Billy Corgan Is the e.e. cummings of Modern Music


"The press has referred to them as 'rent-a-band,' " he says, ruefully. "These are people with indie musical backgrounds. They're not L.A. giggers with full-sleeve tattoos! To re-embrace what I once loved about music has been a warming process for me, because it's a good, earned feeling now.

"When you actually like each other," he continues, "it translates to the music. The difference with Oceania is, I've found harmony again."

Yet harmonious as the new outfit may be, Corgan admits the Pumpkins' original lineup carries an irreplaceable mystique. "There was certainly something about the original lineup that had chemistry. [But] there's no way to properly convey what it was like to be in that band. ... And the fucked-up stuff is 10 times more fucked up than what the world knows.

"I was in love with the Smashing Pumpkins," he says, wistfully. "I really believed in what we were doing. But I idealized the band -- which overlooked their incredibly flawed human personas, and which now bites me in the ass, as they rear their heads for lawsuits." (In 2008, Corgan signed a deal with Virgin Records to license Smashing Pumpkins music through electronic transmissions; former Pumpkins James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky claimed they were shut out of profits made from this deal.)

Those curious for more dirt are in luck, as Corgan is currently writing a tell-all book about his days with the group. "You're in a band 24 hours a day," he explains. "You've gotta deal with someone's meltdown, someone's overdose and someone's freak-out about the deli tray! The music was the end result of that madness."


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