Billy Corgan’s teahouse opens today in Highland Park, IL 12:45 pm // Thursday, September 13, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, chicago, food, Madame ZuZu's, news, video.
Madame ZuZu’s, the North Shore teahouse that Billy Corgan has been working to open for some months now, is finally open for business. Corgan is holding court at the establishment today and sat for two brief interviews with WFLD-FOX Chicago’s Patrick Elwood. Elwood talked to some Zuzu’s patrons and queried Corgan a bit about his business plan for ZuZu’s and also found out a bit about some of the teas on offer.
According to a tweet, Corgan plans to play an acoustic set at 1pm – around 15 minutes from this posting. Are you at ZuZu’s today? Feel free to weigh in in our comments.
Corgan gets even with Chris Cornell, calls out U.S. alternative radio 10:35 pm // Friday, August 31, 2012Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, news, pavement, radio, radiohead, soundgarden.
In an interview published earlier this month in Manila’s Philippine Star newspaper, Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan somewhat confusingly lumped Soundgarden together with Pavement among bands of his generation that he said reunited not to forge a new future in music but merely for “one more round at the till.”
This morning, alert and sympathetic deejay Josh Goodman of Denver’s KTCL-FM had Corgan on the phone and, as part of their conversation, he prompted Corgan to expand on those comments related to Soundgarden. Goodman’s full interview with Corgan can be heard online.
Below, we of Hipsters United offer a partial transcript of the interview that corrects and extends a partial transcript posted earlier today by the diehards at New Jersey-based blog Grunge Report. Our transcript picks up just past the 4-minute mark in the online audio file, which of course is superior for conveying tone and so forth.
Josh Goodman: I love reading your interviews, and I interviewed you back when you played for Big Gig here in 2010, and I love that you don’t censor what’s on your mind, and…
Billy Corgan: [laughs] Maybe I should, though.
Goodman: No, you shouldn’t, man, it’s good, I think people need to hear it. But, you know, along those lines of what you were saying, about bands going out and playing sort of their rehashed greatest-hits stuff, you did specifically call out Soundgarden in that vein, saying: Hey, man, they’re just going out to make money, and let’s just call it what it is. I’m curious, did you ever, have you heard from the guys in Soundgarden? I know you’re a fan of the band. Did you hear from Chris Cornell or anything? Did they have anything to say to you directly, or not really? (more…)
Corgan revisits making of ‘Siamese Dream’ for Australian rock mag 7:12 pm // Sunday, July 15, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview.
In advance of the Smashing Pumpkins’ tour of Australia, which kicks off on July 26, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has done print interviews for both Triple J Magazine (outtakes of which are online) and the Australian edition of Rolling Stone (which put a simulacrum of Corgan on its cover). In both interviews, he reflects on his entire career trajectory and how the Pumpkins’ new album Oceania relates to his earlier body of work. In addition, for Rolling Stone, Corgan reflected on the making of Siamese Dream, including some interesting anecdotes about the band’s interpersonal relationships at the time. Below the jump are three excerpted quotations. (more…)
Billy Corgan performs new song at memorial for Dennis Flemion 5:05 pm // Sunday, July 15, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, news, the frogs.
A memorial service for Dennis Flemion was held yesterday in West Allis, Wisconsin. Flemion, who for over 30 years had recorded songs together with his brother Jimmy Flemion as the Frogs, died unexpectedly on July 7.
During the service, mourners could view Frogs memorabilia including costumes worn onstage by Flemion and the original artwork from the Frogs’ first album. Both Jimmy Flemion and Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan performed music at the service, with Corgan’s contribution being a newly written song that he plans to make available online soon.
UPDATE (7/17): Corgan’s song is reportedly titled “25 Surprise.”
Smashing Pumpkins may work on new studio material in August 4:56 pm // Sunday, July 1, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania, teargarden by kaleidyscope, thefutureembrace, zeitgeist.
Bill Palmer of Beatweek Magazine has published a wide-ranging new interview with Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. In the interview, Corgan discusses the dynamics of the current Smashing Pumpkins lineup, their plans for future recordings, and how the Pumpkins’ reissue project has influenced their live performances, among other topics. Below are three excerpted quotations.
