The new Smashing Pumpkins album, Oceania, is really good. It's not likely to change your mind about Billy Corgan's heady, angst-fueled alt rock, but if you've ever had a taste for Pumpkin, you owe yourself at least one spin. (Listen below.) In advance of the band's upcoming Halloween gig at Barclays Center, we jumped on the phone with the veteran songsmith—not to mention founder of a Chicago teahouse and pro-wrestling impresario—finding him in a jovially combative mood.
Time Out New York: Hello? Billy Corgan: Is this Hank? Hey, it's Billy.
Time Out New York: Hi, how's it going? Billy Corgan: Good, how are you? Are you a Henry or a Hank?
Time Out New York: I was born Henry, but I go by Hank. Billy Corgan: That's my grandfather's name.
Time Out New York: Oh, excellent. Yeah, I very rarely get called Henry. Billy Corgan: Old-school, right? Time Out New York: Indeed, indeed. So, how's it going? What are you up to today? Billy Corgan: Well, I've got this teahouse opening here, so we're finally going to open officially tomorrow. Today we're just going let some people wander in.
Time Out New York: So are you actually there right now? Billy Corgan: No, no, I'm actually at my house. I'm going to play tomorrow at the teahouse too, so I've got to figure what songs I actually remember how to play. [Laughs]
Time Out New York: Are you going to do kind of a greatest-hits thing? Billy Corgan: Oh, for the teahouse? [Laughs] I'm not sure I want to play the greatest hits as it is, you know? For stuff like that, I tend to pick out a couple of things that I haven't played in a while. It's more of a pleasurable thing; more of a me-first mind, let's put it that way.
Time Out New York: Which sort of seems like the directive behind the teahouse in general. It seems an intentionally indulgent project. Would you say that? Billy Corgan: No, not at all. I don't know where you got that idea. No, actually the whole point of the business is to set a place for other artists to meet and mingle. No, I set it up as a basically a break-even business model; I see it more as a social hub. So if that's indulgent, I guess I'm indulgent.
Time Out New York: Well, do you have some bookings already arranged? Do you know who's going to be coming in there and performing? Billy Corgan: No, because I wanted to kind of get a feel for who was going to come in. I didn't want to make any assumptions. It's a very kind of… let's call it entrenched type of community socially. So I think to move it in any different direction is going to take time; I don't think you can come in here and say, "It's going to be like this," and people are just going to jump on board. I don't see that happening. I think you have to find a balance point between the intentions and what the community is interested in.
Time Out New York: Was there a point when you walked into another coffeeshop or teahouse and thought to yourself that you could do this better than what was already being done? Billy Corgan: No. In fact, I appreciate how well most of those place are run. You know, particularly people [for whom] it's their deal. I'm not talking about a chain; I'm talking about people who just decide to open their own business. No, I'm more of a romantic idealist of what I imagine an old-school teahouse would be like. It was more like that, more of a yearning for something that's not really readily available.
Time Out New York: So more kind of like a cultural hub or something? Billy Corgan: Yes, salon, like a European salon. That's the idea. Now whether we can execute it, and whether or not we can break even and not go bankrupt…
Time Out New York: And in terms of the actual tea you're serving, is it all stuff that is curated by you? Billy Corgan: Yeah.
Time Out New York: What's the best variety? Billy Corgan: I'm a green-tea guy. And I tend not to put sugar in tea, so it's sort of the nuances of different teas. I mean, I'm certainly not a "teaophyte," or whatever the word would be. I'm drinking tea right now, actually.… No, I just like the pleasurable aspects of good atmosphere, the right cup of tea, good music. I think it's a good place to start, and whether we can build on that, that's going to be the question.
Time Out New York: Have you picked out the soundtrack for the teahouse? Billy Corgan: Of course, I have! [Laughs]
Time Out New York: What were some of the things on that playlist. Billy Corgan: [Laughs] Sorry, "The Bad Billy" was just about to say something really mean.
