Billy Corgan Reacts To Being Called ‘A Very Angry Person’ And Villain

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Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan discussed calling himself a ‘class A heel’ a few months ago in the New York Times in a new Loudwire interview. A heel is a professional wrestling term for villain.

“No, honestly, because we live in a world where most of the people who care about that stuff really aren’t fans of the band. It’s more of a gossip type of thing, and you can play into that, but ultimately it doesn’t really do what you hoped it would do, which is get people to listen to the music. I don’t think the guy printed it in the New York Times interview, but I said, ‘I’m done playing that guy.’ I did it because I enjoyed it. I thought it was fun. I thought I made a lot of good points through the years that exposed the hypocrisy of much of the media complex as far as how they treat celebrity, that they’re really not interested in the work, they’re more interested in what the work gives them in terms of opportunity of creating clickbait and stuff like that.”

He later discussed playing the character of a ‘very angry person’ on the band’s 20th anniversary tour in 2008. Billy Corgan fired Jimmy Chamberlin just a few months after the conclusion of the tour.

“I’ll give you the perfect example. We did a 20th anniversary tour in 2008. Jeff was in the band, Jimmy was in the band, James was obviously not in the band, and we were taking a very aggressive position against where rock and roll was, what people thought the band was and wasn’t, so it was very much a contrarian position on what rock and roll is, what’s valuable in rock and roll. We made a lot of creative and aesthetic points that I consider very valuable in that the band as it exists today is completely tied to that band at that moment.

But people look at it as like, ‘Oh, you were so angry.’ No. I was in complete control of my emotions, and I knew exactly what I was doing. I was playing the character of a very angry person. It doesn’t mean I didn’t have my own feelings about it, but as an artist, if you’re not in control of yourself, then it’s like being an actor onstage and forgetting your lines and fumbling all over. It’s like 99 percent of the time I’m in control of myself and I know what I’m doing, because I’m making points that aren’t necessarily about fame or success. That’s what the band was built on.

The band was built on a contrary position. We had to fight for every video, every weird thing we ever did, because people would say, ‘Why don’t you just make the normal video, and you’ll sell more records and people will like you.’ And we’d say, ‘But we don’t care. It’s not why we’re here.’ So people forget that the band’s roots really are anachronistic and anarchic, not wave the pop flag and get along. That’s why the band’s still here.”