After declaring himself and the late Kurt Cobain the “best two songwriters” of 90s grunge, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has had a go at both Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam – bands who, like the Pumpkins and Nirvana, found their footing in 90s alt-rock.
As Alternative Nation note, an interview on yesterday’s The Howard Stern Show saw Corgan call Pearl Jam “derivative” when comparing the band to both Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana.
“[Pearl Jam] are a great band but you know, I’m a Beatles guy, a Stones guy and a Kinks guy… I just don’t think Pearl Jam have the songs. If you stack my songs up, Cobain’s songs up and that band’s songs up, they don’t have the songs,” Billy said, immediately angering Pearl Jam fans the world over.
Both Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins opened for The Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Blood Sugar Sex Magik Tour in the early 90s. Interestingly, Corgan told Stern that Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins are “competitors”, but he cannot fully understand Pearl Jam’s success.
“They’re a great band, still an arena act, they’ve been getting it done for a long time and I have to bow to that but it’s a mystery to me on how they have because I just don’t get it. They don’t have the songs,” Corgan continued.
“People will take that the wrong way but speaking competitively, they are my competitors and I have to say who am I competing against and why.”
Eventually, Corgan turned his thoughts to the Dave Grohl-fronted Foo Fighters, who released their eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, in November. Despite his admiration for Kurt Cobain, Corgan had some more critical things to say about Cobain’s former drummer.
“I’m not particularly thrilled with the Foo Fighters,” Corgan told Stern. “Dave [Grohl] is a great musician, a great songwriter and has done the work, but to me my criticism of the Foo Fighters, if I’m being a music critic, is that they just haven’t evolved… you know, making the same music.”
While most people would agree that Corgan’s music is more experimental than Grohl’s and Pearl Jam’s, Billy sounds slightly bitter about his competitors’ successes. “I’ve put my whole life on the line for making different types music as I’ve gone along,” Corgan said.
“I know it’s not for everybody. Listen, [Grohl]’s getting it done so it’s like, if you want to be competitive, my philosophy against his, he’s the one winning.”
Listen to Smashing Pumpkins’ appearance on The Howard Stern Show, below, alongside the band’s recent single Drum + Fife, from new album Monuments to an Elegy.
Listen: The Howard Stern Show Interviews Smashing Pumpkins (09/12/14)