Billy Corgan

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William Patrick Corgan, Jr. (born March 17, 1967), most commonly known as Billy Corgan, is an American vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter best known for his work in the alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins.


  • The simplest way that I can understand therapy is that we're born a certain way, we're taught to be something different, and we spend our whole lives trying to unravel it and ultimately align ourselves with who we really are. Life, experiences, traumas -- whatever -- they all add up to make you some altered version of what you are. So there's this battle that goes on between what you are and what you become, and it's been very important for me to unravel what I was taught to be or what I became. and to draw a direct parallel to music -- the closer I get back to being who I really am, the stronger the music gets, because I think what talent I do have is connected to that person, it's not a manipulative process, it's intuitive. You can learn about chords and guitars, but there's a piece of you that makes it individual, and it's been a slow process for me to become whatever it is that I'm supposed to be.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996
  • I think the original, 'They're the next Jane's Addiction' things that people said about us in the beginning have been pretty much wiped out.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • I have a hard time thinking of men trying to sing my songs, because I think my perspective is very much feminine... For me the idea of having a feminine perspective is a willingness to be vulnerable. It's very easy to cock-rock and posture. I can't help but wear my heart on my sleeve—I'm like nervous endings. That's just the way that I am and, to me, that's very female because it's not a male thing to do. A male thing to do would be to fuckin' posture.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • The closer I get back to being who I really am, the stronger the music gets.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • When you move artistically, the natural inclination is to denounce everything that's gone before.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • My earliest memory is of feeling different. My parents told me that I wasn't like other children.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • To me, music was about being accepted and escaping from this crummy existence.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • The Smashing Pumpkins was never meant to be a small band. It was going to either be a big band, or a no band.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • We have a problem with any labels that people try to hang on us, because all it does is drag you down.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • People act like Nirvana invented grunge; they just took it and personified it.
    • Stapleton, Jim. Smashing Pumpkins (Interview disk and fully illustrated book). Carlton Books Ltd. 1996.
  • About six months ago, I listened to Siamese Dream. That was the first time I'd ever really heard my own album, because I had separated from the experience of making the record. And it really moved me. It made me cry, it's so beautiful.
    • "Out on a Limb." Details Magazine. October 1996.
  • This is not a reaction against a negative world. It's a response to a negative world.
    • regarding Adore, Guitar World. July 1998.
  • People always called The Cure gloomy, but listening to The Cure made me happy. There was something about the gloominess that gave me comfort, and I think we're the same way.
    • Corgan, William. Interview. Playboy. (Month?), 1997.
  • Music is 99% of my life. But I know I need a break. Besides, if you give people too much, they start to not want it. We need to restrain ourselves.
    • USA Today. Date???
  • The Pumpkins love rock-and-roll, we absolutely love it, but we also think it's a flatulent, ego-serving kiddie playground. You can have your cake and eat it too.
    • "Out on a Limb." Details Magazine. October 1996.
  • ...Instead of taking the 'I'm cool, I hope you adore me' path (with my music), I chose the path of how to connect. I think that's the reason a lot of people feel a deeper connection with our band than other bands, and I also feel that's why people polarize on us. If you don't get it, it seems preposterous; if you do get it, it's really heavy -- it has a weight to it.
    • "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Success." LIVE! Magazine. August 1996.
  • There's a really a cold, cold side to my personality that I'm not really comfortable with. I'm constantly dealing with that side of my personality versus my overly sentimental side… There's just a side that's a real motherfucker side; it's nothing I want to admit or even look at. It's where a lot of my strength lies. It's been the part of me that's been able to steel my spine against situations that probably would have broken a lot of people, or caused them to jump off the loop.
    • "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Success." LIVE! Magazine. August 1996.
  • For a 6-foot-3 guy with no hair and a whiny voice, I've done all right.
    • USA Today. Date???
  • Actually, I was having dinner with Michael (Stipe, of R.E.M.) when our second album went platinum, which up until that point was the highest success we'd ever had. And he turned to me during dinner and said, 'Welcome to the deep waters, kid.' I'll never forget that.
    • Icon Magazine. April 1998.
  • One of the other reasons that we quit having journalists come here is because they would kind of hang out for several days, and they'd see me around at the clubs, and the story would get written and it would be me and my 'disciples' or my 'acolytes.' The word acolyte - that's like fuck you. These are my friends, but because they're not Billy Corgan or Helena Christensen, they become my 'posse' or my 'followers,' and it's like, fuck you for insulting my friends like that. That's so fucking incredible to me.
    • Icon Magazine. April 1998.
  • I don't necessarily believe that the sting of failure is a bad thing. It gives you a certain amount of freedom to just say fuck it!
    • Guitar World. July 1998.
  • My mother came to a Smashing Pumpkins gig once, and I was wearing a dress. She was very upset. She said, 'Everyone's gonna think you're a fag.' I said,'Well, they already think I'm an asshole.'
    • Rolling Stone. 23 January 1997.
  • It's about the girlfriend who left me last year. I tried to put all my anger in those words, even though I'm just as much to blame for the break-up. 'Soma' is based on the idea that a love relationship is almost the same as opium: it slowly puts you to sleep, it soothes you, and gives you the illusion of sureness and security. Very deceivable.
    • regarding "Soma"; van den Berg, Erik. "Smashing Pumpkins." Oor. 10 June 1993.
  • We're like a really nice drink. We help people get through the day--we make life a little sunnier. I don't think we have any profound effect. If anybody has had a profound effect, it's The Beatles, and their effect is still minimal. There are things in the world way more important than music. Family is 50 times more important than music.
    • Corgan, William. Interview. Playboy. (Month?), 1997.
  • ...What people miss about (Marilyn) Manson is that he is just reflecting, he's an artist, people want to focus that energy on him, but it's not really him, it's really about you. So for every guy sitting there with a beer and a .45 in his belt, Manson is just speaking to that end of society. He's speaking as an artist. He's not speaking as himself, and that's where people get really lost with Manson.
    • Corgan, William. Interview. 1998 Pre-Grammy Show. MTV. 25 February 1998.
  • I get more out of life just being myself, by just being a human being. Not by being a rock star, not by being whatever. Sometimes I act like a jerk, but I think people respect me for being myself. That's the ultimate thing about the Smashing Pumpkins.
    • Lewman, Mark. Dirt Magazine. 1992.
  • I'm Irish and I was born on St. Patrick's Day. I'm lucky sevens.
    • Corgan, William. Interview. Chicago Sports Channel. April 1997.


