Billy Corgan Recalls His Father Ripping Off The Certificate Proving He’s A Musical Savant

During a recent appearance on Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco Radio, Smashing Pumpkins lead vocalist Billy Corgan opened up about how his father tore up his musical savant certificate.

The frontman recalled that memory, saying:

“The great story I like to tell is when I was very young, I was tested as being gifted in music, and they called my father, and he was a musician. [They] said, ‘Your son’s probably a musical savant.’ A seven years old or something, and so a week later, they gave me a piece of paper and told me to circle the instrument that I wanted to play.

And then, I needed instruction, and I went home, and my father saw the cost, ripped up the paper, and threw it in the garbage. That was the end of my musical life up to that point.”

Later in the conversation, Corgan continued with another childhood story where his uncle tried to talk her out of playing the guitar:

“I had a stepfamily: a German and Polish. And the Polish Uncle Henry, when he found that I wanted to play guitar when I was 14, he literally pulled me aside and said, ‘There’s no future in the guitar. What you want to play is the accordion. You’ll always have a job.’ And when you’re having that conversation, it is like, ‘Is this real? Is he really trying to convince me to play the accordion?’ And he was dead serious.”

In his previous interviews, the singer again talked about his father’s abusive behaviors toward him during his childhood. During one of them, Billy mentioned how his father had expressed doubts about his career choice. More recently, he shared how he had to get acquainted with drugs very early because of his father, although he didn’t use them. He remembered those days:

“So, it was not unusual in my house, like I don’t know. You’re looking for something, and you’re like, ‘Is the thing I’m looking for?’ I don’t know, like, ‘My hat is in this bag?’ No, it’s not in this bag. You open this leather bag, and it’s like eight pounds of weed in the kitchen. My dad used to take me on drug deals. He’d leave me in the car, I guess, to keep me safe.”

You can watch the full conversation below.