Billy Corgan is a legend, a blue blooded member of rock royalty, and he accomplished it all with a forehead like a cue ball and eyes that suggest he spent all night with an eight ball. Those facts are not entirely lost on The Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman, although in a new interview he expressed some bewilderment, saying, “For whatever reason, when I was younger, I was not considered good looking.”
In a wide-ranging conversation with Spotify’s Best Advice: The Podcast, he reflected on his personal branding, his day-to-day routine, his competitive spirit, and his not-insignificant ego. But one of the more illuminating sections came when Corgan examined his aesthetic, and his strange journey from looking like one of the more smashable dads at a Little League game to his own kind of international sex symbol. He explained,
“It’s kind of funny to me, and I’m saying this in a humble way: You know, for whatever reason, when I was younger, I was not considered good looking. So, my looks were not part of anybody’s formula as far as the success of the band. It was never talked about. Photographers would try to stick me in the back of photo shoots with the band and put other people [in front of me]. I swear to God… Well, you know, things change. Now the vampire look is in, right? But at the time, I was not considered a good-looking person. And people told me this — it’s not like I figured this out. People would tell me, ‘Oh, you’re just not good looking.’ Like it was bad for my career, right? So I had to make sort of critical judgments which is A) that’s really not gonna stop me or that’s not that important; B) I’m gonna be myself; if I’m a weirdo or a vampire or whatever, I’m just gonna be myself. And now, here we are 20-something years later, and people all the time talk to me about the way I looked, how it influenced them.”
That conversation starts at 13:36, and you can check it out below. If you, too, are feeling nostalgic for the Pumpkins’ younger days, look out for the reissue of Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, which Corgan said was nearly finished last January. Besides that, he still spends nearly every day in the studio, and you can hear some of his songwriting on AFI’s new single “Dulcería”. Plus, as he goes into on Best Advice, he’s still working on that memoir.