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Billy Corgan is going to perform an eight-hour concert based around the novel Siddhartha

on February 18, 2014, 4:00pm

Last summer, both The National and Jay Z demonstrated their endurance with six-hour long performances. Not to be outdone, Billy Corgan has announced plans for an eight-hour performance. That’s like eight grueling Iron Man matches in a row. Or, four episodes of Downtown Abbey.

While Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins have a lengthy and storied discography to cull from, he’ll be performing music inspired by Hermann Hesse’s 1920s era novel Siddhartha.

Corgan outlined his plans on a newly relaunched Facebook page. (He axed his first page a while back following a Prince-ian rant about the evils of technology):

On 2//28 I’ll be doing a show at Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse; start time noon, and due to nature of performance it’ll last 8-9 hours. So see http://MadameZuzus.com/ in coming days for details on seating and admissions. As with all our events there is no charge. Performance will be centered around an ambient/musical interpretation of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha; built by modular synthesis, on the fly. Readings of the text to go hand in hand with whatever is created; + the first @Hexistential poster, and event t-shirts too. Hope to see you there.

If you weren’t an English lit major, Hesse’s 1922 novel is a coming-of-age tale that covers “the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha.” Marked by its simple tone and minimalist language, Siddhartha touches on everything from existentialism and transcendentalism to the Buddhist philosophy of Lebenskrankheit (“sickness with life”). Add in Corgan’s synths and you’ve got one the makings of a heck of a prog-rock concept album. 

For a taste of Corgan’s upcoming performance, enjoy the following random passages while you listen to some ambient music.

Slowly the thinker went on his way and asked himself” What is it that you wanted to learn … And he thought: It was the Self, the character and nature of which I wished to learn … the Self, this riddle, that I live … I will learn from myself, be my own pupil; I will learn from myself the secret of Siddhartha.

He would only strive after whatever the inward voice commanded him, not tarry anywhere but where the voice advised him. Why did Gotama once sit down beneath the bo tree in his greatest hour when he received enlightenment? He had heard a voice, a voice in his own heart which commanded him to seek rest under this tree, and he had not taken recourse to mortification of the flesh, sacrifices, bathings or prayers, eating or drinking, sleeping or dreaming; he had listened to the voice. To obey no other external command, only the voice, to be prepared – that was good, that was necessary. Nothing else was necessary.