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If no one wants to buy your music anymore... give it away!

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That's one way to look at the new plan by Billy Corgan to distribute the Smashing Pumpkins' latest album. The other, of course, is that he just wants to share the gift of joyful tunes with the world.

The press release about the new album by the Pumpkins In Name Only follows the jump (because really, the stuff about the Tarot is too good to paraphrase).

From the Smashing Pumpkins publicity machine:





"The commitment that is most important is the one I'm making to you--that the music of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope will be available for free to everyone. All 44 songs: free for ALL," announced BILLY CORGAN about the forthcoming new album from THE SMASHING PUMPKINS in a posting on the band's website.

It will ultimately feature 44 songs, 4 of which are now being recorded. The entire collection--which CORGAN says "harkens back to the original psychedelic roots of The Smashing Pumpkins; atmospheric, melodic, heavy, and pretty"--should be completed by early next year with a world tour slated for spring 2010. Explains CORGAN about how the music will be issued:

"My desire is to release a song at a time beginning around Halloween of this year, with each new release coming shortly after until all 44 are out. Each song will be made available absolutely for free, to anyone anywhere. There will be no strings attached. Free will mean free, which means you won't have to sign up for anything, give an email address, or jump through a hoop. You will be able to go and take the song or songs as you wish, as many times as you wish."

TEARGARDEN BY KALEIDYSCOPE, says CORGAN, "is based on 'The Fool's Journey,' as signified in the progress of the Tarot, the intention is to approach the work by breaking down the journey of life into four phases as made by different characters depicted in major arcana cards: the Child, the Fool, the Skeptic and the Mystic."

The music will not only be issued online, reveals CORGAN. "We will sell highly limited edition EPs (of 4 songs each times 11), and details of how those EPs will be made available are still being worked out. Because the songs themselves will be free, the EPs will be more like collectors items for the discerning fan who will want the art itself, along with the highest possible audio quality available. The EPs will be more like mini-box sets rather than your normal CD single. We may also offer other variations for sale--say for example, a digital single with a demo version of a song."

Upon the album's completion, explains CORGAN, "it will be compiled into a deluxe box set which will also be made available for sale. Those who have bought the EPs need not worry, as the box set will not be a recompilation of the limited edition pieces. "

Adds CORGAN: "I am very committed to seeing this album through to its completion and very, very excited about the prospect of delivering new Smashing Pumpkins music to you in a unique and exciting way."

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You still banned from all their shows?


Obviously, it's easy to take shots at Corgan at any moment he does anything. The notion that giving his album away is some original thought he came up with is comical. But I'll say this. Though the last album was ultimately a failure, it was at least a unique approach at this point in music history. In this day and age, how many big name artists are actually putting out something that rocks harder than their previous releases? None. Corgan tried his best to push at something else. It was a failure, but not for lack of effort or intent.

The dude has obviously lost it when you think about his personality, but he's still trying something. I'm willing to give him a chance and am curious to see what he puts out this time.

And for those who complain that he can't run the band if it's just him, come on. He's going to miss Jimmy Chamberlain, but he wrote 95% of the songs, sung 95% of the lyrics and recorded almost all the guitar and bass riffs. Seriously, what's D'arcy done without him? It's his band, the others don't want to participate despite an offers (perhaps his fault for being a jerk, but whatever). Give him a break on that.

I have to give credit where credit is due, Jim, and the Great Pumpkin gets credit for giving another album away (after very nearly pioneering using the internet like that for Machina II). Now, before we criticize, let's see if the songs are closer to that album or Zeitgeist; if it's the latter, I'm turning in my King Billy card in hopes that doing so will encourage James Iha to keep making music with Taylor Hanson (no, folks, I'm not being ironic).

But let's also not pretend like Billy is the only one who's doing this anymore. He might've been something of a visionary on this in 2000, but we're a decade gone by, and the internet is used for this daily. Why, just last night, the Flaming Lips started streaming their new record on Stephen Colbert's website after their performance and Wayne's interview on his show. And for my money (or lackthereof), I'll take free Lips over free Pumpkins any day. Plus, the new Lips record is really, really, REALLY good.

During the overwhelming e-mails that came through on this blog during last fall's controversial Pumpkins concerts, I weighed in by claiming my disatisfaction with the fact that Billy Corgan will always be viewed differently than his musical peers in a disheartening fashion.

1. He is never to be taken seriously yet he is held to an impossible standard. He is a musician who has contnued to move forwards on his musical journey, a trait we should be celebrating but he is dismissed as someone who hasn't written a good piece of music since "Siamese Dream." But if he had repeated the "Siamese Dream" formula, he would have easily and long-ago have been dismissed as a hack. It's a trap from which he will never escape.

2. He is constantly being referred to as an egomaniacal tyrant who alienated all of the original band members thus negating any validity with the band's reunion. While the band's inner turmoil is legendary, no one but those four people know the complete picture and to continue to weigh in on that is futile. To suggest that the non-participation of James Iha and D'Arcy contributed to the supposed "lack of quality" with recent material is laughable as well. Honestly, and with no intended disrespect, what did D'Arcy contribute to the earlier material? I love James Iha but I feel that his musical heart is with the work he created for his solo album and the like-minded musicians with whom he has collaborated since. Why should he go back to a situation that may have been unhealthy for him? For the fans?! Besides, James and D'Arcy were asked, they refused, end of story. They didn't want to be a part of the reunion. It's their right. Who could blame them? "Big Bad Billy" isn't keeping them from anything. They refused. The past is the past and it is never coming back. Should the original band have reformed and heartlessly toured like The Pixies, who are obviously cashing in and not wanting to be there?

