The Tears for Fears singer, Curt Smith makes his first appearance on the USA Network series
In the 1980s, Curt Smith was one-half of the highly-successful pop duo Tears for Fears. These days, Smith is still performing his music and you'll be able to see and hear his work on tonight's Psych entitled Episode 5.08: Shawn 2.0, where he will appear as a guest-starring actor. You will also be able to hear his cover version of the Psych theme song as well. Smith recently held a conference call to discuss his involvement on Psych and here's what he had to say:
I want to know what can you tell us about the Tears for Fears version or the Curt Smith version of the Psych theme song. Obviously it's become a very popular theme song. It's a very fun theme song. How did you sort of want to reinterpret it?
Curt Smith: Well taking cues from James primarily I made it as retro as I possibly could with some humor. So basically what we get is the visuals of the, you know, the closing credits and everything which the theme song goes over and then we play with that. So rhythmically you've got to match that so that it all kind of fits in and there's an explosion and different things. So basically it was a mixture of going back to very old synthesizers and adding some humor to that as well which, it was actually a really enjoyable experience I have to say.
Now that you've done a little bit of acting I mean do you think that this is something you want to do again? Do you think you'd maybe want to make a cameo in another series or two?
Curt Smith: It depends if I ever get asked. I mean the joy of doing the Psych thing I have to say, is that, you know, I'd met them beforehand, James Roday and Timothy Omundson specifically. I met Dulé Hill when I got up there. But they're just, you know, a nice bunch of people. So it actually makes the whole experience easy and enjoyable. And in that sense I didn't find it particularly hard especially as you say, playing myself. But playing other people, who can tell? But, you know, I'm kind of game for things.
Can you talk about how the guest spot came about for you and what it was like to work on set?
Curt Smith: It initially came about that James and Tim from the show came to a Tears for Fears show at the Wiltern theatre in Los Angeles and then somehow managed to wangle their way backstage. I have no idea but security was very lax that night. And I was introduced to James in - backstage. And then he said, you know, would you come and do a guest spot on the show? And I thought well why not? The show is amusing. The kind of humor is kind of right up my alley because it's pretty much chock full of sarcasm. So it seemed like a good thing to do. And shooting it was really - I actually was tweeting while I was up there and I think I summed it up in one sort of sentence when I said it was like being at a two day frat party which it pretty much was.
Well Psych is really a show that puts so much of their writing talent into trying to create this sort of homage to the 1980s and the music, the films. How comfortable was it for you going into this kind of setting where you already knew I mean your music was loved, it was respected and I mean you were basically surrounded by people who looked up to you?
Curt Smith: Yeah, I mean I think that made it enjoyable. Yes. I mean, you know, I don't like - I don't mind my ego being rubbed now and again. You know, I mean they - and, you know, they were a nice bunch of people as well. So filming it was really easy. You know, I think also what sort of helps is with all of the people on the show, you know, maybe apart from Tim to a certain degree because he does play a character that's not exactly like him but, you know, what you see on the show is pretty much the way these people are off the show. So that made the whole experience a lot easier for me. I wasn't dealing with, you know, seeing a bunch of actors act and then discovering they're completely different people off the set. They're really not. They're pretty much the way you think they are.
Well if Psych asked you back in the future to do another cameo would you do it?
Curt Smith: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Actually I wanted to hear a little bit more about - because actually I saw an interview where you said that James was a big, fluttery fan girl when he went up to you after the concert.
Curt Smith: Yeah, that pretty much is - sums it up I'm guessing. Yeah. But that's, you know, that's kind of the way James is. And then he - the next thing he did was he came to my house to sort of talk seriously about it, this was after the concert. And I think it was about 90 degrees and he came up in his big, you know, skiing jacket and a woolen hat trying to look all cool in the baking sunlight. It was quite amusing. But we got on well was the main thing.
It sounds like you had a pretty good time filming on the show. Were there any surprises or things that you didn't expect to experience while you were there?