Time Out New York: I'd be curious to hear what that would be! Billy Corgan: Mostly old music, let's put it that way. Like pre-1950. That's mostly what I listen to on my own free time, anyway, so it's pretty close to my normal playlist.
Time Out New York: Could you throw out an artist name or two? Billy Corgan: I love the singer Vaughn Monroe; he's probably my favorite old-school singer. But I even love the sound of old recordings. You know, obviously, the technology was inferior compared to what we have today, but there's something magical about how they just kind of glue everything together.
Time Out New York: I thought it was interesting, because I know that, in addition to having this business launching this week, you've also got a wrestling event on Friday. Billy Corgan: Now, that's indulgent! You can use that word cynically in that capacity. That is indulgent.
Time Out New York: Okay, okay. I was really impressed and charmed by this video I saw on on YouTube of you doing a pitch for your wrestling organization in general, something you taped backstage last year. I really like how you were kind of stepping into that role of an old-school showman. Billy Corgan: It's fun. It's an ensemble thing. I passed on doing high-school theater, and I kind of regret that, and I see now that that's what I like about wrestling. It's very much an ensemble mentality. It's like everybody coming together under one roof on a given day and sort of all pulling in the same direction.
Time Out New York: Is it strange to switch from the mentality of running the teahouse to the wrestling thing? Billy Corgan: I don't know. I think rock & roll has prepared me for a lot of flexibility. It's not uncommon—it's probably a little better these days—but I mean, back in the good ol' days, every day was Anything Can Happen Day, both with the band and the stage. You know, you walk into one place, and the guy's coming up the stage waving and saying, "You guys are too loud, and the fire marshal is going to shut the show down." Or you go onstage the next day and you can't hear somebody's guitar at all—like they're not even playing. So, what do you do? You just kind of get used to that Murphy's Law.
I take that kind of approach with everything I do, and it seems to work out okay. I like to be prepared, and so I kind of knew what I wanted from the teahouse, and I've stuck to that. And the same thing for the rest: I just stick to it. But it also is important to be able to assimilate yourself into a particular culture. So, you know, I don't understand restaurant-bar-coffeehouse culture like I do wrestling. I did 13-something years of talking to wrestlers and promoters about why they did certain things and why they booked matches a certain way and what they were thinking and whether they were satisfied with the draw. And I got a lot of insight in the business. I haven't gotten as much on this; this will be more hands-on.
Time Out New York: What was it that you were hoping to bring to the world of wrestling? Billy Corgan: You know, I'm a WWE fan, and I still go to the shows, but I believe that they have a very specific vision, and they've sort of transferred—and they've been very vocal about this—to more of an entertainment brand. I believe there's a lot of people who grew up on the wrestling, particularly AWA wrestling of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s that's still like that kind of, let's call it just basic old-school mentality. It's a little less pomp, and it's a little bit more meaty.
So, I'll give a perfect example: How does that apply in the modern context? Well, most of the women that wrestle for WWE, they've kind of been marginalized more because the women are used more like eye candy. And they admittedly hire women who are bikini models and stuff and try to turn them into wrestlers. These are not women who dreamed of being professional wrestlers; it's an opportunity they end up taking. So the women's matches, by and large, can be spotty affairs, because they'll have girls who are very skilled at wrestling with girls who aren't very skilled at wrestling. Well, I think there's a community out there that wants to see women who are great athletes wrestle at a very high level, and I believe I can help take that into the mainstream and build an audience that is interested in that. So that's a way to take an old-school value and bring it into the modern context.
Time Out New York: Do you think there is a part of you that wants to legitimize wrestling and draw people's attention to the art of it? Billy Corgan: I believe you can do that with any subculture. I know people who are into, like, obscure ’70s Thai cinema, and if you watch it enough, you see that there's a certain kind of street value. Wrestling's been around since the advent of television to the mainstream culture and even before with carnivals and stuff like that. So, in a way, it already is mainstreamed; WWE has already done that job: Hulk Hogan, really, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, Roddy Piper, all that. I just think that there's a different take on it that can be appreciated as a subculture, that the guy with the handlebar mustache can get into it because it is a subculture just like anything else can be a subculture. Like, all of a sudden, everyone's brewing their own fuckin' beer, right? You know what I mean. Like, that's a subculture. Well, you know, wrestling's a subculture too. There's a language; there's a tradition; and you can get into it or you can not. I don't feel that it needs a sell job is what I'm trying to say.
