Smashing Pumpkins Frontman Wants to Stop Touring, Thinks He Has Nothing to Prove

"Rock has lost its vigor, and I no longer feel I am part of it," says Billy Corgan.

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Smashing Pumpkins mainman Billy Corgan once again underlined his pessimistic attitude towards the current state of rock music, revealing plans to put the band's touring activities to a halt, or at least severely reduce them.

During a recent Politiken interview, Corgan described the modern rock world as depressive and hectic, yearning to withdraw his life to a more secluded place.

"What I'm thinking right now is it's the end of an epoch," the singer/guitarist kicked off (via Alternative Nation). "We've almost finished touring with 'Oceania,' and then I will find something new. For right now, I think rock has lost its vigor, and I no longer feel I am part of it. There are virtually no rock bands that has developed as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin did. And the public has lost the desire to try something new. So fighting in that world is a waste of time to me."

Corgan explained further, "Maybe I should start playing for a small audience, but at a higher price. Give them an experience that is 10 times as strong as what people get now. Or maybe I'll have to stop touring because I can't afford it. Maybe I'll settle for five concerts a year. In any case, I think you have to get out of this treadmill. Where you use a year to make an album, release it, wait for the judgment of the reviewers, Twitter and Facebook, and then go on tour to promote the record. I think that's over. At least for me."

The frontman then focused specifically on touring and his personal life, pointing out that he doesn't feel like there's anything for him to prove anymore.

"I think about [stopping touring] every day," Corgan said. "For it is a matter of priorities. How important it is to be home with the dogs, being on vacation, to be in the studio. And I've been on tour more than anything in the last 25 years. Right now I live in the same hotel where I was 16 months ago. It's crazy to think about. It feels endless. So maybe it's time to get out of it and create something new.

"We recently played at a festival where I looked at the program for all three days and saw that I had sold more records than all the other bands combined. And yet I was not headlining. So what do I do then? Why stand there and try to prove something, I have already proven?"

Corgan concluded by reminiscing the old days, wishing he could return some of his early life perspective.

"When I started The Smashing Pumpkins in 1988, I didn't think I would sell a lot of records," he said. "It was just to get a reaction from the friend who sat and listened. My world was that small. And maybe it's time to pull me into a world that is smaller, but more dangerous. Because if you create something with great force and integrity, then perhaps the world comes looking for you. And I have shown that I can do that."

109 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Saw them one week ago, and Billy really didn't seem to enjoy to play, even if the public was reacting well.. If he doesn't feel like doing it, maybe it's a good thing he stop now..
    I saw them in october, he didn't even move on stage, smile or talk with the audience. Was a good show musically speaking, but a horrible atmosphere because of his mood.
    Darth Wader
    "Billy Corgan sure does whine and complain a lot." - Liam Gallagher "Yeah, so annoying." - Morrissey
    Liam "I didn't make any of the oasis hits and still hit my brother" Gallgher and "I just complain about the whole world and cancel my tour in south america because of a little food intoxication since I am a little princes" Morrissey? ...Really?
    Is it just me, or does this guy sound completely up his own ass?
    I may have received a lot of downvotes for that comment, but claiming you don't want to tour anymore because you have nothing to prove, when much bigger and better bands are still out there working hard and playing shows for their fans, sounds pretentious.
    I agree completely. Seems to me like he's just bitter about their dwindling sales/success/whatever you wanna call it. You know what they say, Mr. Corgan: "What goes up..."
    Old bands (except AC/DC) go on touring because they run out of money, not because "they love the fans". At least Billy is honest with who he is a musician.
    And bands that give a flying f*** about what they do keep touring because performing your heart out in front of a crowd every night and continually making new music is the best damn thing in the world. I'm not saying that bands tour because they run out of money don't care, but more than often, the passionate ones are the ones that keep up the touring.
    @RobNovAr: What? Are you serious? So, the only reason old bands go on tour is because they run out of money? Oh, ok...
    Kind of makes sense. But they go on tour for the same reason that people go to work everyday, it's their job
    I'm pretty sure that's why Metallica and similar bands who have had great success are still touring nearly non-stop till this day...
    Metallica themselves (Specifically James) have stated that any money reasons they have for touring are not for them but for their crew...They don't need any more money but the crew do need a job.
    To Robnov: They tour because they need the money? well duh, it is what they do. Do you think the members of AC/DC have day jobs or something? they are a rock band.
    not sure where the "except AC/DC" came from. I would pin them as probably the worst culprits. Black Ice didn't scream to me that they did it for the music.
    Cheap Trick not only continue to tour at any venue they get, but also continue to make records simply because they love doing that. They don't need money anymore.
    Well Billy is usually known to be pretentious.. Even James Iha said so in an interview or two.
    I agree with Validischofe, though I will say the title makes him sound well more douchey than the feel I got from his whole comments. Far from the most misleading title on this site though; that's for sure.
    Billy does come off as an ass at times, but this will kind of explain that
    I'm 13 minutes in and he cannot prevent himself from going on a tangent when answering this host's questions.
    From the picture, I'd say it was just his right arm he's got up his ass.
    "And maybe it's time to pull me into a world that is smaller, but more dangerous." Dangerous all right. Look's like there were a few complications.
    Sammy Mantis
    No, it's not just you. The way he carries on you would think that Smashing Pumpkins was one of the biggest things to happen to music in the past twenty years. Honestly I've never met anyone who really liked this band aside from 1979 and Bullet with Butterfly Wings.
    You haven't met many people then. In my hometown not more than one of the SP records has come to town and still they have a huge fanbase.
    Totally. I like the Pumpkins but maybe it's just they themselves who have lost vigor. My local radio station (Banana 101.5) was at the last Pumpkins show at the Palace of Auburn Hills and basically said the Pumpkins don't belong in arena rock anymore.
    Please don's stop Billy. You've inspired a huge part of the new generation of musicians.
    He's just too caught up in sales and rock star status. Quit trying to be this legendary 'rock' band and just play. I miss when he didn't care and just let the music flow, which resulted in masterpieces like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie..
    I completely agree. Smashing Pumpkins is a decent group (not my fav but I can see why people like them) but Billy seems to be achieving for a goal of legendary status and to be frank there is little to no chance of that happening to anyone that isn't alreay in their late 50s and older, acts that stand the test of time or so they say. I think if he enjoys music then just make it, you don't have to do the whole full year + tour schedule, just make what you enjoy, and if your trying to become a legend out of it, don't
    At least Billy is honest with who he is a musician. I really hope he dont stop touring completely, but he is in his right. Being the only clean musician of the 90s (or one of the few) and having to deal with junkies all the time must be hard.
    If your heart's not in it anymore, just quit. If you're not enjoying yourself, what's the point?
