The S+V Interview: Billy Corgan Page 4


And you have to stick to your guns and play what you want to play, not just the “expected,” mass-appeal material.
If you always play to the mainstream, you don’t build anything. That’s being servile to the pop game. And you’ve never had more separation between pop and integrity-based music than now. Take the Flaming Lips. They’ve built a fantastic world based strictly on Wayne [Coyne] and the band’s vision. They have an integrity-based business. Will what they do ever be humongous? No. Has Wayne gotten more out of it in the long term than he probably ever hoped for? Yes, because it’s a quality-based band.

As for me, I’m in a weird place. I don’t have the Pitchfork-world support, but I can oscillate between integrity and pop. I’ve been able to occasionally write pop songs.

There’s a certain integrity to the pop that you write. It’s not strictly formulaic.
Oh, yeah. I think I’m in the lineage of the Who, the Beatles, and the Led Zeppelins of the world who are able to be really good musicians, write really interesting music, be musically progressive, and occasionally come up with the songs that the mainstream will want to hear. I don’t see how that’s inconsistent with my business model. Is that crazy? Hey, “crazy” works for me. [laughs]

Crazy good, though.
Right. But where things get kinda funky is this: One person’s negative is another person’s long-term positive. What’s that mean? We’re at the point where I say to my management, “All we have to do is be good in what we do. The rest will take care of itself. Because at the end of the day, I’m either gonna write that great song, or I’m not. We’re either gonna have a great show tonight, or we’re not. Either we’re gonna be better than other people, or we’re not.” Beyond that, all you can do is just do that thing you do. And the public will let us know whether it’s working or not working.