Billy Corgan full of himself. Plenty leftover to fill many more douche bags.

by oz on December 10, 2008

Last week I asked if the Smashing Pumpkins were completely irrelevent and it set off a flurry of comments. My credibility was attacked, their new single “G.L.O.W” was named acronym runner up to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and San Fran blogger theOCMD called Billy Corgan a “bombastic prick.” At first I thought she was a little harsh, but then another comment from Vanessa introduced me to this Greg Kot interview with Billy from the Chicago Tribune. Let’s just say Corgan answered my initial question and confirmed theOCMD’s description.

Here are some of my favorite Corgan-isms from the interview:

When asked about Zeitgeist. That’s their last shitty album. You may have missed it:

We’re done with that. There is no point. People don’t even listen to it all. They put it on their iPod, they drag over the two singles, and skip over the rest. The listening patterns have changed, so why are we killing ourselves to do albums, to create balance, and do the arty track to set up the single? It’s done.

When asked about how they’ll release music in the future:

Our primary function now is to be a singles band, that drives Pumpkins Inc. through singles.

On being a prick to his hometown crowd at The Chicago Theater (people booed and walked out):

Who’s above us? Who’s lighting the culture on fire? Nobody. We don’t have to live in that world. We have the biggest manager [Irving Azoff] in the world. He tells us we can get there, we will get there. We will crack the egg like we did in ’92, without doing something embarrassing like working with Timbaland. We will find how to do our thing and make it work. I can write songs. We’re big boys. We’ll do it.


You take a milquetoast middle-of-the-road fake-tattoo band, we can out-write them. If you come up with the songs, the fans will show up. We found with Zeitgeist that the alternative audience isn’t alternative anymore. They’re a pop audience that listens to Nickelback. So doing a 10-minute song, nobody will listen to it. We have to come up with singles like “1979,” and come up with songs that sound good on the radio. We have to write those kinds of songs.

On closing the door with old band-mates, Darcy and Iha, but still calling the revamped group Smashing Pumpkins:

It’s my band. Anyone who doubts the legitimacy of this band can go [expletive] themselves. That’s old thinking about bands. Show me any band that lasts for any tenure, they don’t have the original members. This world doesn’t care about that. They just want to hear the songs. They got karaoke singers now fronting big bands.

On…well this wasn’t in response to a question, just volunteered:

Let me be blunt. When Bruce Springsteen puts out a new album I pay attention. Same with Neil Young. Because they’re major artists who have something to say. I consider us in that category. When we do something it should be taken seriously, even when we’re off. If we’re marginalized by the culture, we’re not going to play dead and say thank you for our B-plus status.

Here are my comments for Billy. Feel free to chime in with your own.

  1. Don’t blame music consumerism for the lack of Zeitgeist’s popularity. If people skip over the album to hear two singles, that’s because it’s a shitty album. It’s not indicative of how people buy music, but maybe you ran some focus groups that I’m not aware of. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I bought a single.
  2. Don’t refer to your band as “Pumpkins Inc.” It’s insulting to this children’s clothier.
  3. Of course your manager tells you you can get back on top. You are his client. His paycheck depends on it.
  4. This interview is way more embarrassing than working with Timbaland.
  5. You just admitted that you are writing singles that will work on radio and appeal to pop audiences that listen to Nickelback. What?!
  6. Consumers don’t care about bands? No bands that have tenure have their original members? You’ve been hanging out with Axl Rose haven’t you?
  7. Don’t ever put yourself in the same category with Bruce Springsteen or Neil Young.
  8. If you’re not satisfied with being marginalized, stop being marginal (at best).
  9. Don’t give yourself a B+ rating. We watched the video for G.L.O.W. and only the frosted cupcakes get a B+.
  10. I don’t really have another comment, but you can’t have a numbered list stop at 9.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

pseudosu December 11, 2008 at 7:59 am

This comment strays from the hoped for billy/pumpkins bashing I’m sure, but I think the album question is interesting in a broader sense. I but albums, but I also cherry pic because with mp3’s– that’s your prerogative.
Some have gone as far as saying with EP’s etc, the whole idea of “the album” is basically dying off. Curious how artist’s concepts of how they release music is changing (or not).

pseudosu December 11, 2008 at 8:00 am

yeah, not enough caffeine yet– I actually “buy” them, that other thing would just be gross.

Woody December 11, 2008 at 8:23 am

Pseudosu – To answer your question, I am an album guy. I love how albums progress and think that song placement in an album is a big factor on how a particular song is received.

As for Billy and Pumpkins, Inc. I think its best to officially tune him out and remeber the great music he put out in the past. Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie were all great albums. At this point he has become a parody of himself.

oddbodkins December 11, 2008 at 1:09 pm

i think someone had a bit of ye olde sandy vag during that interview, eh?

You know how you can tell Billy REALLY is no longer cool and/or relevant?

No beard.

theOCMD December 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Egads! Well, that is my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Thanks, Vanessa, for even more validation. (Not like I needed it.)

Vanessa December 12, 2008 at 8:52 am

if someone who was not familiar with Corgan read his responses, that person could only think Corgan was mocking the interviewer and was not responding truthfully. his answers are so pious, self-righteous, and absurd. at one point in my reread, i thought it was rod blago responding.

as to itunes–i had a recent discussion with friend. i agreed with him that a potential negative from it is that as a result of folks having the ability to pick and choose and purchase one song from an album/band, the band has no incentive to put out an entire record taht kicks ass. they can make their $$ on one song downloaded a million times or a song used in a tv show or put on a compilation disc or on a soundtrack.

there are positives to itunes as well. that’s just one potential negative.

oz December 12, 2008 at 9:27 am

I guess it could be a negative, but singles have been available forever. I remember buying U2’s single cassettes back in the day, usually to get the b-side track that accompanied it. I might be in the minority with Woody, but I also buy albums. I enjoy listening to how the entire body of work is structured and fits together.

Billy’s approach is overly commercial and contrary to his self-image as an “artist.” He wants to find the mainstream audience, guess what they’ll like, and then cater to them with pop singles. He’s recording one track at a time and then releasing them for inclusion in video games and hoping for more licensing deals. He may as well write jingles.

He’s completely uninspired and hopefully consumers will see through his snake-oil sales attempts to just make a buck.

Vanessa January 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm

to add to his duche baginess:

Hyundai Genesis Coupe Debuts: Smashing Pumpkins provides the soundtrack for Hyundai Genesis Coupe debut ad airing during Super Bowl pre-game show. (PRNewsFoto/Hyundai Motor America)

oz January 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm

That makes sense. In the interview he basically said he’d record jingles for any product that would pay him. What a slut.

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