Corgan gets even with Chris Cornell, calls out U.S. alternative radio 10:35 pm // Friday, August 31, 2012Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, news, pavement, radio, radiohead, soundgarden.
In an interview published earlier this month in Manila’s Philippine Star newspaper, Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan somewhat confusingly lumped Soundgarden together with Pavement among bands of his generation that he said reunited not to forge a new future in music but merely for “one more round at the till.”
This morning, alert and sympathetic deejay Josh Goodman of Denver’s KTCL-FM had Corgan on the phone and, as part of their conversation, he prompted Corgan to expand on those comments related to Soundgarden. Goodman’s full interview with Corgan can be heard online.
Below, we of Hipsters United offer a partial transcript of the interview that corrects and extends a partial transcript posted earlier today by the diehards at New Jersey-based blog Grunge Report. Our transcript picks up just past the 4-minute mark in the online audio file, which of course is superior for conveying tone and so forth.
Josh Goodman: I love reading your interviews, and I interviewed you back when you played for Big Gig here in 2010, and I love that you don’t censor what’s on your mind, and…
Billy Corgan: [laughs] Maybe I should, though.
Goodman: No, you shouldn’t, man, it’s good, I think people need to hear it. But, you know, along those lines of what you were saying, about bands going out and playing sort of their rehashed greatest-hits stuff, you did specifically call out Soundgarden in that vein, saying: Hey, man, they’re just going out to make money, and let’s just call it what it is. I’m curious, did you ever, have you heard from the guys in Soundgarden? I know you’re a fan of the band. Did you hear from Chris Cornell or anything? Did they have anything to say to you directly, or not really?
Corgan: Well, there’s a little bit of a backstory there. Chris Cornell was somebody I considered a friend, and would never have said a harsh word about. When the band came back in 2007, he was quoted in an interview saying basically he didn’t consider our reunion, in quotations, to be legitimate. I kind of have an elephant’s memory when it comes to somebody punching me in the face. Cornell’s one of those people who is extremely talented, I was a fan from literally their 2nd EP, met him in 1991 and still believe in what was great about the band. But when we’re sitting there having conversations about who is doing what, I am no longer going to shield somebody. If they want to punch me in the face I’m happy to punch them back in the face. Respect the man’s talent. People gloss over the Timbaland album [laughs], you know what I mean? My point is look, I don’t have any specific bone to pick, although I just obviously made a case for one. My point is, don’t lump us in with people who are sort of just doing the reunion lap. Now, of course fans are lighting up my Twitter saying, “Do you realize Soundgarden is doing a new album?” OK, well, if they are, great, that’s what they should be doing. Great musicians, they should make new music, and hopefully they’ll make great albums, because we need artists to make great albums and great music in this day and age of the robots and the posers and the fauxhawk bands. Does it make sense? Do I sound like a fan? Because I am a fan.
Goodman: You expect more from them. You want them to raise the bar, is what you’re saying. That’s what you’re trying to do.
Corgan: I want all of my generation to raise the bar.
Goodman: Which I see.
Corgan: And I don’t appreciate when someone from my generation, who I once considered a friend, decides to piss on my little spot in the corner, for whatever reason, right around the same time he’s making the Timbaland album, you know what I mean? That’s where it gets kind of dicey for me, so that’s sort of the real backstory of where that came from.
Goodman: Well, on the flipside, there is a band that you have shown admiration for, that I agree—Radiohead is one of those bands that’s not resting on their laurels and playing their greatest hits, and obviously they’ve got a great foundation, but, every album they seem to evolve and challenge their audience and they remain hugely, hugely popular.
Goodman: Maybe they’re an exception to the rule? I mean, you said you’re a fan of Radiohead and what they’re doing, I guess?
Corgan: Yeah, I mean, look. The difficulty with a band like Radiohead is that they don’t fall into the American model of generating singles per se. So you have a lot of American radio stations that won’t play Radiohead. And I’ve actually chastised American radio for not playing Radiohead, because I think they’re doing themselves a disservice—because they could use those Radiohead fans coming into the station. Alternative radio for the most part, somewhere along the way in the last ten years, took a left at singles. You know what I mean? And stopped supporting, let’s say, call it core alternative bands. There are two or three or four songs on the new Smashing Pumpkins album that should get played on the radio, could get played on the radio. But, against a bunch of robot bands, maybe they don’t sound as attractive, because they don’t sound like McDonald’s commercials, you know what I mean? So some stations play our songs and some stations don’t. The stations that don’t play our songs tend to play a lot of fauxhawk robot music. So, how that’s alternative, I don’t understand, but that’s what they call it.