I think in that way I’ve never made a bad album. I would say the album that was the least fulfilling of its potential was Zeitgeist…I think every other album was in the range of its potential as an A or a B. I wouldn’t necessarily rate Zeitgeist as a C, it just didn’t hit its potential and it kind of got lost somewhere along the way in the process. Some of the best songs are in the demos that didn’t get recorded and that kind of shit. I think it’s up there, but I also think it has to do with familiarity. There’s a certain ring here that people are comfortable with, and I’m okay with it or obviously I wouldn’t have put it out. But I think TheFutureEmbrace was a great album, and it was completely overlooked, my solo album. Over time now, over the last seven years, now people are starting to really get into it because it’s got a bit of a visionary aspect to it. So again, what was the point of the album? The mainstream always assumes that every album you’re throwing yourself out there with your bust, and I’m not that type of artist. I pick my spot and I go for that spot, and I rate it on whether or not I hit my spot.
Of the first Teargarden by Kaleidyscope songs, Corgan says that “I think there were ten official Teargarden releases. In those ten there was at least two or three really good songs.”
On the future of Teargarden, Corgan had this to say:
I’m kind of mulling that around. There’s a lot of demos that are really fairly quality at least in terms of the songs. They’re just interesting, dusky sketches. The problem with the world we live in now is everything is judged so fast so hard and is given too much power, for lack of a better word. Three months from now I would love to just reach in and toss out a couple of those demos from 2009 so people could hear some different songs, maybe some things that helped lead to Oceania. But then invariably some asshole with a blog is going to write about the new Smashing Pumpkins song and how it sucks. I’m mature enough now that I don’t really care, but at this point we’re in a positive place and maybe we just need to play a positive game. Maybe we just need to be like everybody else and shine it up real nice and bright before we put it out. We definitely want to do another album. We’re already talking about starting to do some demos in August. It’s tough. I do want to put out some of this stuff that I’m sitting on. I do want to finish the project as I sort of originally sketched out. But right now we’re riding a wave and I’m not really sure where that wave takes us.
Go over to Beatweek and read the interview in full, because it’s fascinating stuff.
Back with Alex Jones, Billy Corgan links ‘Oceania’ to ‘Zeitgeist’ 12:15 am // Wednesday, June 27, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania, politics, radio, zeitgeist.
Billy Corgan spoke with info-warrior Alex Jones on the latter’s radio show today, phoning in from South America where the Smashing Pumpkins are, as I write, onstage for their first-ever concert in Venezuela. This is Corgan’s second appearance on the program this year; he sat down at Jones’s Austin studio during SXSW back in March.
Over the course of the new, 40-minute interview, Corgan and Jones discuss systems of social control, in particular as they relate to Corgan’s experience in the music business. Here’s one transcribed excerpt:
Alex Jones: Let’s cut right to the chase with this new album. Beyond political, you’re talking about the nature of reality: You know, ["Quasar," and "The Celestials," and "Panopticon,"] and of course, “Oceania,” right out of 1984. Break down the spirit that you were basically channeling when you put together this new album.
Billy Corgan: Well, I think some of the roots start—on this album—start from the last album, in 2007, Zeitgeist, which you know, on some conscious or unconscious level, listening to you, and doing my own research on the Internet, kinda led me to a dark place where I felt, you know, what’s happening to my country? How do I grapple with these feelings that I’m having? When I started in music, you know, it was all cheery, Reagan, flags-a-wavin’, everything is great, and there was a lot of middle-class discourse on stuff that maybe now seems really small in comparison to what we’re really grappling with as we see what’s coming economically down the pike.
