Smashing Pumpkins rock again with "Oceania"

Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:04pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Alternative rockers The Smashing Pumpkins have had huge hits - "Siamese Dream" and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" - as well as well-publicized in-fighting and drug use that led to the Chicago band's break-up in 2000.

But after some false starts, lead singer Billy Corgan recently reformed the Pumpkins with new musicians and embarked on an ambitious 44-song project titled "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope."

Their new album, "Oceania," which entered the Billboard 200 charts this week at No. 4, is part of that project and the always-outspoken Corgan talked to Reuters about the new music.

Q: What sort of album did you set out to make?

A: "(Laughs) We thought we'd better make a really great album or we'd have to blow this business up. The necessity of an album has pretty much gone by the wayside. It doesn't seem to have the cultural impact anymore, and people aren't waiting around for the next ‘Sgt. Pepper' or ‘Pet Sounds.' In our case, we saw where my musical legacy and the band's abilities were being marginalized by a culture that celebrates a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with bands. So you can sit and whine, but if you believe you can make strong band music, then it trumps all other arguments - even sales. So either get out of the business or do something. As for ‘Oceania,' I don't even know where the title came from. It just felt right."

Q: You weren't seriously thinking of quitting, were you?

A: "No, but I felt, you have to morph the intention. OK, so the album's dead - what does it morph into? Maybe 3D projects, like a movie you do the soundtrack for, which you also self-finance."

Q: You say the album's dead, yet you're working on this massive ‘Teargarden' multi-album project.   Continued...

Billy Corgan, lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, attends a news conference in Mexico City August 25, 2010. REUTERS/Henry Romero