Rolling Stone Senior Editor David Fricke spent two days in a Los Angeles mixing studio with Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan for the cover story of RS 721 (Nov. 16, 1995). There, Fricke heard more than 70 versions of "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" from their new Epic double-album, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." "I said to them, 'I don't know what you guys are listening for. I don't hear it. It's like dog whistles -- waves completely unknown to man'," Fricke says. "And they just said, 'That's exactly the way it looks, but we know what we're listening for and eventually we'll hear it.' And I guess they were right."
It wasn't until later, when Fricke spent three to four hours with Corgan at the band's rehearsal space in Chicago, that Corgan really opened up. "You could tell he had to warm up to the interviews. Once the record was done and they had gone to Europe to do the festival shows, he was ready to get down with it." says Fricke. "He was conversational and pretty animated. He can be a little elusive if he wants to be. He's actually quite smart about the whole process."
Fricke thinks Corgan is more willing to discuss things than people might guess from past articles written about him. "I don't think he is a put-on artist or a bullshit artist. I think he's genuinely interested in music and genuinely interested in investing his life in it," Fricke says. "How well do you get to know a person over the course of three or four days? I couldn't say, but I was impressed with his ability to not only answer the questions but to have a conversational attitude toward the interview process and not just feel it was an interrogation, like I was in there with the bright lights and the rubber hoses."
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