So, I think if you can draw a line from sort of a darker place and trying to grapple with the American Dream, which Zeitgeist had something to do with, five years later, now Oceania I think is a way to say, you know, I’m just not gonna live in that spirit, that energy, that dark energy. I’ve heard you talk about it, and certainly I’ve thought about it a lot, which is, you know, we gotta live. You know? Some of the most inspirational stuff I’ve ever heard you talk about is when you just talk about nature, about how God’s kingdom inspires you to fight the good fight and think of families and what life’s really about. And I think my album is really about that, it’s like, we all go through hard times, our country’s going through a hard time. It’s not a political album in that sense, but at the same time, if the politics is part of the backdrop, in the foreground I just wanna embrace my life, and get right with God, get right with my spirit, because I think that’s the way to lead us out of this kind of craziness that again seems to be coming, and God knows where it’s coming from. But everywhere you go, people feel it. And they can’t put their finger on it.
Billy Corgan made the great lost record. 3:28 pm // Saturday, June 23, 2012Posted by jjb in amusing, analysis, billy corgan, chicagosongs, interview.
During a Los Angeles meet-and-greet yesterday, this exchange (video) took place between KYSR-FM deejay Darren Rose and Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan:
Billy Corgan: If I told you my real opinions of every album, you’d probably laugh.
Darren Rose: Do you have a favorite?
Corgan: Not really, no. Honestly, I think the best album I’ve ever made I haven’t released. It’s sitting in a can at home. I did a solo acoustic record about my hometown of Chicago. And I played one show, and I thought the show was amazing, and then I went on like an idiot the next day and read what the fans were writing and they said ‘Can he just please pick up an electric guitar again? Screw this acoustic music, we don’t want to hear this shit, dadadada.’ And I said OK, and I put the album back in the can and it’s sitting there to this day. People who’ve heard it say it’s some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever done. It’s just sitting there.
While Corgan seems to blame “the fans” for the album not having been released, another possible reason is that Corgan has to be his own best editor. If he’s putting out something, it’s a decision he’s made, and sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with musical quality. It has to do with personal satisfaction. He’s earned the right to fucking suck.
Also, exuberance from Corgan about his yet-to-be released records (e.g., Zeitgeist, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, Oceania), as well as negative comments by Corgan about released records that the public has not embraced (e.g., Zeitgeist, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope), are par for the course.
RESEARCH UPDATE: On October 19, 2004—exactly six months after the “one show” Corgan played—a Toronto radio DJ asked him (audio, at 3:55) to “Tell us about the [ChicagoSongs/ChicagoKid] DVD.” Corgan replied: “It’s in the can. It’s all acoustic. There’s been about thirty songs recorded. And we’re just starting to cut it together, and hopefully that’ll be out by the end of next year.”
On CNN, Corgan laments absence of “vigorous democracy” 9:31 am // Thursday, June 21, 2012Posted by apm in billy corgan, interview, television.
A previously recorded interview of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan conducted by CNN talker and Salon “Hack List” denizen Piers Morgan was aired last night on the cable network. Below is a full transcript.
Piers Morgan: On next tonight, he’s got strong opinions on American politics, he’s written some of the great rock songs of the 90’s, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. He’s not happy with President Obama.
[clip of "Tonight, Tonight" video, commercials, clip of "1979" video]
PM: That’s 1979, a killer song from the Smashing Pumpkins, a band that’s been churning out hits for years selling 30 million albums achieving worldwide fame. Their new album O-Cee-Ana, Oceania, I knew I’d get it wrong.
Billy Corgan: They actually said you’d get it wrong. (more…)
Greg Kot: ‘Oceania’ is “Corgan’s best work since the ’90s” 2:08 pm // Friday, June 15, 2012Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, oceania, zeitgeist.
Chicago Tribune mainstay Greg Kot has posted today a great interview with Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan. The two explore motivating factors behind the new Pumpkins record Oceania, managing also to look back with some perspective on the band’s previous LP Zeitgeist and the controversial tours that followed its release, and they touch on other relevant topics too. Here’s an excerpt:
[Greg Kot]: When things are working, great artists say they reflect their audience. Do you feel you’re still in touch with your audience?
