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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan: ‘I don’t want my kids growing up with a has-been father’

The rock singer talks about getting his band back on track, becoming a parent – and how he learned to stop playing the troll in interviews If you have ever paid attention to the Smashing Pumpkins, you know that Billy Corgan is a famously self-important rock star: the type who talks at length to the press about how great he is and then complains about being misquoted. We are in a Manhattan hotel, discussing how Corgan came to realise that his lifelong pursuit of music – and the undeniable success that had come with it – had left him unfulfilled, when he says this: “I would watch people quite cleverly try to disassemble what I’d actually built. They were sort of interested in separating me from my own true narrative.” Now, this reads like something a famously self-important rock star would say. But Corgan says it playfully, with such self-awareness that he gets away with it: suggesting that he knows this is absurd, but it’s how he feels, and actually it’s even appropriate given his stature; that he’d rather risk ridicule than minimise his feelings. Some version of this dynamic repeats constantly over the next hour. Irony may not always be a healthy coping device, but having fun with an interview seems like the least a rock star should do. I wondered how differently many of his previously controversial quotes – about social justice warriors, a pizza fast-food chain, the Shrek soundtrack – might read in the context of their delivery. Continue reading...

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