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Billy Corgan Tries to Explain His Pissing on Radiohead Quote

Billy Corgan Radiohead
Michael Loccissano / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Billy Corgan has been at this whole “rock star” thing long enough to know that when you say something that could possibly be construed as controversial or offensive, the press is going to run with it — so we have to at least give him credit for reacting to the brouhaha over his “I’ll piss on Radiohead” quote with the equivalent of a goodnatured shrug.

Speaking to MTV about the Smashing Pumpkins‘ new album ‘Oceania,’ Corgan was (of course) asked what he meant when he said he’d relieve himself on one of the most critically beloved rock bands of the last 20 years, and he elaborated a bit.

“The context of the quote was saying, ‘I’m willing to poke fun at something because there’s so much pomposity around it that it’s treated as reverent and holy,’” Corgan pointed out. “So what ends up happening? The quote ends up getting picked up, which shows [people think] ‘How dare anybody criticize the band that’s un-criticizable?’ And that’s really funny.”

“Why is a band un-criticizable?” questioned Corgan. “I’m an artist who it is apparently OK to criticize, and I’ve made a career out of playing with that criticism and subverting it.”

As far as Corgan is concerned, it all boils down to “the same high school game” of who’s cool and who isn’t. “You can say in a crowded room that ‘Oh, I love Radiohead,’ and everyone goes, ‘Oh yeah, me too.’ But if you say ‘I love Iron Maiden,’ people go ‘What?’” he insisted. “Why are those fans ignored? It’s the same high school game … it’s still the same s—. It’s still some guy in a corner with a beard telling me I’m not cool enough, yet I pioneered the very form of music that he’s still talking about 20 f—ing years later.”

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