Photo by Paul Elledge
Neph Basedow: How does it feel when you hear some fans and critics are still wanting you to write songs that sound just like Siamese Dream, so many years later?
Billy Corgan: At the risk of sounding arrogant for the 1,000th time in my life, I can write a Siamese Dream song if I want to - it’s not like I’ve forgotten how to do it - I’m just not interested. It’s like when someone says, “I really liked when you told that joke - can you tell it again, the same way?”
I saw (comic) Andrew Dice Clay do stand-up, and he was fantastic. At the end, though, he did his old nursery rhymes bit. To me, it was the least funny part of the night - and people were howling with laughter - but it’s like, c’mon, it’s not as funny as it was 25 years ago!
NB: So do you ever go out of your way to write songs with the specific purpose of them notsounding like your old albums?
BC: Yeah. I’ve done that, and it’s a total mistake.
NB: What’s an example of something you’ve written like that - something that served as more of a “fuck you” to people?
BC: Well, Machina. [Laughs] Because Machina was reactionary in two ways - it was reactionary against the band breaking up, because I was angry at them, and it was reactionary against the fan base that I thought was failing me, who had left in droves during Adore.
Photo: Paul Elledge
“To destroy is always the first step in any creation,” wrote e.e. cummings. For Smashing Pumpkinsfrontman Billy Corgan, destruction and creation are a way of life.
“A good artist is willing to die many times over,” Corgan says during our recent phone interview. “What’s funny is, I’ve died so many times.”
Each “death,” however, has ignited a rebirth. From 1988 to 2000, Corgan manned one of alternative rock’s reigning bands — one that endured years-long obstacles like emotional dysfunction, personal conflict, drug addiction and even actual death.
Still, a laundry list of obstacles couldn’t keep Corgan from pursuing the band he still adores, as we’ve witnessed in the six years since he’s regrouped the Smashing Pumpkins with a new lineup. Only Corgan himself can describe his personal ups and downs through it all — the destruction and resulting creation.
KTRU 91.7 guest-DJ playlist, 7/31:
Fruit Bats, “So Long”
Red Red Meat, “Flank”
Bikini Kill, “Starfish”
Sun Kil Moon, “Neverending Math Equation”
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Sometimes Always”
Belle and Sebastian, “I Want the World to Stop”
The Walkmen, “Woe Is Me”
Vivian Girls, “I Believe in Nothing”
Secret Machines, “Nowhere Again”
Silver Jews, “Advice to the Graduate”
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, “Post-Paint Boy”
Last night, I played co-DJ at Rice Radio’s KTRU, from 5-7pm (General Shift). Here’s my playlist:
Bailiff, “Even I Know the Rain”
September 67, “Busy Building”
The Frogs, “Lord Grunge”
Sonic Youth, “Little Trouble Girl”
Kurt Vile, “Baby’s Arms”
Sarah Jaffe, “Glorified High”
KoStars (featuring Ween), “Don’t Know Why”
Tapes ‘n Tapes, “In Houston”
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, “Vanessa From Queens”
Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Not If You Were the Last Dandy On Earth”
New Pornographers, “Sing Me Spanish Techno”
Ween, “VooDoo Lady”
Jenny & Johnny, “Scissor Runner”
Built to Spill, “Sidewalk”
Built to Spill, “Carry the Zero”
Mumford & Sons - Can suck suck suck it.
Foo Fighters - Loathe.
Adele - Nothing personal; rather, mostly because she’s overplayed. And overrated.
Dave Matthews Band - See: 1998.
Ben Harper - Among the list of reasons I hate festivals.
Black Keys - No need to buy their records; just turn on your TV/radio/etc. and listen in. First album? Good. Recent albums? Blues-y, stagnant, commercialized frat-boy butt-rock.
Most country, classic, and southern rock bands.
That’s it for today.