Chicago alternative-scene heroes Smashing Pumpkins have endured countless lineup changes, even breakups, since their “Siamese Dream” glory days in the early 1990s.
But they’re still guided by the steady, always-inventive hand of Billy Corgan, who decided to confront the imploding music industry head-on with the band’s latest release, “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope.”
Instead of bombarding listeners all at once with his 44-track concept album, he’s issuing each song for free online as soon as it’s finished. Corgan will perform his new works — like “Freak” and “Astral Planes” — at Live 105’s Not So Silent Night this week.
You actually launched your own spiritual-themed blog, Everything From Here To There. Are you going through a metamorphosis? I think I just got to the point where I had to take an inventory of how I got where I got, for better or worse. I was able to look back on 20 years of my life and say, “OK, where has this worked, and where has it not worked?” And where it worked was always where I trusted myself, no matter what anybody else around me said or thought. And every time it had not gone well was where I didn’t listen to my instincts and betrayed my inner common sense.
Any examples you want to cite? I got hammered for selling songs to commercials, when, 15 years ago, I was bragging how I’d never sold any of the Pumpkins material to commercials and how they’d been kept pure. But then I sold “Today” to Visa. And the person who really changed my mind about that was Pete Townshend. He basically said, “Who gives a f— if they lost their virginity in the back seat of a car to ‘My Generation’? I put it out there to be heard and sold, and I don’t care how they do it.” And I thought, “OK — if at some point my heroes aren’t holding onto something, why the hell am I?” I’m not saying God came down and said “Sell your song to Visa!” I’m saying I’ve found more solace, more peace in my musical life, my personal life, my internal life by subscribing to spiritual principles. And I started finding deeper connected purpose with what it means to help others, serve others, and in that way serve yourself.
Posting “Teargarden” for free is a pretty unselfish start, right? Hopefully. There are probably 60 songs written, but I’m still in an evolving consciousness on the whole thing. So I may not end up using a lot of those songs, because I’m still writing new ones, based on how I feel today, and what’s exciting to go record.
IF YOU GO
Live 105’s Not So Silent Night
with Smashing Pumpkins and My Chemical Romance
Where: HP Pavilion, 525 W. Santa Clara, San Jose
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $48.25 to $70
Contact: (800) 745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com