Smashing Pumpkins lead vocalist Billy Corgan revealed how his father tore up his musical savant diploma during a recent visit on Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco Radio. The frontman recalled the incident, saying: “The great story I like to tell is that when I was very young, I was tested and found to be musically gifted, and they called my father, who was a musician.” ‘Your son’s probably a musical prodigy,’ they added. They gave me a sheet of paper and told me to circle the instrument that I wanted to play when I was seven years old or something.
Then I needed instruction, so I returned home, and when my father saw the price, he ripped up the paper and threw it away. That was the end of my musical career until then.” Corgan went on to tell another childhood incident about how his uncle tried to convince her out of playing the guitar: “I had a German and a Polish stepfamily.” And the Polish Uncle Henry, when he found that I wanted to play guitar when I was 14, he physically drew me aside and said, ‘There’s no future in the guitar. The accordion is what you want to play. You’ll never be out of work.’ And it’s like, ‘Is this real?’ when you’re having that conversation. Is he really attempting to get me to learn to play the accordion?’ He was also dead serious.”
In prior interviews, the singer discussed his father’s aggressive actions toward him as a child. Billy noted during one of them how his father had raised reservations about his professional decision. More recently, he discussed how his father forced him to become acquainted with narcotics at a young age, despite the fact that he never used them. He recalled those times: “So, it was nothing out of the ordinary in my house, like I don’t know.” You’re looking for something and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Is this the item I’m looking for?’ ‘My hat is in this bag?’ I don’t know. Nope, not in this bag.
When you open this leather bag, it smells like eight pounds of marijuana in the kitchen. My father used to take me along on drug deals. He’d probably leave me in the car to keep me safe.” The entire exchange can be viewed below.