Time Out New York: It's interesting, because I've read a lot of interviews where you talk about when you were younger, liking bands like Black Sabbath and Rush, bands that weren't generally considered to be cool or critically accepted. Billy Corgan: I only found that out later, by the way. You know, growing up where I grew up, everybody thought they were cool. I wasn't, like, the only one. Time Out New York: Right. It seems to sort of tie in to wrestling, just the idea of something that's got this really devoted following, but there's this whole other sector of the population… Billy Corgan: I like counterculture, you know what I mean? And I like counterculture that isn't necessarily valued to the [degree] that it deserves. And you can make that argument, of course, about my own impression of my own work. I've written far more hit songs than a lot of people out there who are doing good business, and yet I'm treated like a pariah because I won't do "blank" for "blank."
Time Out New York: Do you still actively feel like an outcast? Billy Corgan: Sure, yeah. I think that's changing, though. I look to other artists' careers for some sort of guidepost, and there are those artists—Neil Young is a person I would point to—that don’t necessarily take the obvious, direct route, and eventually the public comes around and decides that they do have an inherent value and starts to treat them differently. I believe I'm sort of on that path. I should be so lucky to be as highly held as Neil Young; I'm not trying to compare myself to him, but that's a similar path. I think that's happened in the past five years even for the Cure. The Cure's value has risen up to its probably more accurate value, because the work is there and the value is there, the influence is there, and the fact that he was into a lot of things long before they became ultimately popular. So blah, blah, blah; I could go on and on, but I'm sure you've read enough of those quotes already. [Laughs]
Time Out New York: Well, yeah, do you feel that the new record is being received in the way you had hoped? Billy Corgan: Yeah. I just think that there's a much deeper thing that's going on, though, and let's use wrestling parlance; in wrestling, we'd call it an angle, you know? What is the angle? Me versus the indie world, or the indie world versus me? When did I kill rock & roll, or why does the indie world feel the need to kill my rock & roll? Why does the indie world not have a big-enough tent to include somebody who helped create the business model that exists today?
So in wrestling language, I play heel. I like to kick the shins of the Pitchforks of the world because they're pompous, and equally so, they like to point where I'm pompous. So in a way, we're benefiting from the feud. But there's a point where all feuds must end because they just become boring. And the fact of the matter is, in this particular regard, I know I'm right. I remain a mainstay of the indie community whether the indie community wants to embrace me as its own stepchild or not. And having grown up in a broken home, having grown up in a broken community, having grown up in a band that was not initially accepted by its own town, then a band that was not accepted by the national scene because we didn't fit into Seattle or New York or L.A. or whatever, I'm very sensitive to those things.
Time Out New York: Is there a part of you that relishes playing that antagonistic role? Billy Corgan: I like it as long as everybody can understand that my tongue is in my cheek. It's the idiots who can't get the joy of it… Do you know what I mean? It's like if you watch wrestling, and the bad guy comes out, if the bad guy is really good, you kind of laugh along with them, right? You're not sitting there going, "How could he say that?!?" You're like, "Oh, man, I can't believe he said that!" There's a joy here; there's a joy in rock & roll. Look, at one point I worked with Sharon Osbourne who famously fired me. Her and I are cool now, so there's no thing there left, but the point is, when she came and said, "Fuck the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.…" When they wouldn't put Black Sabbath in, she actually came out and said, "We don't want to be in your fucking Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." And they eventually put them in. There's something kind of funny about just throwing the dirt in there, because rock & roll needs that. It's all become very kind of, like, nice. You know? In amongst all the bitterness and the acrimony of the bearded-blogger army, there are a lot of people getting pats on the head for making really substandard music and/or veiled pop.
Time Out New York: Would you be able to give an example of something that's gotten a pat on the head that you think doesn't deserve it? Billy Corgan: No, because I don't want to pick anybody out of the crowd. I don't think it's the artist's fault that they're being patted on the head.
Time Out New York: So you're saying that these quote-unquote feuds, like the stuff that’s come up with Chris Cornell, are you saying that that's supposed to be inherently entertaining? Billy Corgan: Look, all good feuds are based on real things. Is one side right, and is one side wrong? No, and that’s what makes it interesting. You know what I mean?
Time Out New York: Well, yeah, I think it's really fun and apt to compare it to pro wrestling, just because there is a sort of cartoonishness to it. Billy Corgan: No, it is cartoonish! But I like to point out when other members of my generation are given a free pass where I'm not; I mean, I think I'm justified to say those things. I mean, one of my most favorite ones was getting raked over the coals by Pitchfork for using different color covers for Zeitgeist, our 2007 album, and then two years later, Arcade Fire did the same exact thing and they didn't say a damn fucking thing. And I remember tweeting, "Where's the outrage?" Of course, they didn't say anything. Time Out New York: I assume there have been times when you've just tuned out and decided not to read what's been written about you.… Billy Corgan: Oh, I barely read what's written about me, because I can pretty much feel the temperature. I think that what's happened over the last six months is, there's been a general warming, right? Where's the warming coming from? (a) The band's good; (b) the album's good; and (c), I'm kind of useful, you know? I get Web hits; people like to read about me; people like to argue with me. There's nothing wrong with that; that's kind of a good thing.
This is why I like doing Web interviews more than print interviews now, because the Web guys and girls will print your whole answer. What does the enemy do? They swoop in and pull out one quote, and they trump it up, and next thing I know, I'm pissing on Radiohead. Okay? Next two weeks of interviews that I did, because I was doing a lot of press at the time, everybody said the same thing. They brought it up, of course, and they said, "I actually read what you said, and I realized that there is nothing to it."
Time Out New York: Yeah, so it's good that you're getting these full transcripts out there. Billy Corgan: What I'm saying is, the intelligentsia is coming around and realizing, "You know, he's all right. He's a little weird.…" You know, I'm fine! The twisted image that's been put there was an old image put there to sell magazines, and it kind of laid there for a while because I didn't do the kind of work that [was] needed to change or redraw the image. Meanwhile, I've become more sophisticated in the time away. In 2007, I didn't do barely any interviews when we came back. Why didn't I do any interviews? Because I knew that it was going to be all dumb shit. I let the work speak for itself, good and bad. We cycled through a few times, and then I saw where the perceptional thing started to change. Now, what was really funny was when the album came out, the guys who had their knives all sharpened were like [Record-scratch noise]. They couldn't go there. It was only the blatant assholes who had to say it sucked because it's always sucked. Of course, it didn't always suck, so that's a funny thing.
What I'm trying to say—because I understand what you're asking—I think the point I'm trying to make is that there's a reassessment of values going on. The old value of "Can you sell records? Can you get people to watch MTV? Do people like you?" I don't think those are the values that actually mean something today. Having a broad personality that's real actually means something. People will come back again and again and kind of kick the tires, just to see what you're worth.
Time Out New York: I think it's interesting because, while we are talking about all of this stuff outside the music, you did just put out a new record a couple of months ago. I've listened to it a bunch of times, and it really is a solid record; I just find myself compulsively replaying it. Billy Corgan: Oh, thank you.
Time Out New York: You must be proud of it, because you're playing the full thing in concert. Can you talk about the decision to do that? Billy Corgan: I suppose it was born of— typical me: It's born of a reaction, and eventually, I come to my senses. My first reaction was, Everybody's out there playing their old album, why don't we play our new album? [Laughs] But then, you know, the reality hits which is like, Wow, can we actually do this? And how do we do that? Because I'd never done it; it's not like I had any experience in it. Then we got into the reality of "Well, how do we stage this? Do we start with the album, or do we play it in the middle?" You know, then the rubber hits the road, and you have to make real decisions. So, we've been pleasantly surprised both by our enjoyment of it and that it's worked so well with the audience. That first show, we really held our breath, because if it didn't work, we had no plan B.
