Billy Corgan Rips 90’s Bands For ‘Phoning In’ Playing Old Albums: ‘It’s Just Kind Of Funny’

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan continued his crusade against 90’s alternative rock bands like Soundgarden and Pavement for performing old albums on tour in a new interview with Chicago Now:

“I don’t think it’s popping people like it used to – so and so comes to town and plays classic album number two. I just don’t think it’s getting the charge out of the public because the public acclimates very quickly to these kind of concepts. I still believe at the end of the day that if [people aren’t] coming for genuine reasons, then as an artist you need to figure out why.

I have no problem with people leaning on their past if they’ve earned it. And there’s plenty of bands and artists that have earned it. I just don’t like it when it becomes the story. And for about four years, it’s been the story in alternative music particularly with nineties-era bands. If you could go back in a time machine, can you imagine? ‘Hey, by the way, all you people on MTV: One day you’ll be doing the exact opposite of what you’re saying you’re gonna do.’ It’s just kind of funny. You know what I mean?”

He later said, “And I do meet young musicians, young people ages fifteen to thirty, who want to see me be me today. They get it. They can go on YouTube or whatever and look it all up. But they really want to see what made you you for real. They don’t want to see you kind of half go through the motions to sort of wink and nod at what… They want their own experience. They want their own generational claim. And they’re more than happy to claim you if you’re willing to claim them.

Phoning in a past album I don’t think really does that. That’s not their generation. That’s really their parents’ generation. So they may like it. But they don’t feel close to it. And I think that is a huge difference.”

  • http://www.cuntcertfy.nut Whip

    Like Soundgarden, Pavement, AND The Offspring

  • http://www.cuntcertfy.nut Whip

    I actually (sort of) agree with the last thing he says, about connecting with the current generation more intimately, but NO ONE that reached the height of their career already is going to do it again 20 years later. Music requires attitude and unfortunately people can’t hold onto that same attitude they had at 21 when they are 45 or 50. You can try, but you’ll never be (in terms of having a following and being incredibly popular) what you were. It’s a one time deal for musicians. THAT is why the greats play the classics. Because THAT is what the people want and the smart guys know it and they give it to their fans. I don’t want to hear Soundgarden playing King Animal. I want to hear albums that came out in 19XX. That’s what I connected with when I came into music and, sorry to burst the bubble, but plenty of kids (ages 15-30 lol) are having no trouble going to see Soundgarden play their hits– “their parent’s music.”
    Likewise, Lynyrd Skynyrd is my parent’s generation, AND the lead singer was replaced by his younger brother after he was killed in a plane crash in 1977 and I have no problem going to see them play Simple Man, Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama, and Gimme Three Steps. And they have no problem playing them night after night because they know it’s what their fans want. That and they aren’t ego-tastic douches. Take a lesson in grace and stop selling shit & start giving the people what they actually want– the true Pumpkins, playing the hits that came out in 19XX…

  • http://www.cuntcertfy.nut Whip

    I actually (sort of) agree with the last thing he says, about connecting with the current generation more intimately, but NO ONE that reached the height of their career already is going to do it again 20 years later. Music requires attitude and unfortunately people can’t hold onto that same attitude they had at 21 when they are 45 or 50. You can try, but you’ll never be (in terms of having a following and being incredibly popular) what you were. It’s a one time deal for musicians. THAT is why the greats play the classics. Because THAT is what the people want and the smart guys know it and they give it to their fans. I don’t want to hear Soundgarden playing King Animal. I want to hear albums that came out in 19XX. That’s what I connected with when I came into music and, sorry to burst the bubble, but plenty of kids (ages 15-30 lol) are having no trouble going to see Soundgarden play their hits– “their parent’s music.”
    Likewise, Lynyrd Skynyrd is my parent’s generation, AND the lead singer was replaced by his younger brother after he was killed in a plane crash in 1977 and I have no problem going to see them play Simple Man, Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama, and Gimme Three Steps. And they have no problem playing them night after night because they know it’s what their fans want. That and they aren’t ego-tastic douches. Take a lesson in grace and stop selling shit & start giving the people what they actually want– the true Pumpkins, playing the hits that came out in 19XX…

    • Chris J.

