Billy Corgan Disses Radiohead

Billy Corgan had some words for Radiohead and their “pomposity” in a recent interview. Here’s Billy:

I can’t think of any people outside of Weird Al Yankovic who have both embraced and pissed on Rock more than I have. Obviously there’s a level of reverence, but there’s also a level of intelligence to even know what to piss on. ‘Cause I’m not pissing on Rainbow. I’m not pissing on Deep Purple. But I’ll piss on fuckin’ Radiohead, because of all this pomposity. This value system that says Jonny Greenwood is more valuable than Ritchie Blackmore. Not in the world I grew up in, buddy. Not in the world I grew up in.

So I find myself defending things. Is Ritchie Blackmore a better guitar player than me and Jonny Greenwood? Yes. Have we all made contributions? Yes. I’m not attacking that. I’m attacking the pomposity that says this is more valuable than that. I’m sick of that. I’m so fucking sick of it, and nobody seems to tire of it.

(via Antiquiet)

Yankovic and Corgan, rock’s greatest pissers. For more on the Pumpkins-circa-2012 front, you can stream Oceania for free today if you want.

Comments (201)
  1. Billy’s right, we’re all equal. Isn’t life great?

  2. Can we get a link to the interview he’s referencing? What did Radiohead even say that was filled with “pomposity”?

    • Not referring to something Radiohead ever said, hes referring rather to this generation of music fan that says “this” is better than “that”. So..Radiohead fans filled with pomposity? I’ll believe that any day.

      • But he didn’t say Radiohead fans, he said Radiohead, so I’d also like to know what specifically Radiohead has done or said to warrant this attack. It’s like everyone giving shit to the L.A. Kings because their fans are all jumping on the bandwagon now that they’ve won the Cup. The Kings players didn’t do anything to warrant that hate and as far as I can tell, neither has Radiohead. It’s just that some people (Corgan) can’t handle other people being more popular than they are.

        • They made music better than the Smashing Pumpkins so now he’s all upset.

        • he’s not attacking Radiohead. he used them as an example to make a point. right in the second paragraph he said he wasn’t bashing them or Jonny Greenwood for their contributions. granted, it was a bit of a rambling point that could be easily misunderstood… he doesn’t even call Radiohead pompous, he’s talking of the idea of valuing one thing over the other, etc.

          I feel like i’m the only one who got this… i had to read it twice, but it seems to me that’s the point he’s making.

          • Rereading it in that light, I can see what you’re saying, and I think he is actually saying something more like that. It seems to me he’s just angry that people think some art is better than other art, where as he would just like everyone to appreciate all art equally.

          • I read it once, FWIW…and he’s figured out something that never even crosses the mind of way too many makers of AND listeners to music, something that transcends generationally, and more power to him for “getting it”.

        • “I’m attacking the pomposity that says this is more valuable than that. I’m sick of that. I’m so fucking sick of it, and nobody seems to tire of it.”

          Did you miss that part much? As far as LA goes…hey I was a Lakers fan when I watched basketball and we (LA fans) tend to jump on the bandwagons faster than anyone. Its a good excuse to get rowdy and drink beer, I won’t give them shit. Its all my friends doing it.

          Its funny, how I can easily see the problems in the things I like and you’re so blindly in radiohead love that you glaze over statements that specifically prove you wrong.

      • I’m a Radiohead fan and don’t really find it appropriate for you to bucket us as pretentious. I like a lot of Corgan’s music but think that he has definitely had some crappy contributions to music (Zwan). Maybe this explains why he is so bitter about the opinions of the masses and music critics- because we identified Zwan as a piece of crap. I envy anyone that would say I’m being pretentious, because I wish I was able to find joy in listening to such a terrible album.

        Is it pretentious to have an opinion? No. Is calling an entire group of people pretentious or talking about the “pomposity” of music pretentious? Perhaps. Billy Corgan fires his entire band about every two years.. would you do this? To me, this seems like something a total jerk would do, but I don’t know Billy Corgan personally and I wouldn’t want to be labeled as pretentious for having a sound opinion on the matter.

        • Dude… You’re missing the point. Corgan’s trying to say that this generation of musicians and music-listeners has trouble withholding their assumed-to-be-valuable judgments. I think that Corgan may have a point, but his argument provides no logic or evidence.

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  3. What a jerk; it’s hardly Radiohead’s (or even Johnny’s) fault if people admire Johnny’s music and playing.

    • That’s not what he’s saying.

      • ‘But I’ll piss on fuckin’ Radiohead, because of all this pomposity. This value system that says Jonny Greenwood is more valuable than Ritchie Blackmore. Not in the world I grew up in, buddy.’ He’s obviously at least a bit annoyed with Radiohead if he’s willing to piss on them…(He also seems to be mad at the pompous ‘value system’, but in that case, why is he pissing on Radiohead? Can’t he just hold it in till the next McDonalds?)

        • He’s not, he’s talking about the critics and that values system He even says that Ritchie Blackmore is better than himself.

          I think it’s funny how NME and Stereogum have proven his point, quoting something he says and put it so out of context and than every radiohead fan cry about it, and they don’t even read what he’s saying!

          • But even if the point is that he doesn’t think one type of music or art or whatever should be categorised as better than any other, then I would answer a) Mind your own business, I’ll categorise things however I want, and b) People naturally like some things more than others so how do expect them not to express that.

            He comes off like a fucking idiot in this little rant.

          • DRAMA its so annoying and tedious

          • You’ll find radiohead tend to have well educated, intelligent fans, meaning, you are not the only one who “caught on”. congrats thougH!!!!1!!!1!!111!!!!!!!!1

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  5. This is stereogum. They take things out of context and turn it into “news”!

    FYI I met Corgan when I was younger and he was one of the nicest people in Rock N Roll. I’ve met Greenwood and Yorke as well and they were equally cool.

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  7. I dont think he is pissing on radiohead literally. come on stereogum, it was clear in his second paragraph.

    im not billie corgan fanboy but dont blow this out of proportion.

  8. “there’s also a level of intelligence to even know what to piss on” It’s what separates us from the animals.

  9. Someday, I hope that I develop a mature emotional palette so I can react to things like an adult. Until then, though:

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  11. Opinions are opinions. Such as mine: Radiohead’s records are a hundred times more interesting than the Pumpkins’ records. ESPECIALLY the newer ones.

  12. man why does he think ritchie greenwood is still relevant. i think sterling morrisson was more of an influential guitar player on todays artists than ritchie ever was

    and if he’s going to play the “hey this is stupid that johnny greenwood is getting all the attention when ritchie blackmore is way better” card, then I’ll counter with the “then what about django fucking reinhardt” card

  13. Well that kind of came out of no where now, didn’t it?

  14. johnny greenwood > ritchie blackmore >>>>>>>>>>>>> billy corgan

  15. That’ll do, Billy. That’ll do.

  16. Hey Billy, thanks for creating a false dichotomy that makes it even more difficult for me to defend my love of 70′s cock rock to my cooler friends.

  17. The man is infatuated with urine.

  18. He’s not that far off base – I’ve been saying the same thing about Dio and Thom Yorke for years. In casual conversation I’ve noticed that comparisons between Rainbow and Radiohead are about as common as stray comments about current meteorological conditions.

  19. Hmmm… So Billy Corgan thinks its his job to “piss on” anything or anyone that doesn’t meet his standard, and in the same breath he complains that people are too pompous and judgmental.

    Some people might say that’s a little pompous. Perhaps Billy Corgan should go piss himself.

  20. I’d be cranky too if I was secretly in love with Courtney Love.

  21. He’s saying in the past there have been articles about him pissing on Radiohead because he has a habit of mouthing off about things that upset him contextually, but don’t actually. You know, like this article here.

  22. it seems like Corgan has misplaced his ill will and projected it directly at Radiohead themselves as opposed to his perception of how Radiohead is treated by fans and the media. cuz how are they pompous at all? they’re pretty humble, quiet guys from what i can tell in interviews i’ve read and seen. sounds like Corgan is just not a fan of how Radiohead is made out to be.

    And Billy, how often are you getting into Greenwood vs. Ritchie arguments??

    • no, my opinion of what he’s saying is that he’s actually attacking the pretentious circles that praise the likes of arty bands like Radiohead, while completely dismissing bands like Deep Purple as cheesy classic rock.

      he’s not calling Radiohead pompous; he’s calling the elitist who kneel at their altar and shun everything else to be. and in that he has a valid criticism.

  23. also, and this is pretty much off-topic…but man, Thom Yorke would never release an album and tour with himself and a bunch of random musicians and call it Radiohead.

  24. It’s Jonny Greenwood. No ‘h’ anywhere.

  25. This is why Corgan has been incapable of making a good album for the last 15 years…his musical tastes ossified some time around 1975.

  26. Who the fuck is Billy Corgan?… Oh yeah, it’s that guy from that one band I stopped listening to before the 90′s were even over. Weh, weh, weh.

  27. I highly doubt Jonny has ever been upset about not being able to play a Ritchie Blackmore-esque solo

  28. Speaking of pomposity, I was just thinking of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness the other day.

    • How dare you suggest that releasing a 28 song loose-concept album arranged in relation to the progression of a day is pompous! The very IDEA.

  29. Who’s Jonny Greenwood? Who’s Ritchie Blackmore?

  30. Yeeeah! Right on Billy. Piss on those fucking pretentious, Starbucks-drinking, hipster wannabes. That is exactly what a radiohead fan nowadays is.

    • a few…but if you GO to the concerts, you see a giant cross-section of this country…it’s actually pretty funny to watch, STILL mainly cool looking 25-40 yr olds BUT, funny 5+% of ‘dads’ out there too…saw a few pairs of Ben and Jerry looking guys a the Chicago show sunday, some moms too…some people of african decent as well. to me the only negative with RH hype is the inclusion of SOME meathead idiot fans the last 10 yrs, like Kid Rock lovin’ type idiots…BUT, i’m still surprised that those types are still as few as they are thank god.

    • wow, you don’t even give them the satisfaction of being a hipster, but a ‘hipster wannabe’.