[Billy Corgan]: I feel I’m reflecting the part of the audience we don’t hear from. There are a lot of people out there who love music but don’t have a place in music culture as it exists. I meet these people all the time. Soccer mom, 34, has good taste in music. They are your average rock fan who isn’t part of the Pitchfork culture. They don’t follow the train. They’re the difference between 40,000 sales and 400,000. We’ve disenfranchised that part of the culture by playing to the (snobby, snarky) crowd. The Internet has swelled that (expletive) crowd. The crowd that trashes what you do instantly and writes you off. It’s like the ’90s indie-rock crowd all over again: Don’t look this way, don’t dress this way, don’t play long guitar solos, whatever. But there are people out there in their teens who found Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, they don’t care that those bands don’t exist anymore. They exist in their computer. They’re finding this other value system that isn’t contemporary. It’s a wider scope. The unspoken audience, the stragglers, and this new audience who isn’t snarky or cares much about modern record business, that’s our audience.
UPDATE (6/18): Kot’s full review of Oceania is published.
Corgan calls Iha “one of the worst human beings I’ve ever met” 11:55 pm // Wednesday, June 13, 2012Posted by jjb in billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, interview, james iha, jimmy chamberlin, news.
The June 16 print edition of the New Musical Express has a writeup by Emily Mackay of an interview with Smashing Pumpkins torchbearer Billy Corgan. The discussion revisits familiar thoughts from Corgan regarding Courtney Love, Resistance Pro, and the Tarot, but he does offer fresh—or at least newly extreme—commentary on his relationships with former bandmates Jimmy Chamberlin, James Iha, and D’Arcy Wretzky. Following are two excerpts.
Billy Corgan: Success held that band together longer than it should have been held together. It was dysfunctional. There were a lot of years there where I regretted the way it all went down, and now I think it was meant to die when it died how it died. We stole from the Promethean fire to fuel whatever our weird psychic death trip was and then we paid for it. Or got too close to the sun and crashed. It was just meant to be that way. And you can draw parallels from that with Jimmy’s situation [when he left the band in 2009] because maybe that was just a continuance of something that hadn’t been resolved back then.
NME/Emily Mackay: He said in his statement on leaving that he “couldn’t just cash the cheque”…
Corgan: See now, here is a perfect opportunity to bury Jimmy as a fucking liar. But I won’t. That’s a lie. That statement’s just a flat-out lie.
NME: Was it that you wanted to take the band in a commercial direction, and he didn’t?
Corgan: Ha ha! No, it’s the exact opposite. I wish I could explain it, but I don’t trust the world to understand the complexity of it. I think it’s telling that the first thing Jimmy did when he left the band was make a statement about money because that had a lot to do with it. But if you look at what I’ve done since he left, where have I made money?
NME: Do you still feel any rancour towards the other band members about the way it ended?
Corgan: Uhhh… I’m OK with Jimmy. We don’t have a relationship at the moment, but I mean, I have no ill will. I want to see him do well. James Iha I think is just a piece of shit. I think he’s one of the worst human beings I’ve ever met in my life. And D’Arcy, she’s sort of, in her own way, sort of an innocent.
NME: Those photos that were released when she was arrested for missing a court date last year suggested she wasn’t really in a good place.
Corgan: Yeah, it’s terrible. But she’s not a bad person. And I don’t hold any ill will towards her, even though I’ve had to deal with fucking lawsuits and stuff like that. If there’s any culprit in this it’s Iha. But, y’know, he was there at the right time of my life, we did do good things together, I think he is a good musician when he gives a fuck, which most of the time he doesn’t. And that’s about it.
The same issue of NME carries a review of the Pumpkins’ new album Oceania; Mackay’s declaration that it is “the strongest Smashing Pumpkins album in years” notwithstanding, the review gives Oceania six of a possible ten points. UPDATE (6/18): The review is now available online.
Billy Corgan on new Veronicas single due out in July 2:46 pm // Saturday, June 2, 2012Posted by susan in australia, billy corgan, news, the veronicas.
Australian alt-pop sibling duo The Veronicas, one of whose members, Jessica Origliasso, has been Billy Corgan’s paramour since 2010, is set to release their new album Life on Mars early this fall. More details are imminently forthcoming. And according to Fleur Bainger’s interview with the sisters in this week’s Perth Sunday Times Magazine, Billy Corgan, who recorded with the Origliasso sisters back in March, will be featured on the album’s first single, which is set to drop in mid-July.
