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24 October 2012 - 07:39 AMhttp://www.heyreverb...rview/56484/#17
QuoteThe media have painted Billy Corgan broadly in recent years, depicting him as both violently unstable and hilariously egotistical — the archetype of a nut-job musician who has lost touch with his fans and reality.
And truly, the Smashing Pumpkins leader is not doing himself any favors when he takes out full-page ads in newspapers or starts seemingly petty feuds with fellow musicians. Remember when he lived with Courtney Love? That kind of thing.
Corgan can come off like a disconnected artist drowning in his creative whims, his persona falling somewhere between Brian Wilson and Howard Hughes.
But the public’s quest for oversized, fantastical, self-destructing personalities is usually a self-fulfilling one. And anyway, Corgan is well aware of the perception.
“I tend to look at (doing press) as just a funny game,” he said over the phone last week from his home in Chicago. “When I started playing it I didn’t realize how deep it would go and the negative effects it would have on my musical legacy.”
Still, as much as critics like to psychoanalyze the 45-year-old songwriter, Corgan has kept his seminal ’90s alt-rock act firmly in the public eye — and usually for the right reasons. Between surprisingly well-received tours, reissues of classic albums like “Siamese Dream” and the occasional bursts of new material, Corgan has proven his creative output is not so easy to dismiss.
We caught up with him in advance of Smashing Pumpkins’ Tuesday, Oct. 17 concert at the 1stBank Center.
You’ve talked before about wanting the set lists on this tour to feel narrative as opposed to the new album-plus-greatest hits package. Do you think that’s coming across?
It does come across, and it’s hard to explain. It seems to transition from a very personal narrative to almost… let’s call it a public narrative. We start with (2012 album) “Oceania,” which is obviously idiosyncratic and self-reflective, but by lining up the songs in the correct order they gain in gravity. There’s one pass in there where we play “Disarm,” “Tonight, Tonight” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” but the feel is this cathartic emotional transition. It has the way of feeling like you’re lining up sonnets in the right order. We had to play with it for awhile to make it work.
When we finished the songs from “Oceania” we thought, “OK, what’s the best ‘first’ song we could play after that?” And I thought “Tonight, Tonight” would be the best one to make a perfect transition, and we played it and it just didn’t work. So it ended up being “Space Oddity,” the Bowie song. It’s almost like you end “Oceania” then you kind of go out into deep space and “Disarm” kind of brings it back. It’s hard to explain emotionally, because you’re dealing with emotive language. But we come back from these shows just exhausted, even though they’re only two hours and 20 minutes and we’re used to playing for at least three hours.
How do fans seem to be responding to the new stuff in concert?
Really well. It’s obviously really risky to say, “OK, we’re going to play bigger places and we’re going to start with the new album and make this statement.” It all sounds good. It’s a good media byline, but the reality out there it’s really well received. People tend to like the music and are willing to take the journey with us. They like the production that goes with it and they of course like the songs we’ve chosen for the second half, which is probably a little bit easier swallow than the first. We want to play a balanced set, so if you’re going to give us the indulgence of the first hour we’ll give the fans what they want in the second set. So that’s been nice and it makes the show not seem like a Russian novel. It’s got an A and a B to it. A bit of punch feels good.
I’ll check stuff like Twitter and it’ll be 98 percent positive — and usually the negative is because we didn’t play some song, not because we played bad. We or I have been touring consistently in America now for about six years and I’ve really noticed in the past couple years the amount of time you can play before the audience starts to check out is really diminished. We used to play for three hours and that was too long. We’re down to about two hours and 15 minutes now, but if you’re watching carefully you can see when the audience starts to check out at about the hour and 40-minute mark.
Because certain people are just waiting for songs and not hearing them?
We’ve been jerking around trying to figure out where to play my song “Today” because it’s a little poppier and a little bit more on the optimistic side, and if we play it wrong it feels like a duck out of water. We’ve been thinking of playing it more at the end or not at all, because it just doesn’t fit. We want to play the songs that tell the story into a deeper thing. It’s just super powerful. In this package of songs and band members it just has this completely different power.