Curt Smith: I think the main one was having to film the little trailer thing for the Comic Con I'm guessing. The Comic Con trailer when I'm supposed to be acting all cool and I didn't quite know what James and Dule were going to get up to and at the end of it Dule is humming the back of my chair and I'm supposed to be keeping a straight face, was probably the hardest - one of the hardest things I've done.
You really embraced social media and as we all are starting to do even more. You know, how do you see it affecting the culture I guess even for something you're doing in music? Is it just an easier way to bring people together or what do you think the impact is then?
Curt Smith: Well it's a far more direct way of bringing people together. It's no longer having to go through, you know, seven layers of hell to get to an individual. I mean, you know, it used to be in my case if we talk purely music, that you would have to go through, you know, you'd have to go through a record company which means the publicist. And then they'd have to talk to someone else and then they'd have to talk to the manager. And then they'd work out exactly, you know, they'd spend time working out what your circulation was and everything else. And nowadays someone just tweets me a question and I answer it. It seems a lot simpler.
So obviously you're no stranger to being in front of the camera doing music in the video age. How different was this from just making a music video for you?
Curt Smith: Well you have to talk. That's the biggest difference. You know, you don't realize - and the thing is I think that, you know, obviously not being an actor. What's hard is that you're talking someone else's lines, you know, someone else has written them for you. I mean luckily in my case I could - because that bit's so small that I can say well do you mind if I say it the way I would actually say it because it will be easier for me? But I can, you know, to try and put yourself in - and I was playing myself so that's, you know that's not a stretch. Acting acting is a different (unintelligible). I'm not sure that I'd be able to do that but who knows.
And also were you aware of Psych, like in the second season when they used Shout and everything before you did this - before you...
Curt Smith: Yes. Yes, I thought that was hilarious. I actually got that - sent that by someone which I think it was my manager I believe, who, you know, it was, you know, James doing Roland and Dulé Hill doing Michael Jackson and it was pretty hilarious, especially the (sham on).
I was just hoping you could talk a little bit about just the overall experience and of doing Psych and just kind of what it means to you overall.
Curt Smith: I mean like I mentioned, the experience was great. You know, we - I mean I just flew up to Vancouver for two days because the shock/horror is it's actually not really filmed in Santa Barbara. And, you know, it was just a couple of nights in Vancouver. The filming side of it - I mean, you know, when you're actually filming I've got to say it was a boiling hot day so that was - that was not that pleasurable that bit of it when you're sitting in the sun trying not to sweat. But it was - it was kind of easy. mean I suppose I'm - I was already used to it with videos before. Although, you know, in a short video you're normally called upon a lot more often than you are doing one part in a show. So it was an awful lot of sitting around in a trailer waiting to get called. But I guess that's the nature and people are used to that. It was - that was a little sort of strange that you spent most of the time doing nothing. But, you know, the filming was great. And as I mentioned earlier, you know, the guys on the show are pretty much that way anyway. So they're very easy to deal with. And, you know, the whole thing was pretty pleasurable I have to say. Plus, you know, we all went to dinner afterwards which was nice.
I was curious if there was a memorable moment or a favorite moment that you had during your time on the set of Psych.
Curt Smith: I mean, you know, I mentioned one earlier, the Dulé humping my chair. I guess that, you know, James Roday who tends to adlib a lot had a few funny moments. You know, when he's looking at me and saying - I don't know if this one made the cut by the way so, you know, I - whether it's in the show or not but he's supposed to be, you know, being the slobbery fan girl when he meets me. And he said - I think he says it's you, the fleshy you, which, you know, it's very hard to keep a straight face when someone says that to you which, you know, was my job at that point in time. But yeah, I mean just it being amusing was the most memorable part of it.
Was this something you did just for fun or will you be pursuing acting?
Curt Smith: Who can tell? I mean I did it for fun. We'll see what people think tomorrow. I won't be watching but - I might but I don't normally like to see myself talking because I'm used to seeing myself sing. I think I do that okay. The talking side I'm not - I guess it's the same for anyone. You know, if you ever listen to your voice on an answering machine everyone thinks we sound dreadful. That's sort of the way I think when I hear myself speak. But - so and then - and in that sense I don't know. But, you know, we'll see. We'll see how it goes and what the response is. And I mean I did enjoy the experience I have to say. So if it means doing other things and never watching them then maybe that's a route to go.
