Billy Corgan Wants to 'Change Conversation About Veterans' on Tour

"If we don't serve all our communities — and veterans are an integral part of our communities — we're not really doing service as artists or as people," Corgan says

The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan says he wants to "change the conversation about veterans" on his upcoming End Times tour with Marilyn Manson. Credit: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty

The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson's upcoming End Times tour will not only be an opportunity for fans to see the Nineties alt-rock giants together, but to contribute to a philanthropic effort. Corgan tells Rolling Stone that the duo will be teaming up with Easter Seals Dixon Center to raise awareness and "change the conversation" about veterans in our communities.

"Manson comes from a military family, and I come from a lot of military in my family," Corgan tells Rolling Stone before Live Nation's National Concert Day event in New York City. "We can speak to the personal effect that yes, we can be artists and yes, we can play these roles in public, but at the end of the day, if we don't serve all our communities — [and] veterans are an integral part of our communities — we're not really doing service as artists or as people."

Corgan attended the event with the center's Colonel David W. Sutherland, who spoke from the veteran point of view on the work the two rock stars will be doing and why it's important. "It's not about pity; it's about recognizing potential," he says. "[Billy is] changing the conversation by recognizing the potential of those who have served and having a conversation about their quality of life on an individual basis and doing it in local communities. They're amazing young people. They're going change society for the better everywhere they go. They need a connection. And it's all generations of veterans, not just this one."

Corgan made sure to note the apolitical nature of the movement. "This is not a left or right political paradigm type of thing," says the singer. "Once people recognize that, the true American spirit kicks in, which is 'What can I do?' Everybody knows somebody, either in their family or through a relationship that comes from military."

For Corgan, working with Manson shows how far the movement reaches. "The simple message is that you have two guys who are total freaks, right? But we're both progeny of military. I think that both of us speaking together — just like the Colonel and I speaking together today — is not something you would normally see, but that's exactly the point. It's actually not strange. It's actually quite normal to address these issues."

The End Times tour kicks off on July 7th in Concord, California.