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Career-spanning Corgan interview appears in Mojo magazine 11:44 am // Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview.
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The February printing of also-online music magazine Mojo has reached us, and it includes an interview conducted with Smashing Pumpkins rocker Billy Corgan prior to the end of 2011. Phil Alexander of Mojo posits questions about all periods of the singer’s life from childhood to the present, and Corgan tells, quite graciously for the most part, about being fired from a Rush cover band at 16, learning to write songs by dissecting the Byrds and the Beatles at 19, and regretting today that he didn’t leave the Pumpkins in 1996 after the death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin.

Following is an excerpt from the interview in which Corgan tries to see himself in the way his bandmates must have seen him at age 26:

Phil Alexander: There was a lot of tension within the band. You thought the other three didn’t care enough, didn’t understand your drive…

Billy Corgan: You have got to put yourself in their shoes: you are in your twenties, you are in a successful band, there’s chicks, there’s dudes, everybody is having a good time, the other band is down at the pub having a party, and you’ve got to deal with this guy everyday saying, “No! No! No! Harder! Faster! More! Go! Go! Go!” It’s like, “How much more ‘go’ do you want?” You are in the UK, you are playing a sold-out show and everybody is singing along, and they are thinking, “Why is this guy pissed off? What is he pissed off about?” But I saw a lot of things going on. I saw hypocrisy internally, hypocrisy externally. I was dealing with all these things within myself. You’re dealing with record companies who just see you as having a temporary moment in time and I am thinking, “Now that I am through the door you are not getting rid of me so easily. I am a lifer. If I’ve made it from the bedroom, if I made it from daddy’s bedroom, to here, you’re not getting rid of me, and that means you, record critic, you, bandmate, you, audience!” It really was that for me, I didn’t have a life, I wasn’t raised to have a life, so even when you gave me a million dollars I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t go out and buy myself nice clothes. Why was I wearing a two dollar shirt that I got at the thrift store? It wasn’t one of those indie authenticity things. I didn’t give a fuck about that. I just didn’t know what I was meant to do.

Corgan sits for fan interview via Twitter 8:52 pm // Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, twitter.
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Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan answered some fan questions today, fed to him by Twitter Inc.’s @TwitterMusic account. Corgan filled us in on what time in history he’d take a time machine ride to, and even suggested baby names for one fan.

As far as his band’s plans for 2012, Corgan didn’t reveal much, but regarding the upcoming album Oceania did say that “a release date is imminent,” and he doesn’t currently anticipate any tracklist changes. He also said he was “open to returning to South America” after the band’s successful 2010 tour there.

Plans for Corgan’s Chicagoland tea house brewing 11:22 pm // Sunday, January 1, 2012

Posted by susan in billy corgan, business, chicago, food, interview, news.
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The tea house Billy Corgan alluded to in a mid-December tweet appears to be becoming a reality. In an interview with Eater Chicago, Corgan describes his intents for his latest business venture, stating that he is aiming for a retro 1930s French-Chinese vibe and hopes the tea house will become a hub for a diverse group of locals. Corgan reports being dissatisfied with the cultural offerings of his Highland Park ‘hood and hopes his shop will stand apart from the “cookie-cutter culture” of Starbucks. Corgan intends for the cafe to host events as well, saying, “It has a whimsical feel to it… it’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time in terms of space, but what we put into the space will change. My dream number is changing it 15 to 20 times a month where you’re inviting people to talk about film or have an open mic night.”

The tea house is to be located in the former US Post Office at 582 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park, an affluent Chicago suburb. The location is within Highland Park’s Ravinia neighborhood, perhaps best known for the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sharon Mackin-Norberg and her husband Tobias, proprietors of the Ravinia Wine Shop across the street from the tea house, will manage the tea house’s day-to-day operations. Mackin-Norberg sat for an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, praising Corgan’s eye for restaurant design and taste in tea, while further touting the tea house as a hangout for young people who want exposure to culture. The Sun-Times also spoke with Nancy Rotering, the mayor of Highland Park, who said of Corgan: “He has some unique ideas to bring more of a fun, cultural vibe to Highland Park. It’s neat that he wants to bring his creativity and his energy to our community.”

