The members of Soundgarden have long been critical of “one-man bands” such as Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins. In a new interview with The Dallas Observer, Soungarden guitarist Kim Thayil re-emphasized the band’s position while also taking a not-so-subtle shot at Corgan. “We feel confident that if the four of us all like an album, it’s going to do well,” Thayil explained. “We don’t have one member who is deciding the composition of an album. You should know who I am talking about, but I am not going to name names.”
Thayil continued: “We have four guys who write songs here. We have four guys contributing material without someone calling bullshit on it. You follow me? There are many bands out there that are led by one guy who does all the writing? He might have some religious epiphany or some psychedelic experience and he will write all this material that can very easily suck. And the rest of his band feels like they have to play it. That is not Soundgarden. Consequently, we have never made a record that sucked.”
As it turns out, Corgan himself also recently gave an interview in which he discussed Smashing Pumpkins’ makeup. The band’s leader took a more existential perspective, telling the Chicagoist that it would be “dumb to end the Pumpkins ever again because the Pumpkins live without me anyway.”
Corgan explained that the band has experienced several points of resolution, such as with the release of 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and, again, with 2000’s Machina. “Like we knew Mellon Collie as an album was a resolution point and then that opened up the door to an out like Machina and we were willing to go down in a different direction. I think that we’re at that point with the idea of what the band means,” he added.
That said, Corgan admitted his role in the Pumpkins is reaching a saturation and even suggested that the “story will end” with the second of the band’s two new LPs, Day for Night. He added, “Music has changed so much. The way people process music and receive music has changed so much. I’ve had to really change my expectations, and of course at some point you really look at the band in quotation, at the name ‘Smashing Pumpkins” and wonder does this even have value in this world anymore? If it does, is it only an oldies act? Is it only a point of irritation? No matter what you do, is it always going to kind of run up somebody’s back or maybe put that all on me? So I think at some point you have to kind of look for that [point] and I think Day for Night is that [point].” You know, or else his memoir could stretch beyond 500,000 words.
Smashing Pumpkins’ two new LPs, Monuments to an Elegy and Days for Night, are expected to see release in 2015. Update: In a new interview with Stereogum, Corgan revealed that Monuments to an Elegy is currently due out December 9th, 2014.