Pavement Don't Have No Function, Says Billy Corgan

You’ll have to read Billy Corgan’s “[Pavement] have no love” comments through the lens of the similarly phrased Smashing Pumpkins diss in “Range Life,” but if you’re an old-time advocate of Malkmus & Co. and decide to look closely at the ongoing reunion through the lens of the band’s earlier sentiments, ethics, and lyrics, you may also have to admit to a couple nagging truths over there in Tweetland. (Or maybe the Pavement reunion is just another harmless byproduct from The Year Nostalgia Broke.) Whatever the case, Corgan was inspired to fan the flames because Pavement are out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins, nature kids … or at least they’re playing a show with them in Brazil:

Just found out SP is playing with Pavement in Brazil. It’s gonna be 1 of those New Orleans type funerals… I say that because they represent the death of the alternative dream, and we follow with the affirmation of life part… funny how those who pointed the big finger of ’sell out’ are the biggest offenders now…yawn. they have no love… by the way, we’ll be the band up there playing NEW songs because we have the love xx

(Via P4K, via @billy)

It’s about time those elegant bachelors Stone Temple Pilots issued a statement, too.

Comments (40)
  1. I like how he tweeted this three days ago, but it took this long for anyone to even pay attention for what Billy Corgan’s even saying anymore.

  2. Does anybody even want to hear Smashing Pumpkins’ new songs?

  3. And of course Billy threatened to drop out of Lolla ’94 if Pavement was also booked.
    Dude holds a grudge.

  4. I’m pretty sure that what Pavement meant by “they have no function” was that the Pumpkins were notorious for having a dysfunctional relationship with each other. Corgan isn’t saying the same about Pavement, or even responding to “Range Life”, but the fact that members of Pavement and Mudhoney called the Pumpkins sell outs when they signed to Virgin. I’m pretty sure the song “Cherub Rock” is about that as well.

  5. Saw both Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins within the past six months. While Malkmus and co. sounded fantastic and into their music, Corgan and his group seemed bored. Also, Corgan calling regrouping “the death of the alternative dream” is sorta like the pot calling the kettle black.

    • saw pavement at pitchfork and they played like they hate their songs but would rather do this than work at a gas station. super sloppy and low energy…tons of mistakes, even by malkmus. you wouldn’t get that from the pitchfork description though.

      • I agree they were sloppy at Pitchfork, though when they played Chicago again in September they sounded fantastic and looked to be having a blast. I also watched the webcast of them playing at Matador21 a couple weeks after that and it was a total disaster, so basically they were vintage Pavement again.

  6. It’s kind of funny, seeing Corgan boasting that the Smashing Pumpkins will be playing new songs. It’s Corgan’s new band playing new material, and throwing in some old Pumpkins hits to please the crowd. Both Pavement and the SP’s broke it off, and their members all went on to do other work. Malkmus put out 4 solid solo albums in the decade, whereas Corgan put out a solid album with Zwan, a terrible solo album, then went back to playing the big shows under the Pumpkins moniker. Zeitgeist and the Future Embrace were both bad, but one sold ten times as many copies as the other.

    I’d love a new Pavement album, but I also love all the stuff the band members are doing on their own. They don’t need to brand any of it Pavement, it stands up on quality alone.

    And even though reunion tours are pretty universally money grabs, Pavement are playing solid shows with passion and love for their fans, and it’s all good.

  7. Also, that was like 15 years ago. Ridic

  8. Might I suggest that, from now on, the post-Machina “Smashing Pumpkins” always be referred to as “The Smashing Pumpkins”?

    And perhaps they now serve no function (aside from nostalgia) and have “no love”/new material, but at least it’s better than their only function being to desecrate the memory of a beloved band (*cough cough*–I’m also looking at you, Rivers.)

  9. woozefa  |   Posted on Nov 16th, 2010 +7

    billy corgan…rings a bell, but i can’t put my finger on it.

  10. Corgan is one of the biggest douchebags I’ve ever witnessed. Having said that, I find Pavement to be loose, sloppy indie dribble that I really can’t get into nor can I understand how they are regarded as such Gods. I guess my opinion is biased, but I’d rather give Billy a chance on the new “Pumpkins” material rather than sit through an entire Pavement set, old songs or new.

  11. Finally a forum to voice my passionate concerns. And as follows: Pavement are HIGHLY overrated and their “wealth” of regard is mostly because of their hipster indie aesthetic. Smashing Pumpkins on the other hand make TREMENDOUSLY EMOTIVE music that touches the pulse of life experience. Pavement slurs their non sequitor delivery and who really cares for the boring lame ass musings of Malkamus….I’d rather hear the pain, redemption, love and spiritual awakening of Corgan then some hipster D.B. Now in fairness, Corgan’s 2000-2010 output has been really shaky (except for the invigorating Zwan record) but I give him props for the courage of his conviction. He once truthfully and tellingly said that Pavement don’t write emotional personal songs…and they don’t which is one of the many reasons they are hipster indie posers and not true artistic vision bearing beating heart musical Corgan. I’m so damn tired hearing about Pavement and how relevant they are supposed to be. Their music will NEVER EVER resonate with me about the emotional life experience like Arcade Fire or Radiohead or Smashing Pumpkins…so as an official out and proud Pavement hater (and Smashing Pumpkins lover) Corgan hits the proverbial nail on the head…He is the artist and they are the emperor’s new clothes of music…so stereogum fans, debate or hate, but sometimes thats the way the 90′s alt rock cookie crumbles;)

    • Good for you? I guess? I’m very happy you feel great when you hear SP. I love the first 3 SP albums, too. With that said, you sound like douchebag — a reverse music snob who can’t “get” why other people like a particular band so you go overboard to bring said band down. I’ve been listening to a ton of Pavement all year and they’re the real deal. They may not be angry and depressive and mopey (as you like), but they’re fun and hilarious and joyful. Perhaps you should look for different emotions in life.

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        • Again, I love SP. I went to tons of shows in the 90′s. They were great. I love Radiohead more than you do. Huge Arcade Fire fan. I speak your language.

          In a stupid rock feud, why do you feel the need to take a side? You aren’t involved. Billy doesn’t know who you are or care. Also, I doubt you’ve heard much of the Pavement catalogue so you look foolish trying to call them out. If Cut Your Hair is your reference you’re uninformed.

          • Well Michalea…perhaps my charm is exceeded only by my ignorance, but indeed I have platter sampled what is referred to as Pavement’s finest moment ” Slanted and Enchanted” and could barely stomach the first half. There is no doubt that I can be a bit caustic in my opinions, but I certainly mean no disrespect to you or to other Pavement fans.My problem though is that I’ve heard Pavement name dropped way too many times and its like a phony calling card of indie hipsters to demonstrate a certain pseudo-cool..which to me is really ridiculous.And being an SP fan since ’96 and having their music resonate with me in such a profound way, I personally feel that Pavement is just utter shite…and I have sampled what is supposed to be one of their best records (or of the 90s also) and ya, again, it’s utter shite…in my slightly biased opinion. No disrespect though.

          • Ah. I get it. If you weren’t there for it you aren’t going to get it. I find it amazing that you could be a huge Pumpkins fan after missing the best years. BTW, Crooked Rain is the finest of the catalogue.

          • Hey, I will end our 3 day old feud because you’ve been pretty gracious. I like to be challenged to look at things in new ways so I am going to check out Crooked Rain:)

      • btw, I’m usually not prick or prick-like…unless it’s in defense of one of the greatest bands of the 90s that hold a lot of personal meaning and relevance to me…which is Smashing Pumpkins obviously;)

    • full disclosure: I was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan before I was a Pavement fan, and I still am. To this day I’ll still take Machina over Terror Twilight.

      That said, it’s pretty ridiculous to say Pavement doesn’t write emotional, personal songs. The two bands just take different approaches. The Pumpkins are more straightforward, because Billy Corgan is and always has been incredibly open, and that’s fine. But not every musician needs to be so very open about their nihilism, upbringing, then eventual reconnection with God to have personal music.

      I’ll be damned if 1979 and Range Life don’t convey the same kind of nostalgic yearning. Hell, pretty much every lyric in 33 or 1979 could be a non sequitur, boring ass Malkmus musing. Cut You Hair is kinda the same song as Cherub Rock. And if Fin, Here, We Dance, Stop Breathin’, and Fillmore Jive don’t touch on some sort human experience pulse, then you’re probably missing something big. I mean, do you think Dylan’s slurred one liners are impersonal just because they aren’t as one dimensionally, heart on your sleeve as “Who wouldn’t stand inside your love?”

      • Bah…I guess I can use an open mind perspective…but truth be told in my opinion Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins both epitomize what is real and what is fake. My opinion again. I’m probably not making many friends on this board, but you know, gotta voice it.

        • “touches the pulse of life experience.” “I’d rather hear *the pain, redemption, love and spiritual awakening of Corgan* then some hipster D.B.” “He once truthfully and tellingly said that Pavement don’t write emotional personal songs…and they don’t which is one of the many reasons they are hipster indie posers and not *true artistic vision bearing beating heart musical Corgan.*” “they are absolutely irrelevant to *the whole range of human experience* unless you yourself are a doltish stoner slacker” “Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins both epitomize what is real and what is fake.” (Emphasis added.)

          Now I will be the first to dismiss this line of criticism and point out how often it is inaccurate and overused BUT–pretentious much?

          You would get a thumbs-down from me if for no other reason than “true artistic vision bearing beating heart musical Gods…like Corgan.”

          • Have you seriously ever listened to some of his songs? I mean really ..check out “Stumbeline” and check out “Soma” and check out “To Forgive” to really see how musical virtuosity and emotional catharsis go hand in hand..that’s what drew me in love with the Pumpkins…I could relate to those lyrics about pain, abuse, suffering, redemption…it’s like the musical book of psalms…I guess music that is more free and easy and less deep has its place, and obviously for you it does as a Pavement fan, but without sounding pretentious or rude, I like music that resonates more deeply…Corgan is the deepest and the best songwriter of his generation. Now you can slag me if u like but there you have it:)

      • I gave you a thumbs up in spite of how vehemently I disagree with ranking Machina above Terror Twilight, but only because I agree just as strongly with the rest of your post.

    • starlando, you can’t be serious. Can you read your post and not think your a least a little bit of an ass?

      • In defense of all things Smashing Pumpkins and my utter contempt for Pavement, I’m delighted to be an A$$:)

        • You don’t have utter contempt for Pavement. How could you, you listened to one half of one of their albums.

          So you’ve heard, what, less than 10% of Pavement’s catalog, and yet you label them as fake and shallow. If I had to guess, you just seem to had a bug up your butt about Pavement being “cool”, while Smashing Pumpkins catch nothing but flack these days. You think that because they’re perceived as hip, they can’t have any soul to them. That they’re simply the “phony calling card of indie hipsters to demonstrate a certain pseudo-cool”.

          This leads us to an interesting conclusion. You seem to hate Pavement fans for being in some way disingenuous, y’know, only liking the music because it’s cool to be liked. You view their fandom and popularity as something totally superficial, which is hilarious, because that’s exactly what you’re doing in hating the band. You’ve hardly listened to them, but you hate them, mainly because of what other people think .

          “Pitchfork seems to favor indie savvy and hipster-consciousness more then heartfelt and emotive art”

          Actually listen to Gold Soundz, and tell me it isn’t more heartfelt and emotive Loser or Buddy Holly, and if it really sounds like they don’t know how to play their instruments.

          • I dont Pavement fans. I’ve also stomached enough of their music to form as much as viable opinion as I deem essential. Gold Soundz was listed as the BEST song of the 90s by Pitchfork. Having heard the song, which was fairly good, I really can’t believe its considered ahead of “Paranoid Android” or countless others for that matter (and Stereogum agrees).Certainly its good, and in its own way great…but not on par with the real timeless greats. But yeah…I could still listen to it, maybe not completely dig it.So this whole Pavement vs Pumpkins thing is showing me newer facets of a band I’ve perhaps mindlessly hated for years and I’m humble enough to admit it. But I still see The Pumpkins as the far superior band that vaults unique creative and musical exploration (and variety and talent) way ahead of Pavement.

