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Old 09-05-2015, 05:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Billy Corgan: The Smashing Pundit

  • full name: William Patrick Corgan Jr.
  • birthday: March 17 (born in the year of the Sheep)
  • birthplace: Sauganash, Chicago, Illinois, USA, Continental North America, Planet Earth, The Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Virgo Supercluster, The Universe
  • height (as an adult): 6'3" in America or 1905mm elsewhere
  • occupation: musician, child actor (Jamie Lawson - Small Wonder)
(I don't know how much of these details are correct. However I got very specific to his origins cause I fear that there's a natural tendency for people to believe he is from another planet.)


Billy Corgan Predicts the Future of Independent Music


Breaking News: Billy Corgan says he's not under any illusion.

In a riveting interview Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins say he doesn't have to play games to sell records anymore, he says. I don't think he means vinyl, and maybe not CDs, but probably the stuff you put on your Amazon cloud. What do you put on your cloud .mp3s or .wavs? I honestly don't know. The power of his band is coming from a place of "non-fear into a progression of reality." I think I know what he means...aaahhhh maybe not. Says we had enough years of Rock n Roll fantasies -- um I don't think he means the Bad Company song. He says we celebrate dead people. I was a little unsettled by this, I wonder 'is this a slight against once rival Curt Kobain?' If it is, move on Billy, you should be celebrating that you are "****ing alive." Well at least that is how he puts it. He says he's ****ing alive, or at least I think he was talking about himself when he said it. If you watch the clip you'll see what I mean. Says we must get off of death culture. And we have to get off of "Retromania." I think most people are secretly into Retromania, since almost forever. Retromania and death culture is ingrain into most of the culture, take for instance Romeo and Juliet or the Titantic, ones fictional and the other non-fiction but both deal with death, and both very poplar, or at least at one time they were, like back in the sixteenth and twentieth century. He wonders if people in Greece (who are facing a economic meltdown) really give a **** about him talking to his ex-band-mates. "You know what I mean?" he says. (Like there are not other more pressing matters for the Greeks than to worry about Billy Corgan.) He predicts there will be a new rise in music, what he calls the "Independent Party." They are artist who will not bow to either the "Indie god" or the "Mainstream god." But I thought that Indie was just that, cause they are independent labels, which would more less fit the criteria of the Independent Party.

Well that was the gist of some of the interview. I could go on, but I provide the video. And if like you can watch and see for yourself.

What I was really curious about and talk about was the first thing he said in the video. (Paraphrasing) He says there is a difference between influential music and popular music and that influential music has been hijacked by the blogger world. And at some point in the interview he says that at some point the music critic will become criticized - something like that. ...whaddyathink?
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always wanted to write Corgan off as a bit whiney, but I watched the video, and he's right in what I think he's trying to say. His point about a rise of a third, independent party in music is just a tangent he used to illustrate his larger points. Consumers that are plugged in like me don't care about mainstream or indie labels, as indie labels are the same thing as the big boys anymore, just on a smaller scale. I also don't care about the blogosphere's influence on what is supposed to be good music. In a roundabout way, he is basically saying that someone like me is deciding what I like and where I find it, and that's the model going forward.

Also, I'm in complete agreement with him that Retromania needs to die off. It's everywhere, and it's uninspiring.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't agree that "Retromania" should die off. I really don't have the grasp of what he means by Retromania and all what it entails. However in art there has always a blend of tradition and innovation. Even outside of art, most inventions are just improvements of past invention.

I don't agree with him when he says (~ 0:30) "...hence the biggest advancement in Rock n Roll are in electronic music." I don't know what sub-genres he is referring when he says "electronic music" in that statement, but nothing more is retro than Minimal Wave. It took about a good ten years of dub-step being underground before it reach mainstream attention. Not to mention that hip hop, breakbeat, drum and bass etc all delve into the past for samples like 40, 50 years into the past. Even bizarre genres like Vaporwave and Nightcore are in no means divorced from the past, just a twisted reinterpretation of it.

I don't know if there can be a clean break from and with no reference to the past. What fuels Retromania is the preservation of information, in this generation there is more information of the past that is preserved than other generation had privileged to have in the past. Retromania is just a by-product of the age of information.
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Actually, I like you a lot, Nea. That's why I treat you like ****. It's the MB way.

