After rantin’ at SXSW on Monday about new artists, which he likened to “strippers,” and musicians today in general, Billy Corgan sat down for an interview with Billboard to further flesh out some of those ideas. In particular, they asked the Smashing Pumpkins frontman about his thoughts on Twitter, if the ’90s were really as great as everyone says (they were), and why artists need to be less concerned with appeasing Pitchfork.
You can read the full article at Billboard and check out some choice quotes below:
Billboard.biz: I came of age when the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were coming up. Does a 15-year-old today have the same type of bands they can get behind? The five or six or seven arena-size bands that actually mean something?
Billy Corgan: It’s so vital. Alternative culture at its best represents an evolution of values. I was talking about the misogyny and the racism in the early days — we helped break some of those values down by just being there. Then you have the rise of – let’s call it “false activism” – you know, “I’m Tweeting, therefore I’m active.” “I Tweet therefore I am.”
So what do you think could make [bands have a cultural impact]?
I think artists are going to have to create their own destination point. They’re going to have to create a world that is more vital and they have to get out of an ideology that they have to adhere to somebody else’s system of exploitation. Yes, there will be that band once a year or two ythat gets enough steam, but it ain’t 20, it ain’t 30, it ain’t 50. If it’s a marketing thing, where you’re going to have to figure out how to create enough marketing steam behind you, those people are going to want to partner with you, but it’s a partner relationship and not a subservient let-me-plug-myself-in-your-system-and-let-you-knock-me-around relationship. How many times do you see the kid who makes the album that Pitchfork loves and then the next one they hate? And then the kid’s going, “What happened?” And he’s got nothing.
You’re saying the kid needs to figure out their end goal before putting out their first record so it doesn’t matter whether Pitchfork likes them or not?
Yes. He has to exist in tandem. The gatekeepers don’t really matter anymore. His or her world has to be just as valuable to their fans as mine is to mine. And where you have like minds, then you can share audiences by Twitter. It’s a different model, though.