Outspoken Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has claimed that he and Kurt Cobain were the top two songwriters of the 90s grunge era, labelling other heavyweights of the time, such as Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, as a “distant third.”
Corgan’s comments came during a recent interview with The Independent, in which he said that the competitive spirit between himself and the Nirvana frontman drove the two singers to the top of the grunge game.
“In the purest sense of the word, we were competitors,” Corgan told The Independent. “He and I were the top two scribes, and everybody else was a distant third.”
Corgan’s self-given rank may be somewhat arrogant, given that Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and others where also at the height of their powers. But when you consider The Pumpkins slew of defining 90s singles, including Cherub Rock and Bullet with Butterfly Wings, he might just be onto something.
Despite Cobain bringing out the best in him, Corgan conceded that the two alt rock figureheads didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye. Yet whatever their differences, Corgan said he wished Cobain had survived in order to call-out the “crap” bands that followed in Nirvana’s stead.
“He and I didn’t necessarily get along,” said Corgan. “But I like to sing his praises, because he really was that talented.
“I like to think the world with him would have been a better place, and I like to think a lot of the crap music that followed wouldn’t have existed if he had been around to criticise it. Because he had the moral standing to slay generations with a strike of the pen.”
Corgan also got in a shot at Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder for previously admitting to “survivor’s guilt” in the wake of Cobain’s death. “That would be Eddie Vedder. Somehow he makes it about him even when it’s about somebody else!”
The Pumpkins frontman said he’s truculent relationship with Country Love, which preceded Love’s marriage to Cobain, gave him a “more personal perspective” of Cobain’s passing.
“I’d been in contact with Courtney 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, he was quarterback of the football team, leading the aesthetic and integrity charge. He knew how to navigate those things.”
The Smashing Pumpkins new album, Monuments To An Elegy, is due out Friday, 12th December.