The Feud Between Billy Corgan And The Pavement

Rock history is overflowing with memorable feuds between artists and bands. The bigger the artist gets, the ego follows, not far behind. These big egos are bound to clash at some point, especially if the artists don’t shy away from explicitly sharing their opinions. For someone like Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, getting into a quarrel with someone in the industry is not uncommon.

Billy Corgan has quite a long list of people he had public disputes with over the years, including the guys from Pavement. Corgan is known for his unfiltered opinions and for standing up for himself and the Smashing Pumpkins. When Pavement released their song ‘Range Life,’ where the lyrics were a direct diss at the Pumpkins, Corgan didn’t hold himself back from getting his point of view across to the public witnessing this.

Pavement’s Song That Simmered A Feud With Billy Corgan

It is true that Smashing Pumpkins frontman, Billy Corgan, is very blunt and direct about any form of disagreement. However, on this occasion in 1994, regarding the Pavement song ‘Range Life’ featured in ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain,’ his attitude was somehow understandable compared to other instances when it might have been unnecessary.

‘Range Life’ lyrics read, ‘Out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins. They don’t have no function/I don’t understand what they mean/And I could really give a f*ck’ was a direct diss at the band that featured false information about the two bands on the same tour. In addition to the bands never going on tour together, Stephen Malkmus’ language directed towards the band made Billy Corgan mad. When he was asked about the song in a Rolling Stone interview in 1995, Billy Corgan shared what he thought about the track that was released the year prior.

Corgan shared that he saw the song’s lyrics as Pavement’s way of showcasing their jealousy towards the Smashing Pumpkins. He added that some bands, including Pavement, think they bought their way up to the top; however, he knows that they have kept their integrity to reach the top. The frontman also crashed the rumors that went around of him kicking Pavement out of Lollapalooza. He said that he had nothing against Pavement, but there were always rumors about him in the industry which he doesn’t care about because it brings out the incentives and motives of people in the business.

The rocker also highlighted that these bands that wanted to bring them down should have focused on their craft and tried to reach the top by working to better themselves. He added that if they had stopped trying to act cool like they were still in high school, they could have changed their outlook and gotten to where they wanted to be in the industry.

Billy Corgan’s words on the issue:

“How about let’s start with jealousy? There’s always been flak from certain bands–the Mudhoneys and Pavements of this world–that somehow we cheated our way to the top and deceived the public into getting where we were. We have our level of integrity that we’ve kept to, and we’re not going away. So I think it’s rooted in jealousy, where someone looks at a picture and says, ‘This is where I belong, and I don’t understand why I’m not there.’ It shows true pettiness.

And on top of that, Pavement started a rumor that I kicked them off Lollapalooza, which was untrue. I had no problem with Pavement. When I met the guys from Nick Cave’s band, they said they were told I’d also tried to kick them off the bill. I’m a Nick Cave fan. That was astounding to me; maybe Pavement didn’t start the rumor. Perhaps it was some industry insider: ‘Blame it on Billy.’ But stuff like that is pathetic. It’s as if the commercial success of alternative rock has created this exclusionary mentality in the underground regarding issues of purity and motive.

It’s like high school all over again. You have the football team, except the football team is the guys in Pavement and Mudhoney. And they’re all patting themselves on the back for how cool they are instead of healthily challenging themselves to greater heights. Many of these bands have spent a lot of time worrying about what they look like in public and what their stature is, then doing what they’re supposed to be doing and what their fans want them to do. Which is the best band they can be.”

You can watch the music video of ‘Range Life’ below.