Tears for Fears prepares ‘Tipping Point’ tour
Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal didn’t plan to go more than 15 years between Tears for Fears albums.
The music industry had other ideas.
Labels wanted them to work with outside writers but then rejected the songs they penned with collaborators. They were persuaded to focus on being a “heritage” act, content to play its ’80s hits. But Smith said they were getting a little bored playing the same batch of songs.
“We sat down, just the two of us, no outside influences, no record company, no management and attempted to finish this record,” Smith said during a telephone interview last month. “We decided to go back to basics. The last time we wrote sitting down together with two acoustic guitars was (1983’s) ‘The Hurting.'”
“No Small Thing,” the lead track to “The Tipping Point,” came out of that first session and set the tone for the approach they wanted to take.
“That one song is a journey in and of itself, and we needed to make the whole album into a journey,” Smith said. “With all of the other writing sessions, we were getting together with different writers trying to write singles.”
“The Tipping Point,” released in February, debuted in the top 10 in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and other countries, and album is certified gold in the U.S. U.K. and Canada. Tears for Fears’ tour in support of the album comes to Blossom Music Center on Saturday with Garbage opening.
“I don’t know if vindicated is the word, but certainly we are grateful that all our work wasn’t in vain,” Smith said of the chart success.
The interview took place before Tears for Fears had started rehearsals for the current tour, but Smith said he expected to have as many as five or six new songs rehearsed for possible inclusion in the setlist.
“The question becomes what do you drop? I think we may make the set a bit longer. Until we get into rehearsal, we won’t know, and even after rehearsal you don’t know 100 percent what may or may not work in front of an audience until you have that conversation with the audience.”
While that audience certainly will include plenty of fans who made the album “Songs from the Big Chair” a multi-platinum success 37 years ago, songs like “Mad World,” “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” continue to get rediscovered by each new generation.
“Certainly lyrically a lot of those songs are still poignant today,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, the more things change , the more they stay the same. ‘Mad World,’ ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ are just as poignant as when we wrote them. Seeing how a younger audience relates to some of the songs from ‘The Hurting’ more than we do makes complete sense. They’re the age we were when they were written.”
One of the new songs that had been getting airplay from adult album alternative stations and seems a likely contender for the live show is “Break the Man,” which Smith co-wrote with Charlton Pettus, who co-produced the album along with Sacha Skarbek and the the band.
Smith said the inspiration for the song was, “Living under four years of Donald Trump. The fact that I’m a father of two daughters (ages 22 and 20) and the that he, to me, epitomized toxic masculinity, it’s about my desire to watch my daughters grow up in world treated with equity in the workplace, equity in politics. It’s an attempt to break the patriarchy.”
The Englishman has called the United States home since 1990. He met his wife in 1988 when Tears for Fears was working on its “Seeds of Love” album in New York.
“New York is a wonderful place to not be recognized, and I was quite the introvert at heart,” Smith said. “I didn’t like being in the public eye, and in New York no one gives a d— about who you are.”
He now lives on the West Coast, which allowed him to make a few appearances as himself on the television series “Psych,” which ran for eight seasons on the USA network.
“I certainly loved doing it,” he said. “It’s not exactly a stretch, seeing as I’m playing myself. Roday Rodriguez, one of the two lead actors, came to our show in LA and managed to get backstage — security was very lax. He said, ‘You need to come on my TV show.’ I watched it and it was highly amusing … The whole premise is how much they abuse me, but they are the nicest people to work with.”
If you go …
WHO: Tears for Fears and Garbage
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Blossom Music Center, 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls
HOW MUCH: Tickets range from $32.50 to $299.50 and are available through livenation.com.