"it counts in our hearts" - ʕººʔ
“I have nothing to offer anybody, except my own confusion.” ― Jack Kerouac.
“If one listens to the wrong kind of music, he will become the wrong kind of person.” – Aristotle.
"If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'." - John Lennon
"I look for ambiguity when I'm writing because life is ambiguous." — Keith Richards ☮ 💖 ♫ ∞ ἰχθύς
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Alright, I fired off my last post in haste without fleshing out more concrete ideas. To be a bit more diplomatic, I read an interview years ago in Rolling Stone where Corgan was talking about similar concepts, but at that point, he was still in denial about the changes in the music industry; he was going on about no one caring about rockstars anymore and things to that affect. After watching the whole thing, it seems that he is now at an acceptance stage, so I can give him props for what he's saying in the video.

I'm going to go over some of his points in more detail. Corgan was going back and forth between political and musical ideologies, but that's because he was thinking on the fly and trying to draw analogies between those two worlds, not that he meant anything political by what he was saying.

I am paraphrasing him and not directly quoting him, but I'm going to put his ideas in quotes so that it's easier to separate his talking points from mine:

Quote:
It's existing off most people's radar. It's not with guys with guitars.
This is in reference to electronic music, and he's absolutely correct. I base this off my experience and I'm only bringing it up because Corgan did. I am finding better music in this area in the past 10 years than rock has been able to produce. This has crossovers to rap and pop as well, as a lot of that (the beats) is produced electronically. An entire generation has grown up with computers and that's what is being used to produce music, and will be going forward. I'm not going to sit around a wait for rock to become interesting again without knowing how long that's going to take. That's not to say that an artist doesn't need to know how to play instruments or understand music theory, but we're past the point where it's a new technique and we can simply discount anything produced electronically as "not real music." It's still very early in this transition from a long-term historical perspective.

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Not a single one carrying the mantle of Cobain. It's a redundant issue in Western culture.
Would anyone disagree with this statement? And that's coming from Corgan, someone who was in the thick of all that hype when it was going on. I'm in agreement with him on this -- I have seen no new rockstars of that caliber. Where are all the frontmen? This is in contrast to, say, Skrillex, Kanye, or even Taylor Swift, all of whom have rockstar-like status in electronically-produced genres that have seen growth over the past two decades, at least.

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Retromania...images and re-appropriations...movies about the '80s...it all becomes cutesy and cuddly.
Somewhat hard to know what he means by this as he mentions areas outside of music, but there are a lot of retro ideas that get recycled. Too much of that, then it comes as the expense of originality, creativity and progression. Rock is too cutesy at the moment and indie is the new mainstream, which makes it harder to find some diversity in the genre. Another example: the whole retro vinyl thing.

Quote:
Our music [Corgan's band] is hardly revolutionary, and I'm okay with that.
I sense that he'd love to be at the top again, but he realizes the change in the music scene, and it isn't going to be the type of music he's producing. This is a matter-of-fact statement, and as long as he's producing the music he want to, who cares if it sells is what his point is.

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Get off of death culture...retromania. We need artists right now.
I think he's drawing from the Cobain worship that he remembers. However, there are artists right now, it's just that they are also in rap, electronic, etc., places that previously weren't looked to in the same kind of way. That's changing/has changed, though. He knows this, too, if one can infer to what his points are.

Quote:
people falling into their [cubby/comfy] holes.
Complacency in not wanting to seek out music that is different from what you're used to.

Quote:
has to be someone with youth behind them.
Where are the young rockers with good music and rock-star attitudes? Answer: they're making things other than rock music.

Quote:
Rise of third political party. artists which are not going to bow to either indie or mainstream god.
I disagree that there is or will be a rise of a system like this that rivals that of the political spectrum. However, I think it's true that we are going to get diversions where people have no allegiance to either the indie or mainstream scenes. Ergo, scenes will not matter like they did in the past. That's currently true for me.

Quote:
(artists should) live great artistic lives with integrity do exactly what they want to do.
Quote:
last 10 years in rock have basically turned into a McDonald's commercial.
Absolutely. Make the kind of music you want to make, and don't worry about bowing to either the indie or mainstream labels. That's what rock used to do in the past and that kind of subversion is something that's missing is what I think he's saying.

He takes issue with the indie class because...

