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Smashing Pumpkins: "I'llhave the last laugh"

You’ve said in other interviews you said you weren’t 100 percent happy with the way Zeitgeist turned out. Did you feel that way at the time, or is with hindsight?
I felt that way at the time. But that being said, I still thought it was good, or I wouldn’t have put it out. I still thought there was a lot of value there, but because people couldn’t get past it not sounding like Siamese Dream, it got kind of lumped into a category. So I when I say that, people think I mean it in terms of other things, no I meant it in terms of my own goals. It’s not like I went and said ‘let’s make Siamese Dream number two’ and I didn’t make it, ‘yeah it’s a failure’, no I went in to make an album that sounded like Zeitgeist.

I didn’t get out of it everything I would’ve wanted to get, and in hindsight I looked at it, and I’ve always been honest about saying ‘I didn’t get everything I wanted.’ But that said, I’m sorry, Jimmy and I in a room is still better than about 99 percent of the music that I’ve ever heard, outside of bands named The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, you know the list. To have it be kind of degraded into something because it wasn’t want people wanted, that’s a different set of expectations that don’t have anything to do with me.

So that’s what I’m trying to say, that’s why I don’t say certain things in public anymore, because people think I’m talking about their version of my reality, and I’m not, I’m talking about my version. We wanted Zeitgeist to be a very sparse, metallic record. And we made one, and where it works, on a song like say United States, it’s incredibly effective. It’s darker and leaner than anything we’d done before. But maybe where it’s too much, on a song like Seven Shades of Black, which I actually liked as a song, it’s too dense, it sort of works in the wrong way. There’s too much going on. It’s not as muscular as maybe it would’ve come out in the Mellon Collie period, where that stuff seemed to work better then. So that’s my kind of evaluation. That’s what I mean when I say I wasn’t happy.

Looking at your career more broadly it’s been tumultuous, would you do anything differently now, apart from Zeitgeist specifically?
I think there’s second guessing in every period. I think that’s really easy to do once you’ve gone through it. I’ve never put out a record I wasn’t proud of. Because even if in hindsight I didn’t think the record was as good as maybe I thought it was at the time, or hoped it would be, I still am proud of myself for taking the chance. And I think that’s what separates me from most of my contemporaries, they don’t really take chances. Maybe they took a chance at the beginning, but then after that they kind of lock in to the same ride. The same rollercoaster. And I’m proud of myself for sticking my neck out again and again, and I still think I’ll have the last laugh.

In the internet age which we now are squarely in – what many people are calling the biggest shift in global culture since the Industrial Revolution – I think the type of artist I am, the type of musician I am, the type of person I am, fits very well with the technological revolution because it will be about diversity, it will be about telling different stories. It will be about a different narrative than ‘I grew up in a poor farm and I got rich and famous, and then I got on heroin and blew my career and then I did VH1’, do you know what I mean? I think that story is done. This is a new story. This is about renewal, revival, and finding new ways to be an artist in a world that’s changing at an incredible speed, faster than any of us can assimilate. I think Smashing Pumpkins music, my music, fits in quite well with that because if you get bored with one part of me [there is another]. Just like if I got bored with early Beatles I found later Beatles, or blues Beatles, or spaced out Beatles. And that’s always what we tried to model ourselves after, it was Beatles, or Led Zeppelin [or] The Cure – bands that we thought had a diversity in their approach. And so I think we fit right in, in that way, and I think we’re gonna have a good laugh there in the end about it all, because we’re actually more forward thinking than people would’ve given us credit for. Even though we have regrets, it is what it is, they’re regrets because you took chances, not regrets because you didn’t take chances.

Comments

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oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 26th Apr, 2012

i thought that was a fair question, should have been like 'STFU CUNT'.

did you recover alright?

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 26th Apr, 2012

Yeah I don't think it was an unreasonable question either.

I always find Billy interviews interesting, I think he reads a lot of his own press so he's always wary of how he's coming across when he gives his answers.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 26th Apr, 2012

I hear he reads every high school newspaper across the country just looking for a mention.

http://www.planet-familyguy.com/pfg/images/characters/lukeperry.jpg

davidswan

davidswan said on the 27th Apr, 2012

i thought that was a fair question, should have been like 'stfu ****'.

did you recover alright?

yeah i think if you dish it out you should be able to take it. he could have defended it in a million different ways, by saying it's for the fans, by mentioning all the bonus tracks, etc. etc.

i recovered fine, mostly through jumping to my most 'suck up' question, haha. ;)

lukey26

lukey26 said on the 27th Apr, 2012

Hahaha, what a jerkwad. I was thinking of going to his sideshow if it was announced, but fuck that. He won't get a cent from me until I get a re-released album remixed by Optimus Prime and Silverchair.

SeniourButtkiss

SeniourButtkiss said on the 27th Apr, 2012

i wish billy would bring the pumpkins to perth for there own shows instead of doing all these fucking festivals. i refuse to pay $200 in order to get 45 minutes of pumpkins!

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 27th Apr, 2012



What if you could get VIP tickets?




I don't want to break this to you but while Perth is still stuck in the 90's The Smashing Pumpkins are not... so you probably should be glad.

BenCheshire

BenCheshire said on the 27th Apr, 2012

david, there's about a million proofreading errors here. looks unprofesh.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 27th Apr, 2012



http://gifsoup.com/webroot/animatedgifs5/2084696_o.gif

Stefan Beck

Stefan Beck said on the 27th Apr, 2012



They were here like eighteen months ago.
Should gone to that.

back_to_you

back_to_you said on the 27th Apr, 2012

well handled interview.
here is a new song, that will be on the new album

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yn7ka1SNsc

sarahanne

sarahanne said on the 27th Apr, 2012



Or the way Billy speaks? I can not see a million subbing errors.

grattan

grattan said on the 27th Apr, 2012

Anyway...

