“If I give the band a different name, people still want to hear those (old Pumpkins) songs” -Billy Corgan

Earlier this month Neph Basedow had an interview with Billy in the SF Weeekly. Now a new interview has come out in the Riverfront Times.

The interview covers familiar ground such as how does Billy feel about people who just wish he’d write song like he did for  Siamese Dream, Billy says ” 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!”

Asked if Oceania has traces of old Pumpkins material he said “Oceania has a totally different vibe. It reminds me of what I used to like about the band – yet it’s not the same. It’s confusing, but it’s a good confusing.”

He goes a little deeper in what the Oceania themes are “My being in a relationship with someone from that part of the world had something to do with the naming, but if I had any working idea, conceptually, for Oceania, it’s this idea of isolationism and its different forms. I think we’re all going through some weird transformative thing, where we’re living out one part of our id online, yet we’re living out another part of our ego in life, and there’s something really lonely about it all.”

On addressing where Rock is going  “I think we’ve tapped out. I mean, most of the Pitchfork bands are Pro Tools babies. They go into the basement and futz around with whatever they futz around with, like Garage Band. They fuck around until they think it sounds cool – and it does – but they’re doing what a thousand other people are doing.And then you’ve got this guy with his 1982 drum machine that he’s painted pink, and he wears a rooster on his head, and Pitchfork is drooling all over themselves. It’s conceptual crap, posing as qualitative expression.”

What is next for Billy? “I’m writing a book… It’s certainly unlike any Rock book I’ve ever read. (Laughs) It’s brazenly honest. Let’s put it this way – after the book comes out, I’ll never get another date ever again!”

On topic of using the Smashing Pumpkins name Billy explains “the difficulty is, (the solo name) just doesn’t translate to most foreign markets. In places like South America, they know ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ – they don’t know ‘Billy Corgan.’ The great irony is, even if I give the band a different name, people still want to hear those (old Pumpkins) songs, so what the fuck does it matter what it’s called? There’s also something about the band name that just pushes the fucking button, and I like it. I like being under the name.”

Lastly on the topic of writing music completely different than what fans wanted Billy talks about how Machina was done that way “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.”