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Corgan wants rock to stand against pop

Billy Corgan has called on rock artists to behave more aggressively against pop music – and stop cosying up with members of the lighter genre.

His comments come after Gene Simmons sparked months of reaction to his assertion that “rock is dead,” and Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French this week said the scene wasn’t “regenerating with the youth” in the way it had in the past.

Corgan tells Australia’s The Morning Show: “Rock ’n’ roll will be fine – I just think it needs to be more aggressive in taking on pop music.

“Particularly in America there’s a very cosy relationship between rock stars and pop stars. I don’t think that’s a good relationship. Everybody belongs on their own side of the street for a good reason.”

The Smashing Pumpkins mainman defines a “rock star” as “an individual who pursues a vision to an end” and namechecks Axl Rose and Elton John as examples.

He adds: “A pop star is supposed to pray at some horrible idol of fame, which is fleeting. That contradiction, to me, is why everyone should stay on their own side.”

Corgan believes close relationship between rock and pop is one reason why music is struggling. “It sends out a message to kids that the only way to be successful is to package yourself,” he says.

“If you look at the history of the industry, the biggest stars are individuals. There’s only one Bob Marley, Ozzy Osbourne or Madonna. You can try but you can’t recreate them.

“The industry has become about following rather than leading. I think that’s reflected in the sales.”

Corgan took a swipe at pop “porn” stars last year, stating that the public have had enough of artists who use their sexuality to sell records.

Smashing Pumpkins launched 10th album Monuments To An Elegy last year, featuring Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee on drums. Day For Night, recorded at the same time, is expected in the coming months.

Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.