“I drink a box of red wine if I want something really morose, and cider if I want something more upbeat”: Robert Smith’s boozy approach to songwriting in the 80s

 Robert Smith in 1992.
Robert Smith in 1992.

Robert Smith wrote a lot of songs in the 80s through to the early 90s. Even before you get to The Cure leader's work with Siouxsie And The Banshees and his The Glove side-project, The Cure released eight albums from 1980-1992 and in an interview with Select magazine in 1993, Smith gave interviewer Chris Heath a glimpse behind the songwriting curtain. It involved quite a bit of booze.

“Sometimes I sit down and get drunk so that I can write something,” Smith said. “What I drink depends on what I want to write. I drink a three-litre box of red wine if I want something really morose and I drink cider if I want something more upbeat.”

He said the approach wasn’t a surefire way of pulling a song out of himself, however. “I’ll write six pages and I’ll leave them for a day, and the following night I’ll pick them up and think, It’s the same old stuff. So I’ll rip them up into very small pieces and get aggressive with myself for bothering to waste my time when I could have been reading a book or watching a good film.”

Perhaps that frustration was foreshadowing the end of Smith’s prolific purple patch. Heath reported at the time that The Cure were working on fresh material but there wouldn’t be another Cure album for three years – 1996’s Wild Mood Swings. There have been just three more in the 27 years since. Smith had already done the hard yards and written his fair share of gems, though, but his quotes do make you wonder: which of his preferred tipples were behind these Cure classics?:

A Forest – red wine

Boys Don’t Cry – cider

Just Like Heaven – cider

Inbetween Days – cider

Plainsong – red wine

Primary – red wine, maybe some Red Bull too

Burn – red wine

One Hundred Years – red wine

All Cats Are Grey – all the red wine

Friday I’m In Love – the fizziest cider you can imagine