Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has reflected on being in the band during his younger years, a time he was “not considered good looking”.
Speaking on the most recent edition of Best Advice: The Podcast on Spotify (released May 20), Corgan touched upon a range of subjects including ego, his daily routine and his competitive nature.
At one point in the conversation, the musician recalled a piece of advice he was given by Smashing Pumpkins’ former manager in 1990 before they had released a studio album (their debut record ‘Gish’ came out in 1991).
“He said, ‘You write really pretty songs that girls like, and that’s all you should do. And if you do that you’ll be very successful. Skip all this rock and riffing – you don’t need any of that’.”
Corgan said that he’s had “hundreds of those conversations” since but has always stuck to his instinct of believing “my version is better”, adding: “If I lost with my version I could live with that.”
The singer then looked back on how he was judged over his appearance early on in his music career, but said he is now told his unique style “influenced” many fans.
“It’s kind of funny to me, and I’m saying this in a humble way: You know, for whatever reason, when I was younger, I was not considered good looking,” Corgan said.
“So, my looks were not part of anybody’s formula as far as the success of the band. It was never talked about. Photographers would try to stick me in the back of photo shoots with the band and put other people [in front of me]. I swear to God… Well, you know, things change.”
He continued: “Now the vampire look is in, right? But at the time, I was not considered a good-looking person. And people told me this – it’s not like I figured this out. People would tell me, ‘Oh, you’re just not good-looking’. Like it was bad for my career, right?
“So I had to make sort of critical judgments which is A) that’s really not gonna stop me or that’s not that important; B) I’m gonna be myself; if I’m a weirdo or a vampire or whatever, I’m just gonna be myself.
“And now, here we are 20-something years later, and people all the time talk to me about the way I looked, how it influenced them.”
You can listen to the conversation above at around the 12:30 mark.
Back in March, Smashing Pumpkins began work on their forthcoming joint sequel to their ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ and ‘Machina’ albums.