Billy Corgan mourned the loss of his “greatest opponent” when Kurt Cobain died.
The Smashing Pumpkins frontman wept when the Nirvana frontman’s death by suicide aged 27 was announced in April 1994.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, he recalled: “When Kurt died, I cried because I lost my greatest opponent.
“I want to beat the best. I don’t want to win the championship because it’s just me and a bunch of jabronis — to use a wrestling term.
“It’s like Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest sports competitor I’ll ever see in my lifetime.”
Interestingly, months after Kurt’s passing, Smashing Pumpkins earned their first-ever number-one album with 1995’s ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’.
Nirvana had unexpected success with their landmark second album, 1991’s ‘Nevermind’, which topped the Billboard 200 chart in the US the following year and ended up selling around 300,000 copies a week.
The 56-year-old rocker rarely talks about their rivalry, but previously admitted he and Kurt “didn’t get along”, but he can’t speak a bad word about the Grunge pioneer because he was “that talented”.
He told The Independent in 2014: “I had a much more personal perspective, because I’d been in contact with Courtney [Love, Kurt’s widow] through a lot of the setting up of that period, and afterwards. I found it devastating because, whether we wanted to admit it or not, he was quarterback of the football team, leading the aesthetic and integrity charge. He knew how to navigate those things.”
Billy added: “Now, he and I didn’t necessarily get along.
“But I like to sing his praises, because he really was that talented. I like to think the world with him would have been a better place, and I like to think a lot of the crap music that followed wouldn’t have existed if he had been around to criticise it. Because he had the moral standing to slay generations with a strike of the pen.”