Billy Corgan Says Modern Rock Isn’t Ambitious Enough

Smashing Pumpkins frontman and self described “misanthrope” Billy Corgan has again spoken out about what he thinks is a stagnant rock music scene, criticising the genre and its fans for being too “passive” and not progressive enough in comparison to others.

Speaking to Fairfax, the always outspoken Corgan criticised the genre for taking few risks and not being ambitious enough. He says a sign of the apathy of rock fans is that the criticism he’s expressed so about some of his contemporaries hasn’t been more widely condemned.

“What’s struck me from the reaction I’ve got is that rock’n’roll is so passive. It’s a get-along crowd,” he says. “It seems cozy in a way that is anti-progress. And the music, on some levels, is a result of that. The guitar feels like you have a pea-shifter compared to the DJ’s laser.”

Sonically, Corgan takes particular aim at what he perceives to be alternative rock’s inability to let go of nostalgia for ’90s grunge – something he has been vocal about on many occasions, not just since the release of Smashing Pumpkins’ latest album Monuments to an Elegy.

“There does seem to be a feeling from some people that we don’t know what else to talk about, so let’s go back to that beautiful moment,” he says. “There’s a beautiful flattery in that, but by playing along you play into a narrative you don’t agree with, and that becomes a problem.”

Corgan’s comments follow those he made late last year, when he declared himself and the late Kurt Cobain the “best two songwriters” of 90s grunge, called Pearl Jam “derivative” and said the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl “haven’t evolved”.

Wonder what Kim Gordon would have to say about all this?

For fans keen to ask Corgan himself about his perception of the current rock music scene, check out Music Feeds’ Ultimate Smashing Pumpkins Sidewave Experience competition, where you can win a pass to the band’s Melbourne or Sydney Sidewaves plus watch an exclusive three-song post-soundcheck acoustic set and have a Q&A session with the band.

Photos: The Smashing Pumpkins, Wolfmother – Entertainment Centre, Sydney 31/07/2012 / Photos: Olivia Hadisaputra

Smashing Pumpkins Soundwave Festival 2015 Sidewaves

With Gerard Way and One Ok Rock

Monday 23rd February 2015

Festival Hall, Melbourne

Tickets: Ticketmaster

Wednesday, 25th February 2015NEW VENUE

Big Top Luna Park, Sydney (Licensed all ages)

Tickets: Ticketek

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