Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan railed against “posers” in the record industry in a one-on-one interview conducted by author Brian Solis at the SXSW festival yesterday in Austin, Texas. Over the course of the conversation, Corgan lamented changes in the way music is consumed that would’ve made it impossible for him to break into the record industry, much less become a prominent rock star.
After claiming that he would need to set himself on fire on YouTube to get noticed as an unknown act today, Corgan explained that today’s young artists “have grown up thinking that being famous is the goal, not to be respected – not to be dangerous.” He compared some artists to sex workers, saying that once you’ve score a record deal, “you’re just the fresh stripper.” The rocker showed some empathy for Lana Del Rey, noting that while he wasn’t surprised that she “crashed and burned” on Saturday Night Live because “she wasn’t ready for it,” he “didn’t think it was that bad.”
“Don’t call it rock & roll,” Corgan said near the end of the talk. “I was part of a generation that changed the world, and it was taken over by posers.”
After the interview, Corgan sat down for another chat at the Samsung Blogger Lounge in which the host declared him to be an “official online techie geek influencer social media elite expert.” In this chat, which you can watch below, Corgan explains why he is passionate about social media and its potential for directly connecting musicians with their audience. “There’s nothing wrong with technology,” says Corgan. “It’s when technology is the story and not the artist, that’s the problem.”