The Smashing Pumpkins Australian Tour dates to be announced Thursday!

davidswan

davidswan said on the 27th Apr, 2012



the only ones i can see are 'cuckles' and the second last question isn't in bold. i think cuckles is my bad, though.

Captain Smashed

Captain Smashed said on the 27th Apr, 2012

To me, Billy has always been one of those people who, despite the fact I like the Pumpkins (well, most of their stuff), I have always thought he was a giant twat. I don't think I will bother with them this time around - last time was bad enough seeing him wank into the microphone. That said, cool interview David. Nice work.

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 27th Apr, 2012



not sure if I see what you did there..

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 27th Apr, 2012



Just being a twat.

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/006/199/x-all-the-y.png

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 27th Apr, 2012

i thought you put all caps for an editing mistakes joke... awkward.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 27th Apr, 2012



No I wrote it all in capitals and it edited it down itself and I couldn't be fucked changing it.

judgelord

judgelord said on the 27th Apr, 2012

he is a fair twat, but still a musical legend!

retrovertigo

retrovertigo said on the 27th Apr, 2012

what do you think? post your comment...

retrovertigo

retrovertigo said on the 27th Apr, 2012

whoops sorry about that up there!!

great interview!
re the "sellout" question though, c'mon that was completely loaded!!
& why not stick up for what you were asking? what's the worst that could happen? billy storms out of interview proving himself a twat? you missed your chance man!!

retrovertigo

retrovertigo said on the 27th Apr, 2012

whoops sorry about that up there!!

great interview!
re the "sellout" question though, c'mon that was completely loaded!!
& why not stick up for what you were asking? what's the worst that could happen? billy storms out of interview proving himself a twat? you missed your chance man!!

Blasted

Blasted said on the 27th Apr, 2012

You seem to have this posting thing down Pat.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/0b/Postman-Pat.jpg/250px-Postman-Pat.jpg

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 27th Apr, 2012

can I just ask, what happens if you offend an artist at the end of an interview? or get in an argument with them or something?

bigval

bigval said on the 27th Apr, 2012

I'm old enough to remember the Smashing Pumpkins they were a good band.

A few years ago I heard the Billy Corgan Quartet were going to release a 40 song album, not unsurprisingly it never happened.

Just another brain fart from this clown like Zwan & his disastrous solo album 'The Past Embraced' or something.

Keep trying to cash in Axl but just make sure you don't forget to play those Pumpkins covers.

back_to_you

back_to_you said on the 28th Apr, 2012

i think the new album Oceania is part of the 40 song, teargarden by kaliediscope, release.

davidswan

davidswan said on the 28th Apr, 2012

whoops sorry about that up there!!

great interview!
re the "sellout" question though, c'mon that was completely loaded!!
& why not stick up for what you were asking? what's the worst that could happen? billy storms out of interview proving himself a twat? you missed your chance man!!

of course it was loaded but i wanted to either get an interesting reaction or for him to defend himself. anyone can ask questions like 'your career's been amazing what's your inspiration for writing music' blah blah, but i think to get the most out of an interview you have to challenge the person at least a little bit. especially someone like billy who dishes it out to other bands himself.
in terms of 'what's the worst that could happen', it was a phone interview, so he could have easily just hung up. i could have stuck with the question and pursued it further, sure, but i think if you've only got 15 or 20 minutes with someone it's a better use of time to move onto something else where you'll get something out of them, as opposed to arguing over something and either wasting time or having them just end the interview over it.

davidswan

davidswan said on the 28th Apr, 2012



from what billy was saying the teargarden by kaleidyscope idea is over and he's not sure what will happen after oceania's release. from other interviews i think he's hinted that he'll just go back to making 'normal albums'.

retrovertigo

retrovertigo said on the 28th Apr, 2012

of course it was loaded but i wanted to either get an interesting reaction or for him to defend himself. anyone can ask questions like 'your career's been amazing what's your inspiration for writing music' blah blah, but i think to get the most out of an interview you have to challenge the person at least a little bit. especially someone like billy who dishes it out to other bands himself.
in terms of 'what's the worst that could happen', it was a phone interview, so he could have easily just hung up. i could have stuck with the question and pursued it further, sure, but i think if you've only got 15 or 20 minutes with someone it's a better use of time to move onto something else where you'll get something out of them, as opposed to arguing over something and either wasting time or having them just end the interview over it.

well said, & fair point ;)
you've actually spoken to the guy directly so your words hold merit, unlike the countless hipsters who'll bag out billy just cause that's the cool thing to do.

judgelord

judgelord said on the 29th Apr, 2012

excellent interview, love how billy is just so honest. one of the geatest

lateleigh

lateleigh said on the 30th Apr, 2012

I'm pleased that he's scrapped the Tiergarden By Kaleidoscope idea. What a disaster that was! I enjoyed this interview, but mostly in a "what's that idiot on about this time" way. Well done working with such a knob and still pulling together a decent article.

daveyac8881

daveyac8881 said on the 1st May, 2012

He seems like an interesting guy, I'd have tried the tougher questions towards the end and more relentlessly so at least if he hangs up you've got the goods already.

I might have worded that question a bit differently but I guess he's used to being taken out of context and made to sound like a knob