This Friday the Smashing Pumpkins will release ATUM: A Rock Opera In Three Parts, a 33-song epic billed as a sequel to 1995’s Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and 2000’s Machina/The Machines Of God. It’s not the only massive collection of music Billy Corgan has on deck.
Earlier this year Mary Star Of The Sea, the only album by Corgan’s side-project supergroup Zwan, turned 20 — an anniversary that was difficult to celebrate for modern listeners because the album has never been on streaming services. In a new Rolling Stone interview pegged to the release of ATUM, writer Andy Greene asked Corgan whether he might reissue the Zwan album at some point. “Actually, I’m working on the box set right now,” Corgan replied. “I think there’s 65 unreleased songs.”
And when might that come out? Corgan elaborates:
Not sure. I’m setting up a new business model with the Thirty Tigers company that we’re working with. ATUM is a good model. I think I’ll be able to release these projects through them. That’s because they can handle the independent record stores and all that type of stuff for ordering, because otherwise I’m just putting it out myself and that’s very difficult.
I’m working on the box as we speak. I’m very excited because honestly, I personally think the best Zwan music didn’t get released — the acoustic side of the band, which is really what we should have done, and not tried to do an alternative pop record. That would’ve been the stronger effort, I think, and a more timeless thing.
But I’m glad to see that people have reappraised some of the music, because it is strong. In many ways, it’s like the great lost Pumpkins record. The quick backstory on it was when things started to go south in the band when we were making the record, Jimmy and I just took the record over and basically turned it into a Pumpkins record, because I felt the shadow of the record company over me.
Good news for Zwan-heads! He also addresses the memoir he was writing a while back:
I put it down. I wrote about half of it, which was half a million words, and I turned it in. The publisher loved it and said, “We want to wait for you to finish it before we start putting it all out.” And I asked them, “Why don’t you start putting it out and I’ll keep writing?” So then it just ground to a halt, and I stopped writing, because it was such a herculean effort just to get to the half a million.
The craziest part about my life is as public as I’ve been about a lot of stuff and as transparent as I’ve been, easily 90 percent of what has happened in my life is not public. Using the analogy of the avatars and the characters out front, I let them create a narrative which wasn’t true. Basically, that kept the true narrative away from everybody. So people that have read passages of the book are shocked, because it’s the complete opposite of what they thought happened to me.
Elsewhere in the interview, Corgan manages to sidestep his repeated Infowars appearances when asked about whether he’s a conspiracy theorist. He also seems pretty well-adjusted about the large percentage of his fan base who only wants to hear the hits. It’s a good interview, and you can read it all here.