It’s the day of the launch of Smashing Pumpkins’ new album, Oceania, and Billy Corgan is nothing short of sharp, fiery honesty. In a recent interview with Antiquiet, the band’s eccentric vocalist talked about God, pissing on Radiohead, staying true to the present time and taking emotional risks for the new album in order to produce good work.
At 45, he is tired of hearing who he needs to be or who he is. He said:
From ’89 on I’ve had people tell me who I am. And they pick my personality as if it’s a one or two-dimensional thing, and I’m more like a tetrahedron. I can’t think of any people outside of Weird Al Yankovic who have both embraced and pissed on Rock more than I have. Obviously there’s a level of reverence, but there’s also a level of intelligence to even know what to piss on. ‘Cause I’m not pissing on Rainbow. I’m not pissing on Deep Purple. But I’ll piss on f***in’ Radiohead, because of all this pomposity. This value system that says Jonny Greenwood is more valuable than Ritchie Blackmore. Not in the world I grew up in, buddy. Not in the world I grew up in.
Obviously unsatisfied with how the general public praises Radiohead’s guitarist over Deep Purple’s guitarist, he goes on to talk about making your own movement and withstanding negative comments. Basically, he is just giving the finger to everyone who are criticising Smashing Pumpkins and other bands who are trying to make it in their own way.
Corgan also mentioned that he has and always will be sticking to what makes sense in the present time, not the past. Like it or not, if Smashing Pumpkins have changed throughout all the years that they’ve been making music, they will change again, and again, and again, depending on how the band is feeling at the time their music was composed, written and sung. This time, Corgan hints that the album is brighter than the band’s previous works of art, and then went on to say:
I was always offended by the idea that I could only write from a dark place or only the darkest stuff was worth listening to. Oh, Billy happy is really annoying. Billy’s talking about God now, there goes the music. I always thought that was a bit bourgeoisie, you know? If you’re good… John Lennon wrote songs about being in love, just like he wrote songs about not being in love. If he can do it, then we all can do it.
In addition to that, fans who are expecting to watch Smashing Pumpkins perform their hit songs live in their upcoming Oceania tour will be let down as Corgan promises that the band will play the whole 60 minutes of the album, all thirteen songs, and only that. This is what they want to do, and this is what they will do, even if they receive severe backlash from the critics and fans. Corgan wisely states that the record industry is all about moment to moment, that is, you can be the big thing now but at the end of the day they will still find someone or something else that is better than you or have more of what they want and you’ll be thrown aside until you can make your own moment.
Ending the interview by stating his opinion that people go to live shows not to see hit songs but to watch a rock show, or in other words, they want to see something happen that they don’t usually see every day, Corgan leaves us in anticipation of how the new album would sound like and how different it is from their other babies.
Smashing Pumpkins’ new album Oceania is slated for release by EMI today (19 June 2012).