Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan: “When Kurt died, I cried because I lost my greatest opponent”

“I want to beat the best,” he said.

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins

Image: Jeff Kravitz / Roberto Ricciuti / Getty Images

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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan has opened up about the grief he felt when Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain aka “his greatest opponent” had died.

“I want the Pumpkins standing on the top of the heap of our generation,” Corgan told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in a recent chat discussing his aspirations for the band. “If that means I got to write 800 songs to do it, I’ll do it. I ain’t shy about that.”

Often dubbed “the next Nirvana” early in their career, the Pumpkins got their big break in 1993 with their sophomore album Siamese Dream, two years after Nirvana’s Nevermind arguably changed the world. Any possible rivalry between the two groups came to a grinding halt though, when the Nirvana frontman died by suicide the following year.

“When Kurt died, I cried because I lost my greatest opponent,” Corgan said. “I want to beat the best. I don’t want to win the championship because it’s just me and a bunch of Jabronis, to use a wrestling term.”

“It’s like, Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest sports competitor I’ll ever see in my lifetime? I mean, you want to talk about an alpha. That guy wanted to win the valet tip. You know what I mean?”

Despite his desire for alt-rock supremacy, the Pumpkins singer did concede that Kurt “was the most talented guy of our generation”.

“Kurt had so much talent it’s frightening,” he said. “It was like a John Lennon level of talent where you’re like ‘How can you have all this talent’? Or Prince, right? But Kurt’s not here you know, sadly. So I looked around, I was like ‘All right, well, I could beat the rest of them for sure.’”

Watch the full interview below.


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