Smashing Pumpkins Frontman Billy Corgan: What I Learned as a Rock Star

From The Daily Beast:

Rock ’n’ roll is a murderous business.

To paraphrase a conversation I once had with Pete Townsend: When you get it right, they show up, and when you don’t, they don’t give a fuck.

Somewhere along the way, I decided my interest was in that causal relationship between pushing the button and seeing what happens. In pre-YouTube days, I’d be standing on the stage with the band. Things would be going horrible. I’d say, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re having a really terrible gig tonight.” I’d see my band mates stiffen up like they wanted to punch me. “We’re very sorry. We’re not going to give you your money back. But we promise from this moment forward to make it more interesting.” You’d hear them go, “Uuurghhh!” Like mob mentality settling in.

But the interesting thing about putting that energy out there, those concerts ended up being some of the greatest we ever played. It was all about the willingness to get off the train track.

That’s where the juice of artistic joy is. If it was about being formulaic in a Bon Jovi sense, you hire somebody who’s a really smart producer, spend the money. You shit out that one hit song, and you’re back on top. But we don’t come from that. We want the whole starship: the full album, the full experience.

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