Billy Corgan Talks About Writing Spiteful Songs and the Impending Death of Rock & Roll

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What does "Oceania," as a term or theme, mean?

My being in a relationship with someone from that part of the world had something to do with the naming, but if I had any working idea, conceptually, for Oceania, it's this idea of isolationism and its different forms.

I think we're all going through some weird transformative thing, where we're living out one part of our id online, yet we're living out another part of our ego in life, and there's something really lonely about it all.

How did you approach Oceania's recording process with your new band?

I was really honest with them from the start, saying, "Here's the way it works, here's where you can fit it, here's where we're probably going to have a problem. I'm clear up front, but give them real opportunities to succeed. I mean, Oceania is the first album I've ever done where I don't play bass at all! [Laughs] It's one thing to say that, it's another to be in the studio, and tell [bassist] Nicole (Fiorentino), "This is your opportunity." Like, "This is not a kids' game. It's not 1989, and we didn't just roll out of the club. You've gotta deliver."

And, the band relationships have started to congeal over time, and we now have that unit consciousness.

It sounds almost like we're talking about finding love again after a messy divorce - your divorce, in this case, of course marks your separation from James, D'Arcy, and Jimmy. So it's more like three separate divorces, I suppose.

Yeah, three divorces and at three different times - and in some cases, re-marrying, then divorcing again!

But most divorcees don't wish to carry over their former surname when starting anew. Why recycle the name 'Smashing Pumpkins'? Did you ever entertain not carrying over the name, and just going solo again?

Yes, I thought about it. Honestly, the difficulty is, (the solo name) just doesn't translate to most foreign markets. In places like South America, they know "Smashing Pumpkins" - they don't know "Billy Corgan."

The great irony is, even if I give the band a different name, people still want to hear those (old Pumpkins) songs, so what the fuck does it matter what it's called? There's also something about the band name that just pushes the fucking button, and I like it. I like being under the name.

Are you happy?

[Pause] Personally or professionally?

Let's start with professionally.

Professionally, I'm content - but happy... that's a different thing.

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