WASHINGTON • Touring life has changed a lot for Curt Smith since Tears For Fears' heyday in the 1980s.
For example, when he and bandmate Roland Orzabal come to Washington, DC on Monday (with co- headliners Hall & Oates, who were also regular chart-toppers in the 1980s), he might be able to go for a walk.
"It's different from then. Because of the audience (outside), you were kept inside your hotel," Smith, 55, told The Washington Post.
"The joy of touring for me (now) is getting to see all these places I'm going to visit when, at the height of our fame, I never did. It wasn't like I strolled around Pittsburgh, Washington, Cleveland or anywhere. I didn't really see much of all these places."
The co-founder of the early-MTV mainstay, whose massive hits include Shout (1985) and Everybody Wants To Rule The World (1985), 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 said. "Now all interviews have to happen before we leave because when I'm on tour, I want to just go and enjoy it."
After dominating the charts with their expansive, synth-based pop rock for much of the 1980s, Tears For Fears officially broke up in 1991.
Orzabal, now 55, continued to perform under the band's name while Smith pursued solo projects.
The two resumed their partnership in 1999, though they are usually separated by thousands of kilometres. Smith lives in Los Angeles while Orzabal is based in England.
That distance helps them keep the spark alive.
"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 noted.
"There are more things to share because there will be things each of us hasn't heard of just because of the geography."
Smith said he and Orzabal feel liberated on this tour of American cities. "I love the band we're playing with now. It's freer than it used to be," he added.
In the 1980s, "we would go in rigid and would have to sound just like the record, and it's not so much like that now". "I'm sure I'm right in that we've become better at what we do," said Smith.
He and Orzabal are putting the finishing touches to their first new studio album since 2004's Everybody Loves A Happy Ending. It is slated for release this year, a fact which should please the Smith household.
"I'm becoming hip to my children because bands of their generation (such as British rockers The 1975) name us as influences, so you can definitely hear it, the same way as we were influenced by other people," said Smith who has two teenage daughters.