Musical hitmakers Roland Orzabal & Curt Smith working on new album
Tears for Fears headlining at Artpark, sharing stage with Daryl Hall & John Oates in Toronto
By Joshua Maloni
It's hard to believe, but it's been seven years since Tears for Fears performed in Niagara County.
Such disbelief is due to the fact fans are still raving about the performance put on by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, recalling the Molson Canal Concert Series event in such vivid detail you'd swear it was last week.
Local music critic Thom Jennings said, "That was the best concert in the history of the Lockport series."
Now, you know what else is hard to imagine? When Tears for Fears performs June 14 at Artpark in Lewiston, "I would hazard a guess this will be better than seven years ago," Smith said in a phone interview this week.
"The more you do it, the better you get," he said. "The more professional you get; the better you play; the better you sing. Yeah, I feel like we're still getting better, which is great."
The show will be doubly satisfying because Tears for Fears was set to perform last summer at Artpark, but had to cancel. What was one of most talked-about, most anticipated concerts, soon turned into the Artpark season's biggest fan disappointment.
This time around, "Everything is fine. We won't be cancelling again," Smith said. "It was a family illness, and that person is all better, and it's all good. It was personal reasons, and we just couldn't go on tour at that point in time. But everything is fine now."
That music lovers would be so intent to see Tears for Fears last summer, and then waiting with bated breath to see if the band would return this season, "It's fantastic, and (fan support) seems to be getting stronger, which is highly gratifying," Smith said.
Tears for Fears has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide behind such hit pop-rock, new-wave songs as "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Shout," "Sowing the Seeds of Love," "Head over Heels," "Mad World," "Change" and "Pale Shelter."
The band is currently wrapping up a new studio album, the duo's seventh full-length record (fifth together), and the first since 2004's "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending."
"We're in sort of the finishing stages of it right now," Smith said. "Whether it's out this year or not kind of is more of a business thing. I'm saying the later we get, the likelier it is not going to be out this year. We're getting there, is all I can say.
"I think it's no surprise to people that know we're not exactly the quickest people when it comes to recording music. So, I'm sure there's no surprise that now and again it gets delayed."
The critically acclaimed "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" featured the hit songs "Call Me Mellow" and the title track. The album's tone has been described as somewhat "Beatles-esque," but the material certainly fits within the Tears for Fears canon.
"I mean, it's always hard to define when you're doing it," Smith said. "With 'Everybody Loves a Happy Ending,' I think, you know, now looking back on it, we can see it as a sort of continuation of (1989's) 'Seeds of Love.'
"This (new album) will definitely be different from that, but it's a mixture of things. There's quite a few kind of more up-tempo-y things on it, which is a product of us playing live a lot, and spending a lot of time on the road. We're sort of conscious of what, sometimes, the live show is missing. But having said that, you have to balance it out with stuff that doesn't make it just an up-tempo record.
"It will sound like a Tears for Fears record, as every record does. It will be a mixture of various things."
Though Tears for Fears is a "Tuesdays in the Park" series headliner, their show is on a Wednesday.
Five days after performing at Artpark, Tears for Fears will share the Air Canada Centre stage in Toronto with Daryl Hall & John Oates on June 19. Smith and Orzabal are spending the better part of the summer touring with the "blue-eyed soul singers," and crafters of hit songs such as "Maneater," "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," "Kiss on My List" and "Private Eyes."
"Normally, when people suggest these pairings to us, the ones we've had suggested before, they really weren't our cup of tea. But, with Daryl and John, I felt that their music is kind of timeless, which I'd like to think ours is," Smith said. "Obviously their history goes back a bit further than us. But I still can listen to those records now, and they still sound really great. So, there was something about them that I could see that the pairing of them and us - apart from the fact we're both duos - would be a good pairing. And it's turned out to be a very good pairing."
At Artpark, fans are more likely to see deep cuts from Tears for Fears' body of work.
"With two acts on the bill, you have a limited amount of time, and that normally consists of jamming in as many songs as people know, because that's what they came for anyway. I think when you get the freedom to play an entire show of your own, you're freer to put in songs like 'Bad Man's Song,' " Smith said. " 'Bad Man's Song' can be 6 minutes. It can be 8 minutes, depending on the night. You have far more leeway to play with the set and mess around with it."
Tickets for the Tears for Fears concert at Artpark are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.artpark.net
, or in person at the venue's box office, 450 S. Fourth St., Lewiston.
One thing Smith won't be doing, sadly, is reteaming with friends on the "Psych" movie. Though he made cameo appearances in episodes of the hit USA Network series, Smith's schedule precluded him from joining the cast for this year's Christmas movie reunion.
"You won't see me in the 'Psych' movie, but I would keep an eye out for the trailer," Smith said. "That's all I can say.
"I happen to be on tour when they're filming, so you know, it didn't time out too well for us."
Smith played himself on "Psych," and was kidnapped, forced to play music, and shot.
"I'm sure they would have done something awful to me in the movie. So I guess there's an upside to everything," he joked.