“I started a band to kick your f*cking head in”—Billy Corgan accepts the Vanguard Award at the APMAs

July 22, 2014
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Two nights ago (July 21) in Cleveland, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan received the Vanguard Award at the inaugural AP Music Awards for his legendary career in music. Recently retired pro wrestler CM Punk presented the award to Corgan, who then went on to give a heartfelt speech, preaching his defiant message to a younger generation.

Photo Credit: @photosbychrismartin

“Now, I know you’ve been out here a long time,” Corgan begins, “and I’m not gonna say a lot, because you wanna here the bands play, as you should. The kids rule, the kids always rule, the kids win—and they should. Kids should always kick motherfuckers like me out of the way—and I mean that. I’m no legend; your favorite song is legend; your favorite band is legend; your favorite concert is legend. That’s what makes it work. You make it work. Every generation deserves its dream, its bands, its artists, its voices. I’m glad to see you have those bands with you here tonight. It’s awesome.”

He goes on to thank fellow AP Music Award-recipient Joan Jett for being and incredible artist and having an incredible career, before defending the word “career” itself: “And yes it’s a career. It’s called a ‘career.’ It’s okay to make money. It’s okay to sell things. It’s okay to sell T-shirts. Nobody gets hurt.”

In the climax of his speech, Corgan stresses the need for alternative music to push peoples's buttons, while honoring the musicians present at the awards show for doing just that. “I didn’t start a fucking band to be anybody’s bitch,” he adds, “I started a band to kick your fucking head in.” Read the rest of Corgan’s speech (and watch it) below, and let us know your thoughts on what he had to say.

“Let me say this last thing to you: There’s two paths you take when you first put on that guitar or sing that song. And that’s “Do I wanna please the audience?” Or “Do I wanna push that audience’s buttons?” And in alternative music, which Alternative Press has been putting across for how many years now, you have to be able to push those buttons. You understand what those button pushes mean, but most of the world doesn’t. They just see angry people screaming about God knows what. Over 25 years ago, I made that decision that I was gonna push your buttons, or the people that came before you. And I like to think I’m receiving this in humility, because I am willing to push your buttons. Because I am willing to tell you to go fuck yourself. I didn’t start a fucking band to be anybody’s bitch; I started a band to kick your fucking head in. What I love about the bands that are coming up here tonight: That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to kick your head in, and they should. You deserve it. You deserve your bands to push you, to make you question everything about you, because if they don’t do it, nobody else will—and you do understand that. So God bless you. Thank you very much.”

@billy 's speech at the APMAs was short, direct and pretty great. http://t.co/kIVYk4TLfD

— eric devlin (@DevlinToyDesign) July 22, 2014

“I didn't start a band to be anybody's bitch, I started a band to kick your fucking head in.” – Billy Corgan at #APMAS

— Aimee Gomez (@aimeegomez56) July 22, 2014

Your speech was out of this world. Nothing but the truth. @Billy #APMAS

— Eliza Wizpire (@chavez1315) July 22, 2014

I'm actually crying during Billy Corgan's speech. #APMAS

— Kylie Jordan (@poppunkandmetal) July 22, 2014

Billy Corgan’s speech has absolutely been the best thing about #APMAs so far.

— DALES. (@brianlogandales) July 22, 2014

Congratulations to Billy Corgan for winning the Vanguard award! #APMAS

— BryanStars (@BryanStars) July 22, 2014

Billy Corgan's speech at the #APMAs was absolutely epic!!!

— Albert m/ (@ItsJustMeAlbert) July 22, 2014

Billy Corgan's speech is so beautiful im almost crying #APMAS #APMusicAwards

— Melissa Schwan (@DJSchwanzy) July 22, 2014

.@Billy Corgan won the Vanguard Award #APMAS & I got to say hello & thumbs up his speech! #billycorgan #beatsmusic pic.twitter.com/dgyWyQ8lmP

— Suzy Cole (@suzytothec) July 22, 2014

Billy Corgan's speech expressed why punk rock is my forever music. #AMPA

— Miranda (@MirandaMell0) July 22, 2014

Written by Matt Crane