According to Eater Chicago, Corgan projects an opening date of around March or April for the tea house, which does not yet have a name. The Sun-Times article further suggests Corgan may perform the first live show in the space.

Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins break with producer Kerry Brown 11:00 am // Friday, December 9, 2011

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, kerry brown, news.
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Rock producer Kerry Brown has announced that he is no longer working with the Smashing Pumpkins.

Multiple sources tell HU that Pumpkins ringmaster Billy Corgan informed several associates of a split between himself and Brown early in November, with Corgan saying to one friend blogger that there will be “no relationship moving forward” between Brown and the band.

The break between Corgan and Brown came only weeks after the two shared a stage at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre, when Brown’s band Catherine joined Corgan to perform two songs during an encore at a Smashing Pumpkins concert on October 14.

Brown has worked extensively on Corgan’s Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project, directed the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club during its infancy this year, mixed bonus tracks for the recent reissues of the Pumpkins albums Gish and Siamese Dream, played drums with the Corgan-led supergroup Spirits in the Sky during 2009, and co-produced the Pumpkins track “Superchrist” in 2008, among many other activities. For a time, Brown also helped operate the Pumpkins’ official Twitter account—but now, Brown and Corgan are no longer even following each other on Twitter.

Corgan: Reissues provide “an insight into our process” 11:06 pm // Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Posted by alex in billy corgan, gish, interview, siamese dream.
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Billy Corgan recently sat down with music personality Matt Pinfield to discuss, among other topics, the upcoming reissues of Gish and Siamese Dream.

On the reissues themselves: “I want to create … an addendum to the album itself.  And even where the quality level may not be great or the demo wasn’t meant to ever be heard by the public, it gives you an insight into our process going in, and … maybe even how we viewed ourselves coming out of the album.”

On James and D’Arcy’s involvement: “The relationships are really fractured. … I can’t work with them on a business level.  I have no personal relationship with them.  I think it’s unfortunate for them because they’ve cut themselves off from their own fans through the Pumpkins.  And this should be a celebration of what we got right.  … Siamese Dream now is considered a classic, and we’re all proud of that, I’m sure.  The fact that we can’t celebrate that together is a shame.”

On the Siamese Dream recording sessions: “As the album wore on, and James and D’Arcy in particular realized they were not going to participate on the album as much as they’d hoped going in, it got very sour.  Dark’s probably an appropriate world.  There were many days where I worked 12-13 hour days … and they would never once come in to check on the progress of the recording. … They would just sit in the other room and just basically be unhappy. … The end of the band was sowed during the making of that record.”

On the advice he would give his younger self: “‘Calm the fuck down.'”

On the band’s legacy: “The thing I’m most proud of is we got the music for the most part fairly right.  Somehow, in the midst of all this chaos, we did a fairly good job of the music.  And the good thing is, that’s the thing that, pretty much, you get judged on. … At the end of the day, it’s pretty much gonna come down to, who’s got the better music.  And I feel very confident about where we stand in our generation.”

On “Siva”: “Probably the first Smashing Pumpkins song where I felt, ‘Okay, I’m onto something.'”

On his public image: “I’ve been accused of being way too serious, and there’s some merit to that.  But as I’ve often said to journalists, I’m in a band called the Smashing Pumpkins.  I mean, I’m in a band with a joke name.  So let’s start there: I’m not that serious.”

On his position as the leader of the Smashing Pumpkins: “Leader is too strong.  [I'm the] ringmaster of an ever-evolving circus.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Music, Television, Resistance Pro 10:37 pm // Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, resistance pro.
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Scott Fishman, wrestling beat reporter for the Miami Herald, has published the second portion of an interview he conducted with Billy Corgan back in September. In the interview, Corgan discusses various topics relating to his new wrestling promotion Resistance Pro, including the organization’s concussion prevention program and the challenge of running a business while on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins.

Corgan suggests there is a possibility for a reality show about the promotion:

“I have six or seven reality show meetings when I get to LA just for Resistance Pro. It’s crazy. The level of interest in the reality show is something I’ve never seen. I’ve tried to get reality shows off the ground before, but it has been unconventional things. I have never seen a response like this for an idea I’ve had in this regard. It has been off the charts. Whether someone is interested in doing it the way I would like to do it, we’ll see. The vision I have for the reality show is very unique. I think if we can get the reality show off the ground, which I think we can, then there are a lot of opportunities there that are unique. I don’t think it’s too off the mark to think we would be able to find a TV deal for the promotion as well.”