I know you’ve been saying in recent interviews, too, that the visual aspect of it is intended to really keep people engaged along with the music.
I went and saw “The Wall” that Roger Waters has been touring and that’s obviously fairly long, and there was break in the middle, but it’s interesting how he pairs the narrative with the visuals. I probably don’t have as much tolerance for a lot of songs if it’s not a production or the band isn’t great. I mean, I’d watch the Allman Brothers or what’s left of the Grateful Dead play for three hours.
Your current band must feel a lot of pressure, too, playing in the shadows of such iconic original members like James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin and D’arcy.
They’re very smart, all three of (the new members) and they really consciously understood what the obstacles were by being in this band. When I offered them the opportunity they said, “This is what it is, and you’re either going to get swamped by it or you’re going to make it your own and transcend it.” And I think the expectations on them have brought out a certain resolve. They see themselves as part of a legacy that the original members were unable to continue. I’m pretty smart and all, but they bring something important to the (new) album, a grace and a dignity that you can’t manufacture.
Your 1995 album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” was recently certified diamond (selling 10 million copies) and is being reissued in December. Is it tough forging ahead with new material in the shadow of such gargantuan past successes?
I’ve been very public about not wanting to enter what I call this new sentimental culture, even if it’s good for business. And of course I’ve been poked at by people saying I don’t want to play old songs, which isn’t true. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done on every record and I have yet to repeat a record. So that being said, people appreciating and loving and celebrating the past is great. I don’t feel I’m in the shadow of it.
Certainly the expectations for new work are high when you’ve only released a couple proper new albums over the past decade.
But people see things through the sentimentality of their own past. I could take any critic in a room and sit with them and talk about my catalog and say, “That was a good one, that was a bad one.” So I’m very clear-eyed about my own work. I feel like the work in the last 10 years or so has just been overshadowed because it doesn’t fit into anyone’s conception of what it was supposed to be.
Do you have an example?
The failure of (2007′s) “Zeitgeist” to connect emotionally with people is what really hurts my soul and I kick myself that I didn’t do a better job of translating what I wanted to translate. And the irony is that it will ultimately sell more than “Oceania,” probably by a four or five to one (ratio). If “Oceania” had come out in 2007 it might have sold over a million copies just based on who was buying records and how they were buying records. But “Oceania” has changed all our energy around us and people are talking about the music again. Now kids come up to me all the time and talk about the new songs.
You’re pretty confessional in both your lyrics and your interviews. Do you ever regret it, since the candidness has at times hurt your image?
Believe it or not I don’t read a lot of press. I’ll read Q&As because I want to see if what I’m saying is translating the way I hope it to. I don’t read the personality pieces, the way they usually try to break down my psyche. I just think I’m too complex a creature for anybody to nail, so they tend to default to… let’s just say if “bald guy” is in the first sentence it’s going to be a bad article. And if they define me by saying “angry bald guy” or “enigmatic” — which is just code word for “doesn’t sell enough records” — well, I’ve learned to kind of avoid the opinions of the press as opposed to the critical press that actually gets inside the work. There’s a whole new generation of writers and interviewers that are more interested in Q&A, more interested in exploring themes at a deeper level, so that interests me.
So you never read your own press?
For “Oceania” I think I read one review. You learn after a while to feel it. I know what people are thinking just based on the questions they ask. I don’t want to say I’m bulletproof, because I’m not. But I’ve been hearing it for 15 years. And when someone is able to get some light inside the way I work, if they’re interested in the music and not my personal life, then I know they’re doing it for the right reasons. But now it’s so far gone or so deep that it’s almost like a strange Dostoyevsky novel. I’ve been so overly caricatured that you can’t do it anymore. I don’t think my fans are interested that I’m a pain in the ass.
And yet you know that’s what sells magazines.
