When Robert Smith Compared The Cure To Sex Pistols And The Clash

The term ‘punk rock’ was used to describe the mid-1960s garage bands by American rock critics in the early 1970s. In the late 1960s and early 1960s, music acts such as MC5 and Iggy and The Stooges created music that was out of the mainstream and foreshadowed what was to come. Shortly afterward, especially in the U.K, punk music became a phenomenon.

The Cure, Sex Pistols, and The Clash were credited for pioneering the punk movement in the U.K, and they greatly influenced younger punk and alternative rock music acts. However, according to The Cure’s Robert Smith, The Cure’s approach to punk was way different than Sex Pistols and The Clash’s. Let’s learn why.

Robert Smith Said The Cure Was Inspired By The Punk Attitude Unlike Sex Pistols And The Clash

Back when The Cure, Sex Pistols, and The Clash were formed, punk rock had become a major cultural phenomenon in the U.K. At that time, punk music led to the creation of a punk subculture that represented teenage and youth rebellion with distinctive clothing styles featuring offensive T-shirts, studded jewelry, leather jackets, and so on.

In a 1986 interview with Radio 1990, the host Lisa Robinson told Robert Smith that The Cure emerged in the music scene in 1976, at the same time when punk began to rise to prominence in England. Moreover, she mentioned the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned as the genre’s representatives and asked Smith whether The Cure was a part of that.

As a response, Robert Smith said that they were inspired by the attitude of punk music. He then admitted that he preferred The Buzzcocks, the Banshees, and The Stranglers over Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. Following that, he claimed what was important for them was their attitude, and they were never fashionably punk.

Radio 1990’s Lisa Robinson told Robert Smith the following:

“It’s interesting that you started in 1976 at a time when in England punk was just starting, right? I mean, it was the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. You really weren’t a part of that, were you?”

Robert Smith responded:

No, I was inspired by the attitude. I liked people rather than the people that you were saying. I preferred groups like the Buzzcocks, who were part of that movement. I mean, the only real hardcore punk band that I liked was the Banshees and the Stranglers, possibly, even though they were really old then.

But it was just more than the music, it was the attitude that we adopted, and we were part of. We were never fashionably punk, and that was what was wrong with punk: It had a uniform. I mean, I hate those new fashions in music which there’s always something like ‘You have to wear a certain outfit to be part of it.'”

So, according to Robert Smith, the punk attitude was way more important to them than adopting punk fashion. Considering their stage appearances, gothic-leaning looks, and atmosphere, it is not wrong to say that the Cure was approaching punk music differently from the other prominent punk music acts.

Below, you can watch the full interview and learn more about Robert Smith’s thoughts on the other music acts of that time.