Billy Corgan is officially a fraud

March 13, 2010

Anyone read the new Rolling Stone with the Billy Corgan interview? No? Not reading magazines anymore? Print in general? I realize I’m probably the only one left in the country with a RS subscription, but occasionally it pays off with dividends such as this:

“Do I belong in the conversation about the best artists in the world? My answer is yes, I do,” he says. “I’ve been too productive for too long, and despite what anybody wants to strip away from me, I am influential. I am. So all the Pitchforks in the world can try to strip me of every ounce of dignity, but I belong.”

Ah yes, that’s the Billy I remember. Although it proves it’s been a dog’s age since we’ve heard him, what with the reference. I’d long given up on a real Smashing Pumpkins reunion, especially since he’s basically cursed every fan who has stuck around to listen to relatively mediocre work such as Zeitgeist, but I can’t help checking in now and then. Especially when sites like Pitchfork tear him apart for said curses, followed by 200 reader comments that put him through the meat grinder over his every word. That’s why I was thrilled to crack open RS #1100: my teenage idol, the guy who wrote songs to which I learned to play air guitar, the one true person who completely understood me and seemed to have written Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness with me in mind. Billy Corgan was without a doubt my hero in every sense of the word, and finally, in 2010, he was going to set the record straight! And after fifteen years, he would prove he wasn’t the laughingstock to a generation he’d never been exposed to in the first place!

Corgan subscribes to the fashionable idea that we’re building to a cataclysm, or at least a major vibrational shift, in 2012; he wonders what was really in the H1N1 vaccine; he fears that the United States is headed toward a Soviet Union-style economic collapse… But when pressed on details, he backs off: “I don’t want to be a dead hero,” he says.

Hmm. Well, for starters, the Bush years were disillusioning for everyone. The first year of Obama hasn’t created the change we all hoped would be instantaneous. And to top it all off, the paranoia created by Homeland Security could’ve been too much for anyone. Let’s back off and give Billy a break.

Corgan doesn’t go into much more detail about his spiritual adventures – he’s saving that for his book, where he hopes he can put them into proper context. Pushed to elaborate on his claim of psychic abilities, he snaps, “I can levitate to Jessica Simpson’s house, isn’t that enough?”

Yep. Alright. The piece is full of quacktard bullshit such as this. Thankfully, much of it is dedicated to the breakup of the Pumpkins in 2000 and then the quasi-reformation in 2006 (and then that incarnation’s subsequent implosion a year ago with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin’s final exit). Halfway through, I wasn’t sure I could take much more of Billy’s sarcastic insight on New Age spirituality. The actual interview is quite amazing and worth its weight in gold by going into detail on the conflicts surrounding the ex-Pumpkins: while they couldn’t get a hold of D’Arcy, James Iha and Chamberlin were both asked for comment, presumably as fact-checkers and to give their sides of the story, none of which make Billy look any better:

After Corgan told Chamberlin he was out, the drummer “unloaded” on Corgan, unleashing 20 years worth of pent-up insults. “So I was like, ‘Fuck you,”’ Corgan recalls. “‘Go ride around in a white van for the
rest of your life.'” Chamberlin becomes apoplectic when he hears Corgan’s account. “In the middle of the
last tour, Billy said it was the agent’s fault, then it was the band’s fault, then it was the fans’ fault,” the drummer says.

Totally fucking juicy shit. Sad, but juicy. With that, Corgan has but maybe six or seven inches of print left in the article to redeem himself. Does he? Of course not.

Chamberlin is sober now, but Corgan is convinced that his character hasn’t changed, that he is fundamentally “unhealthy.” “Jimmy is a destructive human being, and people who are destructive break things,” Corgan says. “I don’t see me reaching the highest levels of my creativity if I’m unhealthy and if I have unhealthy people around me.”

You don’t need to read the rest of the article to realize that Corgan is the unhealthy one. In many ways, you can’t blame him. He was abandoned by a psychologically unhealthy mother and raised an addict’s son. He cannot take criticism, no matter what. Even before the Pumpkins’ career zenith, he was shouting down local Chicago critics onstage and inserting their names into songs. But after unwilling to bring back the Pumpkins’ signature jet-plane-in-an-underwater-tunnel sound, isn’t it about time to just give it up? I’m not talking about trying to salvage what’s left of his fanbase, either. There isn’t much left. But what’s saddest, after all these years, all his accomplishments and the memorable lyrics and landmark albums and innovative sound and melodies, Corgan doesn’t want any of it back. I wanted it, at least I wanted it a few years ago, but my voice has been buried under message board cries for Corgan’s head for so many years now that, I’m sorry, I have to say that I’ve given up. I’m sure the internet these days isn’t a very pleasant place for any celebrity, but search Corgan’s name on Google and watch out, because you get just under as many hits as John Mayer. Speaking of which, that dude has been poised to keep that rank for a few years now, but like everyone knows, before John Mayer shat up the music world with douchebaggery, there was Billy Corgan.

Even Jessica Simpson knows that.


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