Corgan also discussed his vision for the music within the promotion:

“My template right now is to do along the same lines at what PRIDE (Pride Fighting Championship) used to do. They had this incredible production. They would do this big opening. What was cool is they would do really unique music for all the MMA guys. When you watch the UFC now, they either come out to rap or Bob Marley. I think it would be cool to create new atmospheric music, almost more like soundtrack music. So you will always see the talent coming out with different music. Instead of bringing out your big heel to the typical heavy metal song, maybe he comes out to the weird and creepy massive attack type theme song where it comes off more menacing and spooky. I have done soundtrack work and like to see that element come into the promotion. I love indie wrestling, but if I see one more indie promotion with a heavy metal song and the guy screaming. I just think it’s really played out. Even WWE has been changing its music with less heavy metal stuff.”

Long before the announcement of Resistance Pro, Corgan had already gone public about the synergistic opportunities he saw between the wrestling and music industries. Resistance Pro recently announced that Chicago-area band Sstaria will be creating original music for their shows; you can listen to their track “Resistance Pro Theme” on the promotion’s website now.

Smashing Pumpkins “never made the great lost record.” Who did? 2:48 pm // Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, news, releases, siamese dream.
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As the Smashing Pumpkins’ tour of Europe gets underway in Sweden, Billboard’s Gary Graff has posted a new interview with bandleader Billy Corgan regarding unreleased Pumpkins music and the upcoming reissues of first albums Gish and Siamese Dream. Corgan kicks up expectations for the latter, calling the sound of the remastered Siamese Dream “stunning,” “shocking,” and “a real massive upgrade,” but he warns that unreleased Smashing Pumpkins material may not measure up:

Because we released so many of our extra songs, we’re not sitting on some magic treasure trove of great songs that no one’s ever heard. We never made the great lost record or anything like that. It’s more an insight into the process, or a different take on something.

On October 21, Corgan told fans at a Smashing Pumpkins Record Club meetup in Boston that he is in possession of 65 unreleased songs recorded for his inter-Pumpkins band Zwan. Corgan tweeted last year that “a full list of the songs” for his post-Zwan ‘ChicagoSongs/ChicagoKid’ solo project, nothing from which was released commercially, contained 72 entries.

Corgan dishes on ‘Gish’ 12:41 pm // Thursday, October 20, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, gish, interview.
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The Boston Phoenix has released a new interview with Billy Corgan today in anticipation of the Smashing Pumpkins’ concert tomorrow night in Boston. In it, Corgan delves deep into the subject of his band’s first album, Gish, set for reissue next month. Corgan discusses how Gish was perceived by the elite coastal music community at the time and how the band’s relative isolation in Chicago contributed to the album’s against-the-grain sound.

He discounts the idea of a Gish-themed tour, first floated back in 2008, due to the current fad for “album-at-a-time” shows:

“We had discussed [playing Gish] about four years ago, sort of before it became a trend. I had actually talked about it online a few times with the fans that it might be kinda cool to do that. Suddenly, having nothing to do with me, it became this thing where everybody started doing it and I got really grossed out by it and just thought, ‘This is wrong.’ It went past the point of, ‘Hey — let’s celebrate this’ to ‘Oh, it’s the new business model.’ Once I saw that, then I came out and said, ‘I want nothing to do with this, it ain’t gonna happen, so don’t even ask.'”

His current opinion of Gish?:

“If you’d asked me 20 years ago [for] my opinion, it was a lot higher than it is now. I certainly think it’s really good, and what really strikes me now in hindsight is the incredible amount of passion in it, which in a weird way you’re not used to hearing in music anymore. There’s a beauty in that raw passion. There are points worth celebrating, and we’ve talked about different things where we could celebrate Gish properly. I just don’t want any part of that sentimental, mawkish, maudlin ‘Wasn’t the past so great?’ I’m hopeful that Gish will get a second look, because it is valuable in that way. I’m not saying it’s the same, but when I listen to early Who, there’s a certain vibrancy there that obviously gets lost later in exchange for sophistication. I think that’s sort of how it is for us; there’s a vibrancy that can only be from that time, and I think that’s what’s beautiful about it.”

