The Cure Photographer Paul Cox: “Robert Smith is a normal guy, but there is a presence in him”


Photographer Paul Cox, who has released a new book of his images, The Cure, told NME about his experience working with the band and many years of correspondence with frontman Robert Smith.

It is expected that The Cure, who recently completed a long tour of the UK and Europe with a series of famous concerts at London’s Wembley Arena, will release the long—awaited “Songs Of A Lost World” – the band’s first new album after “4:13 Dream” 2008. ‘.

To give patient fans something to digest in the meantime, Cox recently released The Cure “Stills,” a book documenting his long visual relationship with the band since he first started shooting them for a magazine in 1980 before photographing them shortly after. them during the performance of Top Of The Pops. Their joint filming often started early in the morning and continued until early in the morning.

“I was very young, and they seemed a little intimidating, but interesting; and that’s always been the case,” Cox told NME about their first meeting. “You get a little vibe from people. After that little session, I just kept pestering them and shooting at them more and more.”

Cox continued, “Robert is a very down—to—earth person-a normal guy- but he has a presence when he walks into a room. He knows what he wants, and nothing will interfere with how he presents himself. He will not give interviews for this, he will not take photos for this; there must always be a reason, and he will put all his strength into it.

“Working with him for many years, he always puts a lot of effort. He doesn’t try too hard, but just knows what needs to be done and projects himself in a certain way. It’s just great to photograph him, and he’s a real character.”

Despite Smith’s image as one of rock’s most iconic figures, Cox doubled down on his reputation as a “normal guy.”

“I’ve always wondered what it would be like in Robert Smith’s house, but I think it would be quite normal!” he said. “I can imagine him lifting the shelf. He will do everything himself. When we were working on the book, I first asked his permission out of politeness, and then he supervised it. It took so damn long because of various events, deaths of people and other things. It took five years to create this book, whereas it could have taken six months.

“In any case, while we were collecting the book, he actually moved at some point. He didn’t force people to do it for him. At one point he said to me, “Oh, this is the 10th trip I’ve made in a van!”

As for what his photos say about the band, Cox said that The Cure “haven’t changed at all.”

“You can see that their fashion is changing a little bit, like when they wore suits a little bit in the 80s, but in general Robert Smith, in particular, has not changed at all – big hair, red lips, eyeliner, his commitment. How many groups have survived as many as they have? Not so much.

“Members come and go, but I guess [Smith] is really hard work, but he’s so single-minded.”

Cox went on to say that he “didn’t know” if he would ever work with The Cure again, and whether the band would be doing many more photo shoots.

“At best, they don’t need to advertise themselves in pictures,” Cox objected. “They are what they are, and you can do with a small drawing. Photography and what photos are used for have changed, and now it is not necessary to take new photos in most cases.”

Smith has repeatedly teased the band’s upcoming album in NME as a dark, “ruthless, ruthless” piece inspired by a period of great loss after the death of several family members, and in the same vein as their Gothic art rock masterpiece of 1989. Disintegration”.

When asked if he knew anything about “Songs of the Lost World”, Cox replied: “No, not at all! Haven’t they worked on a couple of albums? I know that one of them was supposed to be released back in the fall, but I can understand why it didn’t happen. Sometimes you don’t hear from him for three months, and then he immediately comes back with a bunch of shit! A lot of personal things have happened in his life over the past few years, and he’s just prioritizing things right.”

Cure “Stills” by Paul Cox is already on sale. Visit here for more information.

Speaking about the book in a statement, Smith said: “The appearance of various incarnations of the “Medicine” in different periods is inextricably linked with the images of Paul; his vision, experience and patience played a huge role in depicting us not only as we wanted to be, but also as we really were.

“A great photographer and a great person… and a very good job, he was not put off by a very strange job, which in 1980 was The Cure at the peak of popularity!”

Having long teased the albums — after he informed us that two new records were being prepared at the 2020 NME Awards — Smith told NME earlier this year that one of them would be “real very soon” and would be called “Songs Of A Lost”. The world’.

Then, in May, the frontman announced that the album was almost ready, hoping that the new material would be ready for the start of the tour in October 2022.

“It’s basically a 12—track album,” he told NME. “It’s there, it’s half mixed and half finished. This is strange. It’s kind of evolved over the last two years. It wasn’t always good to be alone with him. You pick at it like you’re picking at the seams, and everything falls apart.”

Smith continued: “It’s worth the wait. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done, but then I’d say so. I don’t do Oasis when I say, “THIS IS THE BEST ALBUM.” A lot of the songs are hard to sing, so it took me a while.”

Discussing the themes and nature of the long-awaited sequel to 2008’s “4:13 Dream”, Smith said that the album “doesn’t have a lot of light” and that it sounds “more like “Disintegration” than “Head to the Door”.

“It’s pretty ruthless, which will appeal to our hardcore audience, but I don’t think we’ll get any number one singles or anything like that!” he laughed. “It was quite excruciating, just like for everyone else.

“I had more privileges than most, but isolation and COVID affected me so much that I lost an entire generation of aunts and uncles in less than a year. It’s these things that have influenced the way I feel about the record.”

Smith added: “In fact, we recorded two albums in 2019. I tried to finish two at the same time, which is almost impossible. One is almost ready to go.

The band also recently re-released their classic 1992 album “Wish” with 24 previously unreleased tracks, and was also noted for its own set of Funko Pop! numbers.


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