Billy William Corgan recently sat down with CNN Talk Asia. The interview was split up into 3 parts (video below /transcript here) and starts with a bio on the band. Corgan starts by wondering why it took so long to make it to Hong Kong. He cites that the band has been to place near by, so he isn’t sure.
Asked what was the means to the longevity of his success Corgan explained that he has a saying ‘crazy is good for business’ but it’s not a corporate thing. Rather, it has been turned into a corporate thing; You can’t create people like him because they come from strange places with different backgrounds, so they can only imitate.
William expressed that 20 years ago he couldn’t have written Oceania. That at that time, (20 years ago) it was about stimulating an audience to make a kinetic environment. He also said “The 20 year old me would say some of (Oceania) is boring”. Explaining that now he is looking for a different simplicity, one that his earlier work didn’t have because he was constantly bent on proving something.
When talking about being happy at the time of writing Oceania, William explained that he doesn’t agree with the idea that misery makes for great art. That crazy is good for business. Suffering isn’t. And that suffering music can only last so long and you will have to go deeper.
What is interesting to Corgan now is God. He states that most people believe in God but it’s something people don’t talk about. When asked what he’d say to Christian rock musician, he responded with, make better music, stop coping U2.
In part two, you can see a couple of clips from the upcoming Oceania: Live in NYC. It starts with Corgan explaining that Pale Horse is about his mother and when she left his life at 4 years old… a symbolic reflection of her death and not her actual death.
William talked about how keeping integrity requires love. At the time he started the band it wasn’t about that. Rather, he just wanted to get out of his city. Or as he put it “It’s like the Wizard of Oz , I just want to get on the yellow brick road, and get somewhere.”
Billy refereed to rock and roll as an indentured slave system. Even though the system got him heard, his albums were sold and people know who he is, Corgan said “It’s meaningless. The only thing that means anything is the things you create”.
Lastly, part 3 that shows footage of the Hong Kong show. When talking about Siamese Dream & Mellon Collie Corgan calls them “Faithful post cards of where I was.” He explained that during those albums he was miserable and he operated on an idealism of who he wanted to be or who he wished he was.
When talking about the original lineup, Corgan said “We were 4 strangers who agreed on a musical vision and we did more harm than good.” Asked in what way, he replied “it’s destructive (laugh)”
Asked What did he learned about himself in the first band, Corgan said “what is loyalty because I had a false sense of loyalty and I rode that ship all the way to the bottom. Were most people wiser than I would of jumped off the ship when it was to their benefits. People always say ‘what is your greatest career regret?’ and I would say ‘when the band blew up in ’96 that I didn’t jump off and make a new ship. I rode that ship all the way to the bottom.'”
They also talk about his father, who Billy said was his idol.
He ends by saying he thinks his legacy will be seen as a radical in the music business.