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Billy Corgan: Kurt Cobain and I Were ‘Top Two Scribes’ of Nineties

“If I’d been loved right, I might have been a classical composer,” the Smashing Pumpkins singer also says

Billy Corgan

Billy Corgan attends the Alternative Press Music Awards on July 21st, 2014 in Cleveland, OH. The singer said he and Kurt Cobain were the "top two scribes" of the Nineties.

Daniel Boczarski/Redferns

Billy Corgan defined his relationship with Kurt Cobain in a new interview, saying that he did not look up to the Nirvana frontman. “In the purest sense of the word, we were competitors,” the Smashing Pumpkins frontman told The Independent. “He and I were the top two scribes, and everybody else was a distant third.”

Similarly, he dismissed Eddie Vedder when the interviewer told him the Pearl Jam frontman had said he suffered “survivor’s guilt” after Cobain’s suicide. “That would be Eddie Vedder,” Corgan said. “Somehow he makes it about him even when it’s about somebody else. I had a much more personal perspective, because I’d been in contact with Courtney [Love] through a lot of the setting up of that period, and afterwards. I found it devastating because, whether we wanted to admit it or not, [Cobain] was quarterback of the football team, leading the aesthetic and integrity charge.”

Although Corgan and Cobain did not get along, the singer said he misses the Nirvana frontman’s gumption. “I like to think a lot of the crap music that followed wouldn’t have existed if he had been around to criticize it,” he said.

As for his own artistic perspective, Corgan still wears his scars on his sleeves. After relating a story about how his father credits his “bad childhood” toughened him up for success, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman said it didn’t have to be that way. “If I’d been loved right, with the gifts that I had, I might have been a classical composer, having a very quiet life and a glass of wine, and not have been in this dirty pop business,” Corgan said.

Smashing Pumpkins are issuing their upcoming album, Monuments to an Elegy, on December 9th. So far the group has released three singles from the record: the dramatic “Tiberius,” the guitar rager “One and All” and rousing “Being Beige.” To make the record, he drafted Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee to play drums and he has recruited a similarly star-studded lineup to support the album on tour. The Killers’ bassist Mark Stoermer will play with the band on its upcoming international dates and Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk will be sitting behind the kit.

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