ABC spanish Magazine

"I'm going to end up hating this guy." Jimmy Chamberlain, the robust drummer of the Smashing Pumpkins situates himself in one of the comfortable chairs of the luxurious Frankfort Hotel, where the band from Chicago is staying. The night before, with no concert to play, they went out, but didn't cause enough trouble. Thirty minutes have already passed two o'clock in the afternoon, equaling the time we have spent waiting for Billy Corgan, and Jimmy is mow growing weary of his educated curiosity of the interviewer's native city.

Jimmy: How is Madrid? We have never been but we want to go there. Is it a good place to live?

Fortunately, just as I was about to respond to the last question appeared the leader of the band. Or no?

Jimmy: It isn't a question of leadership. This is like a baseball team. It doesn't work with only one good player, the rest of the team has to do their job.

Finally the singer, guitarist, and principle composer of the Smashing Pumpkins shows up, a taller type with very wide shoulders that support a shaved head, dominated by the green of his eyes. Definitely a strange man.

Billy: I should have drank less caffeine for guitar magazine interviews. Sorry, but I've got myself way too wound up.

PBA (interviewer): Precisely; I read the interview you did of Eddie Van Halen for "Guitar World". It's unusual that you recognize metal influences, that you listen to Van Halen and Judas Priest.

Billy: Well, of course. It's only music. The CD (MCIS) has things that sound like Judas Priest, even though I can't sing like Rob Halford.

PBA: But you don't consider yourselves a "heavy metal" band.

Billy: No. We are a modern alternative rock band.

PBA: What's the definition of the word "alternative"?

Billy: A lot of dollars.

Jimmy: It's the established.

Billy: It still has feeling. It still means something. It's the same as the Rolling Stones, same with the Beatles, when it arrives to a point where all the new forms of music start having success, to be where they deserve to be. And we deserve to sell the same or more albums than Whitney Houston. We have no problem believing that. The more people who listen, the better.

PBA: So don't you think that maybe those people who claim to be independent are actually more conservative than you think? I'm referring to the song that Pavement "dedicated" to you.

Billy: We don't worry about that. Once we formed the band, in the beginning we were a Chicago band; then an American band; and now, a world band, and when you become a band of the world you can't stop to think what others think of you. Plus, the majority of the people that want to get you involved in those types of discussions are jealous or mad because they know they can't achieve similar success.

Jimmy: Those people pretend to not want to know anything about success. In the end, it's more about being worked up than about the music.

Billy: I have read interviews where Pavement admitted that they said that we threw them out of Lollapalooza because it was good press. If they weren't an aspiring band, why do they do those kind of things?

PBA: Another person that has also gotten involved is producer Steve Albini.

Billy: It would be really good if I could just say that Steve Albini is a great producer, that he has a lot of influence in music, but Steve Albini is crazy, because he has never sold an album on his own. If he is so smart, then let him sell an album. People talk of the influence of Big Black; to who? About what?

Jimmy: I don't have a single album of his.

Billy In the end, the thing that judges everything is the people. People listen to what they want to listen to. The reality is that Steve Albini has a pathological necessity to ruin everything in his surroundings. It has gotten to the point where he laughs at all of the albums he has made and of the bands he has worked with. He thinks that "Surfer Rosa" that he produced for the Pixies is a piece of shit. What kind of person is that?

PBA: He also accuses you of being pretentious.

Billy: If a band that plays a two-hour long concert, if a band comes out with a double disc album because they want to give more for less, if that's pretentious, then yes, we're pretentious. If the fact that we are intelligent, that we know who we are and that we represent something makes us pretentious, then good.

PBA: What effect did the explosive phenomenon of Nirvana have on you all? You do have to recognize that it helped you get to where you are now.

Billy: At first, it helped, but also it has affected us negatively. We are still second best. Just yesterday somebody asked me if I wanted to be the next Kurt Cobain. Who wants to be the next anybody? I am myself, I'm not some copy. At the moment of the explosion, in 1991, it was also difficult because people were looking for those types of songs and we were more complicated, less catchy. Even including our poppier songs; if you look at "Disarm" or "Today" they are strange songs. But in all means, that phenomenon opened many doors, unveiling the sound of alternative rock guitars to the public.

PBA: What do you think of what's going on in the music world today?

Billy: The only thing we have to say about that topic is that each time we move, there is something new that looks like it's going to change the world and at the end of a year there is nothing left. The only thing that has changed the world in the past 15 or 30 years is what happened in 1991.

PBA: You don't think that "techno" will cause a revolution?

Billy: No. I believe that it will influence rock. For example, the entire world used to say that industrial music was going to be the "next big thing". But it didn't happen until Nine Inch Nails, when somebody made good songs with the industrial sound. Sooner or later somebody will take the good things of "techno" and will write good songs. Even though it's true that it has had an influence on production, the reality is that the majority of people don't listen to "techno", they dance to it. But there is still a place for everything. If you look at the history of rock it's all about songs.

PBA: Your album is portrayed as a story. Is rock kid's stuff?

Billy: It's always for the kids. We adults can appreciate it and enjoy it, but it isn't the same. When you're 15 years old, it's everything. It's like God, like a religion, and when you get older it isn't the same. The energy of music will always be the energy of the kids.

PBA: For adults, rock is probably a way of being Peter Pan, of still being a kid.

Billy: Sure. We are still a bunch of kids. We don't think like adults when we are on the stage, we think of rocking, the same way we thought when we were 16.

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