Time Out New York: Is there a part of you that's a concertgoer who's been frustrated by not hearing older tracks by a certain band? Can you relate to the fans…? Billy Corgan: That's kind of a loaded question, you know what I mean? Of course, I can relate to the fan; I'm a fan. But I think you have to draw a distinction between what's the intention of the artist. And look, what we've had happen here in the past ten years is that the business has been capitulating because it's been getting smaller and smaller and smaller. People start running towards the simplest answer, and the simplest answer for a lot of bands is to go out there and lean on a past work. And once people saw that it was working for this band or that band, then they all starting doing it. If it was sort of just a general idea out there like, "Oh, this is kind of cool; we can do that," I probably would have done it for every reissue, because it would have made sense, it would have been a nice circle of time, and it would've promoted the reissue. Even if we did just, like, three concerts, and we filmed it or whatever and put it on the Web. But once I saw that it was a bunch of sycophants running towards the exits, I said, "Fuck you all." And that's why I'm saying: Where is the critical class that stands up and says, "Wait a second, this is actually counter to what rock & roll is supposed to be about." This is not a rebellious idea; in fact, this is the exact opposite of rebellion. And then people pretend that it's rebellion. It's not rebellion. That's what I am saying—I'm offended by the lack of spirit. It's more a symbolic argument for me. Look up the set list from Sydney or whatever; we're playing plenty of old songs. There is no shortage of hits in the set. It's the context by which we present them. I don't believe the artist should bow to the audience and say, "Thank you so much for giving me five minutes of your fucking time." I think that's not why I got into a rock band. That's for entertainers-in-Vegas shit. And we've seen this watering down of rock & roll street value because it just sells more of somebody else's shit. And the critical class has been asleep at the wheel for not criticizing this for what it is. Time Out New York: Well, I've certainly read a fair amount of pieces that are criticizing this trend of reunions and bands playing old albums in concert. Billy Corgan: Okay, but Pavement should've been slaughtered. [Editor's note: They were, by our own Jay Ruttenberg.] Time Out New York: [Laughs] Why them in particular? Billy Corgan: Who was more vociferous about integrity? Who wrote a song about me?!? And I had to hear about it for ten fucking years, from every guy with a fucking beard who thought it was, like, his little anthem. Why weren't they eviscerated? You know why? Because they want to be them. And as long as they want to be them, they'll cover for them. That's my point. This precociousness needs to stop. It's actually not the new business value. The new business value is, can you amass a following? The politics of how don't matter anymore. Arguing about who deserves more Web hits—Marilyn Monroe or Anna Nicole Smith—is pointless. At the dawn of the new consciousness, it was a really telling moment for me. Right after Anna Nicole Smith died, the L.A. Times ran a front-page article about how they didn't want to put her on the front page.
Time Out New York: Huh… Billy Corgan: Is it fascinating?
Time Out New York: Yeah. Billy Corgan: And the article said, "We admit that we are kowtowing to the pressure because of the Web hits. If this was strictly a news thing, this story belongs on page three or page ten. But because it is the number one news story on our website, we're being forced to put it on the front page, and we don't want to."
Time Out New York: That's pretty strange. Billy Corgan: Right. Okay, so, to break it down a little further, you have two things: You have mob rule: electoral college. Who are they going to vote in if they just let the people vote? And then you have the critical class, which is supposed to know the difference. And for 20, 30 years in rock & roll, the critical class has gotten a free pass because they could just say whatever they want. Well, now, as these things are evening out, the gatekeepers need people like me, but I don't need the gatekeepers as much as I used to. I don't need Rolling Stone as much as I used to, but Rolling Stone keeps calling me. Now, I'm not saying that arrogantly. I don't like what Rolling Stone's offering me, so I keep saying no. Am I making sense?
