Saturday, April 3, 2010
Billy Corgan, rock god?
Rolling Stone recently covered Corgan's current life in an article with the title "Rock God, Interrupted." The last time that Rolling Stone dubbed an artist a rock god, they received backlash from fans. They called Chris Martin of Coldplay a rock god, and a debate ensued about what a rock god is. Chris Martin is talented, but I don't think he has acheieved the status of the title.
Now, Billy Corgan? God status? Not in my mind. When I think of a rock god, I think of a rock artist who will be a legend, an artist who lights up the stage (even in a dark way) and captivates an audience. They create songs that speak to the generation and will be around for a long time. Rock gods are like Kurt Cobain or Jim Morrison. They were living legends. They still resonate today even though they're gone.
When you say a rock god's name on the street, people know it. They can picture a face. They don't say, "What band is he in?" "What does he look like?" "What songs does he sing?" With Billy Corgan, I don't feel like we make that same connection.
How does Billy Corgan fit into that mix? Now, don't get me wrong, he does create good music. Smashing Pumpkins is a great band from the 90s that created some awesome songs. Those are some classic songs of the 90s. But, to me, Billy Corgan is just too whiny and soft to be "godlike." He seems too pouty, poor-me, caged up and hiding from the world. And did I say...arrogant?
In any event, the article was astounding to me. Corgan's arrogance caught me way off guard. I couldn't believe some of the stuff he was saying to the writer knowing that he would publish it in a popular rock magazine! Check out what he said:
"Do I belong in the conversation about the best artists in the world? My answer is yes, I do. I've been too productive for too long, and despite what anybody wants to strip away from me, I am influential. I am. You can hear echoes of my music right now. So all the Pitchforks in the world can try to strip me of every ounce of dignity, but I belong."
I loved the introductory line in the article: "Unless you count what he's done to his career, Billy Corgan has never attempted suicide."
Hilarious. Let's face it: He was HUGE in the 90s. Siamese Dream and Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness were INCREDIBLE albums. He created songs that still are strong and influential today. Then the band dismembered and came back for a random political album, Zeitgeist. I didn't mind that album, but it wasn't up to the caliber it used to be.
The 90s MADE Corgan, and then in the article he says, "I fucking hated the nineties." It's like he's destined to hate and despise and complain and moan about everything positive (and everything negative) in his life. Is there anything he likes or thinks is positive? He seems to be the tortured artist, but the tortured artist, oftentimes, is the most brilliant of all.
I do have to give Corgan credit on his current musical project though: He's releasing 44 songs slowly (about one a week), and every time four songs are put out, he's going to put them on an EP and sell them himself. The 44 song compliation will be called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. Awesome idea. He's embracing the new age we're coming into when bands take over their own distribution of music. I think fans would be really into this idea of focusing on one song and then awaiting the next. It's a really creative idea.
Corgan is talented, he has a troubled past, but he just seems too haughty to me after this interview. He feels entitled and angry about what's happened to him. Maybe I'm coming off with a strong opinion without knowing too much of his story (a lot of which was provided in the article), but everything he had to say just turned me off. Yeah, he can be a big deal, but when you say you're a big deal, it takes away that lustre and flare. It's less attractive and appealing. I don't like it much at all.
And, I think his recent alleged affairs really bring down his image. We'll let the Courtney Love relationship slide... It was the 90s... She used to be something different pre-Kurt. We didn't know how low she could stoop. We'll even ignore if they still have contact and that he has been currently working with her on her music with Hole... But his recent relationships with Jessica Simpson and Tila Tequila are just trashy. I mean, come on? Is this the validation he needs now in his later years? Really? This is where we are headed Corgan? To me, this is just another strike against this alleged "rock god."
So what do you think of Billy Corgan or the recent article on him in Rolling Stone?