  • Music's pretty cool and I'm glad to be a part of it. Sometimes when you reach for the stars, you end up in the fucking shit. I don't believe in God. I don't believe in America. I don't believe in rock-and-roll. I believe in me.
  • If you take any band that's ascended to stadium rock and look at their live show it becomes a series of everybody-put-your-hands-in-the-air singalongs. Why is that? Because they're dealing with the lowest common denominator of the musical audience -- the least amount of sophistication and the least amount of emotional connection with the band... And sometimes when we play, I feel that people are only there to hear 'Disarm' or 'Today' and they don't give a fuck about the rest of the show or who we are as people, yet they want some emotion from us.
  • Great music completely obliterates any conceptions of genre.
  • Why do I need 1,000 people validating my existence?
  • Don't judge yourself by somebody else's standards. You will always lose.
  • Life is everything and nothing all at once.
  • Everything about life makes me lonely.
  • If practice makes perfect and nobody's perfect then why practice?
  • If I had spent fourteen months in a small room with Jesus, I'd want to fist fight with him.
  • We are, we have been, and always will be the Smashing Pumpkins.
  • Once a pumpkin, always a pumpkin.
  • Been there, done that, seen it, heard it, pissed on it.
    • from a SPIN magazine article
  • Some people want to express...apathy with noise and brutality...It's the want to transcend all that, to find some deeper essence in life that drives me.
  • When I watch a puppet show, I'm not watching the puppets -- I'm trying to see who's pulling the strings.
  • Everyone has a misguided perception of my brain. When people ask me questions about being sad, or thinking sad, or wanting to be sad, or do I listen to sad songs, it makes me think that I must be sad.
    • from a 'Rockline' interview
  • The basic thing is just fuck everybody. It's that feeling where no one understands: 'Who the fuck are my friends? Fuck you. Fuck everybody. Fuck everything.' It's just that thought - pure frustration.
    • regarding "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)"
  • And with 'disconnection,' we're talking about different levels of existence here, like in high school. I'd sit and look at that fuckin' clock and think, 'I'm not gonna make it! I can't make through the rest of this day - I'm gonna freak out, I'm gonna fuckin' strangle this teacher, I'm gonna fuckin' shoot this guy next to me!' Well how do you get through that? You just turn yourself off. How do you get through, like, your fuckin' parent beating you over the head? You just shut it off.
    • regarding the "disconnection" lyric in "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)"
  • I don't know if God would agree with me, but believing in God is kind of unimportant when compared to believing in yourself. Because if you go with the idea that God gave you a mind and an ability to judge things, then he would want you to believe in yourself and not worry about believing in him. By believing in yourself you will come to the conclusion that will point to something.
  • The thing that makes it all worth it is when someone comes up and says, 'I had a really hard time in my life and your album really helped me.' As long as that happens, all the idiots in the world and all the stupid press can say what they want to; it just doesn't matter.
  • You see all those empty seats? That's not who we play for -- we play for you. I want you to remember we won't forget you -- so don't you forget about us.
    • to diehard fans who stayed at a concert for "Silverfuck"
  • This is war, motherfucker, and don't you forget it. It's us versus them, and if you're giving in you're giving up.
    • from the introduction to The Aeroplane Flies High box set
  • In the beginning, I just viewed them as a cute teen band riding the grunge wave, then they seemed to 'go away' for awhile, so when I heard that they were 'all grown up,' I didn't think much of it ... but when I came across what they were doing, I was struck by the brilliance of it, and the honesty in it, and realized how wrong I'd been. ... Silverchair's mature work evokes for me the best of highly melodic, emotional music with a true understanding of rock grandeur...those are rare forces, not very often put together.
    • "on Silverchair's Young Modern album"
  • Music has basically followed a shallow route for 50 years. People come along, do something really cool and different, everyone copies them, the original gets diluted, distorted, and eventually the diluted, in most cases, achieves more success than the thing that started it. And I kinda thought the alternative scene was gonna be different: We thought 'Brave new world!' So it's really weird to be competing against the imitators. It wasn't always comfortable competing against Nirvana, and it was certainly not healthy living under that shadow at times. But at least there was honor in it. We always respected that it was a great band - Pearl Jam too. But competing against Bush?! It's nothing to get your dick hard about, you know what i mean? There's no mojo in that!
  • As a 28 year old who's lived long enough to know the difference, I know now that the feelings I felt at 16 were not necessarily correct. But however overly dramatic, the desperation and hopelessness I felt at 16 was my reality.
  • I think sex would be the keyword. Our music is kind of like having sex. Well, sometimes you go fast sometimes you go slow sometimes you stop.
    • On the Pumpkins' style and their dynamics. Part of an interview on the Mashed Potatoes Box Set. Disc 4 track 1.

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