Time Out New York: Oh yeah, totally. Billy Corgan: So I'm saying is, when you've got this, like, integrity value system or this value system, it sort of misses the point. If an artist, over time, whether you are the Grateful Dead or Pink Floyd or whatever, you can build a world that is intact as a world; you can no longer break that world down by one thing: the album or the song or the attitude of the lead singer. In the value system we live in now, you can no longer assess it in that way. It won't work.
Time Out New York: If I'm understanding you correctly, you think that building a world like that is a positive thing.… Billy Corgan: Yes!
Time Out New York: Do you think you've built that type of world with the Smashing Pumpkins? Billy Corgan: I think I've done an okay job. Not close to where I would like, but the point is, you survive intact because the rock & roll business, as I've said previously, it works on a narrowing-down principle. Dumb yourself down; simplify your music; and make it clear for the punter to buy. Good. That's hollowed out the record business, and they continue to sustain themselves on this artificiality. Then you have the other business which is, like, make weirder and weirder records in the basement and we'll sell them even though nobody is going to buy them. And in the middle are a bunch of artists who, in the absence of, let's call it, the support of the two flanks, they just go on about building their own world because they've been forced, like me, to find different ways to connect to their audience. So is it fan experience? Is it being personal? Is it meaning more than just a song? Is it having a wrestling company and a teahouse and philanthropic things that you want to do in the world? That's my point. Ultimately, people like me are more valuable because we kind of just sit in the culture in a wider space. And you can't sort of say, "I don't like his new song. Goodbye." That's the old thinking.
Time Out New York: Well, I think the idea of what you were talking about before, about making really accessible records, on one hand, or really difficult ones, I think it's interesting to look at the new Smashing Pumpkins album in that context, because I don't think of it as a particularly difficult album. I think the songs are pretty short, pretty digestible and pretty catchy, but it doesn't really come across in a pandering way. It just seems like that's where you're at, just writing more straightforward rock songs. Would you say that's accurate? Billy Corgan: I think I decided to make an album that was really clear. Because I assumed that the audience wouldn't listen to it more than one time. Because I've been living that experience, and I certainly wasn't going to count on the critical class to go "You really should listen to this four times; he's done something really deep." I'm not going to get the three-page Radiohead review, where they pore over every nuance. I'm going to get the dickhead writing, "You know, this isn't very good." So, I've got to be direct to the audience.
Time Out New York: So you're almost thinking about the potential reviews while you're… Billy Corgan: No, you're jumping too far ahead.
Time Out New York: Well, okay, I'm just trying to… Billy Corgan: No, no, I'm saying this: I can't count on the critical class to support my work at the depth at which it’s written. Show me evidence of that, and I'll apologize. I'm a pretty significant songwriter; I have been for 20 years. I've proven that, but I don't get the depth of review that I deserve. Why? Because most of those guys don't want to be me. They want to be Thom Yorke or Beck or Björk. And so, they'll write about them rhapsodically because that's who they want to be. And so my work has been undervalued, and at times underappreciated, for the depth at which it's been made. And my most successfully way to do this has been to be clear, because then I can engage the audience, and the audience becomes my critic. Now, call me a populist or a zealot, but that's what I've been forced into. What I'm trying to say is, the beauty of that is that it's helped me build a new value system that's actually brought me back into the mainstream in a nice way because people go, "Okay, he's still here." I haven't had to storm the tower by being a jerk; I've just had to storm the tower by being good again. Time Out New York: Yeah, I mean, in terms of you being clear, I definitely hear that on the record. What I really like about it is the way that, even toward the end of the record when you might expect there to be a thinning out or something, there are songs like "The Chimera," which I really enjoy and keep listening to, and "Pale Horse," which could almost be singles. So what you're saying about trying to be clear, it definitely comes through. Billy Corgan: Thank you. But I'm saying, I learned how to be clear years ago, but when I decided I didn't want to be clear, like I wanted to make my weird synth solo album, I got eviscerated for not being clear. I didn't get the Pitchfork "Oh, this is so cool; he's made this really arty album. Let's listen to it five times and write the long review about how deep it is." I get the "This sucks." That's what I'm saying: I've been forced into this different place.
