Singer of the classic Smashing Pumpkins lineup, Smashing Pumpkins 2.0, and Zwan, Impact Wrestling producer, cat magazine cover model, and pouty Disneyland visitor Billy Corgan is a lot of things. And as any casual Smashing Pumpkins fan knows, he’s a man of many opinions. From his views on Facebook to Donald Trump, he has no problem sharing his feelings, especially when it comes to other musical acts. The guy is right up there in the pantheon of celebrity beefers with Kanye West, Kevin Smith, and Kid Rock.
It’s easy to forget just how many people have rubbed Corgan the wrong way over the years, until another band gets acknowledged over Smashing Pumpkins, then he’s back on the soapbox. Today is Billy Corgan’s 49th birthday, and to mark the occasion, we’re taking you on a little trip down celebrity beef lane, revisiting all those folks who made Billy feel like a rat in his cage, despite… you know the rest. Because cool kids may never have the time, but when it comes to feuding, ol’ Billy has plenty of it.
Billy Corgan and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden were cool with each other in the ’90s. Flannel was selling like hotcakes, droning distorted guitars ruled the FM airwaves, and all was good in the alt rock universe. Skip forward to the late 2000s, however, with both Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden reuniting in various forms, only now each felt the need for some reason to bash the other. Back in 2007, Cornell spoke on Corgan’s Pumpkins lineup without bass player D’arcy Wretzky and guitarist James Iha, saying he didn’t find the reunion to be “legitimate,” and that’s when the feuding kicked off. Corgan returned fire when Chris Cornell released his not-so-successful Timbaland-produced album Scream in 2009, and again took a shot at Soundgarden reuniting, saying, “They’re just out there to have one more round at the till; same with Pavement and these other bands.”
Cornell didn’t take kindly to having his band’s reunion and new album being summed up as a simple cash grab, and took the opportunity to remind Corgan of the time he helped him land a $40,000 gig when he needed it most.
“When Billy Corgan was completely broke, I got him a movie deal with director Cameron Crowe where he made $40,000,” Cornell explains. “He was very happy about that, and he was specifically happy about the $40,000.” But that wasn’t all. Cornell offered this parting jab, “So next time you see him, tell him he owes me my $40,000 back.” (via Loudwire)
While Corgan likely didn’t go out stationary shopping to send Cornell a thank you card, the beef appeared to eventually fizzle out.
You don’t get to break up with Billy Corgan and expect everything to be peachy keen. Corgan had a bit of a Twitter freak out six years ago when Courtney’s Nobody’s Daughter record came out, and he told Rolling Stone that she used some songs they had co-written without his consent. Love offered up an apology on her Facebook page, calling Corgan her “beautiful noble boy,” but in Corgan’s mind, the fight bell had already been rung. He then took to Twitter to let the world know what he thought of her apology with a string of tweets, saying:
Love actually played it pretty cool regarding Corgan’s mean-spirited tweets and took the high road, simply saying, “all I am is nice about you, so if you wanna be mean, be mean.” This round clearly goes to Love for surprisingly not flipping out and going off the rails. Corgan generally let it die there, but would later go on to say, “I love and respect her… [but] don’t want to spend a year with her in an elevator.” That last sentiment is probably mutual.
Nearly any time that Billy Corgan is asked about his own band, other bands, or music in general, sentences emit from his mouth that insult other groups. It’s like his brain can’t help it and is telling him in a whiny robotic voice “must start celebrity beef.” Case in point, he made the interview rounds in 2012 to promote the Pumpkins’ Oceania and for some reason decided to offer up this nugget on Radiohead:
“I can’t think of any people outside of Weird Al Yankovic who have both embraced and pissed on Rock more than I have. Obviously there’s a level of reverence, but there’s also a level of intelligence to even know what to piss on. ‘Cause I’m not pissing Rainbow. I’m not pissing on Deep Purple. But I’ll piss on f*ckin’ Radiohead, because of all this pomposity. This value system that says Jonny Greenwood is more valuable than Ritchie Blackmore. Not in the world I grew up in, buddy. Not in the world I grew up in.”
C’mon, Billy, why did you have to go and do that? It’s possible to hold Deep Purple and Radiohead up among the greats of rock. Sure, they might fall into different fan circles, but what did Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke ever do to you?
After Corgan’s comments made the rounds on the internet, he took an opportunity to clear up his pissing habits, likely in an effort to avoid Radiohead pointing and laughing at Smashing Pumpkins’ last two albums.
“It’s not Radiohead that’s pompous; in fact, I think Radiohead is a great band. It’s the pomposity that surrounds Radiohead in a culture that needs to celebrate them to reaffirm their own value system. Like, ‘Isn’t it cool that Thom Yorke just rolls out of bed, puts on his hat, and doesn’t care?’ That’s people reflecting their own values back to themselves.” (via MusicFeeds)
In the future, Billy, maybe don’t offer up your commentary on a band you enjoy by saying you’ll “piss all over” them.
Considering that Manson toured with Smashing Pumpkins last summer, one would think that they would be pals and enjoy activities like shopping for black clothes together and debating the best brand of SPF 200 sunscreen. Well, it wasn’t always that way, back in 2013, Manson told Larry King that he had hurt Corgan’s feelings for suggesting his likeness to a certain Peanuts character.
“I haven’t spoken to him but there was no fall out or anything. I think he might have got mad once when I told him that it would be a good marketing idea that if he sold Charlie Brown T-shirts and bald caps at concerts and he may not have liked that. He does look like Charlie Brown a little bit, in fairness.”
Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the nicest thing to say about the guy, but Corgan probably could have cleaned up with those shirts at the tour merch tent.
It looked like Manson and Corgan had reunited amicably, though — along with Courtney Love — when a photo of the group surfaced on Love’s Instagram in 2014 with everyone
all smiles present.
Manson would also go on the record thanking Corgan for sending him a letter at the time he was dating Rose McGowan, warning him that she would “ruin” his life.
“It was funny, because I ran into Billy [Corgan], and a lot of people think there was some kind of falling out,” Manson recalls. “It was mostly that he wrote a strongly worded letter about how Rose McGowan would ruin my life and ruin my career if I stayed with her, which was good advice, and he wrote it as a letter, which is very polite.”
Eh, how about that, Billy Corgan being a bro and looking out for Manson, maybe’s a swell guy after all.