There’s something claiming to be “An Open Letter from Billy Corgan” posted on The Stranger. Can it possibly be real? I think it is, based on the fact that I cannot imagine them posting this otherwise.
I was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan. I got Gish the month it was released. I looked forward to Siamese Dream before “Today” took the charts by storm. I was a fan before they got artsy and become The Smashing Pumpkins. I remember Billy when he and D’arcy were suicidal and he had hair. I was there when it all began to work. And I stuck with the band through Adore and Machina, when everyone else thought it was over. I stayed there for a very long time, waiting patiently for for this moment in time, when Zwan and TheFutureEmbrace were just a memory and a new Smashing Pumpkins was upon us.
But then Billy releases this “open letter,” this ridiculous, ego-inflated collection of delusions. Billy’s been a bit of a weirdo for some time now: he had this weird thing with Courtney Love, and he went through an “I’m an important poet, nay, the voice of a generation!” phase. Billy really thinks he’s something remarkable. And he might have been, had he not tossed humility out the door. Now he’s going to expose himself. Let’s deconstruct what is going on in Billy Corgan’s mind, shall we?
Corgan starts with “Today is the greatest day you’ve ever known.” Yes, because the release of your underwhelming new CD, pimped by too many in the blogosphere, ranks up there as “the greatest day I’ve ever known.” Pshaw.
Further down is this gem: “We were once the most important band in the world, and everyone–me, you, Courtney Love–knew it.” Eh… exsqueeze me? Ah…baking powder? I was a very serious Pumpkins fan. I do not ever recall thinking of them as the most important band in the world. Courtney Love… for whatever reason…. might have thought that. But I doubt many others did.
He continues, “I brought back original Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain –recovered and reverent of yours truly, he’s the epitome of a new leaf turned over — plus another chick bassist and some new guitar guy.” Oy. Where to begin? So you’re admitting up front that it’s essentially another solo record, but Jimmy is back? Because your last solo record was so good?
Then Billy predicts my reaction: “As for the music, the critics won’t get it. They never have. My old fans–the ones whose lives were changed by Gish and Siamese Dream–won’t get it. They will complain that the sound is too dense, too severe, too, yes, overbearing.” Well, the “don’t get it” sentiment is there, but it’s a reaction to your retarded letter, Billy, not your music.
Corgan actually believes “the New Generation is the one I’m speaking to, the one that needs to know that My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco couldn’t exist without me. Whether they want to know doesn’t matter. This Zeitgeist is not consensual–it’s here, whether you understand it or not.” So he believes he is the founder of the new generation. Undoubtedly, he influenced several of these acts. But is that anything to be proud of? First off, they kinda suck. And secondly, he’s hardly the one big thing that laid the pipework for these bands to exist. Nay, that was Nirvana and Pearl Jam, whether Billy likes it or not.
Corgan carries on for some time about his commentary about the US, which we neither asked for nor care about, and some other sputters about guitars and a rock revolution (or something) before concluding with this fantastic delusion: “Here is what you must understand: Nothing has changed since 1999, except my budget. And Pro Tools. I am still the same alt-rock messiah I was. You are still my teenage flock.” Whoa. Heavy. Billy claims to be a rock messiah and we are the sheep, the pawns, the fools who gulp up that with which he graces us. Because of this, I am probably not going to buy Zeitgeist.
Add to this a few recent things that have happened: Zeitgeist features photos of Paris Hilton in the liner notes. Billy said he’s friends with her. He decided to invite Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris to the shoot to make a snarky statement about pop culture. Way to go, Bill. Way to use your “friend.”
Also, Billy decided to release FOUR editions of the CD. Target, Best Buy, iTunes, and other stores will all have an edition featuring a different bonus track. So the only legal way to get all four is to buy the album thrice then download at least one song.
The Pumpkins may once have been an important road stop in the rock landscape, but now it seems like Billy is a deluded, self-aggrandizing, loquacious, ego-maniacal sell-out.
Update: The “open letter” mentioned above was a hoax. I’ve published an update here.