The Lesson on Sound Billy Corgan Picked Up From Tony Iommi
Though their guitar sounds may be different, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan revealed in a recent Chicago Music Exchange interview (seen below) a valuable lesson learned on guitar sound from Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, and how it resonated more with him over the years.
Within the chat, Corgan discussed the idea that evolving your sound over time is essential as a player. While speaking with Reverend Guitars CEO and founder Joe Naylor, Corgan referenced a past discussion with Iommi and how he's currently applying the lesson he learned.
"I remember talking to Tony Iommi years ago about his relationship with certain amp makers," recalled the Pumpkins frontman. “He was talking about how people romanticize the old sound, but how he's trying to update that into the modern era."
“At the time I didn't get it, but as I've gotten older I realized that you want your sound, but at the same time, you don't want it to be dated or old. You want your sound to be brought into the 21st century.”
Billy Corgan Offers Examples
In the midst of the discussion, Corgan brought up the songs "Bodies" and "Zero" as reference points, noting their thickness of guitar sound.
“I was playing an original [Reverend] signature guitar which I still love, but it has a much brighter, more modern tone and a clarity that's really good for recording with. From the live side, playing old Pumpkins stuff I found myself fighting with the guitar, wanting something a little darker with less high end on the very top and the Tony Iommi low-mid note," he explains.
“The most impressive thing about the guitar is its ability to get a vintage tone but find that balance with modernity.”
He then praised his Reverend Z-One guitar for its alder body, which contrasts to the brighter tones. “I get so many compliments, people love the design element,” Corgan says of his signature Reverend. “It’s something I wouldn't usually think of, and so it's become really signature to the way I view the guitar and it also represents a bit of my history.”
Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan Speaks With Chicago Music Exchange
The Guitars Used by the Most Legendary Guitarists
Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner