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(Credit: Gaz Coombes)

Music

Gaz Coombes remembers valium blow-out with The Cure's Robert Smith

@SamWKemp

The sideburned former frontman of Supergrass, Gaz Coombes, has shared details of the wild drug-fuelled flight he spent with The Cure’s Robert Smith. Speaking in a recent interview, Coombes recalled meeting – and subsequently hanging out with – his childhood hero during a long-haul flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to Coombes, Robert Smith is a big fan of his work with Supergrass and as a soloist, regarding him as a younger version of himself. As Coombes noted, Smith’s approval was a moment to remember: “It means loads, man! He was on a bedroom wall when I was 10/11-years-old.”

However, the pair didn’t have the chance to meet until that fated flight to Brazil: “Seven years later, I’m sat next to [Smith] on a flight to Rio. The Cure were in first class and Robert found out where we were sat back in economy and came and sat with me for the whole flight,” Coombes recalled.

For the next however many hours, Coombes and Smith decided to pass the time by taking a shedload of valium, washed down with countless glasses of wine served in countless plastic cups. “We chatted and talked about music. I can’t remember too much about it,” he said. “We were taking Valium with loads of wine and everything went really fuzzy.” But Coombes in-flight fiesta with Smith wasn’t the only hedonistic encounter the musician remembered in the course of the interview; he also recalled dropping acid prior to an important interview with Jamie Theakston on the ’90s chat show, The O-Zone.

The interview was held in 1995, just a few months before the release of I Should Coco, the album that would make Supergrass a household name. While Coombes was waiting in the green room, he was handed some acid by the late Blind Melon frontperson Shannon Hoon, with both of them laying the tabs on their tongues before Coombes was set to speak to Theakston.

As Coombes recalled: “That was over in the Arizona desert. That week was ridiculous. We’d met Shannon [Hoon] from Blind Melon and got on well. He gave us a bit of acid – as you do! – and we didn’t do it for a few days. We thought it was our day off and took it, before realising: ‘Shit – we’ve got this TV interview!’. By which point it was too late to do anything about it.”

The interview that followed – as you’d imagine – was an absolute disaster. “It was bonkers, Coombes confessed. “I thought I was talking to a mountain goat – but it was Jamie Theakston! [Laughs] Bless him, he didn’t know what to do! They kept cutting the cameras, going off and saying: ‘Look, these guys are just mumbling – I don’t know what they’re saying’. We were off our faces on acid, man!”.