In a recent interview, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan offered his take on the grunge explosion of the '90s both praising and criticizing bands such as Alice In Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
The Smashing Pumpkins burst onto the music scene amid the explosion of grunge in the early '90s. Many fans and critics alike were quick to associate Corgan's band with the generic label for Seattle's diverse new rock acts, despite the fact that the Pumpkins hailed from Chicago, Ill. - about 2,000 miles east. "We were fans of everybody. So it wasn't like being compared to something you didn't like," Corgan told 98.7 FM. "But at the same time we felt we were so much more sophisticated."
The outspoken frontman also revealed that the mislabeling of the Pumpkins caused him to actively distance himself from that type of music. "That attitude and my reaction to it led a lot to us doing stuff like 'Tonight, Tonight'", said Corgan. "Because I knew that nobody in our generation could do [that song]. So that was my 'you know what' to everybody."
Corgan did have some kind words to say about his early nineties peers, as he mentioned Pearl Jam's debut album, "Ten" and Nirvana's "Nevermind" among the best album of the era. "One sad part about the grunge generation is that they never got around to making those great albums. Beyond the obvious, lets say the top five," explained Corgan. "Kurt Cobain never got around to making his 'White Album' [like The Beatles] and I think that's a tragedy. Because we'd be leaning on that work now. All of us."
Later Corgan named Alice In Chains' "Down In A Hole" and Nirvana's "Polly" as songs he wishes he'd written, saying of the latter, "what an incredible song".
In a separate interview, Corgan somehow insulted and complimented Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder simultaneously. "You can't manufacture people like me. Maybe you don't want to. How many Eddie Vedder clones have they marched out?" asked Corgan. "And I'm not a big Vedder fan, but at least he's Eddie Vedder. You know who he is, you know what he's about. Okay great, these other people I don't know what they think. They might be from Mars for all I know."
Billy and his current iteration of The Smashing Pumpkins recently released "Oceania", a single studio album released under the umbrella of the "Teargarden By Kaleidyscope" project.
Billy Corgan talks about Smashing Pumpkins and grunge: