Billy Corgan Says Guitar Is Now ‘More Like a Prop’ In Alternative Rock
We know that Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan doesn't care for a lot of aspects of today's music industry: distribution of streaming revenues, the "feckless idiots" who run the industry and asinine questions about Kurt Cobain's death are a few recent examples.
Speaking of Cobain, at a recent Q&A in Atlanta, Corgan lamented the state of modern alternative rock and said, "You do not hear people playing guitar the way Kurt Cobain played guitar.
Corgan said in full:
Listen to most alternative rock, you hear very little guitar. You hear a slight return to guitar in maybe the last year, but it’s more like a prop. You do not hear people playing guitar the way Kurt Cobain played guitar, the way I played, even a Stone Gossard [of Pearl Jam], you know what I mean? A very individuated style, that says this is our band, and this is the way we rock.
He went on to shoot down the use of the Telecaster guitar, lambasting it for its "real thin sound" that doesn't intrude on the track's vocals:
Guitar is a prop in alternative music now, and the reason most of them play Telecasters, for anyone that knows music, is because it’s a real thin sound. It gets a lot of energy, and does not get in the way of the vocal, because it’s all about the vocal. So when we look at that landscape right, and we can not get played on the radio, and the difference between that audience knowing our new music and not, is can we break through? To me it’s the same, when we looked at the landscape in 1992, or 1994, when we were making those albums, we still had to step back and say: ‘Okay, if we’re going to penetrate this market, can we do it in our own style?’ And I think there’s plenty of substantive stuff in the Pumpkins’ past that shows I can penetrate any of those markets if I write an A-level song and we produce it in a contemporary frame.
Smashing Pumpkins are currently on the road in the U.S., so check out their upcoming tour dates at their website.