Roger O’Donnell, the keyboard player for the Cure during the recording of Disintegration twenty years ago, shared all of his memories and lots of photos from the recording of that album. It’s a great read, full of fascinating details—who would’ve guessed the Cure was into clay pigeon shooting and 4×4 vehicles!—that dispel a lot of myths surrounding the group:
So to answer another question no, the mood didn’t change in the studio when Robert started singing, it was exactly the same very happy and jokey. Lots of laughing and fooling around, I was there for all of the vocal takes and I dont remember anyone breaking down or being overcome with emotions. It sounds very dramatic and probably fills out some peoples fantasies of what the band is like but its just not true. We are all very English, The Cure is probably one of the most English of groups you could imagine, the closest we got to showing emotion to each other was saying “good morning”.
It’s been a long time since I’ve busted this album out, so maybe its twentieth anniversary should be a sign that it’s time to remind myself of one of the worst summers in my life, when I sat in my bed room and played this album on repeat for weeks on end. But I’ve told that story before. Anyway, go read O’Donnell’s essay. He even shares his original demo of the songs that would turn into “Fear of Ghosts.”
MP3: Roger O’Donnell – “The Other Side”
Via slicing up eyeballs.
The Cure: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki
Video: The Cure – “Pictures Of You” (Top Of The Pops)
And once again, just because it’s my favorite thing ever written about the Cure, here’s the 2003 post by blogger Dana on Hewlett Packard’s use of “Pictures of You” in a television ad:
I don’t mean to kvetch about “Oh, don’t you hate it when X song is used in Y commercial,” but c’mon people. Hewlett Packard? Pictures of You? Do they WANT me to associate their brand with being 16, stoned, and completely heartbroken? For the love of Christ. I was watching, like, the Arsenal game on Saturday and said ad came on. Immediately I flashed to a memory of my much younger self, crouched on the floor of my closet, sobbing hysterically, alternating between hits of sativa and Jack Daniels, exhaling into a paper towel tube stuffed with dryer sheets (you laugh, but it worked, I tell you! Remember this when you go home for Thanksgiving.), and emerging only to hit rewind on my stereo. The soundtrack? Pictures of You, of course. The single most melancholy tune ever written. Repeated for 5 hours, until I was called down to dinner. Thank you, HP. I’m going to go cut myself now.
One thought on “Recording Disintegration: 20 Years Ago”
I will argue that “Disintegration” is The Cure’s best album. I think that at one time I argued that it wasn’t. But who cares. Hindsight is a bitch.
As bad as it may have been to listen to that one adnauseum in a depressed stupor, I will argue that a summer locked in a darkened room listeing to The Cure’s “Pornography” is even worse. I spent most of 1989 listening only to The Cure’s most depressing early discography. At that time for me “Disintegration” actually seemed hopelessly upbeat! I couldn’t stomach anything more positive in tone than “A Forest.”