    Guthrie Govan said it best: music owes you nothing. You're in it because you want to. If his sales are not adding up to his expectations, then too bad, that's a risk you take when you become a musician. If, however, he feels he no longer has a plateau to look forward to, then maybe he should stop for a while. Get some new perception, and then come back if he feels like it.
    As much as I want to call him a whiney prick, I agree with pretty much everything he just said.
    "There isn't a new Led Zeppelin, so I'm going to stop playing." Really? That's a rather juvenile attitude.
    matteo cubano
    i agree. just sounds like he's afraid of progress. the only way to know is to wait 30 years and see what modern rock bands music will be looked back on like Led Zeppelin is today.
    Check other articles/news about him, he is clear in the fact that he is no only not afraid of progress, but he is achieving it, musically. Here, with the Led Zepelin example, he is trying to day that there are not many more great new bands.
    I agree but rock is coming back a bit with some "just ok" bands.
    There's plenty of innovation in modern rock. You just need to know where to look. Sure, not the same kind of commercial success to go with it, but it's there. The only difference is that the modern public has gotten worse at recognising it. /hipster
    What's juvenile is you making that strawman argument about him.
    "Where you use a year to make an album, release it, wait for the judgment of the reviewers, Twitter and Facebook, and then go on tour to promote the record" - Sadly, he's right.
    As a big Pumpkins fan, I have to say that I don't think Billy like the whole "indy" thing. Also bands don't sell as much records today, but that's because of the internet. But saying that people don't like to try new stuff, that's just not true.
    "Cherub Rock" is in fact a song against the whole indie movement hahahaha
    Even if he does stop, after a while he'll miss the stage and be back. They all miss it after a while.
    As Bill Bruford once said, if you want to hear music from the future. Go listen to King Crimson. Rock is not dead and never will be dead. People die, music waits.
    This sounds really childish. He could just admit he wants to stop touring. I'm kind of tired of seeing Corgan complain about the state of rock music just because it's not the same as the popular bands from decades ago. If he can't find anything he likes today why doesn't he try to make the music he thinks needs to be out there? It's not like he has to worry about funding, or building a fanbase. But no, instead he's just going to sit around complaining. And as always, anyone who says rock music is dying is either not looking for what's good or is too caught up in the past. Led Zeppelin already sounded pretty different from the very early forms of rock, and it's evolved even more since then.
    and here I am trying to get on stage and start performing. Maybe Billy should write a song about how he fills throughout this, rather than share it with an interview. So that when on stage he can let the music speak for him. Because what's the point of performing if it is not truly expressive of what he represents inside? Is he writing the music for himself or for wanting to sell more records than other bands? then again what do I know.. cause as I said.. im trying to start performing on stage myself and haven't a clue how this works.
    I would love to see SP live,but I'm fine with Billy stopping with all/most of the shows. After all hes entitled to do whatever he wants and I can accept that.
    If he thinks rock is so rubbish right now maybe he should make some good music and quit crying about it
    Billy is just a major drama queen. He makes statements like this all the time and then never follows through with them. Remember how they weren't gonna release albums anymore because people apparantely only care about singles? Remember that Teargarden by Kaleidoscope thing? Remember him ranting at the crowd at his shows because he only wanted to play new material?
    Oceania is a part of Teargarden, he still believes the album as a format to deliver music is dead which is true to some extent, how many people do you know that actually listen to whole albums when they come out, most people skip around through singles and recommended tracks.
    "Or maybe I'll have to stop touring because I can't afford it" Seriously? Has anyone seen his house by any chance? If the sales are so horrible then maybe they should look at cutting a few expenses. I have never listened to Smashing Pumpkins but if I was a fan of theirs I would be extremely offended
    You do know 1 tour for a band their size or bigger costs comparable to his house, right?
    Oh i know but if the sales are not met then that means people do not show up to their shows and instead of complaining they should maybe downsize on their operation. Seems to me like he goes up on that stage for the wrong reasons.
    there are not many more great bands because the music business isnt like that anymore in their times, companies had to find a cool band to promote, because they didn't count with the technology to had their news crossing the world in a matter of seconds. i bet that there were a lot of great bands in their times, that we just didn't heard of. I don't hear the guy of Focus whining
    I just want to say to him, "relax...stop being so damn serious all the time." He's got to learn to live a lil instead of seeing all the what he believes are bad things. To do that all the time is just depressing.