3. Again, Corgan's feet continue to be held to the fire on the reunion and even continuing to use the name even though he is the only original member remaining. This is commonplace in rock music yet when Corgan does it, it's just wrong. If changing band members, breaking up and reforming were out of bounds, then there would be no Wilco and Pink Floyd should have ceased to exist once Syd Barret walked out of the door. Just let Corgan work with like-minded people in a productive environment, letteh music speak for itself and let him use the name. It is obviously his badge of honor and identity.

4. And now, this ridiculous post concerning the recent news of the upcoming new album. If critical darlings Radiohead or good Lord, Jack White made this exact same announcement, people would be falling all over themselves to see who could praise them the loudest and the quickest. To find fault with spending several years to create an album, and releasing it in pieces FOR FREE no less shows that there will never be any objectivity and fairness for Billy Corgan as far as DeRogatis is concerned. Even the odious Pitchfork is keeping an open mind about the new album and that's saying something. If DeRogatis isn't even going to try, then don't bother. His spitefulness is embarrassing.

Incidentally, The Flaming Lips album IS NOT FREE. While you can listen to it until Monday, you have to buy it like everyone else on Oct. 13th. Just sayin'.

"In this day and age, how many big name artists are actually putting out something that rocks harder than their previous releases? None"

Pearl Jam and R.E.M. come to mind.

Has anyone sat Corgan down and asked him to explain the last tour? If I was interviewing him, that would be the first question.

Scott, you are amazing. Thank you for putting my exact thoughts into words much more eloquently than I can.

@ Scott -

I admire your passion, but I don't think Billy's being treated unfairly. He is a negative-attention seeker and often creates his own conflicts in order to pull himself out of them.

Have you ever watched How I Met Your Mother? There's a great ratio scale that one of the characters uses to determine how hot a girl has to be in proportion to how crazy she is. There's a similar scale I like to use for musicians: how crazy s/he is must be proportional to how brilliant his/her art is.

Billy's career is all over this chart. When the music was good, his over-the-top, confrontational behavior was redeemable by his amazing skill to bring together a great rock album. But with the reunion of the band handled clunkily, and with Zeitgeist being such a steamer, his negative eccentricities have come front-and-center. That's not a good place for them, and yes, he will be judged for them.

That is, of course, unless Teargarden by Kalideyscope blows everything out of the water. Then he can do whatever the heck he wants. Look at Kanye West. We all thought he'd jumped the shark at Live 8, or with his many different outbursts; but every time, he's hit us right back with a Graduation or 808s. Now, his little hissy fit earlier this week will cost him, but if his next record is of the caliber of his previous ones, it will be forgotten. And if Teargarden can stand up with Mellon Collie and Adore, I'll gladly overlook some of Billy's more obnoxious traits.

P.S. Embryonic IS free. You can go to the Colbert Nation website and listen to the new album without paying. "Free" still means that no payment needs to be made, right?

Hey we go again, my friend!

We just have to agree to disagree. I stand by my opinion. All of the controversy over whether The Smashing Pumpkins can be a "band" is just tiresome when you have "bands" like The Mars Volta, Steeley Dan, The Alan Parsons Project, Queens Of The Stone Age and yes...Guns N' Roses, still running around with either one or two official members and a revolving cast of characters and yet for Billy it is not allowed.

People have long decided to review Billy's persona rather than the work and that includes DeRogatis with his mean-spirited posts that are just designed to create vitriol and not much else. Everything about Billy is perceived to be negative and nothing is given a fair shake. His new spiritual website, which is nothing but positive is just an excuse for "journalists" to continue the whole "Billy is crazy" perception. His idea to release the new album for free and the reasons why are not being listened to as per the title of this blog.

Just give the music a fair shake. That's all I ask but in some corners of the music press, I just don't think that will happen while ANYTHING Radiohead does is a work of unquestioned genius (no snarky remarks to be found anywhere about Thom Yorke doing a song for "New Moon," for instance).

"Embryonic" is able to be listened to for free until tomorrow but you CAN'T OWN it for free. (Yes, it sounds great and I'm going to buy it!) You will have to pay for it. Billy is GIVING ALL 44 songs away. That is a profound difference.


I don't think he's hurting for money.

It's really beneath you to imply that the value of music is based on how many people will buy it.

Then again, considering the number of Walmart acts you cover on your radio show, I guess I'm not surprised.

Jim has had an ax to grind with Billy for a long time. The title of this blog does not surprise me. It is very obvious that the Pumpkins music will not be given a fair shake. Billy pushes the envelope when he writes music, but if it does not sell the way MCIS and SD did, people think it failed. People are listening to Kanye West and Fall Out Boy now. Of course they are not going to think a real band with real talent like the Pumpkins are good. It is not about record sales anymore. People just have to give the music a chance.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on September 17, 2009 8:32 AM.

Pearl Jam, "Backspacer" (Monkeywrench) [2.5 out of 4 STARS] was the previous entry in this blog.

Major bummer: Ida Maria cancels Metro gig is the next entry in this blog.

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