Who did The Strokes rip off?

Answered by Edward Huber

In the 2003 Rolling Stone cover story, Nick Valensi of The Strokes made a controversial statement about the basslines on their debut album, Is This It. He admitted that some of the basslines were “100 percent ripped off from the Cure” and that the band was worried about getting caught. This statement caused quite a stir among music fans and critics alike.

Firstly, it is important to note that the term “ripped off” can be subjective and open to interpretation. In the context of music, it often refers to artists borrowing or being heavily influenced by the work of other musicians. It is not uncommon for musicians to draw inspiration from their favorite bands or songs and incorporate elements of their sound into their own music.

In the case of The Strokes, it is no secret that they were heavily influenced by the music of the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly the post-punk and new wave genres. Bands like The Velvet Underground, Television, and The Stooges were often cited as major influences on their sound. However, Nick Valensi’s specific mention of The Cure as a source of inspiration raises interesting questions.

The Cure, fronted by Robert Smith, are known for their distinctive sound, characterized by atmospheric guitars, melodic basslines, and introspective lyrics. Their music had a significant impact on the alternative rock and post-punk scenes of the 1980s. It is not surprising that The Strokes, like many other bands of their generation, would be drawn to the music of The Cure and seek to incorporate elements of their sound into their own music.

While Valensi’s statement suggests that some of the basslines on Is This It were directly lifted from The Cure’s music, it is important to consider the broader context of musical influence. It is rare for bands to blatantly copy entire pieces of music without adding their own unique twist or interpretation. Artists often take inspiration from others and then use that inspiration as a launching pad to create something new and original.

It is worth noting that The Strokes were not the only band to draw influence from The Cure. Many bands, both past, and present, have cited The Cure as a major influence on their music. The Cure’s impact on the alternative and indie music scenes cannot be overstated, and their sound continues to resonate with musicians and fans alike.

While Nick Valensi’s statement about The Strokes ripping off The Cure’s basslines may have caused controversy, it is important to view it within the broader context of musical influence. The Strokes, like many bands, were heavily influenced by the music of their predecessors, and The Cure’s unique sound left an indelible mark on the alternative rock genre. Rather than viewing this influence as ripping off, it can be seen as a testament to the enduring legacy of The Cure and their contribution to the music world.