Corgan slams current state of rock

Smashing Pumpkins mainman Billy Corgan has hit out at the current state of rock music – saying Radiohead are the only band to do “anything new with the guitar” in recent years.

And he says while other genres are moving forward, rock has been stuck in a rut for two decades.

He tells Entertainment Weekly: “If you look at most alternative rock music in 2015, it hasn’t really evolved for 20 years.

“We get our asses kicked by EDM or some of these artists that are more keyboard and drum machine and reverb. They’re engaging in new technology. Guitar isn’t new technology – there are only so many ways you can warp it around.

“Radiohead was probably the last band that really did anything new with the guitar.”

Earlier this year, Corgan urged artists to take a more aggressive stance against pop music. And while he picks out Queens Of The Stone Age and Royal Blood for having a “darker” edge, he says more needs to be done to help rock regain its foothold.

He continues: “If all you hear is pop and all you see are perfect performances and everybody smiling, to actually see a band invoke a darker spirit on stage and conjure it right in front of you in a mass of power you can’t explain, that is quite rare to that audience.

“No band in the past 15 years has come along and figured out how to do that. Most of the bands you can point to that have been successful that still do that, like Queens of the Stone Age, they’re coming from an earlier generation of power and an earlier language, even though they’re having contemporary success.

“There are some flashes, like a Royal Blood, where they’re trying to figure that power out, but they’re dealing with an audience that is so predisposed to pop.”

Corgan brought back drummer Jimmy Chamberlin for Smashing Pumpkins current US tour with Marilyn Manson. The band are currently working on Day For Night, the follow-up to last year’s Monuments To An Elegy.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.