      Ya, that’s completely wrong – Billy is a guitar god, and musician in every way. If you believe that someone can only write songs of a certain quality during one time period in their life, that just shows how widespread that perspective is, and how much bands from 20 years ago, or any time in the past do in fact rely on what they once did. Come on, do something fresh, and bring the past along for the ride.

  • David Jezior

    Billy needs to crawl back into the subways and play his guitar for change if he going to make comments like this. A band leaning on past success? When does this not happen? That is what keeps that fans that made you coming back and you will still get some from the younger generation. I know i didn’t go to see Soundgarden to hear King Animal. 20 years of Superunknown, let’s celebrate the legacy. And a legacy they earned. It would like going to see AC/DC and them only playing songs from Ball Breaker and not even touching “Back in Black.” Who wants to hear what constitutes Pink Floyd now going out black a new album and no “Wish You Were Here” or “The Wall” songs. Garth Brooks is coming off a 17 year retirement now, which is a bit longer than the Soundgarden break up, but on the same token should he be trying to reconnect? No, go with the classics and what made you who you are. The songs you made when you were the real band and not a new version of the real thing who is bending for the new era.

  • Corndog

    Can someone that has seen the Pumpkins recently tell me exactly what it is he does that is so different from any other 90’s era band? Does he never play anything from Gish or Siamese Dream etc? If he does play songs from those older albums then why is he allowed to do so yet no one else apparently is?
    I finally got to see Pearl Jam live on their Backspacer tour after waiting since 91 and you know what? It wasn’t Backspacer I was there for. I wanted to hear stuff from their first 3 albums. Who the hell does Corgan think he is to decide what I should or shouldn’t want from a concert? He really is an obnoxious asshole…

    • Go Hiomlán Mandelbrotmenge Imi

      And why doesn’t he release his new songs als “Billy Corgan”? Although he was the songwriter, the Smashing Pumpkins where a group of four people. Now there is only him writing shitty songs. I was at a SP concert last years, everybody was just waiting for old songs. So fuck off, Billy Corgan, please do not comment on anything ever again.

      • Chris J.

        He’s done everything, and continues to do everything, new and old, appeasing fans, while doing the same for himself… You guys sound pretty clueless, just looking for an argument.

  • nomad

    The one artist I can think of who can go out and play a show of all new music and I’m still as excited about it as I was about their music 20 years ago is PJ Harvey. Even when she performs her older hits, she often puts a new spin on them.

    • Go Hiomlán Mandelbrotmenge Imi

      Polly Jean is just great. Period.

      • Drexl

        All of her albums are quality. Probably my second favorite artist to Lanegan.

  • Raj

    Please stop Billy, I get what he is saying but I think depends on how you look at it. If it happens to be the anniversary of an album and as an artist you enjoy it then you would celebrate it by playing it. The exact opposite? I don’t know when any 90’s bands said they would never play an album in their entirety, most bands back than really couldn’t see past the next album or were not even sure how long they would last. If the 90’s band mismanaged their finances blew their money and are coming back for financial reasons that would be a shame. Everyone has to eat but I believe the guys in the 90’s are a lot more genuine than the era that came before them.

  • Chris J.

    Billy makes a lot of sense if you just try to listen and understand.

    He’s not nice about it, so it’s easy to just want to jump down his throat before you even finish reading his sentence. But I mean, how true is exactly whats he’s saying? It’s pretty right on, and I don’t just take his back for anything he says or does…

    For example – I thought Oceania was amazing garbage, but I get it, it’s for the new generation – they love indie folk, as I call it, and he did it to make a point, (and massively succeeded). It wasn’t easy for me to listen to, but I still get it even if I don’t like it.