Robert Smith turns 55

Robert Smith, iconic frontman for The Cure, turns 55. Brian Siewiorek talks to Cindy Howes about Smith's music and influence.

The Cure is such an original band, Siewiorek says. “If you played your mother a Cure song, she’d say “oh that’s that Cure band,” because everybody knows what The Cure sounds like — that original unique sound, and no one sounds just like them,” he says.  Smith’s place in the band wasn’t planned out as he just sort of ended up being the singer, Howes says. “To me he’s always on the edge of tears,” she says.

Siewiorek says that to the goth culture, which we were all likely part of at some point in our lives, Smith is an icon. “With the teased black hair and the white face and that lipstick and the messy eye makeup,” people still dress like him or have evolved from the look of Smith. “You can go to a bar in Lawrenceville and see a guy that looks like Robert Smith.”

Howes cites The Cure for having many different eras of sound such as post-punk, goth, pop and epic, but Siewiorek says he thinks the early 80s period when The Cure was majorly post-punk sounding, was his favorite. “It was before they got like super, super dramatic with a lot of things, and it’s really great post-punk, almost a little bit of pop music right there,” he says.

However, the more gothy albums like Pornography and Disintegration are not too be overlooked, Siewiorek says. “They are layered, and they are dark, and they are moody, and they are sad, but they are great.” As a front-man, Smith has an interesting mix of songs both goth and pop, Howes says. “There are many faces of Robert Smith,” she says.

Smith’s influence on music shows up certainly in bands like My Chemical Romance, but also bands like The Sugarcubes, Interpol and Björk, Siewiorek says. “I think sometimes his dark, black-wearing, teased-hair image just kinda brings him down as a happy figure,” which Siewiorek says is heard in songs like “Friday I’m in love.”