Billy Corgan talks with the Chicagoist about his upcoming show and more

BC_AndrewZuckerman_MusicBilly Corgan has a VERY lengthy chat with Chicagoist. We have picked out some items here and there

On playing at the Ravinia:

it’s a cool opportunity to play a lot of the material I normally don’t get to play in a different setting which, in essence, is kind of built for the other side of my music. That was really attractive to me. Not to play an acoustic concert per se, I can do that at the teahouse if I want. It’s more trying to play a larger venue with that vibe.”

Talking about chosing the setlist Billy mentions (although not by name) as a tool he used to make his list for the upcoming show show

“…there’s a fan site that lists every song I’ve ever played, or put out, or anything that’s been bootlegged. I kind of go there and sift through this massive list of songs and I start going, “Well that one would be good. No that one wouldn’t be.” Then I compile a list beginning with maybe a hundred songs. Through trial and error we whittle them down, and I think we’re down now to maybe 27 or 28 songs.”

Will he be playing new songs

No, Jeff [Schroeder] and I talked about it and we decided it was best not to play it 

Praising Tommy Lee love for music

You know, the great thing about Tommy is that he just has so much enthusiasm and love for music. I can be a bit cynical at times about things and he’s not a cynical person. You know what I mean? So it’s great to see that in somebody I really love and respect. It teaches me something, because he doesn’t let any of his experiences in life diminish his passion for music.

On the next album Day for Night

Day for Night is definitely going to be more experimental in that way. We may take a more loop-based or, I don’t want to say drum machine approach because that doesn’t even mean anything anymore. Most of the music you hear on the radio it’s not a live person playing. So when I say that, we’re basically talking about maybe making the album in a more contemporary frame in terms of how people make music these days.

bc_may_2011On Ending SP:

I think it would be dumb to end the Pumpkins ever again because the Pumpkins live without me anyway. So I might as well just let it be and pick it up whenever I feel I should. 

On the approach to making the Adore reissue

My whole focus when I’m putting together the reissues is to make sure that the quality level is really high, that the story that the boxed set tells is a good story. That there’s dead ends and that there’s avenues that could have been gone down, and there’s other ways to look at the music.

On doing the Machina:

It was originally written as a sort of rock opera double album and the internal band politics being what it was at the time and the way the record company was acting, I just kind of bailed on that. I just put out what wasMachina I, which was a compromise, almost like a compilation of the ideas which unfortunately didn’t even feature the best ideas of the two albums. It was almost like if you were making two movies and then in the middle you were like, “Fuck it” and cut one movie out of the footage. Then later you went, “Well why did I leave that scene out?” It kind of makes sense without making any sense to me.

On Machina II

Every one of those mixes took like an hour, they didn’t get any kind of star treatment. In some ways fans have complained over the years that Machina I is overproduced, which is a fair argument, and that Machina II is decidedly underproduced. So maybe with technology being what it is today we can find a balancing point between the two ideas and the murkiness of the whole project can become clearer. That’s my intention.

On his early demos

I definitely kind of go, “God what was I thinking?” There’s a lot of those [laughs]. Some of the friends who have heard a few of these things are like, “Wow that’s pretty crazy weird.”

I think it’s like charting a journey. I know the people that are interested in that journey are very, very limited. That’s why through ZuZu’s, which is the way we’ve been releasing vinyl, is the perfect setting. It will be an interesting, curious listen to 300 to 1000 people around the world probably.


On his book:

Honestly it’s been really hard on me. I won’t lie about that. Ultimately it’s very easy to write a book that says, “Hey you, you did this and then this happened.” It’s another thing to write a book that has to do with accountability. I would say that 90% of the bad things that have happened to me in my life are my fault, or my responsibility, or I didn’t have enough courage or strength to walk out of the room when bad thing number 800 was happening. In fact, I was writing about something like that today.

I’m trying to write a spiritual book, and if you’re going to be spiritual you have to be accountable. To be accountable means you have to be willing to look at yourself in a way that’s usually fairly uncomfortable.

One last night about the upcoming show:

I really should have named the show “My Favorite Songs,” because I think that’s a better way to understand what I’m doing. Just putting my name on the marquee hasn’t really explained what I’m doing, because fortunately or unfortunately I’m so confusing that nobody really knows who Billy Corgan is or they think they know who he is [laughs]. Armed with an acoustic guitar, that doesn’t necessarily strike up an army, so I’d say it’s more of a show about my favorite songs or songs that I really feel close to. All strung together they do tell kind of a cool story. I think it’s going to be a really beautiful, memorable night

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