Time Out New York: Well, it seems like you thrive in that place of writing more straightforward songs. Billy Corgan: Eh, I think my best work is not heard.
Time Out New York: I don't know. I really think it's interesting to hear what you have to say about all that stuff, because I do think certain artists get that free pass where they can do the most difficult, impenetrable thing possible, and people will find meaning in it because they've somehow accepted that artist. Billy Corgan: I have to go because I have another interview, but I'll put it to you this way. I had this conversation once with somebody in the music business, and it was a nice conversation. It was about whether or not we were going to work together. And eventually I just said, "We're not going to work together," and the guy said, "Why?" And I said, "Well, I think I'm a major artist, and you don't. And so on that we're never going to agree." Because if you believe you are a major artist, you operate from the idea of your entire body of work. You have the hubris to think that, at some point, somebody's going to look and go, "Wow, this guy was a motherfucker," because he was operating on all these different levels that the idiots in the time couldn't see. You know what I mean? And there's plenty of evidence of that in the 20th century, of great artists who were overlooked because they just didn't click certain dots at certain times. So that's my opinion of myself. Somebody said to me, "Are you arrogant?" and I said, "Not as a human, but as a musician, yes. Because I believe I'm a major artist." Now, do I belong in this culture, or don't I? That's the argument, right?
Time Out New York: Can I ask you really quick before you go, I was really happy to see that you were in the Rush documentary. I happen to be a big fan of the band, and I just wanted to get your opinion: Have you spent much time with their new record? Billy Corgan: I've listened to it a few times, yeah; I was very impressed. I told them personally, I said, "I hear you guys play with a lot of fire, and I think that's really cool." I think that they've been really invigorated. They haven't told me this, but I get the sense that they've really been invigorated by the wave of support that's come off of the documentary. Time Out New York: Yeah, I agree. Listen, I don't want to keep you, but I really appreciate you taking the time to speak. It was great talking to you. Billy Corgan: Thank you for an interesting walk through my mind. [Laughs]
Been a few years but I don't see any comments here. This was a great interview. Very illuminating. He seems passionate as always, and I think he makes his position very clear here (especially with regard to his supposed hubris). I've been a fan through thick and thin, and "jovially combative" seems like a really good descriptor for Mr. Corgan in general. I say that as a compliment.
I have to say, though, it will always break my heart to hear him talk about how Adore wasn't given a fair chance by the critics. That album is a masterpiece. I consider it equal if not greater than Mellon Collie. I would have loved for the Pumpkins to continue on in that direction for another album or two before moving onto Machina, personally. It was a great, unique sound that I thought was really hitting a sweet spot in the feel of the world at that moment in time. But I guess the idiot critics never gave it a fair shake. Damn shame.
I hope someday that album starts to get the widespread acclaim it deserves. For me, personally, I really liked the Pumpkins when Mellon Collie was the talk of the town - but I didn't become a true Pumpkins fan until Adore came out. That was the album that made me seek out the rest of their catalog, "learn" Mellon Collie back to front, dig into Siamese Dream, Gish, Pisces Iscariot, and The Aeroplane Flies High - and my god, was it worthwhile. I'm not sure there's ever been a band more dynamic, emotional, beautiful, and surprising than the Pumpkins. And Oceania really continues their legacy beautifully, as do the Teargarden tracks, and now the newest release, Monuments to an Elegy.
I think someday Mr. Corgan will get the respect he deserves, but unfortunately, it will probably be grudging respect. He really knows how to push peoples' buttons, and those in power are perfectly happy to drag his reputation through the mud to punish him for refusing to play the game. As a fan, it can be maddening - obviously, I want my favorite artist to get the respect he deserves. But if he played the game, he'd be giving in and maybe wouldn't be my favorite artist anymore. Catch-22.