Since its sinister inception, metal has seldom received the recognition it deserves within mainstream realms. Often passed off for its inaccessibility, it only ever seems to get the respect it deserves when iconic band logos get re-printed onto t-shirts worn by Instagram influencers.
Now, Billy Corgan has sounded off on why he believes metal never seems to receive the level of widespread appreciation it deserves.
Speaking with Lars Ulrich on his Beats 1 Radio show, ‘It’s Electric’, Corgan detailed how people’s perception of metal boils down to classism, saying that people with “better backgrounds” often pass off metal as being beneath them.
“For years I would take shit about being a fan of metal – it should be beneath you. It gets into weird class politics – most of the people who criticize people like us, for being who we are, what we are, or what we represent, had better backgrounds than we had.”
Corgan reflected on his childhood, noting that he was drawn towards the genre because its ethos aligned closer with what he believed in. He also shared that despite metal’s ability to generate revenue, he’s still amazed at its lack of recognition.
“We didn’t necessarily go to the nice school, we didn’t get to read the cool newspaper. For me, bands like you [Metallica] told me that there is this other world that is more closely aligned with the experience that you’re having, than the one you’re being told about.”
“So when I heard Mercyful Fate, Metallica, or Ted Nugent – ‘Wait, there’s this other world than the world you’re telling me that I’m supposed to believe in.’ Even to this day, for all the money that metal moves, it’s amazing how disrespected it is.”
Considering Corgan mouths off on plenty of topics, there’s no surprise he managed to bring hipsters into the great metal debate. He stated that hipsters are simply too stuck in their ways, and don’t want to be associated with the undesirable types in bands like Metallica, in the same way he was as a he was as a kid.
“You can’t get that through to a hipster’s brain. If you sat around and drew up who you wanted to be on paper, you wouldn’t be in Metallica or The Smashing Pumpkins.”
“Those types of bands grow out of almost a personality conflict. We’re not stupid, we get who you think we should be, and then there is who we are, and then when we actually are who we are, we see this resonance with the audience that tells us no, we are going the right way.”