Billy Corgan compares ’90s music scene to a high school ‘popularity contest’

The Smashing Pumpkins frontman sat down with Metallica's Lars Ulrich to discuss the past and present of the band

Billy Corgan has compared the ’90s music scene to a high school “popularity contest” in a new interview.

As frontman of the Smashing Pumpkins, the musician was one of a number of revered stars in the grunge era, alongside the likes of Nirvana, Hole, and Pearl Jam.

Speaking to Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich on Beats 1, Corgan has reflected on those days, hitting out at the “hypocrisy” of the coverage of bands from those times. “If everybody is sort of branded with the same brush, okay we can live that,” he said. “But you know, you’d see some people would be exalted and their sins were forgivable.”

He continued: “It really reminded me of high school, which I didn’t like. So now I’m in the bigger high school and now we’re playing with millions of dollars and millions of people, and it’s just like a popularity contest. And it brought out maybe the worst or the best in my personality, which was like, ‘I’m gonna take this on and I’m gonna use myself as the battering ram so I’m gonna make it about me, knowing it’s not about me.'”

Elsewhere in the interview, he also discussed seeing Metallica live and feeling like they were the kind of band who “understood” him. “You guys look like the guys I fucking went to school with,” he told Ulrich. “These guys understand the world that I’m in, which is nowhere fucking land. It wasn’t just, ‘Oh, here’s Metallica, the hot new band.’ These guys understand, thank god somebody gets it.”

Last week (May 9), Corgan shared a teaser image of the music video for Smashing Pumpkins’ comeback single, ‘Solara’.

In the photo, the frontman wore an outfit similar to that which he wore in the band’s ‘Adore’ eta. The video was directed by Nick Koenig, who has recently worked with the likes of Marshmello and Lil Peep.