In the Times article, Jessica Origliasso describes the process of recording with Corgan:
“I played him what we’d been working on that day, and he said ‘I want to do something on this song.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ But this is our spoken-word, tripped-out hip-hop experiment.’ He was like ‘That’s a “fuck you” song. I want to be on that song.’ So we did it, and it was bad-ass.”
“I play guitar on one song. There’s this really great track they have that’s probably going to be the opening track. I don’t know what they’re going to call it; it was tentatively called ‘I’m a Veronica.’ I know it sounds funny but there’s strange aggressive rapping on it so in the middle of the song it breaks down in to a kinda heavy metal song with a super demonic Black Sabbath type riff. It’s easily the best album they’ve ever made. They’ve worked so hard and I’ve been intimately involved on a lot of levels.”
In the Sunday Times Magazine article, Jessica Origliasso also tips that Corgan has spoken to her about moving to Australia; the title of his band’s new album is inspired in part by both Origliasso herself and the country of Australia.
Corgan on ‘Oceania’: “Pretty weird, but it sounds really good” 11:41 pm // Thursday, May 31, 2012Posted by apm in billy corgan, interview, oceania, resistance pro, teargarden by kaleidyscope, wrestling.
Billy Corgan was interviewed by Major League Wrestling’s Mister Saint Laurent in a podcast that was published Thursday. The 40-some minute interview (prepended with perhaps the longest intro music in the podcasting history) mostly touched on Corgan’s work in organizing his Resistance Pro wrestling organization, his childhood love of pro wrestling, and his rediscovery of his love for the sport late at night channel surfing in a Florida hotel room. (more…)
Corgan: “I’ve already talked to Flood” about the ‘Machina’ reissue 12:42 pm // Thursday, April 26, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, G.L.O.W., interview, machina, machina 2, news.
David Swan of Australian live music site Faster Louder has released a new interview with Smashing Pumpkins head Billy Corgan. Corgan discusses topics including his in-progress memoir, recording music with his love interests, the legacy of Zeitgeist, and the themes of the Pumpkins’ upcoming album Oceania.
Swan queried Corgan about the status of the upcoming Machina reissues:
Machina II is a brilliant album, have you ever thought about releasing it properly, maybe when you re-issue the others?
Yes. Our sell-out move, for Machina, is we’re going to remix the whole record and put it in its official sequence the way I’d hoped for in the beginning. I wrote it as a rock opera double album type of thing, so we’re going to remix the whole thing. I’ve already talked to Flood, and he’s been indicating he wants to be involved with that part of the process, and then we’ll finally finish the album, the way it was meant to be.
On how to describe different eras of Pumpkins music:
Is the sound [of Oceania] a new direction for you or is it harking back to earlier stuff?
I can describe what people are saying, but I don’t really get into the sonic part because every time I say anything like that it turns into like a ‘oh, we made this kind of album’. How I describe my music never seems to be the way people hear it. I was listening today to a couple of old songs because we’re getting ready for the tour, just to see if I wanted to play them live, and a song I listened to was the song we did called G.L.O.W. And G.L.O.W. to me sounds like it could have easily been Mellon Collie, it sounds like it could’ve been on Machina, and yet because a lot of people didn’t like the Zeitgeist period it just sorta automatically got lumped into something that it wasn’t. And I was surprised, going back and listening to G.L.O.W. today, like ‘Wow, this actually kinda sounds like classic Smashing Pumpkins to me.’ But my opinion doesn’t seem to matter in those things because people seem to need to make periods about something other than what it actually is. So if I play heavy guitar music with certain people in the room it sounds like this, but if I make the same type of music with other people in the room, it sounds like this.
Corgan hoping fan involvement will lift Pumpkins’ Record Club 1:52 pm // Tuesday, April 17, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, community, interview, news, oceania, record club.
