Billy Corgan Says That Deerhunter Water Bottle Story Is a ‘Complete Fabrication’
Following Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox’s account of a particularly unpleasant encounter with Billy Corgan while opening for the Smashing Pumpkins a few years back, a representative for the Pumpkins has dismissed the story as a “complete fabrication” and threatened legal recourse. Cox has since retracted his previous statements, saying they were merely his “recollection” of events.
Smashing Pumpkins’ manager suggested Cox’s story was a ploy for press (via Pitchfork):
Several eyewitnesses can attest that Cox's account is a complete fabrication, probably to get some much needed attention. He is correct about one thing, that the whole thing is on tape, and that we have a video of the encounter. Since this is intentionally slanderous, I will likely suggest we pursue charges unless a retraction is forthcoming.
Cox issued his own statement, saying he regrets his onstage banter was filmed only to become part of the news cycle. He also extended his sympathies to Corgan, who recently penned a eulogy for his friend and peer Scott Weiland:
Firstly, I would like to say that my intention was not to defame Billy Corgan. What I did was open my big f---ing mouth and go off on one of my usual tangents. Some people call this "stage banter." I do not need, or seek any attention, and in fact was embarrassed that this ended up being uploaded to Youtube, and then considered a news story. The story I told was just a contextual rap about something that happened at the venue we were playing - 8 years ago. I will be the first to admit that there are two sides to every story and it is unfair that I gave mine without the other party being there to counter.
The thing that bothered me most about this incident was that after I got off stage I went to the bus and was reading about Scott Weiland's death (which I find very tragic) and happened upon Corgan's very moving and heartfelt tribute to his deceased friend. I do not find any humor in kicking someone while they are down. Bringing up a half-remembered interaction from so many years ago was not beneficial to anyone, especially If it causes someone who is already going through a dark moment to feel slandered or attacked. I feel very insensitive and stupid in that regard.
As far as what was said at the show, I prefaced it all by saying it was my recollection of the events. As Corgan's management has confirmed, it is all on video. I would like to avoid any further drama by just categorically retracting my statements out of respect. I respect anyone who has worked hard playing music for decades, seen their band fall apart because of things out of their control, continued to try to pursue artistic interests and had ups and downs. Perhaps I met Corgan and his crew at an especially difficult time for him. It would be completely hypocritical for me to imply that I have never been just as much of an asshole to people around me than I accused Corgan of being. Who am I to cast stones in a glass house?
I don't know Billy Corgan other than a 5 minute interaction that left a definite impression on me. I have no doubt there are many sides to his character. My statement was my recollection of the events mixed with some humor. It was meant to be taken as casual stage banter. Not defamation or slander. The easiest thing for me to do to kill this story and hopefully avoid anymore drama is to admit it now. I was tacky and I retract my statements. If the video from 2007 ever does surface I will be very interested to see how my memory matches or contradicts reality.
In all earnestness I offer Corgan my apologies and my empathy during what I imagine is a difficult time with the loss of his friend.
The scuffle between Cox and Corgan began when -- during a concert in Asheville, N.C., on Friday (Dec. 4) -- the Deerhunter singer recalled opening for the Smashing Pumpkins at that very same venue in 2007. Cox originally claimed that, after taking a water bottle from a pile, a Pumpkins crew member said, “What the f--- are you doing? This is Mr. Corgan’s water,” and shoved the singer against a wall. The following night, Cox and Corgan got into an argument over the incident:
They bring me out to the stage, and [Corgan] says to me, “I hear you’ve been causing a lot of trouble. Do you know who you are? You’re s---. You’re a s---ty little insignificant f---ing indie-rock band, and you were invited, not by me -- who knows what f---ing idiot in my management did this -- but you were invited to open for the Smashing Pumpkins.
Cox said he then “slapped” his backstage pass on Corgan’s leg, which Corgan called “assault.” Cox also alleged the Pumpkins crew damaged Deerhunter’s Moses Archuleta’s drum kit to the point it had to be replaced. Cox's story was captured in a fan-shot video, which can be seen below: