SMASHING PUMPKINS have premiered "Being Beige", the first single from the band's album "Monuments To An Elegy", due out Tuesday, December 9 via Martha's Music/BMG.
"Monuments To An Elegy" marks the iconic alternative band'seighth studio album and is the follow-up to their 2012 critically acclaimed album "Oceania". The new CD was recorded in Chicago with SMASHING PUMPKINS guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who's been in the band since 2007. Playing drums throughout is MÖTLEY CRÜE's Tommy Lee.
"Monuments To An Elegy" was produced by Howard Willing (who first worked with the PUMPKINS during the "Adore" sessions), Corgan and Schroeder. It was mixed by David Bottrill and mastered by Howie Weinberg, who did the same honors for PUMPKINS classics in the '90s.
"Monuments To An Elegy" is "an album within an album," part of their ongoing work-in-progress "Teargarden By Kaleidyscope" (with "Day For Night" as the project's last work).
"Monuments To An Elegy" track listing:
02. Being Beige
04. One and All
06. Drum + Fife
Q: "Monuments To An Elegy" is the first of two albums that you've said will be released within a one-year period. What is inspiring this output of music in a relatively short amount of time?
Billy Corgan: "My goal was having the impetus for a double record. But thinking of how it would be consumed in a surface-level culture made me want to split the work apart: which in itself has changed the process, writing, and review."
Q: "Monuments To An Elegy" seems to sonically encompass the different eras of SMASHING PUMPKINS, definitely underlining the majestic and hard guitar sounds as well as keyboard/synth textures. What were you hoping to musically achieve with this album?
Billy Corgan: "I rarely go into an album thinking what it 'has to be.' Albums, as a way of coalescing songs, are just an organizing principle, and each is different given what's going on within at that moment, and without. So if there was any sense here it was bringing all I'm interested in musically to the table at one go."
Q: What inspired you to ask Tommy Lee to play drums on "Monuments To An Elegy"? What do you feel he has brought to the music?
Billy Corgan: "The songs, in demo form, had a strut, and so the suggestion was made that we ought to get someone who 'plays like' Tommy. Jeff Schroeder, PUMPKINS' guitarist said, 'Why not get the real deal?' [On 'Monuments To An Elegy'] Tommy brings the power and grace he's known for, which gives the music a vibrancy that is both immediate and unmistakable."
Q: Can you talk about the contributions of guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who's now been in the band since 2007, to "Monuments To An Elegy"?
Billy Corgan: "To Jeff's own admittance, it's taken him some years to find his place within a sound that was uniquely formed before he came on board. For that he's turned to playing more melodically so his voice so to speak is additive. And it's that triumvirate between he, Tommy, and I that you hear most keenly on the record. Plus, Jeff's just a natural producer in a recording situation, and really pushed me to be my best in a way that most wouldn't understand how to: through patience, and encouragement."
Q: What do you feel producer Howard Willing, who you first worked with on the "Adore" sessions, has brought to "Monuments To An Elegy"? The sound has grandeur and intimacy, always a trademark of SMASHING PUMPKINS.
Billy Corgan: "Howard lives in the real world, unlike me. And so it was his task to be the traffic cop. To point out where the PUMPKINS' sound needed to come forward, and for that I'm appreciative, because it was never the idea of the band as conceived to live in the past, or to become a machine of sentiment. And like all good rock and roll scythes, we're back to chopping forward."
Q: Thematically, how would you describe the songs on "Monuments To An Elegy"? Your singer-songwriter introspective sensibility is in full effect here. There's the directness/vulnernability of "Run2me", the fractured romance of "Being Beige", and in "Drum + Fife", there's the repeated line, "I will bang this drum until my dying day."
Billy Corgan: "That I can't speak to. We honestly just tried to pick the best songs, of which there were about 80 ideas to choose from. And in that, Howard Willing was attracted to those with strong identities more so than just a good riff."
Q: How will the second album, "Day For Night", be different from "Monuments To An Elegy"?
Billy Corgan: "We're at work on it already, and it literally is the other side of the sonic moon. At this early stage it appears to be a deeper work: less shiny, and more personal; which is always a quizzical thing to bring out into the open."