Billy Corgan On The Smashing Pumpkins: “The Fanbase Is Gone”

Billy Corgan may have just put out the ninth Smashing Pumpkins album, but he doesn’t seem to have much faith in the people who got him to where he is. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal that was conducted a few weeks ago, Corgan was asked who the typical Smashing Pumpkins fan is and he replied, “Honestly I think the fanbase is gone.” He continued: “I know it’s a prickly way to put it, but I don’t think there are fans anymore. I would define a fan as someone who explores the depth of the artist’s work, and allows the artist to show you something. It’s not up to the artist to walk you by the hand. I don’t think there are that many of those people who exist. I’d say they’re in the low thousands.” And more:

Feedback, web traffic, whatever you want to look at. This is where I start to complain, but I think the depth of my work and the depth of my catalogue is just now beginning to be explored in the way it was intended to. For whatever reason–cultural shifts or my own need to shift my public personalities–I have not gotten the cultural review worthy of my position. With the tenure I have, and the work and the reissues piling up, there’s going to have to be some kind of reckoning with me in the culture, because I just won’t f—ing go away. You know what I mean? When you look at my generation, I come out on the leaner side of the conversation about people who actually survived, and prospered and continued on. My position as an artist has basically not changed in a world where even Pavement started doing reunion tours. All the people who walked around puffing out their chests about the word integrity? A lot of those people are long f—-ng gone.

He also comments on the similarities between Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” and Killing Joke’s “Eighties,” which he says the band got sued for, but that the details of the lawsuit never went public. Earlier this week, he mentioned that he thought that he and Kurt Cobain were “the top two scribes” of the ’90s alternative scene.

Corgan also talks a little bit more about his beef with Anderson Cooper over his cat-holding cover for Paws magazine, and manages to get in another dig at the Foo Fighters:

What surprised me was the Anderson Cooper thing. Why is a mainstream media journalist attacking someone for being on the cover of a charity magazine? Then he mocks me for being in wrestling, as if that’s all I do outside of cat covers. It’s one of those weird hit pieces, where my musical life is ignored. Oh, and 24 hours before that, Anderson Cooper was interviewing Foo Fighters about how great they are, while I get pigeonholed for how far I’ve fallen. Dude, they don’t attack you like that if you’re valuable, because they’re afraid they’re going to need you. I was the cuckold.

He also explained why AMC dropped his pro wrestling show, Resistance Pro Wrestling:

What happened is that the AMC show revealed sub agendas that never would been surfaced without the pressure of the cameras. We shot four episodes worth of stuff. At one point I was shooting about 20 hours worth a week while I was making “Monuments.” When you turn around and realize that the people in the foxhole with you don’t have the same intentions as you, that’s a problem. I thought there was a sacrosanct relationship at the core of the company, and when I discovered that wasn’t true, there was only one way for me to go. AMC helped provide an edit of the show to shop elsewhere, with the hope that they’ll get a return on their investment and we’ll get a new network.

Read the rest of the interview here.

[Photo by DeShaun Craddock/Stereogum.]