Don’t think for a second. 4:57 pm // Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Posted by jjb in amusing, analysis, billy corgan, interview, oceania.
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Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan says that his band’s new album “stands up with [his] best work,” but don’t take his word for it—audiences on tour are responding well even to the record’s lengthy title track, he tells Joe Bosso of MusicRadar.com:

Corgan: I’ve been very surprised at how positive the response to the song ["Oceania"] has been and how people are getting it right away. I might have expected that they wouldn’t, but the fact that they are is great. Hearing people go “Yea!” to a new song is a welcome change. I’ve had a lot of “Hmm…” the past few years. You get used to “Hmm…”

Bosso: But how did you deal with “Hmm…”? That couldn’t have been easy.

Corgan: It wasn’t. When I was younger, I got really angry. Then I got sort of bitter, like, “This sucks. Shouldn’t I be given more of an opportunity here?” Eventually, I realized that you have to trust the public’s opinion. Even if they’re wrong, they’re right. You know what I mean? If they like Justin Bieber, you can’t say, “No, don’t like Justin Bieber.” They’re going to gravitate towards what they want, and you have to accept that. Looking back at where I’ve gotten it right at the highest level, the public has always responded positively. [...]

[W]ith Mellon Collie, which became a huge album, I had to be talked into releasing “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Phil Quartararo, who was the president of Virgin Records at the time. I wanted another song to be the first single.

Bosso: Which song was that?

Corgan: “Jellybelly.” I thought that was more in line with how the Smashing Pumpkins should be represented. This was after eight months of work. And nobody ever talks to me about “Jellybelly,” yet every night when we play “Bullet” people yell and scream and jump all over the place. Just because I’m the artist doesn’t mean I always know. The public will tell you when you’re right.

Now, if you are blessed with memories of the past year, you may be recalling at this moment that Billy Corgan himself is the best evaluator of his ability and his skill set. But that doesn’t mean it is for him to tell when he’s right, at least not at the highest level. Sometimes he needs to do the okay song to get to the great song, but just because he’s the artist doesn’t mean he always knows which song is which.

And then, if that leads you to believe that the public might provide input valuable to Corgan with regard to what songs he should release, realize 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. [laughs]

Art Shay on Billy Corgan 1:02 pm // Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, oceania, photography.
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In a new article for Chicagoist, photographer Art Shay muses on his relationship with Smashing Pumpkin front man Billy Corgan and what it was like to observe the band’s Oceania sessions.

Corgan and the Shays’ relationship began while Corgan shopped at Florence Shay’s bookstore. Eventually, Corgan read Art Shay’s book Chicago’s Nelson Algren, and Corgan subsequently hired Shay to document the Smashing Pumpkins over the course of three years.The photographs from Art Shay’s book are now being used in a new documentary film on Algren, a Chicago writer of the mid-twentieth century, for which Corgan is providing music. Shay recounts that Corgan offered to do the soundtrack for free after learning about the film, saying “I can’t believe you didn’t ask me to do the music.”

Shay on Corgan’s creative process:

“Florence befriended him and gradually I came to know him and something about his life. He said he feels his songs coming from a place like no other in himself and took the trouble to invite Florence and me to see how he composed in his secret, sacrosanct studio that looks like an electronic spaceship. Sitting at a green harpsichord, he played and sang parts of his older songs and bits from his new Oceania for us, allowing for our non-comprehension of rock and roll. His titles intrigued us: “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” for example, and “Geek USA.” Of course, there was “Pale Horse,” “Lightning Strikes” and “Soma,” too. All blended loudly – and softly – with the lyrics he composed on pieces of random paper. He introduced us to gorgeous, long-legged Nicole Fiorentino, who strummed her bass guitar so well she brought smiles to Billy’s lips in the midst of his own musical problems and flights of creativity. We gathered gradually that his father and grandfather had left him in Division Street bars from the age of four. He had always been a tall kid and had always liked the music in these places, from the voices of bartending whores to the stride piano blues of straw-hatted fancy men.”

