Billy Corgan rails against poseurs and fame-hungry musicians

Billy Corgan setting fire to the stage, not to himself on YouTube
Billy Corgan setting fire to the stage, not to himself on YouTube (Image credit: © ALBERTO MARTIN/epa/Corbis)

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan railed about the "poseurs" invading the music industry during a publicly held, one-on-one interview conducted by author Brian Solis at the SXSW festival yesterday in Austin, Texas.

During his appearance, Corgan expressed deep concerns about the way music is marketed to fans today, saying that current conditions would make it impossible for him to score a record contract if he were just starting out.

According to Corgan, he would have to set himself on fire on YouTube if he were a brand-new artist looking for attention in 2012. In his opinion, young artists of today "have grown up thinking that being famous is the goal, not to be respected - not to be dangerous."

In Corgan's view, a new artist today who does manage to sign a record deal is no different than being a "fresh stripper."

As for music itself, Corgan said, "Don't call it rock 'n' roll. I was part of a generation that changed the world, and it was taken over by posers."

After his interview with Brian Solis, Corgan sat down for a 15-minute chat at the Samsung Blogger Lounge (which you can watch in the above video). During this conversation, the Smashing Pumpkins rocker stressed that the music business has yet to come to grips with social media.

"The music business is shamefully behind the curve as far as understanding the effects that social media has on the business," Corgan said. "They just treated it like it was a curse and a plague upon them. And I was one of the first people to stand up and say, 'No, this is a great thing.'"

"There's nothing wrong with technology," said Corgan. "It's when technology is the story and not the artist - that's the problem."

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.