Transcribed by Simon Coyle

Smashing Pumpkins uberfuhrer Billy Corgan holds forth on Queen Courtney, Yosemite Sam, being stupid and taking a razor to his glistening pate.

Why have you shaved your head? "It was a decision to completely de-emphasize my physical being. How's that? I'm not a model, but my job requires me to be a model and it gets to be a bit of a fucking drag after a while. Now I feel free."

Ever considered starting your own Internet column? "No, I'm afraid of the Internet. It's a faceless barber's shop of gossip. I've had people posing as me, chatting up girls and stuff and probably giving me a bad name too."

What's the most insulting thing anyone has ever said to you? "That's a tough one. I don't know. I've probably put it out of my mind."

What do you think about your reputation as a sour-faced whiner? "I think it's funny, because it's not a true representation. It's a caricature of one aspect of my persona, but it makes me laugh because I know there's a bit of truth in it."

Do you ever get rat-arsed like a pig? "Yep, I was totally fucked up two days ago. I had a bunch of hash bon-bons and space cakes and went onstage totally off my face. But I don't like getting fucked-up in public. First, I don't want to be that embarrassing, slobbering burden that everyone has to drag home. And second, I don't want to give any people any more things to say about me than they already have."

What are your vices? "Well, (laughs for a long time) I only seem to have one and it's not really something I should talk about."

What is the most perceptive thing your therapist has told you? (Long pause) "We were talking about the kinda hippie attempt at understanding the world - y'know, why were are here, etcetera. Anyway, the point being, even if you truly, humanly, understood the reasons... it doesn't change a damn thing. As simple as it sounds, it was a stunning revelation."

What did you think about Keith Richards on Nirvana: "An upstart pop band that will come and go"? "In some senses, he's not wrong. I don't mean to be maudlin, but the guy's come and gone. That's not to say it's not relevant, but to a guy like Keith Richards, who's on his eighth incarnation, Nirvana probably do seem like an upstart little band."

If you were a cartoon character which one would you be? "Yosemite Sam, because he's always hooting and hollering and shooting his guns off, but deep down he really loves Bugs. There's a lot of fuss but also a lot of compassion."

How are relations with Courtney since Reading? "F.I.N.E. We never discussed Reading, but we're back to being friends. I've met a lot of people and she still beats most. As much as she makes me crazy, there's more to her than most and you have to give her her due for that."

What would you do on a date? "I've never been on a date. My whole life, I was either your friend or your boyfriend. I didn't pine either- you wanted to be in my life or you could fuck off."

What makes you laugh? "People who can't help themselves. When their character overrides their common sense and they say or do something stupid and they know it's stupid, but can't help it. That makes me laugh the most."

What's your ansaphone message? "One of them is me talking like a robot and the other is one of those little guitars that go 'Weee wah wahh'."

If you could have a supernatural power, what would it be? "You're assuming I don't already have one? (laughs) OK, I'd be invisible. But I would be ethical - I wouldn't sneak into your shower, but I'd like to move around the world and then turn myself on when I had to go onstage. I could even do invisible interviews."

Were you bullied at school? "Mentally bullied. But say some kid, the second week of school, decides he's gonna fuck with me. I can't fuck with him back. It goes up to the head. Then I'd spend the rest of the year mentally torturing him and making his life a fucking misery."

What song do you wish you had written? "'Strawberry Fields Forever'. Or 'Ziggy Stardust' ... imagine being in a band and you just wrote that one song."

What's your favorite physical exercise? "I like playing basketball - people are usually pretty surprised, but I'm actually pretty good. The Beastie Boys were pretty surprised."

What's the best piece of advice your mother has ever given you? "Don't get any girls pregnant. She used to say, I don't care what you do, just don't get anyone pregnant. It kinda puts the fear of god into you."

Do you ever get mistaken for Billy Corkhill? "Erm, no, but when I had long hair people said I looked like Mariel Hemingway, Geena Davis and Isabella Rosselini."

'Taches are in - Tarantino, Weller, Kravitz. Would you ever grow one? "I hate facial hair, but it seems to go not so bad with the new hairdo. It just kinda adds to the 'I'm going to kill you' look."

What kind would you favor? "I can only grow one type, the trailer-park variety - the kind that just grows out and you end up looking like Satan no matter what you do."

If there was a Pumpkins cover band would you go and see them? "Absolutely. There's a band in Japan called SmaPum - they gave us a tape and it was amazing. They picked really odd songs that are really difficult to play."

What single word irritates you the most? "Integrity."

Biggest mistake? "Thinking music was enough. Do we have to end on a down note?"

What makes you happy? "(Laughs) Sadness."

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