The Smashing Pumpkins are indisputably one of the great bands of the 1990s. Though they have gone through numerous line-up changed (they've had seventeen members throughout their history) their music has remained consistently good.
That's thanks in large part to front man and songwriter Billy Corgan, who is as pointed and revealing in his songs as he is when discussing his contemporaries.
Billy on Kurt Cobain – Billy flat out said that he and Kurt were the top two alternative songwriters of their time. 'Anybody else is a distant third.' He really admired Kurt's ability and Kurt was one of the few people who could make Billy jealous through his greatness. Billy figured there were ten amazing Nirvana songs, which he love. Oh yeah, and Kurt did steal his girlfriend.
Billy on Courtney Love – Bill saw a photo of a young Courtney Love and said 'I need to meet this girl.' He called her label and arranged for her to stay at his apartment when she came through town. Not surprisingly, a romantic relationship developed. Billy called a young Courtney 'a typhoon' and he eventually had to throw her out of his apartment. She moved onto a 'bigger fish', her future husband Kurt Cobain. Billy and Courtney have publicly feuded over the years, but he called her a ground-breaker and one of the undervalued musician. Still, Billy admitted that he stopped making hits when he stopped writing about Courtney and Courtney stopped making hits when he (Billy) stopped writing her songs.
The Foo Fighters – Billy was surprised that Courtney recently made up with former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl. Billy felt that Dave isa great musicians, but the Foo Fighters have not 'evolved' since their earliest days. Billy puts his life on the line to make new and different music, and the Fighters don't seem to do it for him.
Billy on Pearl Jam – The act that really bore the brunt of Billy's criticism was Pearl Jam. Robin asked if Billy would rank them up with Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins – Billy said 'not even close'. Pearl Jam, according to Billy, are 'derivative' and it's 'hard to say' whether or not their songs will stand the test of time. 'I don't think they have the songs,' Billy said. 'You can't stack them up against my songs and Cobain's songs.'
Billy on Celine Dion – The Pumpkins were up for a bunch of Grammy Awards one year and they didn't win – it finally got down to album of the year and Celine Dion took home the prize. She brought twelve producers onstage and proceeded to thank 'the little people'. Billy was disgusted.
The Pumpkins are still going strong, even if Billy is the last original member, and they performed three great songs for us: A cover of David Bowie's 'Fame', their classic 'Zero', and a brand new track 'One and All (We Are)' from their new album 'Monuments to an Elegy', which you should check out. Hey, Tommy Lee plays the drums!