Now that the dust has settled on the Smashing Pumpkins’ 20th anniversary tour, it’s the perfect time to get Billy Corgan’s thoughts on the giant mess he and his ego made of what should have been a warm and fuzzy experience for his fans. Luckily, we have the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot (hope they keep him around) to do the job for us. Kot caught up (via Stereogum) with the 41-year-old—clad in a bathrobe and eating a steak—after the Pumpkins’ tour-ending (and surprisingly triumphant) performance Monday night at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre.
Corgan was predictably unfiltered in his pronouncements vis-à-vis his band, the music industry, his stupid Nickelback-loving fans, and God. The big take-away is Corgan’s assertion that the Pumpkins are through making albums and will focus exclusively on singles. “The listening patterns have changed, so why are we killing ourselves to do albums, to create balance, and do the arty track to set up the single? It’s done.” (That’s right, blame the fans.) Though somewhat paradoxically, this doesn’t mean that Corgan has any intention of treading through the old hits just to please his fans—precisely the stance (admirable or not) that turned some nights of the Pumpkins’ anniversary tour into such a debacle. “We won’t do shows like [the anniversary tour] anymore, where we try to draw a good crowd and balance the past with the present. We’ll go small and do exactly what we want to do and stop playing catalogue. We’ll be like a new band that can’t rely on old gimmicks…. We will crack the egg like we did in ’92, without doing something embarrassing like working with Timbaland.” (By the way, why does Corgan insist on using “we” to describe the Pumpkins when only drummer Jimmy Chamberlain remains from the original crew and, as Corgan later informed Kot, “it’s my band” anyway?)
Corgan remains convinced that the band has the “skill set” to write “songs that sound good on the radio” and the determination to “kick down the door to get back in the conversation” if they have to. But what’s really going to save them is the guy upstairs. “I’m not a humble musician, but I am a humble human being, I have perspective, I have God in my life. [In the band] we talk a lot about spirituality and about why God made us musicians and why we’re here to do what we do. And we have decided in our estimation that God put us here to try new things, and be innovators.” Who knew God had a stake in the singles’ charts?