...do with anyone, but we're doing this so I need to connect with other people who also don't want anything to do with anyone. It's one of those young things where you don't think too much about the paradox but you kind of know what you're getting at. The alienation of it, you're trying to reach out to other people who feel alienated.”
Do you still get many Robert Smith clones hanging about?
“Less often nowadays. But at the most recent thing in Rome there an extraordinary amount of Robert Smith-alikes, much more than there have been in the last few years. This might be a worrying resurgence of them. Every summer they come round to where I live and there's a regular stream of people. I live on the beach just outside of Brighton - I don't live on the beach, my house backs onto the beach, of all the places I could fucking live and be private! 'What are you doing on my beach?' And they all turn up and they all make sure they look like the archetype, but there’s less and less of them. There was resurgence this year in America - I noticed that some of the shows of younger boys and girls starting to dress up a bit. It's nice, I like it, I've never thought of it as them wanting to look like me, it's always that representation.”
You've recently allowed your music to be used in advertising in America after years of refusal – why?
“Anyone who knows The Cure knows that the only reason I had to agree to those adverts was because we were about to be out of contract with Polydor and I had to. If I was going to retain control over our back catalogue my trade-off was giving the one song to use for an advert with no vocals, that was it, so we gave them 'In Between Days' for Punto and Fiat and 'Pictures Of You' for HP in America. There was no singing and no-one knew it was us, and that was fine. There was no campaign around it, nothing came off of it, we didn't re-release ‘In Between Days’. I'm so against music in adverts, it fucking killed me even agreeing to that, but it was the only way. The money generated from those adverts went into buying me control on our back catalogue, otherwise it would have been like mortgaging the band. It sounds cynical, and it was at the time, but I suppose if I'm being really honest my ear was bent a little bit by a younger generation saying no one cares, no one cares, everyone does it, it doesn't matter any more, you're living in the past. Now I read that if you advertise this or use your music for that or you’re advertising the iPhone that's fine because everybody does it, but it's not, I still don't think it is, I think it is wrong.”
The Cure are almost unique in being a deeply emotional band with a shameless pop edge – how did that combination come about?
“I knew every word to every Beatles song and every Rolling Stones song through the '60s, and Captain Beefheart and Cream. This was what was blasting out when I was pretending to be going to sleep. So when I started with a group and thought ‘We’re gonna start writing our own songs’ I didn’t want to be a punk band, I wanted to be a band that encompassed all the stuff that I thought was good. If I had a song and thought 'I want to sound like Nick Drake on this song' I didn’t think ‘Well, is that right?’ because Nick Drake was what made me feel a certain way so if I could get that into a song… When we started my favourite punk bands were the bands that made the more accessible, melodic music. I wanted the band to always have a dimension to it that was not to do with the modern world. So the emotional stuff and the pop stuff always went hand in hand, I never saw any problem with it. The Beatles are a good example. They progressed into it, but once they did they didn’t have an either/or. They had both. They had the best tunes, but also the most outrageously experimental psychedelic stuff that you could imagine. They were it. Captain Beefheart’s ‘Safe As Milk’, I used to love the way it used stereo and the way it went across in headphones, the phase stuff, I’d listen to it over and over again. And Hendrix, the same thing – ‘Axis: Bold As Love’ has got some great pop songs on it, but essentially it’s a psychedelic guitar album that you listen to from beginning to end and think you’d love to be in that world, I’d love to be Jimi Hendrix. All these things combined, for me there was never a problem between ‘Do you want to be a dark band or do you want to be a pop band?’ We kind of went on our own way depending on how I felt.”
Didn’t you have a run-in with Morrissey back in the '80s?
“Unfortunately he was asked a question about people called Smith. It was me, Patti Smith and someone else called Smith who was famous at that time, who he would shoot. One would have expected at the time, him being a non-meat eating vegetarian pacifistic sort of guy, to say ‘I choose to shoot myself’ or ‘I choose to shoot no-one’ but he said ‘I’d line them all up and I’d shoot them all’. When I was told that at the time I kind of took umbrage, ‘That’s fucking nice, cunt’. I felt it was a bit unnecessary. I’d never said or done anything. So that engendered one of those tedious feuds. I’ve never met him, I’m not even sure we’ve been in the same room. I’m sure it’s the same for him, he got really aggravated at my response. I was very over the top but I felt justifiably so, having just been shot in print. It was one of those things, a mini Blur/Oasis thing. I don’t think I played along with it enough for it to become anything more. It kind of got resurrected from time to time, I think on his fansite it got reinvigorated and there have been various attempts to reignite it, but I think he’s actually said something really nice about us recently, about the fact that I’m a little bit wayward. Honestly I’ve never really had a problem. I felt it was unfair that he would shoot me. If you asked him again he might choose to shoot himself rather than me and Auntie Patti and whoever else it was.”
Did you ever have any bad trips while taking all that LSD to write 'Disintegration'?
“No, actually, I have never had a bad trip, never. It does set you off though, you take other drugs at the wrong time at the wrong moment and it does set me off again. Some of my younger nephews and nieces say ‘Come on uncle Robert, have a bit of this’. And I'm like ‘Oh yeah, alright’ and then I’m like ‘Fuck!’ I'm sitting there an hour later and they’re going ‘Are you alrig