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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Gushes About Metal Favorites

Smashing Pumpkins
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Smashing Pumpkins’ music is all over the map — they touch on everything from psych rock and electronica to folk-tinged indie pop, sometimes — but frontman Billy Corgan isn’t shy to say that head-banging metal has always been a major influence. But while he personally is very vocal about the hard-hitting tunes he’s into, he feels that metal as a whole doesn’t get the respect that it deserves in the alternative community.

“Heavy metal is obviously way more mainstream than it used to be,” Corgan tells Artist Direct. “For the most part, musicality is really embraced in heavy metal. A lot of us ‘alt people’ have stolen vigorously from that musicality. Then, of course, those guys go and name check Radiohead as their influence and they fail to mention Mercyful Fate.”

When it comes to metal, there are four albums that Corgan lists as the ones that have made the biggest impact on his own music — discs from Black Sabbath, Slayer, Rainbow and the mighty Metallica — and he even goes so far as admitting that he straight-up rips off Sabbath in the Pumpkins. “If you think of quintessential Smashing Pumpkins, that’s the sound,” he explains, naming their self-titled 1970 debut his favorite of their albums. “I make no bones about it. I got it straight from Black Sabbath.”

As for the other three bands, he calls out Rainbow for their live shows. “If you really want to get something that’s mind-blowing,” he says of the DVD ’Live in Munich 1977,’ adding, “It’s pretty incredible.” He calls ‘Master of Puppets’ his favorite Metallica platter. And as for his love of Slayer, he sums it up in one sentence: “‘God Hates Us All’ is an amazing record,” he says.

Billy Corgan, metal head? Well, he did name a Pumpkins album ‘Metal Machine Music.’

Next: 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs

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