One thing that has happened that’s worth nothing is we’ve seen the rise of a culture that makes its money off of celebrities falling down — or in my case, trees falling down. That is their business model so I’m saying I have to understand that they have to make their money. They’re not going to write about my album, but they’re going to write about how I fell over and chipped my tooth. If I could speak about existentially: managing your public profile is sort of like Psy-Ops. You’re both competing against each other. This guy in new Zealand that interviewed me, this guy was a huge fan but you’d never know it because he seemed like he was being way too pokey. And what he said in the piece was something along the lines of, “Billy doesn’t realize that I’m a huge obsessive fan and I’ve got everything you’ve put out, but I wanted to explore if the myth of the Crazy Billy was real.” And about three questions in I told him to fuck off and he was like, “Woah…” and he saw that side of me that was like, “I don’t give a fuck what you’re going to write.” And he was like, “Woah! I’m just asking a question!” And I was like, “I don’t give a fuck about your question, fuck you.”
So my point is, you can trip the wire on me and I’ll go right at your because I don’t care. It’s a tired story. I think a story that’s much more interesting is one of endurance or perseverance or will or re-figuring something out I needed to figure out. That’s much more interesting to me than, “He’s back again to haunt our dreams!” So I bring that up because people want to portray me as a lunatic and it’s not that bad for business, and crazy works. And this guy thought it was a cute little game. Usually if people want to talk about a bunch of stuff not-album-related I used to get really uptight. But what’s beautiful is that the credibility of “Oceania” has engaged this argument I’ve been making for five years now: artists are in a broken system. Stop asking them to dance on the graves of the industry. I think the deeper narrative that’s emerged out of “Oceania” is the fact that the Pumpkins still have a future, which I think is the greatest thing that’s happened and “Oceania” gets the credit for that.
QuoteYou’re pretty confessional in both your lyrics and your interviews. Do you ever regret it, since the candidness has at times hurt your image?
Billy:Believe it or not I don’t read a lot of press. I’ll read Q&As because I want to see if what I’m saying is translating the way I hope it to.
Quoteso they tend to default to… let’s just say if “bald guy” is in the first sentence it’s going to be a bad article. And if they define me by saying “angry bald guy” or “enigmatic” — which is just code word for “doesn’t sell enough records” — well, I’ve learned to kind of avoid the opinions of the press as opposed to the critical press that actually gets inside the work. There’s a whole new generation of writers and interviewers that are more interested in Q&A, more interested in exploring themes at a deeper level, so that interests me.I don’t read the personality pieces, the way they usually try to break down my psyche. I just think I’m too complex a creature for anybody to nail,
I think thats where alot of misunderstandings start in general,
Everyone tries to outdo the other(nail the other down)or something is misunderstood and egos get hurt. wether it be out on the streets or in the forums. its easier to surrender to God in here.
One thing I have learned from it all is that those that dont know you
find it easy to insult you. (I hope everyone remembers that) Wisdom ;)/>
The only way we can get close in nailing or figuring out another is in knowing ♥urselves!!
24 October 2012 - 06:59 AMhttp://www.thestar.c...by-the-comeback
QuoteSay what you will about Billy Corgan and people, as Billy Corgan himself is well aware, say a lot of things but the man is never anything but honest with his art and his opinions.
The Smashing Pumpkins bandleaders forthright nature has earned him a reputation as one of rock musics preeminent cranks, but hes really just more unguarded than most when it comes to telling it like it is. And on no subject has he been more brutally straightforward in recent years than the premature best before dates applied to musical acts that have been accorded the kiss of mainstream success.
The Pumpkins were among the most wildly popular bands to rise to prominence during the alternative-rock boom of the 1990s their 1995 double-LP opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness alone has sold 10 million copies in the U.S. Yet the accepted narrative of the Chicago quartets career was, by the turn of the millennium, one of commercial fortunes gratuitously squandered by Corgans consistent, bloody-minded refusal to give his fans what they wanted.
At the time, that essentially boiled down to Corgans refusal to keep cranking out variations on Mellon Collie and its epochal 1993 predecessor, Siamese Dream, in perpetuity but has, since the Smashing Pumpkins reactivation in 2005 after a five-year hiatus and Corgans brief, ill-received stab at a solo career, transformed into a subsequent refusal to behave like a nostalgia act on the concert stage.
