The Cure and Queen were the antitheses of one another amid their respective pomps during the 1980s. Freddie Mercury was the ultimate, flamboyant frontman and, contrarily, Robert Smith preferred to do his business in a quiet, unostentatious manner.
For a period of time, Smith despised the stadium-filling quartet, but he chose to keep his opinions to himself for decades. Smith has always diplomatically carried himself, preferring to avoid going out of his way to start fires. Most notably, he was embroiled in a bitter feud over several decades with Morrissey, but no points are available for guessing who instigated that one.
Remarkably, the former Smiths singer uncharacteristically took it upon himself to apologise for his actions and revealed that his vitriolic language was one of the few “small regrets” in his career. “I said some terrible things about him 35 years ago… but I didn’t mean them… I was just being very Grange Hill,” Morrissey admitted.
It is not in Smith’s DNA to be outwardly aggressive to other artists. However, occasionally, we can all accidentally let the mask slip, and in 2004, his true feelings towards Queen came to light.
Smith brought the group up during a conversation with Rolling Stone, a time when asked for his opinion on classic rock renaissance men The Darkness after they unexpectedly became the hottest band in Britain.
In 2003, The Darkness shared their debut album, Permission to Land, which spent a month locked at the top of the charts. In 2004, the band headlined the Reading & Leeds Festival and dominated the Brit Awards by winning Best Group, Best Rock Group and Best Album. However, one person they didn’t win over was the frontman of The Cure.
“Well, I never liked Queen,” he explained when pressed for his thoughts on The Darkness. “I can honestly say I hated Queen and everything that they did.”
Smith continued: “To have that rehashed and reheated for a second time around is pretty weird. So, no, I don’t like the Darkness at all. I think they’re a comedy band.”
By that sentiment, Smith is also labelling Queen a “comedy band”, which is harsh but undoubtedly true compared to The Cure. The ever-exuberant Mercury was willing to play up to his showman streak at every opportunity, sometimes to his own detriment. However, when he wanted to be serious, the singer had that in his locker, which Smith overlooked.
The Darkness seemed like a pastiche of an ’80s hair metal group when they arrived, and to this day, many people still suspect they are a joke band — which staggeringly isn’t true. While Queen are undeniably the more reputable of the two acts, it’s easy to comprehend why Smith perceived a lineage that aligned the two.