Billy Corgan Goes Hippie
Billy Corgan is no longer a rat in an alt.rock cage and has become a hippie.
We’re kidding… or are we?
Corgan hasn’t started wearing Birkenstocks, grown his hair out or donned a fringed leather vest. But the setlist for a two-set show by Spirits In The Sky at Santa Barbara, Calif.’s Muddy Waters Coffee House on Friday was reportedly a summer of love-inspired affair.
The show obviously featured numbers by Saxon’s band The Seeds, a Bonnie Dobson number made popular by The Grateful Dead and covers of Pink Floyd and The Velvet Underground, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. The band also played 10 new tracks written by Corgan, which were apparently ’60s-influenced.
Spirits In The Sky is Corgan’s Sky Saxon tribute band featuring himself, guitarist Dave Navarro, Strawberry Alarm Clock keyboardist Mark Weitz and new Smashing Pumpkins drummer Mike Byrne. He formed the band after Saxon passed away earlier this summer, and they’re playing a run of six California shows this month.
Here’s the band’s setlist, according to the Santa Barbara Independent:
“Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” (The Seeds)
“Emerald Green Is The Colour”
“Widow Wake My Mind”
“(Walk Me Out In The) Morning Dew” (Bonnie Dobson/Grateful Dead)
“The Time Has Come” (Anne Briggs)
“A Stitch In Time” (Corgan acoustic)
“Caroline, Yes” (Corgan acostic)
“A Song For A Son” (Corgan acoustic)
“Femme Fatale” (The Velvet Underground)
“Lucifer Sam” (Pink Floyd)
“Long Haired Lady” (Quicksilver Messenger Service)
Join the discussion about this on the Netphoria Message Board.
MESSAGE FROM BILLY REGARDING
THE SUBSCRIPTION MODEL
On Monday, SmashingPumpkins.com announced that an online 12-week subscription service will be made available in the near future, that is, if demand is ample for the project. Today Billy has sent a message to those than have shown interest by signing up for updates via an email newsletter.
Hello, thank you for signing up for these updates. Because of the nature of today’s post, and how the different ideas interact, I will be touching on both proposed business models; the archive fan-club and the new ‘window’ into the album songwriting sessions. Around 6,000 of you have shown interest in these updates, so because I am assuming you are on the dedicated side already, I will try to get to the center of the issues without a whole lot of contextual explanation.
Our first concept that we threw out for the archives (300$ for 200 songs) was met by a whole lot of complaining. Because we desire a harmonious relationship with those who would most want a completest approach to the bands history, we have revised this to a 40$ (proposed) fan-club sign up and this has been met much more positively. I think this demonstrates a willingness to work together to find a balance that will sustain over the next decade plus. The average mainstream fan doesn’t give two hoots about that gig in Iowa in 1989, so we aren’t even going to bother them with this kind of stuff, hence creating the relationships with you. We have enough on our hands to get them (the mainstream) to listen to newly recorded work. As you can see, everyone in the record biz these days is having the same problem, so it not particular to SP.
With that in mind, I have additionally proposed something quite unique as far as a ‘window’ into my songwriting processes with the idea of 12 weeks of mini-TV (about 25+ minutes a week broken into 5 updates OR 5+ hours of content). This would dwarf the kind of access that was given for example in the ‘if all goes wrong’ dvd, where one could see me briefly working out some idea. Having seen some of the raw footage from what Kristin shot at that time, there were moments that played out over 5 or 7 minutes that were quite interesting on their own but were definitely too long for a movie that had to hold a plot narrative. One of my favourite moments not shown in the film was the morning I wrote the riff for ‘Sunkissed’. You see me playing some bs blues and I stop, take a deep breath, and then the idea comes out fully intact in one crystalline moment. Even I was surprised, and for the next few minutes you see the song just pour out of me. I realize for most this is not interesting at all, but this is interesting for some and that is the point of a project this is an optional, pay-if-you-want to see it deal. You would get to participate in moments essentially as they unfold. Here however is where it indeed does all go wrong…
‘Take a walk with me
Tell me what you see
Take a walk with me tonight”
-lyric from an unreleased song I wrote last year
Last night I made the mistake of reading some of the feedback to this proposed idea. To say I was dismayed at some of the comments would be an understatement. The reaction was 50/50 mixed and very negative on the one side. I was so upset that I wrote a very long post in reaction, mocking the arguments made and canceling it altogether. Reading how something as open-hearted as inviting you into my inner-world of creativity turns into a sick, capitalistic manipulation is really disappointing to me personally. I speak not as the head of a multi-million dollar corporation, but as someone who lives and breathes being a musician. (I unfortunately made the vain mistake of asking for 3 dollars and 50 cents a week). The 40$ figure as a ‘all in’ was arrived at because I wanted to insure that those that were interested were going to take the whole ride for the all 12 weeks. I had expressed that this was not a profit driven business model, but many questioned the truth in that and went on to turn into personal attacks seeing it as yet another example of me taking advantage of them. Judging by this kind of feedback I would say this idea is dead on arrival. Which leaves me with 2 choices; cancel or revise.
My heart says to cancel, because the whole thing isn’t worth the hassle for the few thousand that would show up and faithfully engage in something new and exciting and trust me on the expenses involved to deliver such a project to them. The willful part of me says I know this is a really cool idea because it will force a new kind of dialogue between artist and listener at a much earlier stage in the process.
In my last extensive post, I promised love and light moving forward. But I also promised reality as we struggle to find what is going to work business-wise in the years ahead. The Smashing Pumpkins ‘business’ is alive and well (thank you), or I wouldn’t have just completed 165 date tour a few months back. Its laughable for people to think that this is some kind of way to stuff my pockets. One 90 minute concert alone and the profits from that completely blow such stupidity out of the water.