For the tour that brings the 2012 edition of the Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne to the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 25, for instance, the band is playing its entire new album, Oceania, front to back. It was either do this and finally, decisively get the public back on side with what the Smashing Pumpkins are doing today, says Corgan, or call it quits once and for all.
If I just go back to the old alchemy, I see that as a diminishing set of returns although I would probably be rewarded in this culture which rewards sentimentality, he says. Having had my moments of artistic indulgence where I just made music for myself, I looked at the Smashing Pumpkins as having one route and one route only: either we were going to recapture some ephemeral power or we were going to fail and I was basically gonna just pack up the whole shop. Because I am not gonna be an oldies act. Its not in my DNA.
I think its so f---ing insulting. Im 45 years old. I mean, Dave Grohl gets to be a new artist, but somebody else doesnt? I dont get this. Its like the haves and the have-nots. And I understand why everybody runs scared and where its just easier to just stay within expectations, but to me thats not the promise of alternative music or what its about.
Thats not the promise of the bard or the troubadour or Woody Guthrie. At some point, youre either in the tradition or youre not.
Corgan became, as he points out, one of the most successful singles artists of my generation without trying to out-and-out write hits and without being formulaic. Most of my hit songs are completely different from another.
Great point. :thumbsup:/>
QuoteThe bitter irony of then being rejected by both a large segment of his audience and the critical intelligentsia for defying formula and expectations with not just the post-Adore Pumpkins catalogue, but also his work with the short-lived Zwan and his synth-heavy solo record, TheFutureEmbrace, is, thus, not lost on him. He puts it bluntly: When you dont have the support of the snobby artistic class and you fall off the mainstream radar, youre basically in a perpetual hell.
With the proudly prog-ish and classic-rock-tinged Oceania, at least, Corgan and the Pumpkins appear to be having the last laugh. A wide-ranging album within an album that supposedly fits somehow into the ongoing, 44-track Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project the Pumpkins have been releasing online free, one cut at a time, since 2009, its the strongest collection of songs Corgan has authored since Adore in 1998.
Reviews have been much kinder than they were for 2007s mirthless Zeitgeist, while sales more than 100,000 copies since June were enough to put the band back in the Billboard Top 5. The Smashing Pumpkins appear to be back on a good trajectory.
Im on this trajectory because Im not on that other trajectory, says Corgan. You have to be willing to take a chance. You have to. If not, you might as well just do what you already know how to do.
We could sit in a lab, you and I, and say: Whats the maximal point? A little bit Siamese Dream, a little bit Mellon Collie, a touch of Adore. Keep it simple, stupid. But its just not me.
I never made music that way to begin with, obviously. So Ive taken this path and lost fans and been ridiculed and suddenly I show up and Ive got a good album in my pocket and its like: OK, where did you come from? Well, Ive been doing this the whole time. Ive just been churning away here playing, rehearsing, working. This is a band, working.
God doesn't take away our talents.
No one can take away our talents Billy.
You still got it if you once had it? you get what I'm sayin"
Dont let all the bull ppl spew clog your mind from the sun that shines bright in our minds.
(which is the truth)What is there to prove? ♥
so what if you lost fans?(the ones that dont deserve you)
you have gained/established better ones instead!!
at the end of the day its not the quantity but quality that matters.
QuoteThe Smashing Pumpkins of 2012 are a very different band than the one it was during the 1990s. Original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was the only other founding member present for Zeitgeist, but he announced his departure in 2009. If Oceania is any indication, though, the present lineup has found an intra-band chemistry that could carry the Pumpkins into a second golden age.
Its the most comfortable Ive been since the mid-90s, says Corgan. I feel like I can trust the people and that adds up to something more musical. As strange as it sounds coming out of my mouth, I like being in a band.
In trusting ppl we let go of the reigns and give up insecurity in exchange for hope and faith.
