Revenge of The Smashing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan is angry, bitter and brilliant.

Billy Corgan is angry, bitter and brilliant.  

The Smashing Pumpkins were a staple of MTV during the grungy 1990s. Since then, the band broke up, gotten back together, broke up, changed lineups, made music, did things, and we all kind of lost track of them. This year, the Pumpkin king Billy Corgan created a new version of the Pumpkins (drummer Mike Byrne, guitarist Jeff Schroeder and bassist Nicole Fiorentino) and has made a new, and pretty amazing record, Oceania. With the new tour, new band and new album, there’s just one thing to talk about: Wrestling. (Corgan is part-owner of Resistance Pro Wrestling.)

Wrestling and Rock Music Are The Same

Billy Corgan: They both come from a rebellious spirit. You could argue that both are low-brow forms of entertainment. We all like our high-falutin art, but there’s something about crude things that also appeal to us…hence America’s love of football.

Billy (Still) the Kid

I was into wrestling when I was kid. I bought the fantasy element pretty hard, whether it was a rock star like Jimmy Page or a wrestler like Ric Flair. There’s a part of me that’s still acting out the fantasy.

No Boobs? No Tattoos? No Problem!

Wrestling sometimes can fall into cheesy categories, with fake-boobed girls and jacked up guys with tribal tattoos. There are a lot of people that love wrestling and want to be in the ring that don’t fit those stereotypes. So our job is to figure out what they’re talented at and help them reach their dreams. That’s the part I enjoy the most.

Resistence Is Different

We’re not afraid to talk openly about the process. We have a different take. We’re also going against the grain a bit, and taking it back to a storyline-driven, old-school direction. Six shows in we have a really strong and loyal fan base. Word of mouth is a huge deal. It’s starting to click. It’s really fun.

The New Album Will Mess Up Your Mind

The band is about to have a real renaissance. There’s definitely some prog rock in there. We have nods to everybody. Nods to Yes and Rush. There’s all sorts of stuff going on.

Haters Gonna Hate…Until They Love

The album came from dealing with the disappointment of the audience and really facing the reality that no matter what the band was called, we had a disenchanted audience. They couldn’t make up their mind whether to get behind us in the present or keep wishing for the past that was never going to happen. They’ll say, “Oh that’s really nice. You’re doing something new. But hey, how about playing Siamese Dream one more time?” You feel like Gilligan. They never let you get off the fucking island. At the end of the day, we put our head downs and said we’re going to make the best album we can make. It doesn’t matter what we call it. It just better be fucking good.

Prepare to Time Travel

For this album I said let’s just embrace anything that feels really strong. In some cases it feels very futuristic, in some cases it feels like we’re standing still, in some cases it feels like we’re taking one more trip to the past. But it doesn’t feel sentimental or maudlin.

Billy Has No Fucks to Give

I work best when I find that punk spirit and say, “Fuck it all. Who cares.” It really works best when I don’t care. I’m making it up as I go.

Billy’s Career Goal

If you’re a freak, they’ll find some sort of weird corner to put you in. If you have enough gumption, you’ll fight your way out of the corner. I keep getting put back in these corners. I’ve been around for 25 years now, and they keep treating me like an alien. I keep thinking, when does this all stop? Maybe it never does. Maybe I’m just meant to be an alien. And that’s my job. I’m an alien.

The new Smashing Pumpkins Album, Oceania, is released June 19th.