Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan on Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Grunge


Story by Cat Badra

Smashing Pumpkins main man says the Pumpkins survived a lot in the ‘90s to remain relevant years later

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan knows what it’s like to be in a band that, musically, goes against the norm. In fact, if you ask Corgan, he’ll tell you that back in the ‘90s when the Pumpkins were just breaking out, success wasn’t a given just because the band fit in the grunge genre. Corgan says the group had to really sweat to get noticed alongside very different-sounding grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

“We only became popular when we became popular because we just kicked the … doors down,” Corgan told NZherald. “People didn’t embrace us like they embraced Radiohead or Nirvana, we weren’t warm and cuddly… I’m the guy who gets in your ear and … hammers you with the truth.”

Corgan also compared the Pumpkins to grunge rock’s biggest ‘90s names, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, and said the Pumpkins “couldn’t survive” alongside those players. “[Smashing Pumpkins album] ‘Siamese Dream’ was made in the (environment) that we couldn’t survive and succeed in a world with Soundgarden or Pearl Jam,” Corgan explained to NZherald. “My voice was too weird; the band was too weird. You guys aren’t going to do it.

“The first line on ‘Siamese Dream’ is, ‘Freak out and give in, doesn’t matter what you believe in’. I’m saying it right from the beginning, it’s like, ‘It doesn’t matter what happens because you’re living an illusion.’”

Corgan went on to say that anyone who believes “Eddie Vedder was that person and Kurt Cobain was that person and Trent Reznor was that person, is a lie. They were parts of those people, but they weren’t the people they were projecting them to be. When you get picked out in a line in school and you’re the weird one, I’m the weird one, and I’m still here.”


Cat Badra
Posted by Cat Badra | Alternative, Music, Rock News

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