Juice Magazine
Issue 37
March 1996

Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkin Explains his Ways to Marray Englehart

(Sent to us by timmac@vicnet.net.au)

M.E: How old do you feel?
BC: I feel like a million years old. I'm an old soul, as they say.

M.E: Did anything happen to you over the course of making 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness' that swayed your sense of religion one way or the other?
BC: Well, I don't really know how to answer that. All that I do know is that the past is the past and the future is just some vauge concept. I know that i do have the power and energy to do something about waht I'm doing right now and I think it's borne out in my attitude about my music and how we're behaving. I looked in the mirror and said "Okay, you're 27 years old" - this was a year ago- "you still have these connections, this audience, you still can reach them and youc an still communitcate waht you're feeling, not only personally but on a bigger level about what's going on within this particular generation and with the next one to follow- and now's the time to do it. If you're not going to do it now you're never going to do it." It was thinking thoughts like that had a lot to do with why we went and made a double record.

M.E: What are you're major feels about the 'Mellon Collie' set?
BC: It's hard to explain the subtleties, but there's a song on teh album called "Fuck You", which is really a pretty heavy Pumpkins sound and it's like, "How many songs like that do you need?" I think that "Fuck You" really says it pretty good. There were a couple of other songs like that. Not that they sounded exactly the same, but they just made you feel the same way. and i think that was the rest of them, so screw the other songs.

M.E: Is there any particular reason for including that song? It really stands out like a sore thumb...
BC: I don't think it stands out like a sore thumb at all. Do you?

M.E: Yes, in terms of the feel of the rest of the double album, but also probably as much for the title as anything else
BC: Well, in the Pumpkins' way of thinking that's why it's on there. Do you know what i mean? [laughs]

M.E: What's the significance of the title?
BC: It's nothing I ever get into. [Laughs] Everybody seems to have a problem with the lenght and things like that, but I don't see what the problem is. I've met people who happily say that they didn't get past the sixth song on Siamese Dream. There's people who've never heard anything more than [Siamese Dream's hit balla] "Disarm". So what difference does it make how long it is, you know? If a fan wants to listen... I meet people all the time who have every B-side, every 7", every bootleg. Those are the people who are dying to hear the double album. I know there's an audience out there that'll listen to it, and i know there's an audience that won't, but why should you play to the audience that's just not going to listen to your songs? I don't understand that.

M.E: What makes for a great Smashing Pumpkins show?
BC: That's a good question. You can't really do much about everything else, about what the audience is feeling like and what kind of mood the place is in, but what you can do is expect a lot from yourself emotionally. And obviously the music can be very technically demanding, so we expect each other to hold up that end of the bargain. I'll tell you, there's shows where you just play great, there's no reason, you just play great. The shows that tick out most in my midn are the shows that we start off playing and it's not going very well for whatever reason- I may not be singing well, a hundred fifferent reasons- but for some reason we still manage to pull together adn play a great show. It's like that emotional resolve somes in. That to me has has a lot to do with who we are in our hearts, because we can look ourselves in the face, say that we suck, and find a way to make it happen, That takes a lot out of you emotionally and these are the kind ouf things that mose people can't understand. that to me differentiaties the Smashing Pumpkins from a lot of other people, because a lot of people wouldn't have that to go to.

M.E: As a precendent, do you thing Guns N' Roses 'Use Your Illusion' double album worked?
BC: No. Absolutely not. That's exactly what we didn't want- indulgence. I think we indulged in the songs, but I don't think we indulged in showing what great instrumentalists we really are. It's a song-based album. There's no huge ten minute space jam, theres no four minute guitar solos, there's nothing like that. It's not about indulgence on a personal level, it's about indulgence in the love of music, and that's what I was afraid of- not that I was thinking about Use Your Illusion when we were in the studio- but I think that's indulgence in not only the things I've talking about but in expecting an audience to listen your B-sides. I think an album is a very sacred thing and I think if you have respect for what an album means and everything that goes into an album and everything that surrounds an album, you really should give a bot of thought about what's important, because it's really what you're going to be remembered for.

M.E: Given that, is it ture that you used to virtually intimidate your way out of bands?
BC: I've just always been a really intense person. Not everybody I ever played in a band with felt the same way I did. I always felt like if you're going to do something, then you've just got to do it. If you're only going to half-ass it, then you should go and find something you really want to do.

M.E: But they could have used your intensity...
BC: Most people are stupid. [Venomous laughter] I don't even what to think about what could have been because it's just too late. I know who my band is, we know each other and we know what kind of power the Smashing Pumpkins can generate as four people and- without wanting to sound cocky about it- we know we can always be powerful together. We trust that relationship.

M.E: Do you have a best friend?
BC: No

M.E: Surely your wife would fall within that category?
BC: No. [Quiet laughter]

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