Billy Corgan, the uncompromising lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, has been detailing the reasoning behind his decision to bring the band’s original line-up back together.
The band, who formed over 30 years ago, reunited with founding members James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin in 2018 and recorded the band’s tenth studio album Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun., much to the delight of their huge fanbase.
Since then, Smashing Pumpkins have performed a number of sell-out shows and frontman Corgan has been busy working away on solo material. Now though, at a time when live music is well and truly off the menu, the musician has been reflecting on the recent history of the band their decisions to make their somewhat surprise comeback.
Corgan, who joined Zane Lowe on Apple Music to run through his ‘At Home With’ playlist, rolled through a number of different topics which included discussions about his music inspirations, the evolvement of mainstream pop, David Bowie and more. However, it was the talk around reassembling the Smashing Pumpkins which caught the attention of fans. “I would assume it’s difficult for some people to appreciate that in my mind, trying to reassemble the band wasn’t just about the obvious part of it, which is fine, but to really put together the machine again that produced that level of music with a great consistency,” Corgan said.
“And that proved to be a much more complicated process than I could have ever imagined. And that goes back to when me and Jimmy just did an album called Zeitgeist in 2007. I just assumed you’d put me and him in the room and we’d just kind of go back to it. And it was so many years later and there were other people in the room, and it’s been a long, long inner negotiation to figure out what’s real and not real… We were a product of our times.
“We were living in a safe world. We were overly indulgent. We were being rewarded for being punky and silly and being steampunk one day and… I’m going to get a tee shirt. To try to pick that up. Let’s talk about the present. You got three guys in their fifties, everybody’s got kids, we all have two kids each. Jeff’s been in the band now for 14 years. There’s a lot of road there, and it’s not as simple as like, ‘Hey, let’s just do that thing because button’. It just doesn’t work. And the funny thing is it never worked like that. We moved so fast through those years, I couldn’t even tell you what we were thinking half the time. Stuff just happened because it was the right water and the right drugs and the right, I don’t know, chicken piccata, I think, you know what I mean?”
He added: “I think this is the music that’s coming out now is the things that have taken root. We’ve gone back to just being ourselves. We’re good pop assassins, and I think as long as we’re sort of in that space, we’re good. Anybody can ascribe anything they want to it as far as stylistically, but it bears repeating that what most of the general public knows of the band is really only one small slice of the band’s music. The band’s sort of width was a lot wider. So this falls quite comfortably in the music that we’ve made through the years. So I’m ecstatic that the reaction has been 99.9% positive, which obviously never happens. So something must be wrong. I’m probably dead and we’re doing this interview from heaven.”
See the conversation, below.