Pitchfork reports that Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan is planning a road trip around America to get away from the “cool kids” he rallied around his band in the ’90s, and connect with elders and middle Americans who are in touch with a country — an “old America” — that is dying away.
Hopeful that I might write a new album by using the milk of Delta mud, amongst other things.
Billy Corgan is asking Smashing Pumpkins fans for help for his upcoming road trip documentary about America https://t.co/UEYatHfroU
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) February 4, 2016
Corgan states that he will be joined by a pal named Justin on his tour. The singer/songwriter/guitarist waxes poetic about his planned journey, using imagery of an artist suckling at nature’s teet for inspiration, the way an infant suckles at its mother’s breast.
Corgan muses that the Delta mud will be his milk. With no company but “one ruddy military vet and a stack of maps,” the Pumpkins songwriter will hit “the veins and tributaries” of the Mississippi and beyond, gathering inspiration from friends met along the road.
Billy is open to input — he urges fans to contact him to meet up or exchange advice:
“If that intrigues you, and you or yours have family along our route, we’d like you to contact us with good heart. For we’ll need help and support to make this work as I imagine it in my mind.”
Corgan declares his interest in performing in “old-fashioned parlors and the like” where he can collect “impressions of the country as it once was.”
“I look towards ruinous America, and her open road.”
— NME (@NME) February 5, 2016
The outspoken musician, who gained a reputation in the ’90s for both his strong vision and creativity and his occasionally “difficult,” control-freak behavior, even seemed to admit that for a long time his fight against adversity was misguided, or motivated by questionable impulses.
“For often I’ve said far too much, and too often, without some clear intent by which to measure myself other than a wish to be proven right by time. So if there is a judge listening, it is here I wish to resign my long-beleaguered suit against so many. The grounds upon which it labored, meritless.”
The talented artist hinted that he wishes to step back from his perpetual quarreling and reconnect with the sensory world — the private realms of the mind and senses, where inspiration for art-making and music-making comes from.
“So what does that leave untouched? A simple impression found, and the music comes of it.”
There’s a contact form on Corgan’s website for American fans who wish to get in touch and get involved.
Corgan demonstrated the breadth and depth of vision of which he is capable in the mid-’90s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album (Siamese Dream is the Pumpkins’ most celebrated album, Adore probably their most underrated).
Between the guitar-and-drum sonic assault of “Jellybelly,” the sad but easygoing nostalgia of “Here is No Why” (in which verse reminiscences of “uselessly dragging days” and “secret stars that cannot shine” give way to a contemptuous chorus, with Corgan sneering that his ’90s listeners will stay forever “in their sad machines”), to the soaring beauty of songs like “Galapagos” and “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans,” to a quirky, troubadour-ish take on mythic poetry (“Cupid de Locke”), to gentle songs like “By Starlight,” and the unforgettably-titled “F*** You [An Ode To no One]” (Pitchfork describes that song as “an immolating hate-bomb”) the album sees Corgan demonstrating almost unparalleled versatility.
The musicianship is hugely underrated. Guitar and drum-playing teen fans of Corgan and co went crazy for the fast, aggressive playing in songs like “Jellybelly,” but the softer songs are where the Pumpkins really shine. The exquisite “Through the Eyes Of Ruby” contains no less than 70 guitar tracks.”By Starlight” opens with an achingly beautiful refrain made up of distorted guitar and bass strains that build slowly, seeping into awareness rather than hitting the listener. When James Iha plays the first solo chord around 0:35, he does it with such tenderness and restraint he manages to make his electric guitar sound like a children’s music box.
Hopefully, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman will find inspiration on the American open road and deliver a great documentary and some new music.
(Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)