Billy Corgan on New Smashing Pumpkins Material: 'Dare I Say '90s Vibe'

"The man I learned the most from in the riff dept. was Tony Iommi," the frontman adds.

Ultimate Guitar

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan recently posted a studio update, discussing the vibe of the band's new material.

"Came in and after a brief shakedown/stare-down/tea kvetch, I demoed out what we'll call the slower version of 'Anais' (sort of at the 'Today' tempo)," Billy kicked off. "That took an hour, and though we all felt the song was strong, no one was hi-fiving either.

"'I still like the riff from last night,' Howard said. By that he meant 'Anais,' but the fast (or original) version. But previously I'd declared the songs rhythm 'moldy;' as in 1992 d.e.a.d. So my exposition here would be: 'Hey, if we could find a new under-groove, I'm more than happy to play the riff. 'Cause Lord knows the figures I write a'int changing.' I say this to you (as I said to them) because the man I learned the most from in the riff dept. was Tony Iommi, and as he has shown repeatedly is a good riff last forever; though the groove may change with the times. Hence a disco version of 'War Pigs,' etc, or the Ministry version of 'Supernaut.'"

Billy continued, "This thinking turned the feel we working for/against enough that it started to have more of a James Brown/MC5 street noise, and within the hour I had the song I was looking for all along. I can't yet attest to whether or not it can be great, but at least now what we have feels vital and deserves consideration. Howard too was shocked when I said with 'Anais' in the fold 'Solara' deserves back in, as I'm not as worried about it if there are 4 other rock songs to compete against.

"And what is the worry? Well, like the occasional song that comes up, it has a dare I say 90's vibe," the frontman continued. "The argument against being been there, done that and comfort is rarely progress. But it is a killer hook, and those don't grow on plum trees. (Also refer back to Iommi comments). Argument for is Howards: 'Hey, it might be a single;' which raises an eye from Jeff and I; as we've heard these Oh Sussanahs before; mostly from non-creative music biz types who have typecast what the 'Pumpkin Sound' is despite my having had success with acoustic songs, electronic songs, goth songs, you name it, plenty of puffinstuff not similar to that roar."

As reported, Smashing Pumpkins will release two new albums in 2015, titled "Monuments to an Elegy" and "Day for Night." In one of the early updates, Corgan described the new material as "guitars, guitars, guitars, and more guitars."

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    So long as the material is guitar driven, I feel as though I will enjoy it. Corgan for all of his faults, has a knack for coming up with catchy hooks and cool licks.
    when Corgan focuses more so writing a catchy rhythm and hook and less on trying to make something creatively mindblowing, he tends to have success. If he gets to engulfed in an idea, it starts to insist upon itself and then comes across as cheesy.
    Did anyone else have a terrible time reading this? Good lord, what happened to grammar... Anyways, I love the Pumpkins, and I'm excited to thear the new stuff! Billy is a brilliant musician.
    Well if you're referring to the quoted parts, I'm sure UG just copied Billy's blog verbatim. He intentionally writes in an informal way, seeing as it's just his thoughts and reflections of the recording process.
    These studio updates are really interesting, gives a good indication of the thought process behind each song as the albums progress. Cant wait to see the result!
    I've been thinking lately...the world needs another Siamease Dream, in terms of an epic album with great songwritig, guitar playing/riffs, high production values, and insane dynamics. The loudness wars have been going on so long that many young people today don't know anything else. I doubt the Pumpkins will be the band that will make it happen, but whoever it is may start a new movement.
    The Coop
    Dare I say it makes sense for him to quote the 90s as he hasn't sold a respectful number of albums since the 90s and he's creating hype from his heyday.
    Oceania was a pretty good album, some of it returned to the Siamese Dream sound, but it'll be cool to see what happens on this next LP.
    Billy is micro-blogging daily recaps (likely via his phone) of the studio sessions on They read like mini text messages, but are pretty cool nonetheless. They (He) took down the official webpage and message board. This is what we get...for now.
    I just met him recently at his tea shop he owns and I can honestly say he's the biggest music nerd I ever met. I have faith.