(I posted this on myspace back when it happened (May) and just realized I never posted it here! So...)
Okay, now the thing was, I wasn't even going out of my way to *go* to this show, before all this hit. The Cure has been my favorite band for years and years and years, but the last bunch of BIG concerts I'd been to over the past 3 years or so had been really disappointing and when I saw The Cure on the Bloodflowers tour, it was such an amazing experience, I was afraid that it would be too difficult to top. Ultimately I decided I'd go, since Jay was kind enough to offer me his extra ticket. And because I did definitely need to see The Cure again, since this is the first time since Bloodflowers that they played Philly with a *full* set (they played a shortened set at Curiosa)...
Amy told me about a contest she heard on the radio (104.5 in Philadelphia), where you submit 10 questions to Robert Smith and the winner gets to meet and interview him. Now, honestly I never thought anybody actually WON those things. So, I filled it out and submitted it, never expecting to hear anything back. Needless to say, I was beyond flabbergasted when I got the phone call from the DJ, named Wendy, saying I won the contest. I was terrified immediately. Meet Robert Smith? Good god. When I met Thom Yorke years ago I asked if I could shake his hand, and I felt like the biggest dork in the world. But at least I'd have something to actually say to Robert, since I actually had a list of questions I was going to ask him - the questions I'd written, that I never thought that I'd ever actually get to ask him! Bizarre. So, Wendy explained that I also get two free tickets to the show and asked if I had any questions. My mind was reeling so I didn't at the time. Eventually, she emailed me the details, as far as where I needed to meet them and what time.
I emailed Wendy back and asked if I could get a third friend in with me (because I wanted to get Jay in, along with Nick and I if at all possible) and she said "actually, unfortunately, it will probably just be *you* who'll be allowed in, but it will all depend on the stage manager and how Robert's feeling that day. We'll definitely try." I felt bad because I'd already told Nick he'd get to meet him! So, I had to break the news to him, but he took it well and we figured we'd give it a shot. Wendy said she *would* ask to see if it'd be alright, after all. Since Nick already had tickets and was planning on sitting with his family, I figured Jay and I would sit together in the radio seats. I told Jay, "these tickets might be floor level, or a box, or something fancy!"
The day of the show, Jay and I drove to the Spectrum and met Nick there who had brought a six pack for us, to "help take the edge off." In case I didn't make it clear enough, I was very nervous, to say the least. This was Robert Smith! So we had a beer out in the lot, and walked over to the 104.5 vans at the designated meeting spot. Wendy was there and she was very nice. She gave me a bag of station swag (104.5 t-shirts, stickers, etc) and the tickets. It turns out they were 300 level, not bad, but not fancy. Since Jay's tickets were 200 level, we stuck with those.
Nick and I were sitting outside with Wendy, Bobbie (the Geffen/Interscope label rep), and two other winners (they'd won a 'meet and greet' with the Cure, which also scored them front row seats - they were very nice, as well). Jay was standing back some, because we weren't sure if we'd be pushing it too much to try and get him AND Nick in with me. When the time came, everyone was very pleasant and said, "oh, this is all there is? Definitely everybody come in!" Including Jay! Which was awesome! So we were ushered through the backstage areas of the stadium, through this long hall that was lined with pictures of 76ers, Flyers, and more. It was pretty incredible. They brought us into a small conference room type room and we all sat down and talked. We were told Robert would be in at 6:30. I went through my list of 10 questions and I drew stars next to the 5 I DEFINITELY wanted to ask, and numbered the rest in order of importance. The cameraman had Wendy and I sit on the couch as if it were Robert and I, to get the shot, and test it out, and they seemed pleased. I couldn't believe I'd be sitting on this couch, right next to Robert Smith. It was all very surreal.
The stage manager said it'd go smoother and Robert would be more comfortable if the interview was just Robert and I (along with the radio people) and everyone else left the room and waited in the hall. At around 7:30, Robert slowly walked in. Everyone else got up and walked out and Robert slowly approached. I shook his hand and he looked me over a bit suspiciously. He seemed like he had no idea what he was walking into and wasn't sure about me. He apologized for being late and I chuckled and tried not to say "Are you KIDDING ME? You could punch me in the eye right now, and wouldn't have to apologize!" Instead, I think I said "That's okay, really." We sat down next to each other on the couch, and picked up the mics. The cameraman said to me, "okay, any time you're ready you can start." So, I think I may have stammered just a bit at first, and said something to the effect of "Thank you for this opportunity, this is incredible" to Robert and he just looked at me blankly. So, I started into the first question.
I had the list of questions on my lap and I started reading the first question and then made a conscious effort to loosen up and go from memory, looking at him. Once I asked the first question, I realized he was a VERY easy interview. He had a long and interesting answer for the first question. And in his answer he mentioned that they played a new song at the previous night's show and were playing another new one at the Philly one, "even though everyone else in the band thinks I'm crazy, and they say 'last night's set was good! why should we change it?!'," we both laughed and I realized that he was definitely starting to warm up. So, I found that the interview went much more naturally, like a real conversation actually. I felt like I was just hanging out with him! He would mention something interesting in his answer which would lead me to ask a question not on the paper. And he would follow that with an answer that happened to lead me into a question that *was* on the paper. And that was how it went. He could tell I was actually interested and really listening to what he was saying and not just sitting there spitting out questions, which I think is why he gave such a great interview. So, in all I asked about 6 1/2 of the questions that were on my paper, all the questions with stars got asked, which was good. I learned some cool things that I don't think were ever mentioned in previous interviews.
One of my favorite things that I found out was that 'Burn,' the song on the Crow Soundtrack was actually recorded by ONLY Boris (the drummer at the time) and Robert! So, as I was getting through the questions, the stage manager came up and held up two fingers, so I said, "I think we have time for two more questions." And I asked one, which Robert answered just as casually and thoroughly and I asked my "last" question which Robert answered with another in-depth answer, which he ended by mentioning "The Top," at which point I said, "well, thats interesting, 'The Top' is another quesiton I had, but I think we're out of time... But anyway, here goes" and then I asked the question anyway! Haha! And Robert was totally cool about it, didn't even flinch and he gave a full answer. As it wrapped up the manager guy stepped up and gave his "Done NOW" gesture so we wrapped it up. The cameraman shut off his camera and we both stood up and I handed Robert a couple of my band's CDs (The Silence Kit: "In Regulated Measure" and The Silence Kit: "A Strange Labor") and said "I have a couple CDs for you. I know you're really busy and probably won't have a chance to listen to it," and he interrupted me with, "No! Thank you - It's a LONG bus trip," which made me happy. I continued, "Well, I just wanted to give you these, because without you I never would have made this music." He turned the cds over, looking over the art, and then he asked, "What do you do in the band?" And I said, "I play guitar and sing, and actually I recorded this one by myself – recorded it in my attic." We both kind of chuckled and he put the CDs in his pocket, picked up his beer and walked out into the hall. He told the guys out there (Nick and Jay included) that he felt bad about being so late, so he'd "like to have you all back to the dressing room to meet the rest of the band, and get some things signed and photos." Wendy said, "you did Awesome! He thought you were funny! You two were laughing it up, cracking jokes. You did so good!" And the cameraman said "Wow! You got 15 minutes! That's unheard of, to get that much for one of these interviews!"
And I think we were laughing a lot more than anyone would expect. In fact here's a picture of Robert and I laughing:
So, here's the interviews on the radio station website (only in WMV format):
And here's a couplea pics I took at the show: