Billy Corgan

The Billy Corgan/Soundgarden beef has been going on at least since that falling out at Lolla ’94, and the Corgan/Pavement beef has had legs since the “Range Life” dig that same year. And man, nobody holds a grudge like BC. In an interview given prior to a show in the Philippines last week, Corgan took shots at both those recently reunited bands:

“There are those bands that are essentially coming back only to make money — playing their old albums, and maybe somewhere in the back of their minds they’re thinking there might be a future. I am not in that business, obviously. I condemn anybody who’s in that business but doesn’t admit [he's] in that business. When Soundgarden came back and they just played their old songs, great. I was a fan of Soundgarden, but call it for what it is. They’re just out there to have one more round at the till; same with Pavement and these other bands.”

Perhaps Soundgarden was spurred by Corgan’s harsh words to announce their own new album news today? Say what you will about Billy, but the dude knows how to give an interview. Some more choice quotes:

“I saw in the last 10 years as the record sales went down for everybody, so did the connection — the emotional connection to the music. And here comes the rise of music made by people who don’t really care about music … They want to be famous. They want to be on American Idol. They want to be in the spotlight. They have no respect for the people that came before them. They have no respect for the tradition of music, they have no respect for the blood and tears that have been spilt by great musicians all over the world — many of whom will never even know their name.”

“Music has been hijacked by business, much like the American spirit has been hijacked by corporate interest. You know it’s a reflection of our greater culture where our value systems are been hollowed out by the glamour of fame, the glamour of power, the glamour of control — and none of these things matter in the eyes of God, in my opinion.”

“The music business essentially operates on a dumbing down principle. How dumb do we have to go to sell this record to the most amount of people? And the more intelligent and articulate it gets, you lose a certain degree of audience.”

“Radiohead’s an example — very high arc, very high message and still very popular. But for the most part, the charts are dominated by music that’s essentially dumbed down — repetitive melody, style, tone, texture and message because it reaches the most [number] of people. So it’s amazing if you let people be with you on a deeper journey — they’ll actually figure it out because most people are deep.”

Does that last one count as pissing on Radiohead? I’m not so sure.

Comments (71)
  1. And what are you doing Mr. Corgan?

    • Actually not to try and jump to his defence because he just needs to be quiet about this stuff, but his recent tour was basically their new album from start to finish with a few hits thrown in at the end. Even on their last tour, the set was made up of all new stuff, which didn’t go down all that well with the crowd I was in.

  2. Says Billy “Deluxe Bonus Edition” Corgan

  3. Hey Billy- how’s it going? Remember when you toured with New Order? they are back doing shows without their original members too!

  4. I agreed with most of this, but the “most people are deep” line at the end reversed everything to me and now I find it hard to believe that Mr. Corgan has any sense of reality. I am no longer a believer.

  5. Dear Billy,
    When you finally put out an album that is relevant like your first three, then you can start taking pot-shots at other acts. You haven’t made a good album in almost 20 years. You’re nothing more than a studio musician, who only thrives when you had the right production. You’re horrid live, you sound like someone is strangling you every five seconds. At least those other acts you slam can actually perform well live still. At this point the only time anyone pays attention to you, is when you act like an asshole. Oh, and as for those other acts who are only in it for the money? I’ll assume your next tour will be free then, but I still won’t come.

    • Ya burnt Billy.

    • most people will never accept anything he does in the future as “relevant” (and i fucking hate that word), simply because (a) it’s not 1993 anymore and (b) he likes to piss people off. personally, i thought oceania was pretty great, but i definitely got the feeling that lots of people judged it on the basis of them not liking billy’s big mouth, and didn’t even listen to it.

  6. I predict Pavement will respond in a song with a dis something like,
    “Billy Corgan is shriveled tree in a plastic tangerine”

  7. TBF at least Soundgarden are doing a new album and are writing new music, but yeah you could say Pavement are hypocrites for doing a money tour, but saying that I missed it, so I hope they do another one lol. I like it when bands re-form, as with the Pumpkins, as I never got a chance to see them before, but it’s bands like say RATM, who’ve been back for years and haven’t released a single song, yet regularly play festivals, are what annoy me.

  8. I think Bill is alt-rock’s Axl Rose; he’s the only one of the original core members left and still calls the band “Smashing Pumpkins,” when really it’s him and other people who weren’t in the picture during their glory days.

    Also this is probably the most hypocritical thing I’ve read in a while. Not to mention wrong. Cornell & Malkmus both were doing very well (Cornell’s solo albums/Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks), and Matt Cameron was with Pearl Jam for pete’s sake.

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  10. lol, I wonder how Billy’s wrestling reality show is doing. He’s turned into the 90s alternative Axl Rose.

  11. He strikes me as the exact type of person I wouldn’t want to get roped into a one-on-one conversation with at a party.

    • Exactly. The kind of person who’s talking (and talking and talking) while you’re thinking, “If only I had two nails…I could press them into my temples…right here…and this would all be over.”

  12. This from the attention seeker who couldn’t sell records under his own name so he has to use his old band name.

  13. Says the official spokesperson for the Ticketmaster Livenation merger $$$$$$$$$$$$

  14. i figured anyone who’s been paying attention for the past few months knew soundgarden were recording a new album in addition to the touring, but apparently bc and everyone else here missed that memo.

    that said, i have to stand in the minority: i’m a bc/sp apologist but he’s right, you can’t hide the fact all the money these days comes from touring, not new records, and it’s become a badge of honor to put yourself out there artistically these days knowing the royalties paycheck just isn’t there anymore. not that bc can fully attest to being an amazing artist as of late, but oceania was pretty great.

    i’ve said it before: each member of at the drive-in looked absolutely miserable at every reunion show this past summer. come on man, some things ARE for the money.

    • and further… what’s wrong with doing shit you don’t want to do for money? it’s called life. millions of people don’t particularly like their jobs, but they do it for the paycheck, perform well, and find happiness elsewhere. so what if pavement played a reunion tour with no new material or ambitions of reigniting the spark between them? they played just fine (well, they did when i saw them), made a lot of people happy and got a big check. good for them.

      i’m all for the integrity of art and everything, but in an age where everyone just steals your work, people gotta make money somehow. hell, look at what the pixies have been up to for the last 8 years.

      • i think bc’s argument is that it’s debatable whether or not your artistic integrity is still intact with a one-off reunion, but i agree with you – those artists still did do something great at one point

  15. Bands touring to make money is ok by me.After all, it is THEIR music. There is no different than selling someone something you made. If there is a demand for Soundgarden to play their catalog live, then why would you not do it? That is not only their most exclusive right, but also their choice. Was there a rule written somewhere that you could only play live if you had new material?

    What is not discussed much here, however, is his spot on analysis of the state of the music industry and we as listeners. For that, I say, “well put Mr. Corgan”


    • Agreed wholeheartedly

    • The Pixies have been doing the same thing, and I think it’s fine. I would otherwise never get to see a great live band like them because I was born shortly before Surfer Rosa came out. I’m not too upset that they haven’t rushed to the studio to put out a new album either (even though it would be pretty cool!). Perhaps some artists shouldn’t push their 1990s luck (nudge nudge, Billy). Corgan obviously thinks there’s something wrong with earning money by doing something you/your fans enjoy.

      • Agreed. In the past few years, I’ve gotten to see a bunch of bands that I thought I’d never get to see live: Pavement, Guided By Voices, The Jesus Lizard, The Pixies, Sebadoh… the list goes on. And you know what? They all sounded GREAT. I could care less if it was just a paycheck to them.

        Also, did Pavement ever explicitly claim that the reunion wasn’t about money? I don’t think they ever pretended that it wasn’t.

      • Agree completely. Thanks to “old” bands reuniting and touring, I’ve gotten the chance to see great acts that I had missed in ther heyday. Bands like Pixies, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Jesus and Mary Chain, Dinosaur Jr, etc., and some coming up, like Afghan Whigs and New Order. That list includes Smashing Pumpkins, which I’ve seen a few times… ironically, their best concert ever was their “20 year reunion tour”, which is exactly the kind of let’s-use-nostalgia-for-money-making-purposes tour that BC is complaining about… So I don’t really understand his point. Touring is just about the only way for bands to make money, and I’m ok with that. In fact, I welcome it completely!! I love seeing those bands, most of which sound better than ever.

    • So, no Zwan reunion tour?

  16. *this is no different (sorry)

  17. atdi didn’t mind letting everybody know that money was the main reason they reformed. but cedric and omar probably dont give a f#%$ about most people

  18. “Doesn’t everyone else have time to go on tour and play experimental music to 20,000 who thought they paid $110 to hear their favorite songs? fuck soundgarden for giving the fans what they want. the world needs more selfish spoiled brats like me, who get to play their experiments in front of an unsuspecting crowd”

    I think he was condemning soundgarden for releasing a new album in 2012,
    but again…like, who the fuck cares? if people don’t like it then people don’t like it…it’s not threatening. I think he’s butt hurt that soundgarden were all able to come back as the original line up and keep shit going
    and that cornell still has his hair. smashing pumpkins basically will NEVER be back as the original lineup for various reasons
    there has been an obvious resurgence of 90s bands capitalizing on their vintage appeal with reunion tours and shit, and these tours sell out, so it’s definitely a viable operation, but I’m not going to cast any judgement past that observation.

  19. Who the hell cares if these old bands are making money?! I’m pretty sure the people who go to a Soundgarden show know EXACTLY what they’re getting and are willingly forking over their hard earned dough to do so. Besides, there are millions of new fans discovering these old bands and millions of others who are now finally old enough to go to their concerts. If Corgan is so worried about music and money mixing, he should (as another poster mentioned) put on free shows or at the very least sell tickets through someone other than ticketpricehikemaster. Anyway, I’m too busy listening to Jeff the Brotherhood, Team Band, Voxhaul Broadcast, Broncho, The Postelles, White Arrows, Qwong, The Lions Rampant and Diamond Rugs to listen to his worn out whiny alt. soft rock.

  20. Pot Kettle Black

  21. What a knob.

  22. “I hate fun” – Billy Corgan

  23. despite all his rage he’s gonna break his rusty cage. also pavement.

  24. He is right about music as an industry these days, As for his dumping on Soundgarden for what he did 5 years ago is pretty hypocritical. I am sure he will never see it that way and s]Soundgarden at least still have all members who we’re in the band at the time of they’re break up in the 90′s which is more then i can say for Mr. Corgan.

  25. 30 years from now Corgan still won’t be over the Range Life diss, and the Range Life diss will still be awesome.

  26. Soundgarden and Pavement have been doing it for the money, while Billy Corgan has been doing it because he truly hates his fans.

  27. I was too little to know about Pavement back in the 90s (beyond that one song that was played in that Brady Bunch movie). There are tons of young adults like myself who have become huge fans of the band and who have wanted – for the longest time – to see them play in the flesh. That only justifies a reunion tour, and I’m more than happy to help a great band make more money.

  28. I’ve agreed with some of the crap Corgan has sputtered out over the last couple of years but to say Soundgarden and Pavement are in it for the money is ridiculous. While Billy was retiring from music to start his own wrestling league, Cornell, Cameron(with Pearl Jam), and Malkmus have continued to make new music and tour. Especially Cornell who has been doing solo dates and Soundgarden for the last year. One thing is for sure, when Soundgarden puts out their new album in November, it’s going to blow away anything Corgan has done since “Siamese Dream”.

  29. Malkmus makes one barely-derisive remark on “Range Life,” as an album track released in 1994 when Smashing Pumpkins were one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Billy Corgan to this day cannot forget this. It is like that time in 7th grade when that girl told me I had hair on my mole, which launched me into a fit of insecurity about my birth mark that lasts until this day at age 26.

  30. How dare bands try and make money by touring on their hits. Everybody knows the only way to keep your artistic integrity is to start a pro wrestling reality show.

  31. But really, when it comes right down to it, is that such a crime? Some people gotta do what they gotta do.

  32. Is he wrong?

  33. Take it easy on him. I’m honestly worried what he might do once it really sinks in how legit all these Axl Rose comparisons are.

  34. Steadyriot says Billy Corgan keeps saying stupid shit because his album effing tanked and people only like his old stuff.

    • Steadyriot should realize that this isn’t Hipster Runoff. Trust me when I tell you people here haven’t sunken THAT low yet.

      • Yes, that was a joke post. All these Billy Corgan headlines kinda read like HRO posts, with all his exaggerated nonsense and whatever. Seems billy corgan is just trying to keep himself in the headlines by saying dumb stuff about bands everyone likes. I still like their back catalog, but its hard to take the guy seriously between this and the Radiohead thing a couple weeks ago.

  35. Didn’t he recently say that he doesn’t know anyone that still listens to albums? What does he know about anything?

  36. He has a nasally annoying voice and he seems to think that he’s better than he really is. He would probably site his “hit” billboard charting records as a reason for thinking that he’s so great but when you’re in the company of Ke$ha and LMFAO having a hit record says nothing about the quality of your music.The only thing that having a hit record means is that your record label has a good marketing team and the ability to get your music played on the radio.

  37. I wonder why he rants about indie rock when he was never into indie in the first place. He and his band were the product of some major label that was looking for a hit. Just go away.

    • The entire musical climate was completely different in the early 90′s. Legitimate bands would get signed to major labels. Bands that were heavy hitters like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Smashing Pumpkins etc would get signed. Sloppy lofi indie bands that couldn’t play their instruments didn’t get the kind of attention like they do today. The bar has been significantly lowered talent-wise. To say that the Pumpkins were just some major label concoction is just sheer ignorance and denying one of the greatest 90′s bands their due.

  38. I saw one-man-band Billy aka Smashing Pumpkins two years ago and seriously, I’ve seen people rock out harder at a Tori Amos concert. The fans looked bored and I, myself, was disappointed too. Billy to jab at SG and Pavement only gives way to the jealously you have for the success they both have.

  39. mr. corgan,

    isnt that why the who, the doors, iggy, stanley clarke, all of the musicians that a had a day in the light do what they do..

    you got to eat..

  40. Do I have to be the one to say this.. echem… ok, i will:

    Billy deserves some solid respect.

    Yes, Billy has been beyond ridiculous for the past ten or so years, if not earlier. I don’t debate this in the slightest. But I’m sorry, can we give a bit more credit to the fact that he wrote Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream. Seriously. Can you do that? I can’t.

    And again I’ll have to defend the haters for a second, as Billy’s voice is amazing in the studio, not so much live. He can fake it well at times, but it’s just not to the likes of Soundgarden and the Pixies and all the other “reformers.”

    BUT, SP plays different sets every night, and even changes the songs themselves. They’re the only band in that entire group of bands listed by almost everyone on this comment wall who changes their set lists as often as SP. I know the Pixies change their sets sometimes, which i love, but their songs are always the same. That’s fine. But the sense of being excited to see how SP are going to perform Bullet with Butterfly Wings is a wonderful feeling.

    As annoying as he has been, Billy deserves our respect… we can long for the days of 1979 and Soma, but we can’t hate him nearly as much as we do- if only for those two, debatable three, perfect albums and the artistic and unpredictable approach he takes to his music nowadays.

  41. I only went to work on Monday to make money.

  42. Alex Vermitsky  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2012 0

    It’s understandable to be conflicted about the Pavement reunion, but think about it this way: What if you moved on from your band of good friends to have continued success and a nice living off music and they didn’t fare so well (having to get odd jobs for medical care and the basics it takes to raise a family) and you have an opportunity to do a few high profile gigs to help said friends out? Instead of holding on to childish notions of “selling out” or “indie cred” or whatever you go back to work and make sure the people who helped you build your career don’t have to struggle to get by. That’s selfless and noble to me. Much more noble then trying to pretend that artistic credibilty is the measure of a life.

  43. What the fuck is wrong with this guy?? This is the clear example of why everybody should be away from Courtney Love. Again… you used to be so cool man

  44. it doesnt bother me at all when bands get back together for money. i went back to my old job for money. u gonna criticize that? if people want a chance to see a band they like live, and the opportunity happens against odds, then thats a GOOD thing… even if its old songs that they love.

  45. as if people would go to his shows if he didnt have music from the 90s

  46. some artists just like performing better than writing/recording…”bully” corgan doesn’t need to be telling me or anyone else what these artists “should” be doing. soundgarden toured on old songs just to see if a) they still got it ((answer is yes)) and b) if they could even put up with each other anymore ((another yes)) so thats when the album came into play..

    billy says he brought back SP because he wanted his old songs back, songs he wrote in his bedroom that have a special place in his heart. well guess what billy? you didn’t need to make it smashing pumpkins to do that. thats YOUR decision on whether you wanna play SP songs at solo shows or not…chris cornell released albums and toured under Chris Cornell. He didn’t hire a bunch of no-names and call it Soundgarden..he went out as chris, played solo stuff, temple of the dog, soundgarden, audioslave, you name it.

    simply by bringing back the Smashing Pumpkins franchise, the brand, you have lost your artistic integrity because you are cashing in on the built in audience that comes with Smashing Pumpkins the brand.

    soundgarden called it quits while they were still popular. as far as im concerned the smashing pumpkins TOTALLY fizzled out, losing members and being cornered into releasing albums online (machina 2?) and so once billy TANKED with his own solo album and his stupid book of poems he has to jump back on the Smashing Pumpkins train with no original members to CASH IN!!! (btw i liked zwan so im not just a hater)

  47. y does Billy Corgan find it necessary to worry about musical decisions made by the members of Soundgarden.? Smashing Soundgarden seems at the very least typically pompous for Corgan who it could be argued slowly slipped into a state of delusional grandeur after Gish was released. Chris’s comments regarding Soundgarden’s music seem to show a greater understanding of the creative musical process than the Giant Pumpkin ‘s unnecessary ,arrogant diatribe. “Out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins
    Nature kids, I/they don’t have no function
    I don’t understand what they mean
    And I could really give a fuck”

  48. Nature kids, I/they don’t have no function
    I don’t understand what they mean
    And I could really give a fuck.

  49. Billy is right about the music industry and how most “fans” who go to concerts are looking at their cell phones the whole time. On the personal attacks on the other bands he is wrong but I don’t really care what he says in interviews. I only buy the music.

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