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Billy Corgan explains Tommy Lee and Smashing Pumpkins collaboration

on May 09, 2014, 11:20am

Earlier this week, Billy Corgan revealed that Tommy Lee would be playing drums on Smashing Pumpkins’ forthcoming album, Monuments To An Elegy. Now the frontman has offered up a lengthy statement explaining just how the “Shockla-locka-boom” collaboration came to fruition.

As it turns out, the project came together rather quickly, with Corgan pitching the idea to the Mötley Crüe drummer only a few weeks ago. Once in the studio, Corgan insisted he keep the “work under wraps so that nothing and nobody could influence the process.”

Corgan seems more than pleased with Lee’s contributions, calling the Monument songs “epic in a way that is indescribable”. He even called the band’s latest incarnation “Supersonic Pumpkins” and likened Lee’s talent to that of Led Zeppelin’s own John Bonham.

Read Corgan’s full statement below:

The notion to reach out to T Lee came from The Shredder, who in hearing me say ’we really need to get someone like Tommy to play on this song’ said, “well, why don’t we reach out to him?” And let me tell you something: I’ve had the fortune of being in the room with some of the all-time greats, and when you’re that close to someone who is the best at what they do you gain insight into the way they are able to communicate to so many. Let’s call it a universal language (which music is, obviously), and in applying it with heart/soul they present intangibles that give dimension and depth to a composition which otherwise would not be as kaleidoscopic.

So on flying out a few weeks ago I presented T Lee with the idea, played him all the songs that I’d worked hard to finish, and discussed the way we’d be most comfortable finding common ground in the studio. Which explains the rush to prepare the arrangements for him to drum on, and also our keeping the work under wraps; so that nothing and nobody could influence the process.

I’m also happy to report that not only did we have a blast, but the 9 ’MONUMENTS’ songs sound epic in a way that is indescribable. I guess I could toss off hyperbole after pronoun, but it would sell short what I like to call ’Supersonic Pumpkins’; which is a descriptor in itself. Tommy hits the drums in a crushing manner, but as many fans know this is not without nuance or reaction; as he has a fantastic ear for music and plays with the songs in a means that only enhances excitement. The only other place I’ve heard this phenomena is with John Bonham of Led Zeppelin: where heavy drums can sound soft and expressive. Good company indeed!

As for the connection, I first met Tommy way back in 1991 when he came to one of our shows, and through the years we’ve run into each other many times at various places. So the coupling is not as odd as some might assume, as he, like I, has pushed into embracing new technologies, electronics, etc where it pertains to making new sounds. He is a wonderful, warm person to be around, and I wouldn’t have come to him with this proposition if I didn’t trust that this was something we’d both be proud of. So we expect to finish up the drums in a few weeks, seeing as we’re in a rush to get this stuff out and oh yeah, Tommy’s got this mega-Crue tour to do.

Let me also add on a personal and public level that I’m truly excited, for there’s an excitement in the music that is vital and necessary; especially when you consider what’s dying on the vine out there. I believe this is soul music we’re making, and I’m proud of who I’m stuck in the foxhole with. Attack, attack, attack…

W.P.C.

Monuments To An Elergy and a second album, Day For Night, are both expected to see release in 2015.

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