Billy Corgan Complains About Underestimated Guitar Skills In Smashing Pumpkins
Smashing Pumpkins vocalist Billy Corgan recently sat down with BottleRock Backstage and talked about how often people underestimate his guitar-playing skills.
When it was pointed out that Billy doesn’t get much recognition as a guitar virtuoso, the rocker intervened and explained what he originally wanted for his musical career:
“Well, I don’t know about [being called a] virtuoso, but I started off being [a guitarist]; I wanted to be like Yngwie Malmsteen and Randy Rhoads, so I was a shredder for the first few years, and then I didn’t really want to be a singer, I ended up being a singer.”
Corgan then continued by telling why he got caught up with singing, explaining that it matched with his principles of ‘being in a band:’
“Some people would say I’m still not a singer, but I got kind of lured into it by songwriting and sort of the opportunity of trying to figure out how to make a band mean something. And songwriting was the way that I figured it out, so the guitar playing kind of got pushed aside.”
The frontman then explained how ‘surprised’ people would be when they realize all the ‘crazy guitar work’ was played by him, as most fans usually underestimated or overlooked Corgan’s skills as a guitarist:
“And then when the Pumpkins started putting out records and we had solos and stuff, everbody just assumed that I wasn’t the guy playing all the solos because, you know, it’s a two guitar band, the singer usually doesn’t play the leads. So, even to this day people are surprised that I did all that crazy guitar work.”
The Smashing Pumpkins came around in 1988, and since they released 11 albums. Considering the years they were popular, it brings the question whether they were competing against Nirvana. Corgan criticised this notion in a recent interview he had:
“I think [if] we look back now, we can see that amongst the ’90s bands, [The Smashing] Pumpkins and Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots; there are a lot of bands competing for the top spots. There is nothing wrong with that. So people try to turn it into this weird thing, like, somehow, it was like something dark. No, it was just good competition.”
He also pointed out that he loved and respected Kurt Cobain and wished he were still alive:
“There’s no rivalry; it’s just all love and respect. […] I wish Kurt was still alive because I want to compete against the best, and he was the best. So how’s that a rivalry if I want the guy that I respected to still be here writing great songs?”
Billy recently paid tribute to Sinead O’Connor after her passing was announced by her family members. His tweet wrote:
“I knew Sinead a little, having met her at a show of hers and then later when she was living at the Walker’s home outside of Chicago. Fiercely honest and sweet and funny, she was talented in ways I’m not sure she completely understood, but Sinead stands alone as a figure from our generation who was always true to the piercing voice, within and without. And for that, I will always admire and respect her and never forget that she was once canceled for an act of simple resistance. Her crime? Tearing up a photo.”
You can check out the band’s latest album’ Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts’ here.
You can watch the whole interview below.