Billy Corgan Claims Grunge Fans ‘Didn’t Give A F*ck’ About Three Surprising Icons

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Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan discussed Generation X/Grunge era fans not caring about some of his favorite artists in a new Forbes interview.

I saw Nick Cave perform at Lollapalooza in front of 62 people on a hot summer day in ’94 and he was incredible. He was in his prime, he was sort of more known in the traditional sense of the word back then, he was more connected to indie culture. Yet, under the new rules his brand has grown in the way he’s more of a towering figure. So I think people come into that environment in a different way than they would’ve 20 years ago, in the way that they treated [David] Bowie, Iggy [Pop] and even Lou Reed.

That’s what I mean about people, they buy into the brands so the energy around the brand creates the opportunity, where in the past it was always about the catalog. It’s a slightly esoteric point to make, but as a young man I stood there and watched my idols play in front of disinterested audiences, Gen X audiences who didn’t give a f**k they were standing in front of f**king Davie Bowie, Lou Reed or Iggy Pop. And I couldn’t believe it because I was like, “Do you know who’s in front of you? Do you know what these men are responsible for?”

I couldn’t believe the laissez faire attitude of my generation towards these incredible titans. Under these rules we live in now they would be treated differently and the vibe and response would be different as we saw with David towards the end of his life. Some of the rules have changed about who you are and what you represent and the many things you’ve done. Where under the old rules it was like, “What have you done lately? Are you gonna play ‘All The Young Dudes?’ No, I’m gonna be bored and go to the f**king hot dog stand.”