The Supergrass frontman and soloist in his own name was being quizzed in NME‘s Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! feature recently when he recalled hanging out with Smith while on a flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
When NME asked Coombes (who formerly covered The Cure songs in his old band, The Jennifers) what it felt like to learn that Smith regarded him as a younger version of himself, he answered: “It means loads, man! He was on a bedroom wall when I was 10/11-years-old.”
Coombes continued: “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.
“We chatted and talked about music. I can’t remember too much about it. We were taking Valium with loads of wine and everything went really fuzzy.”
Elsewhere in the interview Coombes spoke about another drug-related encounter – this time taking acid before an interview with Jamie Theakston on ’90s TV show The O-Zone.
The sit-down took place in the US in 1995, a few months after the Oxford band had just released their hugely successful first album ‘I Should Coco’ via Parlophone Records, which was the label’s best-selling debut since The Beatles‘ ‘Please Please Me’.
Coombes discussed being given acid by late Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon in 1995, and why they took it before speaking to Theakston.
“That was over in the Arizona desert. That week was ridiculous,” Coombes said. “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.”
He continued, explaining how the interview went: “It was bonkers. 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!”