to fold napkins." I was one of a small gang of reporters who was waiting when the band disembarked, and I tried to capture something of Smith, who seemed reticent and faraway, even though he later rallied and told an MTV reporter that he was looking forward to wearing short pants (!) in the US. I met him again nearly ten years later and gave him a copy of this photo. He blinked, mumbled and may have smiled, but I can't be certain of that.

“I did a photo session a couple of weeks ago, and I decided I wouldn’t wear makeup; I wore a suit. About halfway through I thought, ‘Christ, this is hideous.’ So I put the makeup on. That doesn’t feel like me, but that’s the ‘me’ that does photo sessions. That’s why I started putting on makeup in the first place: it’s an old theatrical way of allowing myself to be louder and more showy than I’d otherwise be. I never wear makeup at home now. I don’t go shopping in it anymore. But then, I’m more comfortable with my real life than I used to be.”
Robert Smith, 2000

“My first impression of Robert was, ‘We’ve got a strange one here.’ He was a bit lanky and had that slightly uncomfortable-in-your-own-body type of thing.”
Chris Parry, Polydor A & R

(on recording their fourth album, Pornography) “The making of the album was incredibly demented. We didn’t sleep, which drives anyone mad, and we didn’t see anyone—it was an Us Against the World mentality, and nothing else mattered but making the most extreme statement that we could muster.”
Robert Smith, 2000

(on recording “Let’s Go to Bed”) “I hated the fan stuff that had built up around the band—the idea that we had taken over from Joy Division. They were expecting me to take that one step, so that I could forever remain young. People wanted me to kill myself. I thought, ‘I’m going to piss everyone off by doing a really idiotic pop song.”
Robert Smith, 2000

“We took the QE II [from England to New York] because we could—and we knew it would wind people up. We played shuffleboard and learned how to fold napkins.”
Simon Gallup, the Cure

“On that 1996 tour, in Italy, I had eaten something which didn’t agree with me, and I projectile vomited halfway through ’A Forest.’ It was like the [Monty Python] Mr. Creosote sketch. The audience was great—this huge cheer went up! I rinsed my mouth out with a glass of beer and carried on.”
Robert Smith, 2000

“I had grown to accept being in the Cure as normal, but now I don’t. I feel quite strange doing this. For instance, I wouldn’t sit here and talk about myself in real life. I’d listen. I’m known for being very, very quiet. Now the temptation to wake up in my own bed with the sound of the sea outweighs the glamour of waking up in New York with the sound of sirens.”
Robert Smith, 2000
(All Cure quotes from interviews with Pat Blashill)