Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins Talks 'Oceania,' iTunes, and Hot Bass Players. - Interview

The Smashing Pumpkins return with their seventh studio album, "Oceania," on June 19, 2012. Frontman Billy Corgan recently stopped by to talk about the album, touring, and why the band always has hot female bass players.

Hey Billy, how are you? 

I'm good today. Thank you.

Your band, Smashing Pumpkins, has been around since 1988. The band has won Grammy awards and sold more than 30 million albums. The new album, "Oceania," comes out June 19. With all the success the band has received, is there still a certain type of pressure when releasing an album? 

(Laughs) Yeah. Oh yeah. You feel it, for sure.

How was the writing and recording of this album different from previous ones? 

I think that generally speaking I've made almost every album, except maybe for "Siamese Dream," with the intention of just doing what I wanted to do (laughs). That's why we came to that conclusion. I think the only thing that made it a little bit different is we thought 'writing.' This is a world that is quickly descending into information overload. So, if we're going to make music, we have to be pretty conscious that if we don't grab people right away, they're not going to listen to it again. That's a reality we accepted; we took in the challenge. You can make music that's interesting at first listen or you can make music that takes a while to explore. We took that approach because the four of us in the band are consuming information the same way. We're not bitter about it; we understand that things change.

With digital downloading and iTunes playing a big role in music, do you have to market your music differently?

I think it's a combination of factors. You don't have the resource base because people aren't selling enough records to create the other ancillary marketing you would've had in the past - advertising and video budgets, stuff like that. I can blow my money (laughs), but no one really believes you can make it back. You have to get much more creative about how you market; I think there have been some uncomfortable years here where we said, 'what business are we really in?' And a lot of us stand by and watch some really stupid artists get away with gimmicks that really don't have a lot of substance to it but seems to work in the new media world.

What is your favorite track on "Oceania?"

I don't really have a favorite track; I just love the album as a whole. It's an album that I actually want to sit and listen to the whole thing because it takes me on a particular journey.

You guys are currently touring overseas. With the band's extensive catalog of music available, how many new songs actually make the show?

The last festivals we played three or four… we play more new songs than any other album; let's put it that way. You're talking about seven albums of studio released music, not to mention all the B-sides. I think there's something like 22 CDs worth of Pumpkins music.

I notice that every time there is a line-up change there is a hot chick playing bass. Do you team up with Maxim to search for new bass players?

(pause) No, (laughs) No. I never looked at it that way. I appreciate all the musicians I've worked with. The women I've worked with have all been great musicians in their own right. That's always how I've looked at it.

Thanks again. Good luck with the album and the tour.

Thank you so much.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at
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