Corgan Talks Pumpkins' Plans: "I'd Rather Be Free Than Rich"

October 15, 2009 12:15 PM ET

For someone who once released a double CD, Billy Corgan has had it with the album. "I was never comfortable with the album format," Corgan tells Rolling Stone. "It always felt so forced and was obviously an economic decision made by others and not an artistic decision made by creators. It can be draining to try to record 15 songs over a six-month period."

Smashing Pumpkins celebrate 20 years of rock in New York: photos.

True to his word, the in-progress, psychedelic-leaning Smashing Pumpkins album, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, will be released one track at a time, as free downloads, starting in late October. "No strings attached, no e-mail address need be given, no fees, nothing, totally free," he says. "A 44-song free-for-all!" Even when it will be available physically, the format will be 11 EPs with four tracks each. "I thought it would emphasize that each song is really important to me," he says, "and also try to get myself up to the speed of a world that is absolutely devouring information."

Corgan says he wasn't inspired by any similar approaches, like Radiohead's recent move to put out singles and one album online. "I want no limitations on what I can, and will do," he says. "I think the size and shape of the traditional album is just morphing into something much more in the moment. Four songs at a time will mean I can give my heart over to the music fully without giving away my now happy life."

Although Corgan says he already written 53 songs, he won't say whether he'll be recording them with the latest edition of the Pumpkin or reveal any song titles. "The first four songs are speaking a new language to me, rooted in the psychedelic music I love but still sounding quite modern and like the Pumpkins I long to hear," he allows. He's also hoping to have the first track available just after Halloween.

Can Corgan, who parted ways with Warner Bros. last year, afford to give music away for free? "I can't afford it!!" he says. "But I would rather be free than rich. The [major] labels are dead ghosts walking, and they know it. They never should have left this mystic free, because I am way more of a pied piper than they could ever fathom."

Related Stories:
Corgan's Fury: Exclusive Q&A
Smashing Pumpkins Reveal New LP Teargarden By Kaleidyscope
Corgan Explains Why He's Keeping Smashing Pumpkins Name

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

More Song Stories entries »