    • While I don’t have enough listening of Pavement behind me to form a positive or negative conclusion either way just yet, I do appreciate “starlando’s” zeal in defending probably the best band of the 90′s. True, their output since 2000 has been subpar, (I have a hard time even considering it Pumpkins material other than by name only), but I do agree that Pavement are overrated in their worship as 90′s gods, (from what little I’ve heard anyway). Gold Soundz doesn’t even come close to the best song of the 90′s in my opinion, but it is a decent tune. Radiohead is probably my favorite band of all time, but the Pumpkins 90′s material outshines even Radiohead’s 90′s material in my opinion.

  12. Pavement’s ethics? Boy, that’s sort of a stretch isn’t it? I love Pavement, and I don’t really remember Malkmus taking an Ian Mackaye approach to much of anything. They stayed on an indie and were fans of indie bands … that was about as far as it went.

  13. what no pavement fan can deny is the fact that they got back together this year for the money – none of you pavement fanboys really believes malkmus still likes anyone in the band, wants to record with them again, and after this reunion is over, somehow thinks he won’t go back to his mediocre solo career for another decade before he realizes nobody wants to see him alone onstage. billy, as inarticulate he seems as he gets older, is probably identifying with malkmus more than he is insulting him: as postured and secure with their career as pavement was in 1995 by not making any money selling records, here they are now, going back to the well.

    • Have you seen Slow Century? Sure, it’s reasonable to assume Malkmus and Spiral Stairs aren’t in love with each other, but Malk and Nastanovich? Or for that matter the rest of the band? They’re downright chummy. And that was recorded long after the band broke up.

      I’m sure the reunion was for cash. And that’s cool. The fans were as eager to pay to see the band as the band was to receive their money. And their shows are heartfelt and fun, so it’s fine. And literally all of the band members have quality outside musical work, so it’s not like they’re desperate to get back into the game. Seriously, Pig Lib and Face the Truth didn’t do it for you? Bummer.

  14. Pavement > Billy Corgan

  15. Wanna know why I at least hold some respect for those elegant bachelors in STP? They never pretended like they were trying to be “credible” artists. They signed to a major, released a slightly derivative (but awesome) first album, then continued to do their thing.

    Corgan dropped his album on Caroline Records because, even though it was a subsidiary of Virgin, it still qualified as a sort-of indie. So he was able to add some “credibility” to his band before jumping to a major to avoid looking like a careerist douche, but the dude’s always been a careerist musician intent on selling records. The fact that he’s calling anyone a sell-out is ridiculous. I’m not debating his ability as a songwriter. It’s just sad that he gets worked up over what some indie band would say about him in a song, the fact that he would hold a grudge for 15 years, or what a bunch of critics think. I get that he’s always been very calculating about his band’s image from day one, hence the need to play indie for a few years before pursuing his real goals, but move on.

    And Pavement does actually deserve some of the worship they’re currently getting. Slanted and Enchanted is about as close to perfect as any ’90s band could get without being My Bloody Valentine. The rest of their stuff is a bit hit-or-miss, but that album warrants endless love.

  16. I was never really a huge Pumpkin fan, but I do find their first couple of albums worthy of respect. Pavement on the other hand, never really did it for me…..nor do they now.

  17. No one really cares about Billy or the Smashing Pumpkins-
    not even Chicago, which says a lot when you’re a successful midwestern ‘artist.’
    I’ll take all the old Pavement tunes over any new SP songs every day of the week.

    Anyone not knowing Pavement or where to start, and for those with true love for the gang;
    read more here at Sock Monkey Sound dot com, a N. Illinois podcast that shows no love for Billy. ; )

    5 questions, 15 opinions, a live reunion summary each = a bunch of words about Pavement! By nerds that love Pavement, not Beely & the Pumkins! Beely! Beely! WHAH GO BEELY! WHAH GO BEELY!

    Beely est knot rad!

  18. He’s STILL mad about that? Half of his fans have never even heard that. Get a grip man.

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