Billy Corgan to make Chicago media rounds Thursday morning 10:08 pm // Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, news, radio, resistance pro, television.
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According to the website of Resistance Pro, the fledgling wrestling promotion for which Billy Corgan serves as creative director, Corgan will be visiting several Chicagoland media outlets tomorrow morning. Via Twitter, the company promises that Corgan will be “talking about all things Resistance Pro!” Presumably, the hosts may also query him about the the Smashing Pumpkins’ current tour–which hits Chicago on Friday–and new album, Oceania.

Corgan is to visit WGN-TV Morning News around 7:50 AM CDT. He’ll then stop by FOX 32’s Morning Show around 9:25 AM. His final guest spot of the morning will be on ESPN Radio, AM 1000 around 10:00 AM. UPDATE (10/13): Listen to Corgan’s appearances on FOX, WGN, and ESPN Radio.

“The focus right now is really on the music.” 10:57 am // Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview.
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In a new interview conducted by Andy Downing for Metromix.com, Smashing Pumpkins founder Billy Corgan laments changes to the culture of Chicago (“we had a massive influx of yuppie types—the Starbucks generation”) and expresses surprise at R.E.M.’s recent breakup. Corgan also talked about the Pumpkins’ music, addressing the Gish and Siamese Dream reissues (“both DVD components are from Chicago shows at the Metro”) and welcoming re-evaluations of 1998’s Adore.

Here’s an excerpt in which Corgan considers possible shifts in his approach to live performance:

[Downing:] [W]hat trait do you think you’ve developed at 44 that you never would have had back then?

[Corgan:] I think I have a lot more empathy for the experience of the audience. I think at 24 I really didn’t care. I wanted to shock people. I wanted people to walk out of the Metro talking about my band, and I was ruthless in what I was going to do to make that happen. I think I have a lot more respect and appreciation for why the audience comes, and what they’re looking for now. I’ve always been, as they say in French, a terrible infant about the way things should be, and I think I’ve just reached a point now where I’m in a nicer place with the whole thing. That being said, I’m part Italian and part Irish…so I reserve the right to go off again.

[Downing:] Do you ever wonder if your past tendency to engage in some of those public feuds is an extension of your obsession with pro wrestling?

[Corgan:] You know, that’s actually had a huge influence on me, and some would say for the negative. The key with pro wrestling is you want to create energy, whether it’s good energy or bad energy. Oftentimes I’ll face an audience that’s very apathetic…so sometimes playing the heel, as they say in wrestling, gets people out of their hypnosis. I’ve always been willing to bear the downside price of my insanity, because I feel like, “Hey, it’s art. Deal with it.” That said, I don’t see that as being part of the Smashing Pumpkin shows anymore. I think it’s something we’re ready to move on from, and the focus right now is really on the music.

After Fillmore stand in ’07, Pumpkins estranged from San Francisco 11:16 am // Monday, October 10, 2011

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, jeff schroeder, oceania, revival.
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Prior to Friday night’s Bay Area concert in Oakland, Billy Corgan allowed himself to be filmed giving answers to a few questions posed by an offscreen interlocutor from Crestfallen.com, a positive news-blog about a the Smashing Pumpkins. Among other subjects, Corgan talks briefly about the Pumpkins’ forthcoming album Oceania (describing a “universal, like, ‘wow'” reaction to the record by band associates) and speaks at length on the question of group identity (“Is Disneyland the same Disneyland it was in 1955 when it opened?”).

Following is a transcribed excerpt regarding Corgan’s relationship to Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder (watch, starting at 11:50).

Title card: Crestfallen.com: What is the greatest quality that each of the band members brings to the Smashing Pumpkins?

Billy Corgan: Jeff, in many ways, is a far superior guitar player to me. He raises the quality of my playing in order to keep up with him. His integrity level for the pure vision of Smashing Pumpkins is very, very high, very, very high. And he’s a total musicologist, and he gets it, and he really understands where we can still go. He’s probably the number-one person in the band right now who’s saying “We can do this. We can do this.” And believe me, I’m just one guy…there’s a lot of the world, there’s a lot of opinions in the world about a person like me. And sometimes it takes that person inside to go, “You’re doing it, keep going. I believe in you.” I know that may sound insignificant to somebody who’s an asshole, but it means something to me.

It means a lot to me that Jeff stood by me through the Fillmore and all the insanity. Notice how we haven’t played San Francisco since, you know what I mean? They’ll never have us back because of those shows. But those shows have everything to do with what’s going on now. We had to die in that show, Jeff with me. He had to bust that guitar… The whole thing was about, “What is this? Who are you people? What are we doing here? What happened to our musical dream? Is this just a joke now?” We had to go through that kind of death together.

“The three women who have heard it burst into tears” 12:43 pm // Friday, October 7, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, fame, interview, oceania, spiritualism.
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Las Vegas Review-Journal critic Dan Elfman has released a new two-part interview with Billy Corgan. The Pumpkins front man muses on spirituality, fame, the early days of alternative rock, and his new music and memoir.

On the Pumpkins’ upcoming album Oceania:

“Less than 10 people have heard the record, and the three women who have heard it burst into tears. So I think that’s a good sign. That’s my market research: You will burst into tears if you listen to this record. You will burst into tears or your money back!”

On the spiritual effects of fame:

“After 20 years in music, I’m totally OK with being myself. I’ve stopped trying to amend who I am to suit a public personality. I’ve tried to just merge my real personality with my public personality. [...] There are good things about me, and some not so good things about me, but I don’t want to walk around feeling ashamed about who I am. Being famous has its positive and negative spiritual aspects. Many would probably argue it’s ultimately a negative spiritual experience, but I’ve tried to do some good with it.”

The Pumpkins play Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Saturday evening.

Corgan on ‘Oceania': Sad, but spiritually enlightened 12:01 am // Thursday, October 6, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview.
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The San Francisco Examiner has interviewed Billy Corgan in anticipation of the Smashing Pumpkins’ sold-out show in Oakland on Friday. Corgan addresses music old and new, and he discusses his relationship with New Order’s Peter Hook, who recently shared a Chicago stage with Corgan. Following are two excerpts from the interview.

On a “stylistic quantum leap” between Gish and Siamese Dream:

Well, that’s called “fear of poverty.” I found this weird mix of rage, self-expression and fear of poverty, and it vaulted me to the top.

I was so angry at the way we were being treated by the indie world that it really fueled me to embrace my classic-rock roots. It was almost like thumbing your nose at somebody, like, “Oh, we’re not cool enough? Well, here’s some Boston for ya!” And there was a lot of beauty and joy in that.

On the theme of Oceania:

It’s grappling with the existential crisis of “Holy s—! I’m alone!” There’s a sad, dark aspect to that, but also a spiritually enlightened one. Which is, I come into this world as a singular entity and I go through this whole construct finding out what’s valuable. And in the end? I have to know what I’m taking with me.

Billy Corgan believes in all his songs. 9:43 pm // Monday, October 3, 2011

Posted by jjb in analysis, billy corgan, criticism, interview, oceania, zeitgeist.
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Let us get that clear, right from the outset. If and when—it’s when—the Smashing Pumpkins auteur seemingly disparages his own past work, you must read with caution. Take the following statement, made today by Corgan as part of the “#SPRCtakeoverquestion-and-answer session hosted on Twitter by Live Nation:

If four years ago you were among the sizable group of fans and critics who appreciated the gold-certified album Zeitgeist, you may be feeling some resentment. “Hey,” you think. “I told people I liked that record in 2007. Is Billy Corgan trying retroactively to align himself with Pitchfork and the NME against Rolling Stone, PopMatters, and me?!”

No, no. Corgan is saying only that you (and David Fricke, etc.) may have made the same error that he now understands himself to have made, back then: you failed to realize that 2007 was the wrong time for that collection of worthy songs. While you were understandably distracted by the sheer quality of the music on Zeitgeist, those who disliked the album sensed that there was a problem, something in the air that year, ineffable but real.

Thankfully, today the problem is gone. Corgan, who misread something in 2007, now knows 2011 is right for Oceania. The detractors of Zeitgeist, sure to recognize the real, ineffable change that has taken place, will listen to Corgan’s new work with fresh ears and assess it on its merits. What are you gonna do?

Pumpkins seeking “that sense that something is happening again” 11:13 pm // Monday, September 26, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania.
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Gary Graff of Billboard has conducted a new interview with Smashing Pumpkins songwriter Billy Corgan. Corgan describes the sound of the Pumpkins’ upcoming LP Oceania (“melodic” but “rocks pretty hard”) and revisits the notion that this is a make-or-break time for the band. Here are two excerpts.

On trying to reach a larger audience:

“I reached a point where I saw that the one-song-at-a-time idea had maxed itself out. I just saw we weren’t getting the penetration in to everybody that I would have hoped. I mean, we have 1.3 million followers on our Facebook page, right? So you think you put (a song) up and 1.3 million people are gonna see it — but only if they’re looking at the exact moment it goes up. They’re not necessarily searching and they’re friends aren’t necessarily going to tell them about it. It’s very mercurial. I just saw that we weren’t reaching the sort of casual person who still gets their information from traditional sources. So I thought, ‘What do I need to do?’ and then I thought, ‘OK, I’ll go back to making an album.'”

On the future of the Smashing Pumpkins:

“We feel pretty confident this is going to help make the progression of ‘Teargarden’ make sense to people. If we’re able to get that sense that something is happening again and get people to rally behind us a bit, I think the next three, four years will be very interesting for the band. I think if (‘Oceania’) basically hits the same wall a lot of the other stuff has hit, we’re going to have to step back and really evaluate where we’re going, because it’s a tremendous amount of energy to put out to just feel like you’re throwing a pebble in the ocean.”

Corgan blames “expectation level” for material going unreleased 2:01 pm // Monday, September 26, 2011

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, teargarden by kaleidyscope.
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Smashing Pumpkins friend blog Crestfallen.com today put a moderately hard-hitting question to band archivist-in-chief Billy Corgan, asking Corgan how much non-album material from the ongoing Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project will be let out for fans to hear “sooner rather than later.” His response:

There are, I believe, over 70 demos of released and unreleased songs. At least 15 of which are worth a release at some point that have Mark Tulin playing bass and Mikey playing drums. Still trying to figure out what to do with those. I would release way more stuff right now (like we used to) if the expectation level for the quality of material was anywhere near reality.

Corgan sings Joy Division songs with Peter Hook at Metro 9:59 am // Saturday, September 24, 2011

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, joy division, live, news, peter hook.
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Peter Hook, the bassist from Joy Division and New Order, has toured this year and last on material from the first of those groups. Hook and his band The Light came to Metro in Chicago last night, and local singer-made-good Billy Corgan was invited to join them for two songs.

Corgan belted out “Transmission” (often covered by his Smashing Pumpkins during 1998) and Joy Division’s most famous number, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Music-news site Consequence of Sound is sharing some decent amateur video of the proceedings.

In 2008, Hook said Corgan was to sing on a track for Hook’s project Freebass, but the collaboration never came about. Corgan did record vocals in 2001 for the New Order track “Turn My Way,” and he served as guitarist on the band’s summer tour that year.

Corgan, Fiorentino, Byrne announce end of ‘Oceania’ sessions 10:01 pm // Sunday, September 18, 2011

Posted by susan in billy corgan, bjorn thorsrud, mike byrne, news, nicole fiorentino, oceania.
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The Smashing Pumpkins say they have finished recording their new album Oceania.

Nicole and Mike recording vocalsEarly this morning, frontman Billy Corgan said to his Twitter followers “Oceania is done… I am so proud of this record, and this band.” Bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne also remarked upon the occasion, both saying they “can’t wait” for the music to be publicly available; according to a tweet made by Corgan last Friday, that is still expected to happen in November.

The band posted to its Facebook account a snapshot of Corgan in front of a whiteboard that he had used to track progress on the album. Thirteen tracks are fully checked off, including: “Pale Horse,” “Panopticon,” “Chimera,” “Four Winds Chime,” “Glissandra,” “Inkless,” “My Love Is Winter,” “The Celestials,” “Quasar/Stella Polaris,” “Pinwheels,” “Oceania,” “Violet Rays,” and “Wildflower.” This set of song titles essentially matches the tentative list of 12 songs given by Corgan on June 1, with two significant exceptions: “Wildflower” has been added, while “Special K” has been retitled as “The Celestials.”

Only guitar solos and backing vocals remained to be recorded when mixing for the album began on September 1. (more…)

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