Billy Corgan busts myth that Kurt Cobain was a slacker

Corgan says Cobain developed a "character" of himself

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has tried to correct the public misconception that Nirvana icon Kurt Cobain was a slacker.

Speaking to Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich on his It’s Electric radio show on Beats 1, Corgan recalled how his band “would get castigated for working too hard” in the ’90s, claiming Courtney Love told him that Smashing Pumpkins’ first album was “unfair because it sounds like a second album”.

Corgan went on to bust the myth that Cobain “would roll out of bed, take some drugs and write a fucking classic”.


“Kurt Cobain as a lyricist, as a songwriter, as visionary was a fucking assassin. He was great at what he did and it’s a shame he didn’t do more of it,” Corgan argued.

“He let people believe that he was the guy that was [like], ‘Uh, yeah, you know, uh…'”

“How many nights do you think, that long before Nirvana he sat in a fucking basement, trying to figure out, ‘Why does this chord go with this chord?’”.

“And listening to Nirvana’s early demos, listening to Nirvana’s first album, listening to the second album – his voice is changing. It’s not just changing physically, he’s finding the character of Kurt Cobain.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Corgan said that a Smashing Pumpkins reunion with D’Arcy Wretzky would be a “shitty reality show”.


Corgan said that he had “spent two years repairing my relationship” with Wretzky and that he still hasn’t “been in a room with her for 19 years”.

Describing their phone calls as “very pleasant”, Corgan said that “only when it became obvious that it wasn’t the way she wanted it to be, it turned into this thing that turned very reminiscent of the past”.

He added: “If you’re really not passionate about what you do and you’re not passionate about providing that passion to fans by extension and saying, ‘Look we really love what we do and we want to share this with you’. If that relationship is not at the heart of what you do, then what are you doing?”

“The thing that keeps you on the rudder is the music and the fact that somehow when the three of us come together, this magical thing happens that’s bigger than me, and I have no problem admitting to that. And if that’s not your guiding principle, then it’s a shitty reality show. And we don’t want the shitty reality show, we really don’t. We’d rather just stay on the music, and if we can do that, great.”