It’s been 20 years since Smashing Pumpkins released their first album, “Gish” — but it doesn’t feel that long to Billy Corgan, the group’s frontman and sole remaining original member
“It certainly feels like more than 10, but it doesn’t feel like 20,” says Corgan, 44, who reactivated Smashing Pumpkins in 2006 after a nearly six-year hiatus. “It certainly seems to have gone by faster than I would have guessed.
“You know, I’ve got a drummer (Mike Byrne) in my band who’s 21 years old, and we were sitting in the studio the other day listening to something, and I said, ‘That was done 22 years go.’ And they looked at me and I realized, ‘F---, that’s older than you.”
Corgan is celebrating the Pumpkins’ Vigintennial by overseeing an extensive reissue campaign that begins Nov. 15 and includes all eight of the band’s albums expanded with previously unreleased bonus content and online access to even more goodies.
“I’ve found it’s sort of brought peace to me, because it reminds me of my journey,” Corgan says. “It’s a more compassionate kind of view I have now, and it also inspires me and reminds me that, ‘You can do this. You have this in you if you really want it.’
“It reminds me of that kind of passion and that kind of commitment that I still have, and want to have, for what I do.”
Corgan has been exercising that, too, with the Pumpkins’ “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope” project, which is releasing new material in small portions — so far about a dozen of the planned 44 tracks — digitally. And some time soon the group plans to release “Oceania,” an “album within an album” that Corgan hopes will provide a more conventional entree to the way the group is releasing music these days.
“I reached a point where I saw that the one-song-at-a-time idea had maxed itself out,” Corgan acknowledges. “I saw we weren’t getting the penetration in to everybody that I would have hoped. It’s very mercurial. So I thought, ‘What do I need to do?’ and then I thought, ‘OK, I’ll go back to making an album.’ We feel pretty confident this is going to help make the progression of ‘Teargarden’ make sense to people.”
Smashing Pumpkins perform Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave, Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets $60, $45 and $30. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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