Billy Corgan gives great quotes. Whether the Smashing Pumpkins frontman is blasting his mouth off about Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Courtney Love on the Howard Stern show or proclaiming that he's 'over' rock 'n' roll while promoting a new album, this guy does not hold back.
But though he's known for his incendiary opinions, there's a cuddly Dalai Lama hiding inside those 90s grunge t-shirts and iconic riffs. Here's the master of zen's 16 most philosophical quotes about life, the universe, and everything.
"I was kind of a cosmic child. As a little kid, I remember wondering about God and the universe. I just remember reading bits of National Geographic magazine and watching shows on public television and being entranced by this thread of spirituality running throughout the world. There seemed to be this kind of secret chant for forgiveness and spiritual redemption."
"I've always been spiritual but I've never had a proper context, and it took me awhile to find the proper context. It's hard to realise you can have any kind of relationship with God you want... and so I now have a punk rock relationship with God."
"I went to see a shaman. He put his hands on me, and I cried like a baby for an hour."
"The indie world won't have me, and mainstream world treats me like an alien, but here I am still floating between these two worlds."
"A good artist is willing to die many times over. What's funny is, I've died so many times."
"Like any good tree that one would hope to grow, we must set our roots deep into the ground so that what is real will prosper in the Light of Love."
"Most people are living lives of sort of survival. And constantly posing an existential crisis, either through fantasy or oblivion, really has been pretty much explored in rock 'n' roll. At least in the western version of rock 'n' roll."
"My mother came to a Smashing Pumpkins gig once, and I was wearing a dress. She was very upset. She said, 'Everyone's gonna think you’re a fag.' I said, 'Well, they already think I'm an asshole."
"Music's pretty cool and I'm glad to be a part of it. Sometimes when you reach for the stars, you end up in the fucking shit. I don't believe in God. I don't believe in America. I don't believe in rock 'n' roll. I believe in me."
"I've never had coffee. I've always hated the smell. It was always tea. I was a pretty typical kid, though. I grew up drinking Lipton. I didn't know there was other tea to drink."
"Even if you don't believe in God, exploring fully the idea of a God or Gods should pose no threat to you."
"I don't necessarily believe that the sting of failure is a bad thing. It gives you a certain amount of freedom to just say 'fuck it!'."
"I'm not going to die glamorously. I'll probably be eating a Twinkie, take a bite, and fall over."
"Shave your head, wear a 'ZERO' shirt. Take away your identity. What do you have? You still have yourself."
"You know Americans are obsessed with life and death and rebirth, that's the American Cycle. You know, awakening, tragic, horrible death and then a Phoenix rising from the ashes. That's the American story, again and again."
"I was never violent, but I had that streak underneath me all along. People who have known me all my life, when they first saw us play, they were like, 'Holy fuck,' because I'd turn into this beastie. They had never seen that side of me, but I knew it was there."