Back in the 90s, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan capitalized on a nation of despondent weirdos with his outsider-friendly alterna-rock songs. But as time went on, Corgan swam so far out into his own ocean of lunacy that even most of his diehard fans wouldn’t follow him for fear of drowning with him. Plus, by then, most of them had jobs as computer programmers keeping them busy anyway.
But for those of you not paying attention since Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, which is the good majority of you, Billy has been plugging away all these years, plundering even farther down his navel-gazing insanity hole as you may have noticed by his recent eight-hour interpretation of Siddhartha. To catch you up on Billy’s slow descent into irrelevant madness, here is a brief summary of things he’s done to keep busy/insane over the last few years...
Taking out an ad in The Chicago Tribune to get the Smashing Pumpkins back together
In June of 2005, a month after laughing off the idea of getting the Smashing Pumpkins back together, Billy Corgan tried to get the Smashing Pumpkins back together. He did so by taking out a full-page ad in The Chicago Tribune, the official source for rambling rants by increasingly irrelevant rockstars.
Getting The Smashing Pumpkins Back Together
Billy’s full-page ad worked. Kinda. It worked in the sense that he hired a bunch of people no one had ever heard of to play Smashing Pumpkins songs on stage with him while the audience took a good hard look at their own aging faces in the mirror that is Billy’s pale head. The only Pumpkin willing to get on board was drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who quickly remembered that uh, he had to wash his hair every single night for the rest of the tour. He quit the Pumpkins to retreat back to his jazz fusion band, the Jimmy Chamberlain Complex.
Billy then recruited a replacement drummer who was one year old when Gish came out. The tour went horribly. Billy wore black leather skirts just in case every single person there hadn’t realized he looks like the guy from Hellraiser. He also played mind-boggling awful setlists, invited hecklers on stage to berate him, and told critics he liked the song they wrote called “Take Your Dick Out of My Mouth and Stick It In Your Ass” which, in fairness, probably would’ve been better than the Zeitgeist b-sides. (To explain: Zeitgeist is a Smashing Pumpkins album which you have never heard of.)
Holding a Contest Where the Winner Buys Him Lunch
Back in 2009, Billy held an auction where one lucky fan won an afternoon meal with him. And just in case that prize wasn’t unattractive enough, he also threw in this caveat: “Winner is responsible for the bill.” Imagine the thrill of listening to stories about banging Courtney Love while
a member of the only Smashing Pumpkin pounds down milkshake after milkshake at Johnny Rockets on your dime.
Dating Tila Tequila
In 2009, Billy Corgan showed up to Bravo’s A-List Awards with Tila Tequila. Let the irony of that sentence sit with you for a minute.
Dating Jessica Simpson
Actually, his rumored relationship with Jessica Simpson is one of the cooler things Billy has done in recent years. Until she dropped this quote about him which you should only read if you’re within five feet of an eye wash station: “He braids my prayers.”
Dating Courtney Love
As you probably know, Billy Corgan and Courtney Love were dating before she met Kurt Cobain. And much like two beat up BMWs recklessly doing donuts in a parking lot will eventually smash into each other in a glorious wreck, Billy and Courtney rekindled their relationship. Shockingly, it did not last.
Fighting With Courtney Love
Through the magic of Twitter, Billy became able to express his insane paranoia in real-time. In 2010, armed with the Twitter handle @Billy (which sounds like it might be difficult to obtain until you realize that no full grown adult has any interest in being called Billy), he went on this multi-tweet rant about Courtney Love:
To which Courtney responded: “all i am is nice about you so if you wanna be mean be mean i dont feel anything”
Thought #1: Wow, dude. You’ve really gone off the deep end if you’re making Courtney Love sound like a reasonable person.
Thought #2: Your publicist should take away your Twitter account.
Thought #3: It’s pretty hilarious when famous people fight on Twitter and even more hilarious when they abbreviate “you” to “u.”
Releasing a 44-song concept album called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope
In 2009, Billy announced he would be releasing the answer to no one’s prayers: A 44-song Smashing Pumpkins concept album released as 11 four-track EP box sets. Ultimately, it ended up clocking in at closer to 23 songs before Billy realized no one wanted to listen to an album that sounds like it was named by a nine-year-old boy from the 1930s. “Gee, Mistah Corgan. I sure do hope ya sing songs about kaleidyscopes!”
Launching A Failed Spiritual Website
Wow, 2009 was a busy year for Billy. Somewhere in between making fans buy him lunch, putting out concept albums, and dating MySpace starlets, he found time to launch a spirituality site, everythingfromheretothere.com, “to discuss openly and without fear concepts of Mind-Body-Soul integration.” The site is no longer operational which is just as well because what kind of God would let a Smashing Pumpkins reunion happen anyway?
Launching A Pro Wrestling Company
In 2011, Billy did what any formerly successful rockstar with aspirations of declaring bankruptcy by the age of 50 would do: He launched a pro wrestling company, which would be pretty cool if it was headed by anyone but Billy Corgan. When people think of wrestling, they imagine roided-up monsters with bulging neck veins. No one wants to bite into a Superstars bar with the dude from Powder on it.
Doing Furniture Commercials
Last year, Billy used his status as a pro wrestling mogul to shill chairs and tables and shit for a Chicago furniture store.
Doing This Long-Ass Siddhartha Thing
And most recently (at the time of publication anyway), the latest nail in his legacy’s coffin was spending a Friday night in his tea shop (oh right, he owns a tea shop, by the way) doing an 8-hour synth interpretation of the Hermann Hesse novel, Siddhartha. Sorry, but there is literally nothing worth listening to eight hours of synth interpretations for unless it’s what Jessica Simpson is like in bed (pretty boring, to make an honest guess). Billy also had a Chicago Tribune reporter kicked out of the event because another Chicago Tribune reporter once wrote a mean thing about him. Better not burn that bridge with the Tribune, Billy. Where will you run an announcement the next time you decide to resurrect the Smashing Pumpkins’ corpse?
Dan Ozzi expresses his Infinite Sadness on Twitter - @danozzi