Smashing Pumpkins ‘Taking a Risk’ With New ‘Conceptual’ Double Album
The Pumpkins founder insists the upcoming release will be the Chicago-bred alt-rockers' first "real album" since the group reformed with most of its classic lineup in 2018.
That's when Corgan got back in the studio with Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, a reconciliation foreshadowed when the two appeared onstage together for the first time in 16 years in 2016.
Together with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, the trio represents three-fourths of the act's most esteemed squad. (Bassist D'arcy Wretzky didn't participate.) However, the album the reunited Pumpkins recorded around that time — 2018's Shiny and Oh So Bright — wasn't exactly a full-fledged effort, per Corgan's sensibilities.
"When we got back together with James, we went in with Rick Rubin and did eight songs," Corgan told The Tennessean last week (Jan. 31). "It was put out as a formal album, but I said at the time — and I did mean it — in my eyes, it wasn't an album. We didn't approach it like we've approached every other album we'd ever done, which is more like making a movie."
He continued, "In many ways, this is the first real album [since the reunion] where we've hunkered down and made a classic, 'Let's throw it all at the wall and see what happens' type of Pumpkins record. I've been working on it for over a year. It currently is at 21 songs, and we're going to release it as a double this year."
Of course, Smashing Pumpkins' arguable zenith is the 1995 double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. But Corgan compares the group's current recordings to an effort that came five years later, the band's last major-label album before their initial breakup in the year 2000.
"This is the first album since the album that came out in 2000, Machina, where me, James and Jimmy worked on something for a very long time," the musician added. "It's got a greater conceptual base, and it's probably a wider swath of music. The last one was kind of like, 'Let's just jump in, record some stuff real fast, and let it be what it is,' … so I'm excited about this, because we're kind of back in the lane of taking a risk, and trying to bring something new to the table, as opposed to just aping what we're known for."
And there's more to look forward to for Pumpkins fans. The band was recently announced as co-headliners along with The Black Keys and The Strokes for Atlanta's eighth annual Shaky Knees Festival later this year.
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