I have found thru the years that when I must become a salesman that this in turn reflects poorly on me as an artist. If I was a good salesman, there would be more than 6,000 people reading this newsletter, and I would be doing everything in my power to tell you why this a good idea and not a bad one.
Right now it’s a bad idea because this proposal has some (not all) accusing me of all sorts of lame things that have little to do with the spirit of the music or the business that surrounds it. I don’t need your money, for I am going to film these sessions anyway. The difference here was if we had an audience and a budget to work with, well then we could make it a whole lot of fun for everyone who wants to ‘be there’ and wants to see-here how the magic gets made. Great attempts would also be made to provide additional content to justify your participation. It would come with the responsibility on us to get the technical end right on a daily basis, hence the extra budget necessities to be able to turn footage around quickly.
Pandering to people for $ has never been my trip. I just don’t care that much. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna lay it all out there to you as a community. You decide what you want to do, because I already know what I’m going to do. Its your call. I figure to do this right its about 2,000$ a day, or 10,000$ a week which adds up to 120,000$. Boring isn’t it?
3000 subscribers at 40$=120,000$
6000 subscribers at 20$=120,000$
12,000 subscriber at 10$=120,000$
So you see, it is not a profit driven model. It is a content creation model.
If you as a community can self organize and 6000 people want to do this, then its 20$ (for the whole 12 weeks). I’d much rather stuff 20$ in my pockets from 6000 people than 3000! (That’s a joke by the way for those of you who lack the irony gene)
It ain’t gonna happen for 40$ obviously because the negative vibe in the air just makes it all so icky. And I don’t do icky anymore. If 20$ is TOO much for 12 weeks of unique, daily content and the trust isn’t there for me to deliver it, then I might as well just focus on the mainstream fan who I know already doesn’t give care for ‘the art’ and get back to the *yawn* grunge…
So that’s it. We need 6,000 people who are adventurous enough to take this journey at 20$ or I’ll just put it all in a can somewhere and move on. Your feedback is helpful and I thank you.
To discuss this topic, click here for the Netphoria Message Board.
Billy Corgan has been hinting at future models for providing music and media from the studio to the fans during interviews and other press. Plans for this service are now underway and will be executed in the form of a 12-week paid subscription service for access to various media updates detailing the creative process within the studio. The media updates will be in the form of exclusive web-video and photographs. Subscribers will be able to watch the next era of Smashing Pumpkins music take shape.
Here are Billy’s hopes and expectations for the upcoming project:
The goal is to create a working model that is not profit motivated but rather information and access motivated. In exchange for a fixed resource base fans will be let inside in an unprecedented way to the creative process of preparing to make the next SP album while also inspiring an inter-active dialogue that will help shape the work. Because of the open window, further efforts will be made to provide content so that anyone participating can more readily follow the arc over the 12 weeks, with unprecedented access to lyrical and musical content.
Everyone involved with the project is very excited to create something memorable and thought-provoking during the course of this project. Some people that would be involved include Kerry Brown, Mark Tulin, Linda Strawberry, Julie Mitchell, + Carina Round. Artistic contributors would include Justin Coloma, Kristin Burns, and Lisa Johnson.
A very important aspect to this entire project is the current interest of the fan-base. As highlighted by Billy above, the project is not profit-motivated. However, to get the project off the ground, substantial interest from YOU is needed. In order to gauge the interest, we are creating a new mailing list (sign up here) to inform everyone on progress. The concept is similar to that of the SP Archive Newsletter, however updates are not scheduled to be weekly at this time. This is the best way for us to estimate the demand for this experimental idea. If we don’t find that there is enough demand for this, the project will be set aside for a future time.
Your participation in this project will influence the progression of the music being documented.
Here are some details regarding the subscription model:
- $40 for 12 weeks. A minimum of 5 updates from the studio per week, so that’s 60 updates for $40.
- Updates would be posted in a less-than-24-hour consistency. For instance, if something happened on Monday, it would be posted no later than Tuesday
- Each update would be a minimum of 5 minutes in length. That would mean subscribers would receive at least 25 minutes of unique audio/video material per week, and at least 5 hours over the course of the 12 weeks.
- There is a possibility of live streaming video content in addition to what has been presented above.
- The updates will ultimately be part of a substantial “art film.”
In closing from Billy:
I am excited to make this offer to anyone who might be interested what goes on behind the wizard’s curtain. It is my goal to far exceed the normal docmentary process and use the moment to create something that invokes synchronicity, electricity, and faith into a moment that is ever unfolding.
To discuss this topic, click here for the Netphoria Mesage board.
Now shipping! Available today for order from Amazon.com, the new Smashing Pumpkins 2 disk DVD entitled ‘If All Goes Wrong’.
If All Goes Wrong is a double DVD commemorative package celebrating the recent reunion and extraordinary 20-year career of The Smashing Pumpkins, featuring a documentary, special features and songs from the Fillmore residency shows which took place last summer in San Francisco. For more information on the DVD, click here.
The double disk DVD lists for only $16.99, click here to order it now.
While performing on election night in Toronto, Canada Billy Corgan congratulated Senator Barrack Obama on being elected President of the United States. Earlier in the show one fan shouted out “Obama” to which Billy Corgan replied, “Obama? I don’t see any Obama up here… I love my man from Chicago but he can’t help me right now”. Later toward the end of the show when it became clear that Obama had been elected Billy Corgan remarked that he was proud that his country had done the right thing and was optimistic of the future.
Here is video of Billy Corgan congratulating Barrack Obama:
You can also view the discussion thread on this on the Netphoria Message Board.