From Kim Gordon to his own former bandmates, Billy Corgan has gained a pretty varied rep amongst his peers. The Smashing Pumpkins lead singer has even admitted that he let his ego get in the way of the band’s success in the past and has often shared sometimes striking opinions about of fellow musicians.
Now, Corgan has opened up to Lars Ulrich on his Beats 1 show ‘It’s Electric’, describing what it was like to be part of the 90s music scene. The era has been romanticised to the nth degree – film, fashion and television have opted to regurgitate tales of flannel and grunge constantly, reminding us of a time fuelled by apathy and an authentic passion for music.
Billy went on to describe that the scene wasn’t quite as communal and easy going as it was made out to be, saying that it reminded him of a high-school popularity contest.
“It really reminded me of high school, which I didn’t like. So now I’m in the bigger high school and now we’re playing with millions of dollars and millions of people, and it’s just like a popularity contest.”
He also noted that it brought out the worst in his personality, as it forced him to adopt a serious competitiveness. “And it brought out maybe the worst or the best in my personality, which was like, ‘I’m gonna take this on and I’m gonna use myself as the battering ram so I’m gonna make it about me, knowing it’s not about me.’”
He also went on to describe how Metallica always resonated with him as they looked like guys he went to school with.
You guys look like the guys I fucking went to school with,” he told Ulrich. “These guys understand the world that I’m in, which is nowhere fucking land. It wasn’t just, ‘Oh, here’s Metallica, the hot new band.’ These guys understand, thank god somebody gets it.”