article by Mark Lewman
Thanks to Mona for sending us this article.

Being a 24 year old rock star is only the third job Billy Corgan's ever had, and he's pretty good at it. Although he would deny any charges that he is indeed a rock star, Corgans swirling guitar riffage and accompanying voice have been on the road for ten months straight, touring with the band he fronts and concieved in 1988, The Smashing Pumpkins. The freaked-out start/stop, heavy/soft, supercharged music on their debut album, GISH, has won over fans and critics alike, and their live performances are the stuff stage-diving into mosh pits is made of. Billy probably winces every time the Smashing Pumpkins get compared to Jane's Addiction, eventhough the comparisons are not usually meant to imply that the Pumpkins are a clone band. Both bands rock, both bands think, both bands have strong artistic elements and both bands seem to care less about becoming mainstream through marketing. But whatever. Jane's Addiction is history now anyway.

Ego is another word sometimes associated with the name Billy Corgan. Especially when he says something along the lines of, "I feel kinda like my whole life is pointed in this one direction. The fact that this band scrwes up every relationship I have, strains my family relationship, makes me a bad friend... I've been willing to sacrifice all these things so that I can make great music. That's my absolute primary goal." Could be the words of a self-centered jerk, but his soft-spoken, shy tone and honesty say something otherwise. "I get more out of life just being myself, by just being a human being. Not by being a rock star, not by being whatever. Sometimes I act like a jerk, but I think people resperct me for being myself. That's the ultimate thing about the Smashing Pumpkins."

Other things about Billy Corgan: He doesn't buy lottery tickets, has a subscription to SASSY, is most likely to purchase Hostess Ho-Hos while inside 7-Eleven and spends most of his money on musical merchandise, such as the ten guitars he owns. He currently makes about the same amount of money as he did at his last job, working in a record store.

Although his father was a working class musician playing R&B for a living, he didn't have much to do with Billy's pursuit of music. Billy got into it because, "I was about 14 years old and my friend started showing me how to play guitar. I listened to so much music that it just seemed the natural thing to do." What kinds of music? Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, UFO, Cheap Trick, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles. Those bands formed the roots of his musical influences, but he says, "I draw minimum influences these days. I've created my own self-sustaining machine. There's a point where you go beyond your influences. You break away. It's like moving out of your parents' house or something."

Breaking away and striving to become an individual thinker and person is something he believes in, but he would rather you not take his advice on that. "I believe in the power of the individual. I don't believe in the power of the masses. It seems to me that people as a collective unit are kinda stupid. There's a real need for a better stressing of individual thought and individual freedom and individual perceptions, as opposed to this kind of group movement of conciousness. It kind of disturbs me, you know, that presidents are elected more by innuendo than by specific examinations of their track record. But what i specifically believe in isn't important. Everyone should come to their own individual conclusions. That's why I don't really stress my own specific individual beliefs, 'cause I don't think they matter to anyone else. If they do, they shouldn't."

Got that everybody?

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