Billy Corgan recently sat down with the Guardian for a colorful interview, discussing everything from “three-star reviews” of his latest album, ‘Monuments to an Elegy,’ to why he feels he hasn’t received the credit he deserves over his nearly 30-year career.
The interview seemed to take a turn pretty early on when the Guardian’s Tim Jonze asked Corgan about his friendship with Marilyn Manson and if the friendship was as such that the Smashing Pumpkins frontman called Manson after Columbine. (At the time, some blamed the tragic school shooting on Manson’s music).
“I’m sorry, but to me, that’s a silly question,” Corgan responded. “It presupposes that those situations needed attending to. I think those things, and some of the things I’ve been through, they’re false narratives.”
When asked about the false narratives that have been built around his own career, the ‘Monuments to an Elegy’ singer cited the reviews for his latest album and the albums that preceded it, saying they were “pre-written.”
“I thought for sure I would get really strong reviews for our new album, based on all the feedback I was getting,” Corgan explained. “But I’m getting the same reviews I got back in the day, these kind of middling, muddling reviews that just won’t f–king say: ‘This is a f–king brilliant album from a brilliant artist.’ It’s always got to have a qualifier to it.”
According to Corgan, critics now say his two most classic albums were earlier in the Pumpkins’ career, however, the singer says when returning to those reviews, they’re the same as the ones he receives today.
“The joke for me is that I’ve been on the f–king outside for 25 years,” he said. “My whole point is — at what point do I get invited inside?”
Corgan goes on to say that all the major critics gave him three-star reviews for ‘Monuments to an Elegy,’ however, “Nobody believes it’s a three-star record.”
“How many years do I have to put in at the company? I don’t want a gold watch, I just want what’s f–king fair,” he admits. “I started with a group of artists in 1990, and along the years, I’ve had to hear about how many different bands … [are] the next big thing, this is the next Nirvana.”
“Here we are 25 years later, and how many f–king people are left? 2%? 1%? 0.5%? There should come a point where it’s like, ‘Welcome to the rock ‘n’ roll club,” Corgan said.
“If I’d gotten the reward for the work I did during this generation that you love so much — the ‘90s — then maybe I wouldn’t be looking for it now,” he continued. “Maybe people could finally recognize that, over 25 years, I’ve been a fairly significant artist and I could move on, and the audience could move.”
But perhaps most bewilderingly, after discussing at length how he didn’t receive the reviews he deserved for ‘Monuments,’ Corgan revealed, “I haven’t even read the reviews. I don’t even know what they said! But I’ve heard it all before.”
We take that back: The most bewildering part was definitely when Corgan told the interviewer, “I hope you and I are never locked in an elevator together. Because you would either kill me or I would kill you.”
You Think You Know the Smashing Pumpkins?