August 14 1993
Thanks to H. Wold for this article
BILLY CORGAN of SMASHING PUMPKINS talks about the records that changed his life
1. CHEAP TRICK: "I Want You To Want Me"
"They were really popular in Chicago and this song was on the radio once every hour for months. I remember sitting in my backyard waiting for it to come on. I think Robert Zander has an amazing voice. I'm from the whiny school of singing myself. I like the version on ' Live At Budokan'. How many albums are there with 10,000 Japanese girls screaming all over the place? Think about it, they had something for everyone - two really good-looking guys and two cartoon characters.
2. BLACK SABBATH: "Master Of Reality"
This changed the way I thought when I was eight years old. I'd picked it up from my uncle. The album looked so cool with it's dark evil colour and purple writing. I put it on and listened to it' stupid Ozzy intro and it sounded so heavy. Okay, the lyrics are pretty hit or miss. 'Sweet Leaf' is their bad ode to pot and never has a man rhymed 'insane' with 'brain' so many times. But the music is amazing. It spawned grunge. Unfortunately. A lot of bands wouldn't admit to it's influence, I guess because of the satanic connection."
3. DAVID BOWIE: "Ziggy Stardust"
"I remember seeing TV reports about concerned parents who were scared because he was mesmerising teenage audiences and claiming he was a space alien. So I bought the album. The space alien concept is one I wish I'd invented."
4. JIMI HENDRIX: "Band Of Gypsies"
"Hendrix had to fulfil a contractual obligation so he thought he'd do a live album. He played two shows on New Year's Eve 1969, in the middle of the Vietnam war. He played the matinee show and afterwards, he asked the famous promoter Bill Graham what he thought of the show. Graham told him it was shit, so when Hendrix went on to play a second show, he was so pissed of, he was incredible. He did a simulation of bombs going off on his guitar - because he was really into his whole Vietnam trip - and what came out of it was an amazingly sonic record. It's a bit of a guitar geek album"
5. R.E.M.: "Murmur"
"I think this was the album that created alternative music for this generation. The analogy to The Velvet Underground is somewhat appropriate, too, in that they created 50,000 guitar bands after them. America was inundated with jangly R.E.M.-type bands. The record sounds so simple but so different. It has a murky southern soul, a real spookiness about it. You can't understand what he's (Stipe) singing and that's definitely something I can relate to. I'm sick of having people insinuate all this bullshit about what I'm supposed to be singing because they can't understand."
6. ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN: "Porcupine"
"This is when I started to get new wave. Yeah, I graduated slowly because there was no way of getting any information in the mid-west. English culture seemed more romantic than ours. This band had a raw, sexual intensity about them, but they're not rock.
7. BAD BRAINS: "I Against I"
"Someone took me to see them play in 1986. It was the most amazing live show I'd ever seen. It's an emotional thing. I go to rock concerts and if they're fun, fine, but I really like to be moved. There were 900 people slam-dancing and the singer, HR, was hanging 20 feet over the stage. It was so intense. They were rasta metal. You have to imagine four rasta guys, playing speed rock rock metal with eight-minute dub breaks in between. Anyone who's ever seen them says they were the best band they ever saw. HR had a dream that the devil tried to kill him. So he left and now he's devoted to Christianity."
8.THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: "Psychocandy"
"Nihilism! Just when things were getting positive, you know, with the upbeatness of New Order and The Cure, this came along and pissed on everybody. The album sounded so distorted and awful and crazy and great. In America, somebody has to do it first, though you could argue that we end up doing it better. So there's everyone playing their jangly rock and here comes four guys who can't even f***ing play! And they sound weirder and meaner than anyone else. A month later everyone's like ,CRRRRRRRR, fuzz pedals."
9. MY BLOODY VALENTINE: "Isn't Anything"
"I heard it accidentally on the radio and the DJ didn't say who they were. I had to tune in everyday waiting for him to play it again. It's beautiful. It has a frailty. It's loud without being aggressive. I love it when bands create their own little universe. They make sense, not with what's going on in the music world, but in their own context."
10. JANE'S ADDICTION: "Nothing's Shocking"
The first time I heard this, it didn't hit me right. His (Perry Farrell's) voice was to whiny-weird. Then, by chance, we got offered a support slot with them. When I saw them play I thought they were Led Zep reborn. Total soul POWER. To me, punk has nothing to do with beauty, but Jane's Addiction is a culmination of sex, perversion, love and hate. It rang true to me. For two songs you'd be mesmerised, and the next you'd think, 'God, what a dick!' Their musical power was straight to the heart, not through a buncha bullshit indie rock rhetoric! It was like when someone looks you in the eye and they're so honest that it's hard to deal with. Bad Brains and Jane's Addiction set the tone for what we wanted to do live.
11./12. QUEEN: "Queen II" / THE BEACH BOYS: "Smiley, Smile"
"I want to put these two together because both these bands had made me so sick during the Eighties that I just couldn't listen to them any more. I worked at this record store where we had lots of old records, and I found 'Queen II', probably their least popular album. It's so over the top, so many vocal and guitar track overdubs - total Queen overload. I loved it. I loved the cool, weird, ambiguous songs about Freddie’s sexuality and the way it shifts from heavy to beautiful ballads. So I liked Queen again and I realised it was okay to do an over-the-top album. As for The Beach Boys, I read everything about the 'Smile' album that never came out. Then 'Smiley, Smile' comes out with it's bits of unfinished material combined with new stuff and it's wild. The guy goes insane on the record with songs about how he loves vegetables and that song 'She's Going Bald'! This record is weird and beautiful. It's funny how bands have had bad phases in their career, and people lose the sense of how great the songs were."
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