UPDATE (4/18): In this hour-plus phone interview (listen here), Billy Corgan elaborates greatly on last week’s vague announcement from Smashing Pumpkins friend site Crestfallen.com of “The Lucky 13.” Corgan says the “13″ will be a group of fans selected by his interviewer, Crestfallen webmaster Jonathan Monte, to serve as liaisons between the Pumpkins fan community and the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club as it sifts through music from the band’s massive archive. The group is supposed to identify items and formats for release that will garner enough interest to sustain the Record Club’s efforts from project to project.
As stated by Corgan employee Rynda Laurel back in January, the Pumpkins intend to employ a Kickstarter-like model which will enable the band to put out material that its fanbase might be interested in, but might not be commercially viable with a mainstream audience. In the new interview, Corgan runs through several potential scenarios for how such a model might work. (more…)
Conspiracy theorist to release hour-long interview with Billy Corgan 11:36 pm // Wednesday, March 21, 2012Posted by susan in amusing, billy corgan, news, politics, radio.
Today on his radio program, conspiracy theorist and info-warrior Alex Jones announced that he will be releasing an hour-long video interview with Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan tomorrow evening for subscribers of Jones’s prisonplanet.tv news service. Corgan and his girlfriend, Jessica Origliasso of the Veronicas, spent time with Jones last week while in Austin for various South by Southwest events.
According to a post on the official Smashing Pumpkins messageboard by the user BlueSkiesBringTears (who seems to be a regular Alex Jones listener), after its exclusive premiere behind paywall, video of the interview with Corgan will soon make its way to Alex Jones’s official YouTube account.
You can listen to Jones’s announcement of Corgan’s appearance here. Jones’s remarks about Corgan occur about 33 minute into the program. BlueSkiesBringTears also took the time to transcribe the announcement, which appears below with slight corrections:
Billy Corgan. Tomorrow night. Hour-plus in-studio interview I did with him, what?… last Thursday. Billy Corgan, of course, of The Smashing Pumpkins, but also [a] prolific songwriter… one of the most successful in the last 50 years. That’s … he’s not really known for that, but that’s, that’s the facts. Amazing political mind. He was in-studio with us. That’s gonna premiere tomorrow evening, 7:00 Central, 8:00 Eastern, prisonplanet.tv. And it’s great to have people like Dave Mustaine reach out and want to come to town and be interviewed. And when Billy Corgan was in town… through Mancow, learned that he wanted to talk and that he was a listener — really flattered, he’s been listening for five or six years. Really intelligent fellow. Kind of a whiz-kid growing up, and a Renaissance Man throughout his life. His great girlfriend, who I had a chance to meet, who, of course, is one of the twin singers of the Veronicas, another, you know, big mega-band in its own right… because… it, it, it… again, it just lets you know how many people are awake, if prominent people are coming out of the woodwork. And when I say, ‘Out of the woodwork’ — people like Billy Corgan and Dave Mustaine have the courage to come on this show. Some people I’ve talked to have courage, but…
As a resident of Austin for almost seven years now, I have long been aware of Alex Jones, who is something of a local celebrity. I admit to finding Jones highly entertaining, though we perhaps do not share all the same political beliefs. So I find myself waiting with bated breath for this interview whatever its potential newsworthiness. Besides, watching Jones’s interview with Dave Mustaine (of Megadeth) from earlier this month, they discuss music quite a bit. Here’s hoping!
UPDATE: BlueSkiesBringTears posts that the interview will now be aired on Monday, March 26th so that it can be promoted more extensively before airing.
‘Sunset Strip’ documentary chronicles L.A.’s winding road 1:48 pm // Sunday, March 18, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, history, jane's addiction, los angeles, movies and film, venues.
Yesterday, the last day of South by Southwest, started somewhat like it began for me, taking in a documentary that featured an interview with Billy Corgan. I caught the last showing of Sunset Strip as part of the South by Southwest Film festival. Whereas Corgan’s appearance in The Source was unannounced and came as a surprise to me, Sunset Strip had prominently advertised Corgan’s interview and music in its trailer.
Sunset Strip chronicles the evolution of a 1.5 mile section Sunset Boulevard since the time it was a dirt road lined with poinsettia farms, through to the Hollywood glamour of the Strip’s 1940s and 50s, followed by the advent of an intense live music scene that flourished on the Strip in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, incubated by clubs like Whisky a Go Go and the Roxy. The film bemoaned the advent of grunge rock in the 90s, which crushed the hair metal scene for which the Strip had served as ground zero. (Although a few faithful remain: the film featured, to great effect, an appearance by Steel Panther.) For someone like me, who came to her love of rock music through the grunge bands, the editorial perspective seemed a bit confused–many of the interviewees associated the spiritual death of the Strip in 90s with the grunge movement and corporatism (wasn’t hair metal a rather corporate form of rock, at times?)–but there’s lots of great rock history here nonetheless. The film did soften its perspective on the 90s somewhat with a discussion of the rise of Johnny Depp’s Viper Room, with its eclectic music and burlesque shows, then segued quickly into speculation of what the future might hold for the Sunset Strip.
Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan was brought in for comment several times; as seen in the trailer embedded above, he commented that the Sunset Strip is a “sacred place” and that musicians’ performances there are enhanced by the knowledge that they are playing in the same clubs that birthed The Doors and other historic bands. Corgan also discussed performing on the Sunset Strip in the early 90s, joking that the hair-metal remnant of the time were “sad clowns” missing the old days. He went on to describe three touchstone moments in the Pumpkins’ history that occurred during shows on the Sunset Strip: December 17 and 18, 1991, the Pumpkins’ first times playing Whisky a Go Go, which Corgan described as a major milestone for him and the band; April 24, 1999 at the Roxy, which was the final Pumpkins show featuring all four original members; and August 28, 2010, when the band headlined the Sunset Strip Music Festival, which Corgan described as a time when he felt his band’s new lineup was really beginning to mesh. Sunset Strip also features footage of the band’s performance at that festival, primarily, as in the trailer above, of “Ava Adore.”
Sunset Strip also features interviews with many of Corgan’s friends and past and present collaborators, including Courtney Love, Cherie Currie, Perry Farrell, and Dave Navarro. Excerpts from a recent performance by Jane’s Addiction also appear in the film, though they’re not for the faint-hearted–think women suspended on meat hooks. Blech.
Media react to Corgan’s talking tour of SXSW 12:14 pm // Tuesday, March 13, 2012Posted by susan in analysis, billy corgan, news, oceania.
Billy Corgan has made several public appearances at South by Southwest in Austin this week. You can check out full videos of his Sunday night appearance at Android House and his early Monday afternoon appearance at Samsung Blogger Lounge. Video is not available of the panel featuring Corgan and social media consultant Brian Solis that occurred late yesterday afternoon; my understanding is that video from all panels generally makes its way to the SXSW YouTube account about two weeks after the conference ends (if you scroll down, you’ll see a playlist featuring archived 2011 coverage). That panel is making headlines in the media today; Billboard and Rolling Stone have both posted their takes on Corgan’s comments. However, longtime Smashing Pumpkins fans may find Nadia Neophytou’s account for Memeburn a bit more interesting; it’s packed with quotes and presents a more holistic view of Corgan’s remarks, including his plans to develop a Kickstarter-like subscription service with the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club.
Judging from the Twitter list of panel attendees I created yesterday (although at this point you’ll have to scroll back quite a ways to find relevant content), many in the room found Corgan’s remarks refreshingly candid and honest. This seems right to me: in a room full of social media experts and techies, hearing someone speak who’s willing to cut through marketing morass is probably a breath of fresh air. Remember that this panel was part of South by Southwest Interactive–the music side of SXSW is just getting started today. It also doesn’t surprise me that the music media elite (e.g., Billboard and Rolling Stone) don’t seem to be too enthused for what Corgan had to say.
Nothing I’m reading indicates that Corgan gave many specifics about the Pumpkins’ plans for their upcoming album Oceania. I tend to wonder if he ran out of time to make his announcements at the panel, given that many in the audience reported that the session seemed to be evolving as it was happening and not following a defined script. Corgan seems to be toying with the idea of creating a “visual experience” to surround the album; as HU readers may remember, the idea of “conceptual videos” is something Corgan has been toying around with for a while.
