This week is an insanely exciting one for Smashing Pumpkins fans, old and new alike. Tomorrow, Dec. 9, sees the release of latest album, Monuments to an Elegy, and, just two days later, Billy Corgan and co. are playing The Warfield. Last week, to mark these occasions, we featured an extensive interview with Corgan and re-affirmed the fact that this is a man who continues to be fascinating, opinionated, and utterly uncompromising on every level. He even said of himself: “I'm basically that guy who won't leave the party.” Which brings us to one of our favorite aspects of the Corgan personality — his ability to consistently call everyone out on bullshit behavior. Here then, are five of our favorite Billy Corgan feuds.
[jump] Corgan vs. Courtney Love, 2010
One of Corgan's most famous freakouts happened four years ago and was directed to one-time romantic partner, Courtney Love. (We're surprised he didn't publicly vilify her again when Courtney recently claimed that pretty much every great song in the Pumpkins’ back catalogue was about her.) Anyway, after Love’s Nobody’s Daughter record came out in 2010, Corgan told Rolling Stone that she had used some tracks that he had written with her, without his consent. Love then took to Facebook to apologise, writing “I hope you will take my sincerest apologies for all the thousand ways I sometimes offend you, because I know you are a king, a prince, and my beautiful noble boy.” This was apparently not good enough though, because about five minutes later, Corgan attacked Love all over Twitter, starting with the amorality of Love's alleged thievery (“If you can’t write your own songs maybe you should just be happy that you fooled someone into doing your work for you… maybe you should go live off your husband’s money”) and rolling headlong into criticism of Love’s parenting skills (“Only u could abandon such a beautiful, incredible child who is smarter than u, cooler than u and better than u.”) Lesson? Do not steal from The Corgan!
Corgan vs. Soundgarden, 2012
In 2012, darling Billy did a couple of interviews where he gleefully slammed Soundgarden’s reunion. First, he told Philstar.com that: “When Soundgarden came back and they just played their old songs, great. I was a fan of Soundgarden, but call it for what it is. They’re just out there to have one more round at the till.” Ouch. Shortly afterwards, Corgan told Colorado radio station, 93.3 Modern Rock, that Chris Cornell had criticized the Pumpkins’ 2007 reunion, and “if they want to punch me in the face I’m happy to punch them back in the face… I don’t appreciate it when someone from my generation decides to piss on my little spot in the corner.” Lesson? Never ask for a Corgan knuckle sandwich. He's probably been waiting a while to give it to you.
Corgan vs. Radiohead, 2012
This one is kind of funny, given that during the August 2012 93.3 Modern Rock interview we just referenced above, Corgan spoke highly of Radiohead, saying: “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 huge disservice.” Which is nice… But also moderately crazy given that two months before that interview, Corgan had told Antiquiet.com that: “I’m not pissing on Rainbow. I’m not pissing on Deep Purple. But I’ll piss on fuckin’ Radiohead, because of all this pomposity. This value system that says Jonny Greenwood is more valuable than Ritchie Blackmore. Not in the world I grew up in, buddy.” Lesson? In Corgan's brain, hate can turn to love, and love can turn to hate in an extraordinarily short period of time.
Corgan vs. Smashing Pumpkins, Ongoing
In 2004, Corgan wrote on LiveJournal (yeah…) that “bassist D’arcy Wretzky was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help”. Last year she said on Facebook that Corgan was incredibly self-involved. Her exact words were, in fact: “head too far up butt.” In 2012, in an NME interview, Corgan also referred to Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain as “a fucking liar” and, and in a feat of abject ballsyness, said that bassist James Iha “I think is just a piece of shit. I think he’s one of the worst human beings I’ve ever met in my life.” Iha seemed unaffected by the criticism, when he told Blitz last year that Corgan “sounds a little angry and bitter, so I hope he’s able to get past it, because it’s been a while.” Lesson? If you've spent years creating magic with Corgan, his expectations of you are very high — do not let him down.
Corgan vs. Anderson Cooper, 2014
The most recent of all the Corgan public feuds happened this year after our Billy appeared on the cover of American animal rescue magazine, Paws Chicago, clutching his two “rock ‘n’ roll” kittens, Sami and Mr. Thom, and smiling like the most wholesome human being alive. In October, Anderson Cooper noticed and threw some digs at Corgan during his nightly “Ridiculist” segment. Cooper, after referring to the guitar sound on Siamese Dream as “derivative” (!), said: “Perhaps Billy Corgan is, I don’t know, off his alternative rocker… When the cool rock stars start doing less rock starry things, it kind of makes us face our own mortality… I don’t ever want to see a product called Eddie Vedder’s Prune Jam.”
Corgan was, of course, incensed to see his good deed being mocked and responded immediately on Twitter, saying: “@andersoncooper Sorry to disappoint, but when I'm not raising cain for a great organization like @PAWSchicago, I'm still making REAL music… I realize you're too busy being a globalist shill to know the difference, but there are those of us who do as we like”. At the time we thought: “Sweet burn, Corgan!” and gave the matter no more consideration. However, in November, Corgan went next level with the beef in the most delightful way, by debuting a new line of T-shirts featuring Corgan’s cats wearing bow-ties, accompanied by the words: “FUCK YOU ANDERSON COOPER”. Lesson? Even Corgan's cats are off-limits.
The Smashing Pumpkins, 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at The Warfield. $52, sold out.