The FAC193 Interviews: Pearl Thompson

I had a webzine between the years 2000-2005 called FAC193 (the name was taken from the catalogue number of a New Order single). Looking back, it is insane to me that I interviewed some of the people I did, and I thought it was a good time to share these again.

One of the most amazing is Pearl Thompson, best known as guitarist/keyboardist of The Cure.

NOTE: In the years since our interview, Pearl has transitioned (you may know them better by their dead name Porl). In respect, I have changed the name and pronouns as needed.

*me man in me* by Pearl Thompson

FAC193: Let’s start with a big open-ended question. How has life been treating you lately? 

Pearl Thompson: busy…but fun, with family (home education!!!), music (I keep trying to retire from music but something interesting always rears its ugly head), and art (happiest in this mode for my creative side)

FAC193: What records, bands, and shows influenced you growing up? In your growth as a musician, who has emerged as a hero or inspiration? 

Pearl: Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Led Zeppelin, The Incredible String Band… too many to list!! I listen to a wide spectrum of music from Stockhausen to All Saints especially when painting. I think Don Van Vliet is pretty cool in the way he has done his thing.

FAC193: As a painter, what themes or concepts interest you the most? 

Pearl: Dreamscapes, interpretations of the subconscious, auto writings. I like to paint in automatic thoughts.

FAC193: I really enjoyed looking at your site. Its layout is refreshingly unorthodox in comparison with most of the homepages one finds on the Internet, especially in how you’ve allowed your own art to do the talking. Are you working on any paintings or art projects currently? 

Pearl: Yes, I’m working on a whole new series at present–about 30 paintings in all, titled “100%sky” which will be on show in Canada in September (editor note: this would have been 2002). I hope also to have an interactive cd rom of paintings and music to go with the show. *me man in me* is one of my latest pieces in this series.

FAC193: Speaking of art, your Parched Art company did a lot of the memorable cover art/presentation for The Cure. My favourite of all is the cover of “Disintegration”. Do you have a favourite album or single cover out of The Cure’s catalogue? 

Pearl: “the love cats” cover was fun to make–Andy (Vella) and I built the set and shot the whole thing on my kitchen floor. “Wish” was my fave album cover and album.

FAC193: Since you spent several years working with your brother-in-law, did you have a unique, relative-style relationship with Robert within the band or was it more of a typical friendship? Can you shed some light on the working relationship while you were involved? Do you miss being in The Cure? 

Pearl: Yes, I am happily married to Janet and we have four lovely children. I met Robert before I met Janet, (and) we always have had a “friends” relationship and still do. I remember we fought a lot about music and nearly always something exciting came out of it.

No, I don’t miss being in The Cure–I don’t hark back to anything. 

FAC193: It seems that some musicians and artists don’t revisit their past works, but do you listen to the records you have played on? I must admit to you, the “Show” rendition of “Deep Green Sea” makes my hair stand on end!!  

Pearl: No, I never listen to them unless they come on the radio or MTV and even then I don’t always remember doing them.

FAC193: I believe I read somewhere you worked with Robert Plant again recently (within the last three years)? How was the experience? Judging from your work with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, the camaraderie must be good… 

Pearl: I’ve just finished a project with Robert Plant and there is an album coming out soon. It was great fun and we get on fine: due to family commitments I’m not touring the album though.

FAC193: I saw you with Page/Plant in 1995 and didn’t recognize you until midway through the show, when you did “lullaby”. How surreal, hearing Plant sing Smith! Have you grown the hair back out since then, or have you kept it short? 

Pearl: It’s pretty short but not shaved.

FAC193: Finally, what is the strangest thing Tim Pope ever had you do during a video shoot? 

Pearl: I guess being the freaks in the “never enough” video and the dwarf scene in “hot, hot, hot!!!”

It was an honor to have the opportunity to conduct this Q&A. Pearl’s Instagram is pearl113.com_official


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