Billy Corgan Clarifies That Smashing Pumpkins Aren’t Ending … And You Can Still Call Him “Billy”

Billy Corgan has a lot to say. This makes him a massively entertaining interview subject, but — as is common these days — it also occasionally sparks up a slightly contentious relationship with the press, especially when quotes that he feels are misinterpreted or out of context start circulating on the internet. In a new interview with Rolling Stone discussing the Smashing Pumpkins’ upcoming tour with Marilyn Manson, Corgan takes the opportunity to clarify a few stories that have been making the rounds recently. First up, when asked about the rumor that the next Pumpkins album might be the last one, Corgan responds:

Never said that. I have been asked about it maybe 40 times since, and I have said the same thing every time. Never said it. All I was saying was that if these albums that I am doing — I’m now on the second of the two — don’t go where I need them to go, then I would take the Smashing Pumpkins in a different direction, i.e., I would maybe make four-hour albums, or I would make one song at a time again. But it doesn’t fly in the social-media era, because all it does is become clickbait. No one will actually read what you said. No one will actually read the subtext of your quote. I’m waking up and realizing that I don’t want to be clickbait anymore. Here’s a good headline: “Billy Corgan Slams Himself.” [Laughs.] “Billy Corgan Rips Himself.” … Yeah, I think the new album we’re making is very exciting. It’s very futuristic. I’ve basically said that Smashing Pumpkins dies when I die, and maybe not even then. Maybe my niece will take over the franchise when I’m dead. Kiss is already talking about continuing past Gene and Paul, so why not the Smashing Pumpkins beyond William Patrick Corgan? We live in an era when everything is alive and everything is dead at the same time. If you are a fan of a particular band that’s older, you can go on YouTube and relive their past as much as you want to. You don’t have to go see them live. You don’t have to listen to their new music. And then you have fans that are really not connected to, in my case, the Nineties. They know the Nineties music, sort of, but it’s not their music. We are dealing with a conflux of so many different audiences coming from so many different directions now.

Corgan also set the record straight about his supposed insistence on now being called “William” instead of “Billy”:

Well, there’s another one. My name is actually William. I was born William. That’s my birth certificate name. And so all I have been doing in my private life is that I’ve been asking people to call me William, because at some point Billy just feels weird. It’s sort of a young man’s name. I feel more like a William than a Bill or a Billy. I see Billy as a professional name, and William as my real name — much like Axl Rose is not Axl Rose’s real name. His real name is William as far as I know. Again, it’s clickbait stuff. I said to people jokingly, “By the way, you should call me William.” It’s a joke! Some people call me William, some people call me Billy, and I respond to both. But again, clickbait somehow turns it into me being dramatic because I asked people to call me by my name. [Laughs]

You can read the full interview for more choice Corgan quotes about nostalgia in music and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Here’s one more brief but very good and relevant snippet:

No disrespect, but half the questions we’re talking about are clickbait questions that are not about music, that are about me being a drama queen or not. For me, it’s like, what does it all mean?

What does it all mean, William Billy?