Tears for Fears LP Started as Alcohol Took Roland Orzabal’s Wife
Roland Orzabal shared details of his wife’s 2017 death as a result of alcoholism, saying he started writing the upcoming Tears for Fears album The Tipping Point as a way of escaping from his emotional hell.
His spouse Caroline began developing health issues in 2007 and was prescribed medication that forbade the use of alcohol, but she never stopped drinking, he told The Guardian in a recent interview.
“Caroline was a little bit lax and naughty when she would see doctors,” Orzabal said. “She wouldn’t be 100 percent honest, she would talk about menopause. She would talk about empty-nest syndrome – that became the next one, and it wasn’t that at all. It was a number of things. And it was her liver, cirrhosis, and that was a long time coming.”
He accepted that his own drinking worsened the situation. “I don’t know how commonly known it is that alcohol is far more dangerous for a woman than it is for a man, and the problem was Caroline used to match me,” he said. “But again, that’s my own ignorance and stupidity at what was going on, because at that point in time there should have been no alcohol anywhere, that’s a fact.”
When she developed alcohol-related dementia, he spent the last years of her life as “her carer,” he noted. “So it was five years of hell. … I had a care company as well to take the weight off me, and there we were in our big country house in the West Country with an increasingly shrinking circle of friends. … It was pretty harrowing.” That was when Orzabal began work on The Tipping Point, the band's first album in 17 years that will be released on Feb. 25.
“I needed some respite from the constant illness, the constant dysfunction, and as per usual, as I’ve always done all my life, they went into lyrics and songs,” he said. After her death, he added, he suffered health problems of his own and went to rehab, until a moment came when he could overlook his loss and consider his bandmate Curt Smith.
“That’s when I thought: ‘This guy’s really important,’” he explained. “It was obvious – it’s really obvious to a lot of people – but then all of a sudden you think, ‘Oh, no, this partnership is right, we’ve done great things.’ And the story’s not over – thank God!”