Smashing Pumpkins: “I’ll have the last laugh”
When he isn’t writing demonic riffs for the Veronicas, launching pro-wrestling companies or slagging off Pavement, Billy Corgan continues to make music with The Smashing Pumpkins. This July the Twitter-loving frontman will lead his Pumpkins back to our shores to headline day three of Splendour In The Grass and play alongside the likes of Jack White, At The Drive-In and Bloc Party.
During the week FasterLouder gave Billy a call to ask one ‘dumb question’ and talk about new albums, spiritual biographies, girlfriends, Courtney Love, Twitter and much more.
So you finished touring in December, what have you been up to the last few months?
Writing my book.
I heard it’s a ‘spiritual biography’?
Yeah that’s just sort of my pop way of trying to put it across, it’s still a memoir, just maybe a different way of trying to write it.
Does it span your whole life; what sort of stuff does it deal with?
It deals with everything, there’s plenty of stuff about the band, and my childhood and all that. All the typical stuff people write about when they write those types of books. I think it’s just what I’m saying and why I’m saying it is probably different to if I was just writing your typical biography.
Is there anything left unturned?
It’s pretty honest. The only catch in it is that everybody’s under pseudonyms. I don’t name names. I mean some people obviously there’s no way to not figure out who it is. But there’s a lot of people that have played an important role in my life who I just don’t name.
Tell me about the stuff you’ve been working on with the Veronicas, you’ve said that one track in particular has rapping and ‘Black Sabbath riffs’, is the rest of the album going to be in that same vein?
No, it’s pop, and for people who are fans of the Veronicas it’s not going to be some insane different departure. I just think probably the songwriting is a lot more mature, and the subject matter is deeper, but it’s still pop in my book. They’re not trying to be wacky all of a sudden, but that song comes to mind because it sends out a different vibe. But some people, including me, think it would be a great first single, not because I’m on it, I just think it’s a cool song. But some of the other songs are more what you would call mainstream pop.
“I remain somebody who believes in what Courtney Love was trying to do musically.”
Are you tempted to make The Veronicas something heavier, more in the vein of your own music?
Well I’m not producing them, so it’s not my thing. I’ve been involved more on a suggestion level, an encouragement level, that kinda thing. But I don’t have anything to do with production.
Are you more cautious or weary to make music with your love interest after all the Courtney Love stuff happened?
No, I don’t think it has anything to do with it. Making music is part of what we do as musicians. I remain somebody who believes in what Courtney was trying to do musically, and when I was involved I believed in it, I think what happened personally, those are different subjects. That has more to do with character, or lack thereof. I don’t know, I don’t think like that, so I feel like I’m answering a question that doesn’t cross my mind. I do what I do and making music is part of what I do and if I make it, great. You could ask the same question like, ‘well, with the amount of problems you had with your old band, does that not make you want to make music with other people .’ It’s relevant but it doesn’t really come into play.
In terms of those Courtney Love songs do you still have any ownership of them in a songwriting sense? Did you feel like they were your songs?
Yeah. I just don’t really want to talk about that, her, that subject anymore. I think it’s played out, I really don’t have anything else to say about it. As we say in America, water under the bridge, you know.