Billy Corgan recently discussed why he’s a firm believer that Kurt Cobain was playing dumb on purpose most of the time while chatting with Rolling Stone and addressed numerous topics, from being labeled as a ‘conspiracist’ to politics.
When it came to making snidey and controversial remarks, Corgan never really held back in the ’90s, always blatantly sharing whatever went through his head and not minding whether his words would create a fuss. So, while talking about his a-bit-problematic attitude, the topic drifted to his past comments and how many labeled him a ‘conspiracy theorist.’
The rocker noted that he had stopped stressing about how people perceived him or his comments a long time ago, saying that people’s views didn’t matter much to him. He knew being a musician granted him freedom of expression; he could be fun, witty, and sometimes even stupid when he was on stage or in the studio, which helped him a lot when it came to playing dumb against criticism.
Billy then continued his words by recalling how he was reading some of the unreleased lyrics from Nirvana’s, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ and realized how much Cobain, who Smashing Pumpkins frontman considered to be very intelligent and sentient, used his lyrics to play dumb throughout the song. This revelation seems to have helped out Billy’s approach to delicate matters as well.
Since Kurt never bothered to be serious and just let whatever he was thinking to pour into his lyrics, his attitude made it easier for him to play dumb and reduce himself to an artist who had the freedom to express whatever he felt through his music rather than controversial statements, and people never really bothered him for that.
Corgan’s words on how he didn’t care what people think and why Cobain played dumb:
“I had to long ago give up the idea of what people thought about what I did. That ship sailed in ’92. In music, you can be glib, ironic, stupid, funny, and revelatory in the same song. I was reading some of Kurt Cobain’s unreleased lyrics the other day from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ and there’s some great stuff in there that’s not in the final song.
Kurt, the person I admired, who was obviously very intelligent and very sentient, could play dumb in a way that was funny. You knew he was playing dumb on purpose. When you lose the ability to be sublime in culture, especially when you have a history of being a multifaceted and complex creature, and your only choice is to reduce yourself into binary decisions, I’m out. You guys, speaking pejoratively, you guys have at it, have fun with that. Write your dueling memes. I got other stuff to do.”
The rocker seemed to have taken a few tips from Kurt’s book and learned not to take people’s views as seriously as he used to. Cobain’s ability to act indifferent or ‘dumb’ in his lyrics surely helped out the singer deflect any criticism that could target him since he preferred to express his feelings through music and not controversial statements like Corgan.