QuoteHopefully, with Oceania we can begin a new journey and have a whole new chapter of music with new fans who want to hear whatever version of this band it is. If they wander back to the past, great.
I just want to live in a current musical state. If I cant live in a current musical state, Ive either gotta completely change my musical style or get out of music altogether and do something else. Because its just no fun. Its boring. OK, lets wind the time machine back one more time. Its just not me, yknow.
I'm with you Billy. stay a true artist!!!!
24 October 2012 - 06:15 AMhttp://www.suntimes....onventions.html
QuoteHe recorded another album with the Smashing Pumpkins, Oceania, one of the groups most acclaimed. The restaffed quartet has been trotting the new material around the world all year South America this summer, Asia early this fall. It might as well be the mid-90, with the string of expanded Pumpkins reissues: Siamese Dream just came out, and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is due Dec. 4. Somewhere in there, Corgan, 45, started his own pro wrestling group in Chicago and last month opened a 1930s-style tea salon in Highland Park.
The band launched a North American tour this week shows are featuring the entirety of Oceania, plus a second set of Pumpkins oldies. But even after all this time, he still has trepidation about bringing it all back home.
More than any audience in the world, Americans will cross their arms, stare at you and say, OK, whaddya got? no matter how many times youve proven it to them, Corgan told me in a recent interview about his North Shore retail venture, Madame Zuzus Tea House. Then a weird thing happens. Once youve taken enough slugs and punches, they decide they like you. All of a sudden, youre revered, just because youre still there. Unless you say something they dont like politically. I just went to see Kiss and Motley Crue, both bands that are past that threshold. Its this weird endurance test, more about survival than art.
He also touched on that touchy subject, along with his survival tactics, his bands continuing critical disconnect and the old days and, sure, God:
Q.Oceania, released in June, received raves. Sometimes these critical resurgences have to do with the actual music, sometimes with non-artistic factors. Why do you think youre suddenly a critics darling again?
A. Well, dont jump to any conclusions. [Laughs] Im still waiting to be a critics darling. Im honestly not saying this in a pity-me way, but I dont see that Ive made one album that everyone agrees on. Ive never had the moment where everyone goes, Yeah…
Q.Was there any conscious intention to reach back to sounds and energies from Gish, etc.?
A. No, no, no. If you really look at the record, it really looks forward. Thematically, its much different. The guitar playing is completely different. When Ive tried to reinvent the wheel, I get bashed for not doing the familiar things. Here we have a lot of new things, and new musicians, and people connect it to the old days. Oceania has none of the original Pumpkins but still resonates with people as a Smashing Pumpkins record.
Q.No doubt youre weary of sentimentalism for the old band. How do the new players [guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino, drummer Mike Byrne] deal with it?
A. These are all really intelligent people. They knew what was coming. They knew [certain critics] would call them a rent-a-band. Theyve had to shut their ears to constant critique that theyre not real while theyve taken on an artistic mantle thats very idiosyncratic. They took the journey with me, playing in Tennessee to a thousand people yawning through the new songs. Those experiences either blow a band apart or galvanize you to a common purpose. They took the experience and said, Well show you like a good band should. Rather than go dark and go negative, they brought this thing into the light.
Q.But a Smashing Pumpkins album is still very much your singular vision, is it not?
A. To work with me is not Lets get in a room and see what happens. I get something in mind. I work differently than most people.
Q. Why do you stick with the name?
A. One, it centers me into a conceptual base I believe in and have faith in. Second, I kept seeing people try to separate me from my past, and I didnt like that. As somebody who likes to create artistic paradigms, staying with the name is the most rock n roll thing I could do. When Jimmy [Chamberlin, the original drummer] left, it became even more intense. I saw regularly on Twitter: He has no right to continue using the name. You say that to someone like me, it just gets my dander up. It gets to the heart of why Im in a band, which is kinda to piss people off. Theres so little of that left.
Why do you stick with the name?
I think its great that Billy stuck with the name Smashing Pumpkins.
Yu seein Hollywood(in showbizz) you put your best leg forward.
