Billy Corgan refuses to be pressured into playing the Smashing Pumpkins’ classic hits.

During a recent conversation with Kerrang, the frontman rejected the idea that his band has to play certain famous songs to appease their fans.

“I don’t play any songs I don’t want to play. I don’t care if they’re a classic or not,” Corgan declared. “If I don’t want to play it, I just don’t play it. I don’t put that on the audience like, ‘Well, I’ve got to play this one for you.’ I think that’s kind of cheese.”

Though Corgan noted “it’s not a bad thing that [fans] want to hear songs that they love,” he cautioned that bands “can’t live in the past. It’s the death of any artist.”

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“It’s hard to explain unless you’ve lived it,” the frontman continued, explaining his resistance to nostalgia. “Because there’s the classic thing where there’s a devil on one shoulder and angel on the other, and the devil goes, ‘Hey, man, if you just write in these extra five songs that people want to hear, you’re going to have a really easy night, and no-one’s going to be mad at you.’ But that’s not why you’re up there. And you have to remember that there’s this other part of the audience that wants to see you today.”

Smashing Pumpkins Fans ‘Don’t Want Some Aging Relic’

Corgan further asserted that fans “don’t want some aging relic,” which is why he believes new music is vital in emotionally engaging shows. The key, he explained, is finding balance between old and new material – a concept that took him many years to comprehend.

“It takes a hot second to understand the difference between, ‘Hey, I really love what you do. I’m here out of respect, I’ve paid my money, I’ve gotten my babysitter. And I’m looking for something, can you give it to me? Because I really love that music, and I love that period of my life,’ and then an artist feeling like they have to serve something that they don’t want to serve,” Corgan noted. “Like they’re chained to a past or a legacy. By putting myself in the audience and trying to understand what I would want to see from a band from the audience’s perspective, that allowed me to soften up and realize that maybe my position was a little too… arty.”

Are Smashing Pumpkins on Tour?

Smashing Pumpkins have a busy tour itinerary throughout the summer. They start overseas with a run of European dates alongside Weezer beginning June 7.

The band returns Stateside in July and kicks off the Saviors tour at the end of the month. That trek will feature Smashing Pumpkins on tour with Green Day and Rancid, performing in stadiums across the U.S. The tour wraps on Sept. 28 in San Diego.

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* Stats were compiled as of March 4, 2024.

Gallery Credit: Chad Childers, Loudwire

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