What does acting do for you that music doesn't?
Curt Smith: Well it's just a chance to do something different. I mean I think the, you know, one of the other joys of social media is that a lot of these things come up. People, you know, get to you because they have direct contact with you and ask you to do things that are pretty much outside of your comfort zone. And I think that for me I sit there and look and go well why not? Why not try it? You know, I mean I did - in LA a (Tedex) Hollywood Talk and, you know, me actually giving a talk with, you know, in front of a whole bunch of people as opposed to playing music, it was very alien to me. But it was enjoyable because it's something different. So I look at the sort of appearance on Psych tomorrow as the same kind of thing where it's outside of my comfort zone but, you know, why not try it.
I was wondering if rescoring the Psych theme - has that at all sparked any interest in you possibly doing any other scoring for shows or movies.
Curt Smith: No. I would love to I have to say. Yeah. I mean I - I've definitely had in the back of my mind that I would love to do that at some point. It's a question of, you know, sort of finding the right avenues to do it. You know, we did thoroughly enjoy redoing this song and having the visuals there to work with. It just adds that extra element to the music that you have to incorporate which made - again makes it something a bit different which is fun. So yeah, I would love to do that.
My question is a lot of the time when celebrities play themselves they end up playing these sort of very exaggerated like larger than life kind of versions. So is that what you're going to do or is it more of a down key true to you kind of...
Curt Smith: I'm kind of playing more of a shrunken, smaller than life version of me. Because in real life I'm incredibly outgoing as you can tell. But in the show I'm kind of demure and quiet. No, I mean I think it's, you know, I think that it's a relatively fair representation of me I suppose. But no, I mean I - the exaggerating and the sort of overt acting I don't think I'd be so good at. I think the whole point of playing yourself is to try and be yourself, you know, otherwise it just kind of looks a bit strained. And hopefully I didn't do that. I guess we'll find out tomorrow night.
So does doing the shows with - and knowing your road tolerance or intolerance - does doing the shows with Tears for Fears sort of preclude you doing any sort of extensive solo tour or anything like that?
Curt Smith: Oh, no. I don't necessarily - because that's different, you know. I mean I think that, you know, a lot of the sort of time you want to spend on the road also is the time you want to spend with all the people you're with on the road. You know, it just - it tends to get too routine and a little dull by the end of sort of six weeks. And I think that if you go off and do something else and it involves traveling and playing in different cities then - but it's different then, you know, I think that would be a different scenario because the dynamics are different.
I just wanted to ask, you know, there have been several talks of, you know, a packaging tour from the '80s, you know, Human League, Flock of Seagulls, you know, a four or five bands put together and put on the road. Have you all been approached to do that? And would you be ever interested in doing that?
Curt Smith: I'll answer the first one. Have we approached about doing it? Yes. On many, many occasions. Part two of the question is we haven't done it so I feel you can figure that one out. You know, no. Most of them just don't appeal to me at all. No.
Is it the - is it the money or kind of the cheese factor of it, or...
Curt Smith: No, no. No, actually the money isn't bad. But it's just that whole kind of - I never want to feel like I'm sort of stuck in an era. And when - and when someone does that and it's like this is the, you know, name the decade tour and I'm like excuse me, we've done valid things outside of that decade and are still continuing to make music and still continuing to record new music. So I just don't like it. I find it depressing. I mean so, you know, for me I think that would be a little soul destroying. And I have no interest. You know, and I - you know, because there's - life's too short. I'd rather be enjoying myself.
And of course you'd be making these gigantic movies from now on. So you never know.
Curt Smith: Exactly. Yeah. You know, I'm now aiming for an Oscar.
You can watch Curt Smith's guest-starring turn on tonight's episode of Psych entitled Shawn 2.0, which will air tonight, September 1 at 10 PM ET on the USA Network.