Smashing Pumpkins has a strong foundation(backbone) to draw from.
Seems like an endless well of music, fond memories and SUCCESS!!!
Everything has its advantages and disadvntages so by bringing back the name
you're also bringing back its shadows and begin competing with yourself against the public.
(its a no win situation)
Billy new version of SP need to develop street cred via internet all over the world.
(that is why its imporant this band make about 3-4 more records)
and then go back to the releasing singles module.
You know how in movies when they advertise a new movie coming out
they mention "from the producer of finding Nemo" and "Avatar"
(its that very same reason why I would have chosen to come back with Smashing Pumpkins)
If Billy would've gone under a different name he would have in essence
start from scratch all over again. (it was very wise of him)
You go with what you're known for if you want to be popular.
QuoteQ. Oceania returns to several spiritual subjects. What do you believe in?
A. I believe there is a god. I dont feel the need to name that god or claim that god in any dogma. Im probably closer to a Gnostic or pagan. To me, its the folly of man to make God human.I believe theres a higher energy and that the universe has order to it. If you listen carefully, you can see it, find it, trust it. Its backed by science; we know at the quantum level theres an intelligence we cant explain. God is probably one of the simplest things in the world.
21 October 2012 - 04:41 AMSpirituality has been Pumpkins theme since it began.
I personally think everyones life is spiritual even those that dont believe in anything.
Anyway, I have decided to make this thread in hopes that we can all
see a different version of SP. (the kind many ppl are not aware of)
I still cant believe the ppl that cant believe in a Billy that believes in God.
The two songs that come to my head are ZERO
Anybody know of any I might not know of
or cant think of from the top of my head yet?
21 October 2012 - 04:24 AMThis is a thread where you can give your input/two cents
on ideas that will help promote/grow the band in any field
or the people in the band in any way, shape or form ♥
After taking a glimpse at the Open Letters section I thought if you have something to share
that may not require an open topic there then you can post here instead.
Heres my two cents:
The Orb in the Oceania tour is/was a waste of money Billy
(just my opinion)
I only looked at that thing once.
I was too busy enjoying everything else.
Play nothing but New SP Material from now on in concerts.
You should only play old classic Pumpkins songs in your Encore list.
(5 would do for each show?)
About your reality T.V Rpro show?
becareful who you put on t.v because they may not be ready for the public life.(the pressure)
it can become dangerouse because no one wants to lose their mind on t.v if its not scripted.
R.I.P Chris Benoit and his family.♥
Have Adrienne Curry Be Billys bodyguard and beat guys for you and any crazy exes you may have.
(even the exes can hire outside forces to combat you all personally)
or by trying to take the Rpro business down with matches/challenges.
Have a Special Love Interest for your brother Jesse and have the question raised
in the story wether his girlfriend is using Jesse to get to you Billy.
Later have Billy come in with a group of wrestlers who you think are better than the top notch at Rpro and see who is the best of the best.
Get a Muay thai/MMA/Boxer to challenge Rpro wrestlers and call them out on their fakeness.
Consider all these storylines Billy for the Rpro t.v show. maybe?
Build a Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect match in time. (build characters first)
it dont get much better than that.
The introduction of Raven, Jericho, Big Show, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Tazz was epic on WWF/WWE(learn from that)
The Clown, The Over-Achiever, the Narcissist, the Heartbreaker, the Lunatic?
Gimmicks/Image will always work in Wrestling. (its all about relating and fun)
Try to Remake a Al Snow vs Bossman 90's attitude Raw/Smackdown storyline
but with a Eddie Guerrero and Bossman character dealing with Immigration issues
or even possibly get a controversial figure in there like the KKK(maybe too hot for t.v issue?)
great storyline though.
Jeff smile more often (you are in the Smashing Pumpkins!!!
note: this statement is my signture that I will not ever sue
or claim original property over any ideas expressed here throughout
in this thread.
It is my intent to share these ideas for the betterment of the world
and it shall stay that way forever and always.
You all(Smashing Pumpkins)have my full permission to use them.