Brandon Wetherbee is the host of the talk show You, Me, Them, Everybody. He’ll be at Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles tonight at 5 p.m. with co-host Stephanie Hasz and guests Sara Benincasa, James Fritz and Zachary Lupetin
Billy Corgan made a commercial with his independent wrestling company for a furniture maker. Good for him.
My friend and editor of Death and Taxes Ned Hepburn wrote about legacy and Kurt Cobain and Corgan and how it’s better to burn out than to fade away. It’s worth reading. He’s 100% wrong.
Though it doesn’t really matter, please know that Nirvana is my favorite band and every note of ‘music’ I played in high school was influenced by the Smashing Pumpkins. For better or worse, I love and know these individuals in a way that makes me ashamed/who I am. So one love or whatever. I still listen to both bands. Ugh. I’m 14 forever. Moving on.
Cobain, the former front man for Nirvana, is easy to canonize. Near-perfect catalog, progressive stances on gay rights and gender issues, pretty and dead. But he was also a shitty dad and quit. He’s Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” without the oddly great dance-in-an-abandoned-fair-ground-with-estranged-daughter redemption scene. He’s just a pile of dust. A dumb, dead, asshole pile of dust.
Corgan, the former and once-again front man for the Smashing Pumpkins, is easy to mock. He’s sung about rats in cages. Highly flawed catalog. Confusing stances on gender rights. Bald. Pudgy. Ugly. Alive. Corgan wins.
Comparing Corgan and Cobain on a musical level is the only relevant comparison. But they wanted different things. Sure, they were both influenced by Black Sabbath, but Cobain wanted to sound like The Melvins and Corgan wanted to sound like My Bloody Valentine. It’s easy to sound like The Melvins on a budget. It’s not easy to sound like My Bloody Valentine on a budget. After the music, there’s nothing left to compare. Because one guy isn’t here.
Nearly 20 years after some 27-year-old shitty dad (good dads don’t do heroin) ate a gun, Corgan, a former peer of the guy that ate a gun, is happy. It’s obvious. The guy is living his 10-year-old self fantasy.
Corgan is the head of an independent wrestling league. This is cool! Not ironic cool, but cool cool! He gets to play a character of his choosing in a fantasy world that other people can enjoy. He gets to hang out with his developmentally disabled brother, giving him a story line and spotlight, making both his brother happy and being progressive for the developmentally disabled (Jesus Christ, this sentence is oddly worded. I’m passionate! I’m in a cage! The cage is a rocket! Let’s fly to the moon!).
In addition to making his brother happy and finding joy in wrestling, he’s providing an opportunity for gifted, artistic athletes to showcase their talents. Wrestling is an under-appreciated American art form. If Corgan had a record label like Jack White he’d be praised. Mocking Corgan for supporting what he loves is dumb.
The furniture company in the commercial is based in the Chicago suburbs, independent from big box stores and provides jobs in the U.S. Is there a better company for a rock star to support?
In case you haven’t seen the commercial (How could you not see it? It was on “Ellen” or some other daytime thing for people that like to dance in their living rooms.), here’s the easy-to-mock ad.
Is it rock and roll? Is it cool? Probably not. It’s a fun, dumb, mutually beneficial commercial that supports two local businesses and plays with wrestling stereotypes. Would it fit Cobain’s legacy? No. That guy was a dick that left his daughter. Fuck that guy. Long live Corgan and his decisions that confuse people that gave up on him decades ago.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.