Billy Corgan says Kurt Cobain was "the most talented guy of our generation" and reveals he cried when Cobain died because he'd "lost his greatest opponent"

Billy Corgan and Kurt Cobain
(Image credit: Billy Corgan - Roy Rochlin/Getty Images / Kurt Cobain - Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan has described Nirvana's Kurt Cobain as "the most talented guy of our generation" and says that he cried when Cobain died in 1994 because he felt that he had lost "his greatest opponent."

Corgan's comments come in a new interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music.

Speaking about his competitive instincts, the Smashing Pumpkins' leader tells Lowe, "You know me well enough to know that when it's all said and done I want the Pumpkins standing on the top of the heap of our generation. And if that means I gotta write 800 songs to do it, I'll do it. I ain't shy about that.

"I will go down always as saying Kurt [Cobain] was the most talented guy of our generation," Corgan continues. "Kurt had so much talent it's like frightening, it was like a John Lennon level of talent, where you're like, How can you have all this talent? Or Prince, right? But Kurt's not here, you know, sadly... so I looked around, and I was like, Alright, well, I could beat the rest of them for sure."

Later in the interview, Corgan discusses taking time away from the music industry, and says that his peers didn't care if he ever returned to music "because that was one more person off the chessboard that they didn't have to beat or compete with."

"When Kurt died I cried, because I lost my greatest opponent," Corgan continues. "I want to beat the best. I don't want to win the championship because it's just me and a bunch of jabronis, to use a wrestling term."

Elsewhere in the interview, Corgan talks about his friendship with Deftones' Chino Moreno and U2, and reveals that he thinks that Amyl And The Sniffers' vocalist Amy Taylor is "a true rock star". 

Watch the full interview below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.