Billy Corgan Berlin Bullet Interview
Regis and Kathie Lee
April '96

Thanks to John Mulhausen for sending this to us

If you would like a copy of this interview on tape, email Nikki

Billy: We have broken some mold, whether somebody else is going to follow that mold, I don't really know or care, but the fact of the matter is, is we've...we've just been ourselves..and...we have all these components that everyone has; genius, fool, you know...smartass..It's all in there. But, you als..YOU, as an interview have to take responsibility for the thrust of your questions, and ask yourself what you're *really* asking, because a lot of times you're not really asking what you're asking.

Billy: A man can walk around and take claim for so many things, but it's got more to do with..the genius of creation and humanity than it does any individuals, so..That's where I sit a lot of the time. I don't really gain platitudes or have people pat me on the head. I know exactly what I am. You know. So that's why it doesn't matter for me to play the idiot, genius, fool, doesn't matter, I don't really care. It's not important for me to prove anything beyond, what I know that I'm proving. So... ..I'm not asking anyone for anything...It's the media that's trying to put me in a box, and I'm saying I'm bigger than the box. And by being absurd, or being overly intellectual, I can prove to you any way that I'm not in that box. You know? That's all...But it doesn't matter, the whole point is, it's a bunch of unneccessary drama. We're just a rock n' roll band. We write good songs. We play better than most people. We have a direct connection with a lot of people who listen to our music. And that has a lot to do with our success more than anything. And that's it. It's really that simple.

Billy: I'm looking forward to focusing on a more select group of songs now, instead of..I feel in some ways I probly spread myself a little thin..and certain songs would be a little better if I just concentrated on certain songs.

Interviewer: Like for example?

Billy: know..For example if you take..if you take the four singles on Mellon Collie..Zero, Tonight, Bullet, and 1979..If we were only working on an album with those four songs and maybe 6 or 7 others, I think those songs probably would've been better because we would've focused more on those songs. I mean, 1979 was written...basically in a day, and in the following 3 days. So the entire amount of input time on 1979 was probably about 5 days. And it turned out good and I'm very happy with it, but you still wonder what you would've done if you had worked on it a little more. You know, those kinds of things..that's all. So I'm looking forward to, now on the next album getting back to just doing one single album and really focusing on that one album and making every song incredible. With Mellon Collie, the idea was to make an incredible record...that was beyond compare in modern rock. And..I feel that we did that, but individually certain songs probably suffer or aren't as good as they could be because we...we worked on so many things.

Interviewer: It wouldn't affect the variety of songs, though?

Billy: I think we're gonna...You'll find that we're probably gonna move away from that a bit...uhm... Well, you know, a part of the standard of what we try to do has always involved the idea of playing live. I don't think we'd be inclined on an album to put certain kinds of songs if we weren't thinking about playing live. So, on the next album we're gonna remove the context of playing the songs live, and just basically try to make music that's incredible in and of itself and not really worry if it's going to translate to people in a theatre or whatever. And I think along that end, I think you'll see less polarity between heavy and soft. And maybe slighty less diversity in some sense of the word because it'll be a more focused, singular effort, to make, just great music. I can't really say because we haven't gotten there yet...

Billy: Well it's kinda..for me brings about a couple answers. On one level, I think that...We're kindof....Special in a the way that we approach our concerts, and..we believe that we're capable of giving a pretty intense experience to people who come to a concert. On another level, the music is based in, kinda heart, soul, and spontaneity, and the repitition of concert after concert ulitmately takes away from that ability to translate the music, on a nightly basis. You know, you have the literal song, and then you have the intepretation of the song. And what happens is, the more you play, the less interpretation, and the more concrete, the playing of the song becomes. Therefore, you as an artist become less and less interested because there's less in it for you to explore. So it's a double-edged sword. Uhm, I don't think we would play as many concerts as we do if we weren't trying to promote the record, but...It's a necessary component of trying to get people to listen to your music. And also, on another level, an attempt to reward people, if you can understand that, by coming and saying, 'We care about you..We know you care about us, we care about you. And we wanna see you' know, it's, more to us than just numbers.

Billy: I don't like to talk about that, to be honest.

Interviewer: Is that part of strategy?

Billy: (laughs aloud) I don't know what you mean by marketing strategy...

Interviewer: Well, not to talk about influences?

Billy: Well..okay, here...let's be pseudo-intellectual here for a minute. When we first started as a band people would say, 'What are your influences' or 'What are you listening to'..and then you would say 'Oh, we're listening to this and this and this' ..and then you would read a review and it would say, 'They sound just like' ..and then they would list your influences...and you're influences would be used against you, as an example to show that A) you weren't original, B) you were ripping other people's music, and C) you weren't really worth listening to because you might as well listen to these other great bands. So. We just, asked to be heard on our own terms, you know...If that's a marketing strategy, then, it is, but...We just, we don't want people to listen to our music...I think people in this culture overreference. We reference people's deaths with other people's deaths. We represent, you know..we correlate great triumphs with past triumphs. We just, we overreference everything instead of just appreciating the moment that we're living in. We feel that we can't really enjoy the moment we're living in unless we compare it to the context of the past, but that actually makes no difference.

Billy: Heh, I tend to prefer the word 'Idiot.'

Interviewer: Instead of 'asshole.'

Billy: Yeah. 'Idiot' is a little less blameful than 'asshole.' I don't think there's anything wrong with playing the fool. I think it's just as interesting as attempting to play the genius because I'm neither.

Interviewer: But playing the fool you have to have the ability to play the fool so that it's funny and so people understand you.

(the whole band starts laughing aloud)

Billy: (as the band laughs behind him) Are you saying that I'm an unsuccesful fool?


Billy: Just because you don't get doesn't mean it isn't funny.

Interviewer: I don't know, maybe you have to work on it or so (Billy laughs) but it comes across a different way.

Billy: I dunno, is this an interview or a counseling session? Are you here to help me or ask me questions?

Billy: I feel that people tend to overintellectualize what we do. And I think, at times poking a little fun out of it, and letting the air out of it shows that, WE don't take it so seriously. But the problem is, people ask us overly intellectual questions, and we answer with overly intellectual answers, then...that's really missing the point. The point is a lot of this music is created, with comPLETE stupidity. We have NO idea what we're doing, most of the time..we just do it...All graces to God.

Return to Billy's Page