A Chat with Billy Corgan

As I type this very sentence, I’m in prep mode for the Smashing Pumpkins concert tonight at the NorVa, in Norfolk, VA. Yesterday, however, I was in conversation with the man who fronts the Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan. The opportunity to chat with Corgan came up at the last second, so I’m in debt to my friends and fellow writers who stepped up to the plate and provided me with a few questions, but I managed to slip in a few of my own invention as well. During our conversation, we discussed the current state of the Pumpkins (as you probably already know, he’s the only original member in the line-up), their new music, why he gets frustrated with fans who can’t get exited about his attempts to move forward, and the chances of seeing him playing alongside Jimmy Chamberlin, James Iha, and D’arcy Wretzky again anytime soon. Hint: it’s about as likely as world peace.

Billy Corgan: Hi, Will!

Bullz-Eye: Hey, Billy, good to talk to you!

BC: Thank you!

BE: Well, I know you guys are on tour at the moment, but I actually wanted to kick off by asking you about something from the studio. How did the release of the Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Vol. 1 EP go for you? Was the reaction better or worse than you expected?

BC: It was…probably in the range of expectation, which I have to admit wasn’t real high. (Laughs) Because I knew that I was doing something kind of different, and I thought it would take awhile to put across the different ideas. Not just musical, but, y’know, “Why free? Why have a limited edition?” All of these types of things. I think that part’s gone okay. Musically, I’ve been more focused on trying to figure out a sort of musical way to connect and how that’s going to work over the long range in keeping myself and fans interested. I’ve been sort of more focused on that.

BE: Of the songs I’ve heard thus far, I think my favorite song is “A Stitch in Time.”

BC: Oh, thank you! That’s funny, I was just talking about that: some of the hardcore Smashing Pumpkins fans don’t think very much of that song, and I don’t understand why. I think it’s a very strong song.

BE: I mean this in the best possible way, but…it’s very much a pop song.

BC: (Hesitates) Yeah, but I also think it fits well with some of my other acoustic material, like “Disarm” and things like that. It’s very hard to write an acoustic song that has a narrative just within the acoustic form, if that makes sense, where the song can just hold up as an acoustic song and not just be, like, a nice song that you’re playing acoustically. I sort of look at them differently. And I see it in that way. Maybe people don’t like the production on it, I don’t know. But, yeah, I really like it. It’s one my favorite songs.

BE: So will these songs be collected in the future, a la The Aeroplane Flies High?

BC: Yeah, the plan is to ultimately create a full box that would include all the released material, hopefully some unreleased material, and then maybe, like, a DVD or a documentary. Some kind of reason to get the whole thing all at once.

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