Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Billy Corgan parts with more Pumpkins

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For many fans, the Smashing Pumpkins haven't really been the Smashing Pumpkins since bandleader Billy Corgan parted ways with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, the last remaining original member.

And the sounds that Corgan has crafted in the new millennium have more or less marked him as the sadly spent but still wildly egotistical Dennis DeYoung of his generation.

Nevertheless, for those who still care or truly are desperate for work, the Great Pumpkin's publicists have announced that he will be holding open auditions for a new bassist and a keyboardist "who is a fan of--and can play in the prog-rock style of--Jon Lord and Rick Wakeman." (They were in Deep Purple and Yes, respectively, kids.)

The same methodology was used to find current drummer Mike Byrne last year. Current faux-Pumpkins bassist Ginger Pooley allegedly left the band to raise her new baby--but take that with a grain of salt. It now turns out that Corgan's last parting with Chamberlin was not nearly as amicable as portrayed by his hype merchants at the time.

In a controversial new interview with Rolling Stone, Corgan now claims he fired Chamberlin. He also whines that, "There's a lot of days where you feel forgotten" (though probably not as forgotten as D'Arcy Wretzky).

The full interview is not online, but Rolling Stone does have a hype blurb with some choice quotes up here. It notes:

In a soul-baring, wide-ranging interview, Corgan discusses the idiosyncratic spiritual beliefs that saved him from suicidal depression (including his association with a vintage hippie cult called Source Family); opens up for the first time about his 2009 split with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin (Corgan says he fired him); reveals his father's heroin addiction (his dad was arrested two years ago with a needle still in his arm); says that he "loves" Jessica Simpson; and much more...

Corgan on His Critics: "Do I belong in the conversation about the best artists in the world? My answer is yes, I do," he says. "I've been too productive for too long, and despite what anybody wants to strip away from me, I am influential. I am. So all the Pitchforks in the world can try to strip me of every ounce of dignity, but I belong."

On the Pumpkins' Breakup: "Rather than break up the band, what I should have done is chuck James [Iha] out," Corgan says. "I should have just said to Jimmy [Chamberlin], 'You go to rehab, and we'll continue, and James, get the f--- out of here.' Instead, I fell on my sword for James, for what I thought was a friend."

On His Spiritual Beliefs: Corgan subscribes to the fashionable idea that we're building to a cataclysm, or at least a major vibrational shift, in 2012; he wonders what was really in the H1N1 vaccine; he fears that the United States is headed toward a Soviet Union-style economic collapse... But when pressed on details, he backs off: "I don't want to be a dead hero," he says.

On "Loving" Jessica Simpson: "If I go, 'Oh, we're just friends,' then it's like, 'Did they go out, did he dump her or she dump him, what happened?' It has nothing to do with any of that. Sometimes people just like being around each other, and good things come out of that. My goal in life is to love whoever I think is worth loving, and I think if people knew her like I knew her, they would love her like I do. It's really simple."

Meanwhile, the music world yawns and prepares for three nights of "American Idol."

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He has always been a turd. I remember meeting him at Metro many years ago before he was famous crying about Courtney Love at the bar. That said Gish was and still is one of my favorite albums.

That Corgan interview in RS was sad and anger-inducing. It's very obvious now that HE is the problem and not everyone else. You can't keep saying everyone else is wrong and expect people to believe you.

Billy Corgan continues to hang on pathetically to the limelight. What he's done to alienate his music career, his bandmates, and fans continues to be even more pathetic. What he pulled off last year in Chicago certainly tainted whatever fans he had left.

He needs to understand that this is 2010, not 1996. I feel as though he is still clinging onto that era, while other bands like Radiohead, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, even Pearl Jam have at least progressed and continued to develop a good amount of respect in the music community, while Billy Corgan has spent all this time being productive in wallowing in his self-pity instead of his music.

What a tragedy this man has turned into, 15 years after Melon Collie.

The Pumpkins ceased to truly exist after Mellon Collie, when Chamberlain was first kicked out of the band for his drug use following the death of Jonathan Melvoin.

At the time, I recall D'Arcy Wretzky on MTV throwing Chamberlain under the bus for his drug use, only to get busted for cocaine possession a few years later. So yeah, ZERO sympathy for her...she was apparently a head case.

I have no idea what all the stuff over James Iha is about, but my guess is he sided with Wretzky given that they started a record label together, and it led from there.

From a musical standpoint, everything went off the rails with the electronica experimentation of Adore, and then got worse with the flailing attempts to return to their old sound (hint to Corgan: what was lacking were the acid rock elements).

The closest Corgan ever came to recapturing the sound was a couple of the Zwan tracks, but by then it felt forced.

In my opinion, the spiritual and musical successor to the "classic" Pumpkins is found in The Silversun Pickups. In my mind, they are what the Pumpkins would sound like today in an alternate universe where Jonathan Melvoin never died and Billy Corgan didn't try to become Trent Reznor.

Billy is highly relevant, through all the "reasonably objective" landmarks that a musician can achieve, and more importantly through the intelligence, charge and steamy intrest he keeps projecting into his music. A musician with a capital M.

I believe our British cousins have a phrase for people like Billy Pumpkin: A silly little tit.

-- MrJM

Billy Corgan & the Pumpkins are so over.It's truly sad that Corgan doesn't get it.

BC & SP need to include/record more covers for inspiration: even going all the way back to their version of Jackie Blue.
I don't need any more noodling.

Jeez... Jim...

I had no idea you even KNEW Deep Purple and Yes, let alone who John Lord and Rick Wakeman are.

Holy crap. There's still hope for you yet.

BC is an attention desperate A HOLE in every possible way.

He treats everyone, good people, who work hard for him and especially those who have his best interests at heart, like SH*T.

These missteps can add up to evil.

If the gig is not up now on this realization I don't know if it will ever be.
The god talk he spouts is all BS, he could care less about god, it's just a way for him to manipulate people.
Maybe his creative, ethical and intellectual descent has to do with his last 2 to 3 year porn obsession and friendship with a hard core porn star who likes to eat vomit off of wangs and get punched in the stomach, this is what all his new music sounds like, not intimacy or even an artful exploration of sex, but gut punching vomit.

I'll always love Billy for giving me Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie, three huge albums during my early 20s. They stand up pretty well today too.

I'll go to bat for any of the original albums, all the way up to Machina II. So I don't like to get into discussions about who or what comprises the Smashing Pumpkins and which line-up did the best work.

That said, I loved the original line-up and I'm not in a position to write off the contributions of D'arcy Wretzky and James Iha the way Corgan has in recent years. Simultnaeously a lot of bands change line-ups through the years, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with that concept.

The thing which is fundamentally wrong here is the way that Corgan seems to exist in this attack and defense cycle that NEVER ENDS and takes place entirely in the media. He's been doing it for 10 years now with very little actual musical output.

Where's the music?! That's my question. Corgan seems much more concerned with desperately scrambling to re-establish some smidgeon of his pop-stardom than he is with being a musician or releasing albums.

It's utterly frustrating because my tolerance for rock star bull---- is actually very high. I could forgive Tila Tequila, provided the music was still there. In this case it isn't and that's a massive shame.

Feelings for him (or at least his public persona aside) I think his current output, the 44 song mega work, is actually some of his best material and deserves recognition. Unfortunately, I think people are too caught up with all the hype to really listen objectively to what really is his best output in a long time. 3 songs in anyway. Hopefully the next 41 keep pace.

It's amazing how insightful people on the internet are. Growing up I was told "if you cant say something nice don't say anything at all." Now that I'm older I like to say "if you cant say something intelligent don't say anything at all" I have to say that this "article" and its comments contain very little of either.

Billy Corgans put out plenty of good material during the new millenium. The Zwan album was a great listen, his Solo album had lots of quality tracks and Zeitgeist wasnt nearly as bad as people made it out to be.

The Pumpkins be it that its just Billy left are sure to atleast be a profitable touring commodity. And as long as the qualities there in the performances who cares if the members aren't the same.

Props to Billy for keeping it up and not bowing down to his pathetic critics

Any word on how to hook up an audition? I SO want to get fired by Billy Corgan. (I'm serious. Where do I sign up?!)

Ain't SP without JC. That is all.

Isn't it possible that Billy is the jerk that everyone says he is but is still musically relevant? I agree with all the people saying that he's an egomaniac, but I think his musical output continues to be fantastic and incredibly prolific.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on March 9, 2010 5:23 PM.

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