UPDATE: Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox retracts Billy Corgan altercation claim

It was just this past weekend that Deerhunter‘s frontman Bradford Cox recounted an altercation he had in 2007 with Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan which reportedly resulted in Corgan calling for Deerhunter drummer Moses Archuleta to be thrown down a flight of stairs. Now, he’s swiftly doubled back to retract and apologise for making said claim.

Originally, Cox claimed that Billy Corgan’s security guard manhandled him, and that Corgan heaped a tirade of insults upon him, including:

I hear you’ve been causing a lot of trouble. Do you know who you are? You’re shit. You’re a shitty little insignificant fucking indie rock band. And you’re invited — not by me, who knows what fucking idiot in my management did this — but you are invited to open for the Smashing Pumpkins.

The retraction, which has been posted on Pitchfork, comes after the threat of legal action out of the Smashing Pumpkins’ camp, which we detailed yesterday. In his statement, Cox says that his intention was not to defame Corgan. He adds that he doesn’t need or want to seek attention and finds it embarrassing that the entire thing has ended up evolving into a news story.

His intention had been to engage in a bit of stage banter, telling a story about something that had happened at a previous show that Deerhunter had played at the venue, the Orange Peel. In the video footage from the recent show, Cox can be heard saying that there will never come a time that he doesn’t tell the story when he plays the Orange Peel, but I’ll bet all my money that stance has changed.

You can read Cox’s lengthy statement below, in which he also says that he didn’t want to kick anyone while they were down following the recent death of Corgan’s friend and former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer, Scott Weiland and that if nothing else, he felt the entire thing was just “tacky”.

Firstly, I would like to say that my intention was not to defame Billy Corgan. What I did was open my big fucking mouth and go off on one of my usual tangents. Some people call this “stage banter.” I do not need, or seek any attention, and in fact was embarrassed that this ended up being uploaded to Youtube, and then considered a news story. The story I told was just a contextual rap about something that happened at the venue we were playing – 8 years ago. I will be the first to admit that there are two sides to every story and it is unfair that I gave mine without the other party being there to counter.

The thing that bothered me most about this incident was that after I got off stage I went to the bus and was reading about Scott Weiland’s death (which I find very tragic) and happened upon Corgan’s very moving and heartfelt tribute to his deceased friend. I do not find any humor in kicking someone while they are down. Bringing up a half-remembered interaction from so many years ago was not beneficial to anyone, especially If it causes someone who is already going through a dark moment to feel slandered or attacked. I feel very insensitive and stupid in that regard.

As far as what was said at the show, I prefaced it all by saying it was my recollection of the events. As Corgan’s management has confirmed, it is all on video. I would like to avoid any further drama by just categorically retracting my statements out of respect. I respect anyone who has worked hard playing music for decades, seen their band fall apart because of things out of their control, continued to try to pursue artistic interests and had ups and downs. Perhaps I met Corgan and his crew at an especially difficult time for him. It would be completely hypocritical for me to imply that I have never been just as much of an asshole to people around me than I accused Corgan of being. Who am I to cast stones in a glass house?

I don’t know Billy Corgan other than a 5 minute interaction that left a definite impression on me. I have no doubt there are many sides to his character. My statement was my recollection of the events mixed with some humor. It was meant to be taken as casual stage banter. Not defamation or slander. The easiest thing for me to do to kill this story and hopefully avoid anymore drama is to admit it now. I was tacky and I retract my statements. If the video from 2007 ever does surface I will be very interested to see how my memory matches or contradicts reality.

In all earnestness I offer Corgan my apologies and my empathy during what I imagine is a difficult time with the loss of his friend.