Backstage at Last Call with Carson Daly, Tears for Fears duo Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal are waiting to go on. They've been doing a lot of that lately. That's what happens when you're one of the biggest bands of the '80s (with hits like "Shout" and "Sowing the Seeds of Love") and you're promoting your first joint album together, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, in more than 15 years. You do a lot of TV appearances (including, so far, The Tonight Show, Conan, Today and The Late Late Show), which means a lot of rehearsals and then a lot of waiting. "This is our third TV show in as many days," says Orzabal. "Basically, we're taking over American TV for every week up until the election."
It was back in 1990 when Orzabal and Smith elected to go their separate musical ways after 14 years together, a partnership that began when they were teenagers in Bath, England. After the split, Orzabal, who retained the band's name, released follow-up albums in 1993 and 1995, while Smith pursued his own projects. It was a "stony silence," as Orzabal calls it, until two years ago, when a mundane business transaction resulted in a long overdue phone call. Says Orzabal, "It was just one conversation, really, that made us both realize there was no point in not talking."
And then, slowly and gingerly, the new collaboration began. "We had been doing solo stuff," Smith says, "and now suddenly you've got to take someone else into consideration." Twelve solid tracks and a new record deal later, that initial anxiousness has now been supplanted by the pressures of these single performances on talk shows and the like. "We're nervous on TV because you get one shot at it," Orzabal explains. "We run the song in rehearsal and it completely gels, and then the moment the red light goes on, it's just not as cohesive because we've been hanging around for three hours."
Not that anyone has noticed. "In my mind it was a huge booking," says Daly, who hosts the band tonight on NBC at 1:35 am/ET. "Tears for Fears? Oh my god, of course we'd love to have them." And they're not the only ones: In the next two weeks TFF will also appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Ellen DeGeneres Show before they go on tour at the end of October. What's left after that? Jokes Smith, "We're doing guest spots on Blue's Clues tomorrow."