    It's also his serious mentality that got him where he is today. It's made his songs what they are, like them or hate them...and a lot of people like them. If it's not for you, it's not for you.
    You have a point there, but remember BC is a person who suffers from Severe depression illness :/
    After i heard an interview with Marilyn Manson mentioning that Corgan looks like Charlie Brown.. ALL I SEE IS CHARLIE BROWN NOW!
    then stop, if you think touring is done to prove something, you dont deserve to be touring
    Touring is all he has left, clinging onto playing a few of the actual good songs he wrote 15-20 years ago. Because all of the newer albums are certainly shit.
    This guy is a joke. I saw them last December in Pittsburgh and they were probably the worst show I've ever been to.
    Sad stuff but he's right, rock is dying. There's nothing really creative out there, just recycled garbage
    If it means that he will spend more time recording new music, im all for it. Id rather have a couple of albums as good as Oceania than a couple of concerts.
    Nero Galon
    I don't Billy for being the way he is. I kind of share the same attitude with him but it must be horrible for him knowing he's much older. I could agree and say he has nothing more to prove. SP were great in my opinion. Those who don't think so will obviously disagree with his opinion on his influence.
    So we're supposed to see them in crappy venues, spend a lot of money that most of us really can't afford, just to hear him play all new songs? Got it
    Ehem Jazz, Blues, progressive, fusion and alikes musicians do so and nobody complains that much. He is in his right.
    Fans have expectations when they spend $100 on a concert ticket. And if I'm going to spend that much on The Smashing Pumpkins, they better play "Cherub Rock", "Today", "1979", "Zero" and "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."
    Dear Mr. Corgan, If you want to play, play. If not, don't. Either way please shut the **** up about it. Most folks couldn't care less.
    Don't give me none of this bullshit with ''rock is dead'' etc. What, you think back in the 60s and 70s rock was this mainstream fashion advertised everywhere? Rock n' roll has always been an 'outcast' genre. It's always been against societal norms and mainstream music (that's not to say that some of the chart stuff isn't good). There are tons of great bands out and rising at the moment. Take Rival Sons for example. I have firm belief that they'll make it to a point similar to Zeppelin. People don't understand that times have changed. Distribution ways have changed. Hell the whole industry's changed and everything has to adapt to the way it is now. But that doesn't mean there aren't good bands out there. He just sounds like a washed up, bitter loser.
    Are you kidding me? 60s and 70s rock was ridiculously mainstream to the point that it changed an entire generation of kids - their fashion, lifestyle, ideas, etc. Rock isn't significantly changing much of anything anymore, and based on this Rival Sons band you mentioned, I can see why.
    "Take Rival Sons for example. I have firm belief that they'll make it to a point similar to Zeppelin. " I definitely hear something like Zeppelin there, but Corgan said the next Zeppelin, not another Zeppelin. You kinda accidentally validated Corgan's bitter point, there.
    Did he say rock is dead? Nope, he said something true, that its not same and that he can't find his place yet. Go and conceive a song like "The Celestials" before calling him a bitter loser.
    I saw the Pumpkins a few weeks ago and was disappointed, billy had no energy in him, there was no vibe. He just stood there acting like he didn't care at all. So ye maybe he should stop touring.
    Man,I can't stand this hypocritical jackass.He only put the Smashing Pumpkins back together for the money.If he was a true artist and wanted to do something different,he would have continued with Zwan.
    He didnt need the money back in the day, he just always loved the idea of the Pumpkins since he did everything in that band while the others went doing drugs and he had to apply some parenting on them untill he got tired.
    So the whole piont of being a musician for him was just to prove himself? What about the music?What about the joy of just playing and making music?
    1) Just stop. We get it, nobody else likes your music as much as you do. But guess what? YOU'RE the problem. Nothing you ever did sounds like, equals, emulates, or even approximates anything by the Stones, Beatles, Zeppelin, etc. 2) No #2 required.
    What kind of world do you want to live in where every band sounds like those 3 bands and nothing else? would be hell. I don't much like smashing pumpkins myself but at least its different...
    if it is different (i don't listen to smashing pumpkins), what business does he have expecting large scale success?
    I don't listen to S.P but i can understand the man. After 25 years on the road and enough money surely, you want to settle down. Playing gigs every night (almost), flights or buss everyday, jet lagged all the time, hotels, etc..Fun when you are young but after 2 decades?? pfieww
    Didn't you initially break up SP because you couldn't compete with "Britney" anylonger? The fame that came on the back of Mellon Collie was never going to last, not for you, nor does it for anyone else Mr Corgan. It's just the way it is. You should at least be grateful as most will never experience what you have.