The co-founder of the early-MTV mainstay, whose massive hits include “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” also now has some rules to make touring easier.
“People made you do interviews all day and we were too young and stupid to say no,” Smith says. “Now all interviews have to happen before we leave, because when I’m on tour I want to just go and enjoy it.” (Smith spoke to Express from his Los Angeles home in April.)
After dominating the charts with their expansive, synth-based pop rock for much of the ’80s, Tears for Fears officially broke up in 1991, with Orzabal continuing to perform under the band’s name while Smith pursued solo projects. The two resumed their partnership in 1999, though they’re usually separated by thousands of miles, since Orzabal lives in England. That distance helps them keep the spark alive, Smith says.
“You end up going off and working on different ideas and different things you like, and then you get back together and share them,” Smith says. “There will be certain Englishmen I’ve never heard of and there will be American artists he’s never heard of. There are more things to share because there will be things each of us haven’t heard just because of geography.”
Smith says he and Orzabal feel liberated on this tour. “I love the band we’re playing with now; it’s freer than it used to be,” he says. Back in the ’80s, “we would go in rigid and would have to sound just like the record, and it’s not so much like that now.”
It’s still Tears for Fears’ name on the marquee and they’re the ones out front, but Smith says he and Orzabal are even more confident than they used to be.
“We’ve grown over the years,” he says. “I’m pretty sure I’m right in that we’ve become better at what we do.”
Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW; Mon., 7 p.m., $35-$225.