  31. Weird Al in interviews seems like the nicest and coolest guy on the planet, no reason to bring him into your inane diatribe, buddy.

  32. What is more pompous than his opening line? This is a sly and desperate plea for a golden shower.

  33. as much as i cringe when billy goes off like this, i can’t help but identify with what he said a little. i understand radiohead’s course for reinvention in order for them to still be interested in what they do, but as an early fan, i fondly remember when they were a guitar band.

    besides, how many of you are 45 and raised on 70s and 80s guitar rock and indie rock? of course you’re all mad.

  34. this is from the Billy Corgan Wikipedia: Corgan has praised Radiohead, saying “if they’re not the best band in the world, then they’re one of the best”

    • he just likes causing some sort of stir before he releases an album. he should just work on songs. i miss the old stuff.

      • i’m guessing its just a personal whiney thing about Blackmore not being more guitar worshipped as he thinks he should be, he surly wasn’t even mentioned on that horrible Spin top 100 list, THAT might it right there.

  35. It sounds like he’s just annoyed some of idols don’t get any loving. A little misplaced? Probably. Love em both though.

  36. I’m not your friend, buddy.

  37. Is Radiohead better than Deep Purple? In my opinion YES. Is Johnny Greenwood better than Ritchie Blackmore? NO FUCKING WAY!

    • of fucking COURSE Radiohead is better than Deep Purple hahaha, it’s not even fucking close! hahaha, to even ask that question is hilarious. that’s like uhh idk Are the Monkees as good as The Stones? or something.

      • Well to people his age and older Deep Purple would win the vote is what im saying. Purple are a forgotten beast these days, but they are one of the Great bands of all time. So when you compare them to the Monkees….well thats just fucking dumb.

        • i didn’t compare them to the monkees. it’s a completely mental ill comparison though, you’re comparing an extremely talented modern band, the best band of modern music bar none who goes in 100 different musical directions with a classic rock straight forward band with a boring singer and and handful of good riffs…it’s apples and plastic vaginas.

      • Deep Purple is much Bigger and important band then radiohead, it i not iven in the same league.

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  39. Do I smell a Billy Corgan/R.Kelly collaboration in the works?

  40. Finally, someone is taking a stand in the long and horrible Blackmore/Greenwood fued… What the fuck? This is the dumbest shit ever to get pissed off about I’ve ever seen. Was Billy Corgan on some thread on King Crimson’s fan page when he got into a argument with a twelve-year-old about Johnny Greenwood? Then subsequently was so worked up he’s gone on a crusade to tear Radiohead down a few notches? Who in their right mind would bring this up? Where did the comparison of Blackmore and Greenwood come from? What the fuck??????????????

  41. Stereogum completely made this “beef” up. There is no beef here. Right there in the second fucking paragraph, read it. He doesn’t “have words” for Jonny Greenwood, nor is he calling Radiohead out for their “pomposity.” He used Jonny Greenwood as an example (he’s been quoted as giving Radiohead high praise) to make a point; a point (maybe a vague one) that should be clear to anyone with basic reading comprehension.
    So for cryin’ out loud; I wish people would read a little more closely before announcing there’s a beef. And apparently most of the people who read this quote went along with it, too. He’s not bashing Greenwood, and he’s not bashing Radiohead, and he’s not comparing Blackmore to Greenwood. Fuckin’ READ, people!

    And for the record, I’ve loved SP since 1993, but I’ll be first to admit Corgan’s creative well is long-since dried up.

  42. WEIRD AL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. jonny greenwood is simply a musical genius, not just a simple guitar and has received praise from legendary composers as Krzysztof Penderecki and Steve Reich .. WIN WIN

  44. You might be a little stuck up too if you were the head of the radio.

  45. Just wait until Mr. Corgan discovers Chuck Closterman! His bald head will explode with the knowledge that someone understands him: Poison is > than The Velvet Underground. They influenced more people and with less hipster pomposity. How dare these hipster people flaunt their good taste!

  46. He can argue anything he wants and i totally actually understand his point but to make it sound like it’s Radiohead’s FAULT, it 100% ridiculous and off-base. Radiohead their whole careers have gone out of their way to be the anti-rockstars, the anti-Oasis cocky assholes. SO to whine about them directly is just asinine. MAYBE you could go after Thom Yorke if you really wanted to, BUT even then, all the ‘proof’ you need to see about them not wanting to be famous and worshipped is in Meeting People Is Easy where they nearly imploded cause they didn’t WANT the spotlight! haha…oh Billy Billy. And Jonny Greenwood is a very respected guitarist but no one’s naming him better than Jimmy Page etc, we LOVE him it’s not the same thing. BUT maybe he’s just mad cause he loves Ritchie Blackmore and is pissed he isn’t listed higher in those ‘best guitarist of all time’ lists….who knows who cares.

    • Everything is Radiohead’s fault, and if this were an article on Yahoo News, someone would respond to my post by saying that Radiohead is Obama’s fault.

  47. “Cool Story Chap”
    -Thom Yorke

  48. And I my friend, will vomit on Mr. Corgan’s elbow.

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