As I type, Corgan is attending a screening of The Source, a documentary I watched and reviewed on Sunday. Corgan makes a brief appearance as a interviewee in the film and he’ll be taking questions on a panel after the film.
Billy Corgan at South by Southwest Interactive… live blogged 2:15 pm // Monday, March 12, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news.
I’m going to try to compile all of our Billy Corgan at SXSWi coverage here… as best I can. Bear with me as this post may through go changes throughout the day.
Last night, Corgan appeared at Google’s “Android House” at Lustre Pearl, a well known local bar and music venue. Although he was scheduled to go on there around 5 PM, but judging from tweets made at the event he was on closer to 10 PM CDT. Based on the tweets I’m seeing, Corgan made remarks that were critical of the recording industry and promoted his rediscovered love for the album. He was on the ”Google Play” stage, Google Play being the new name for Android Market, which Google is rebranding and rolling out new features for… I’m particularly fascinated by the Google Play Artists’ Hub. UPDATE: Watch Billy’s Sunday night appearance below.
Then today at 1 PM, Billy Corgan was interviewed by Shira Lazar for her “What’s Trending?” show. It streamed live so I know a lot of our readers watched it; feel free to discuss below. There are some choice quotes from Corgan available for your reading pleasure @WhatsTrending; Watch the full interview below.
Next up at 3:30 PM, the main event: Billy Corgan is to be interviewed by Brian Solis as part of an official SXSW panel. The room is already filling up. I’ll try to update this post with any major news items as they occur. I’m making a Twitter list of people at the panel, so follow away!
UPDATE: Oh dear readers, it appears that the panel has concluded and it sounds like this was truly an epic talk… please check out the Twitter list and @HipstersUnited for lots of choice quotes. I’ll try to get some kind of summary together soon, but I’m going out to see some SXSW band action myself tonight.
Documentary on “Source Family” has world premiere at SXSW 8:56 pm // Sunday, March 11, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, movies and film, spiritualism, ya ho wha 13.
Earlier today I had the opportunity to attend the world premiere of the documentary The Source during the South by Southwest Film Festival. The Source grew out of a 2007 book which detailed the history of “The Source Family,” a charismatic religious community founded in the early 1970s in Los Angeles. This book may have been the one that inspired Kerry Brown to invite Sky Saxon and surviving members of Ya Ho Wha 13 into his studio to record with Billy Corgan early in 2008. Ya Ho Wha 13 was a psychedelic rock group composed of Source Family members; they had a studio on the Family’s compound and The Source suggests that the band was used to recruit impressionable young people to the collective. Corgan and Ya Ho Wha 13 ended up recording hours of jams together and appeared together onstage in late 2008. Corgan and Brown were even initiated into the Source Family as “Samuel Aquarian” and “Stargate Aquarian,” respectively.
Indeed, Corgan made a brief appearance midway through The Source; he was interviewed about the significance of Ya Ho Wha 13 and their music. Corgan opined that the band represented “an embrace of God in rock and roll” and remarked on their “resonance.” The music of Ya Ho Wha 13, both past and present, served as the soundtrack for the film, but if Corgan contributed to any of the more recent pieces, I couldn’t tell from the detailed musical credits. Kerry Brown and his wife, Stacey Sher, were both thanked in the credits.
I thought The Source did an admirable job of portraying the many facets of life within the community led by Father Yod, formerly Jim Baker, a health-food entrepreneur who also robbed banks and judo-chopped people to death. The driving personalities behind the film, Source Family members Isis and Electricity Aquarian, are clearly still conducting their lives in a way deeply informed by the teachings of Yod, but the film did include many diverging perspectives about life in the Family. I was particularly moved by the story of Robin, Baker’s legal wife, who was crushed when (in the least surprising plot twist imaginable) Yod/Baker took on thirteen other wives. The documentary footage is remarkable; Isis Aquarian, the Family’s historian, captured everything from the birth of the first baby born into the Family to the final tape-recorded words of Father Yod as he perished after a hang-gliding mishap.
The film screens at least twice more during SXSW; if you’re in Austin, go check it out!