(paraphrasing)
Quote:
if you don't let those bands rise up to the mainstream, that's what you get. ...to keep it here in NY or Seattle...preaching to the same choir, but what happens to the middle class who doesn't know the cool kids? They end up buying the mainstream as an alternative.
I'm not into indie, but it seems like he's saying the indie class is protective of their acts, and if you keep everything in the underground, then all that will be left at the top/mainstream is the kind of dreck that we've had the past 10 years -- that's what people who aren't music nerds are going to listen to and buy. And it's like he said, it's painful to watch.
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Old 09-06-2015, 06:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think his idea of "retromania" is as severe as you guys are assuming (the idea that taking joy in old things stifles creativity, etc.). In the video, he mentions that it's incredibly important for the hypothetical teenage savior of rock and roll to "find Joy Divison", etc. It's clear that he thinks being influenced by the past is not only important, but crucial. After all, two of the artists that he mentioned as legends were both deeply rooted in "retro" music, with John Lennon being a huge fan of old rock stars like Chuck Berry, and Kurt Cobain being influenced by artists like Terry Jacks. His mention of "retromania" was simply his way of saying that he was frustrated by the way people put figures like John and Kurt up on a pedestal, without giving anyone else a chance to take their place, which created a world that refused to let new rock heroes come into existence.

Also, his mention of cutesy "'80s movies" wasn't bashing retro movies, he was just using it as an example. They used to be original and meaningful, but now, after years of seeing them countless times, people see them as "cute and cuddly". Due to repetition, they've become benign, hence "those images lose their power." It's fine to love retro movies, and you could even argue that it's essential to learn from old movies if you have an interest in cinema, but... well, it's just like what he said about John, Kurt, and Marley. People become far too obsessed with them, and never let anyone rise up to take their place. People get too caught up with praising the past, and they develop a "everything sucks nowadays" mentality. Instead of taking that love of retro movies and becoming a director/actor/screenwriter/etc. that creates the kind of movies that they want to watch, people would rather give up before they begin, and the people that do enter the film industry usually just play it safe (creating yet another boring Adam Sandler comedy, because they'll get a return for their investment). It's the same for the music industry. Everyone complains that rock is dead, but when someone actually rises up and tries to bring it back, everyone bashes them by saying "**** off, you're not John Lennon, you'll never be as good/inspired as him". And so, once again, the only ones that stick around are the ones that play it safe. The true pioneers have moved on to other genres, where they'll actually be appreciated and remembered.

Oddly enough, this also happened in the martial art world. The last generation had Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Sammo Hung, etc. Who do we have now? Only a few people manage to break through, and they usually don't last for very long. It's not because suddenly all of the good martial artists just disappeared. It's because the world of martial art flicks went in the same direction that rock and roll did.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't think his idea of "retromania" is as severe as you guys are assuming (the idea that taking joy in old things stifles creativity, etc.)...
I wasn't trying to make it sound severe. I at least tried to point out referencing "old things" or ideas is a part of creative process. I believe it's something you can not get away from, only because knowledge is rooted in the past. The future is only speculation.

Billy Corgan's point of retromania wasn't about using it in the creative process. That point is mine, trying to explain it - just to be clear. I think in the context he meant it, it relates more to being stagnant in the choices of artist most people listen to. That might not have anything to do with everyone in society making one mass decision, it's more to do with personal choice, and what period someone grows up with, or wants to explore, or maybe a small niche group caught up in revivalism.

I am a little bit foggy on the whole Curt Kobain examples Billy Corgan brings up in the video, because at one point in the interview he's admonish hero-worship of someone who passed away and in the next breathe making him the bench-mark that today's 20-something haven't measured up to. A good example of someone doing the latter is the character of John Milner in American Graffiti:

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Milner
I don't like that Surfin' shit. Rock and Roll's been going down hill ever since Buddy Holly died.
You could paraphrase Billy Corgan in saying practically the same thing "I don't like the last 10 years of Rock and Roll, it's been going down hill ever since Curt Kobain died."

Maybe "retromania" has more of a specific meaning that Simon Reynolds intends it to have. (I watched his video, and I don't entirely agree with some of the things he says, and on specifics. I have to comment later.)

Keen On... Simon Reynolds: Retromania: Pop Culture's Addicti
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“I have nothing to offer anybody, except my own confusion.” ― Jack Kerouac.
“If one listens to the wrong kind of music, he will become the wrong kind of person.” – Aristotle.
"If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'." - John Lennon
"I look for ambiguity when I'm writing because life is ambiguous." — Keith Richards ☮ 💖 ♫ ∞ ἰχθύς
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Just to clarify, there is a difference between drawing from past experiences and influences and what I believe retromania is. One example, although I in no way mean they are a representation of the whole.

The Sheepdogs. If you're in the rock scene, you'll know them. If you're new to them, OK. What era does this look like to you?



Now, I like the Sheepdogs. However, it's nice, it's cool, it's fun, but it's not revolutionary as they're a complete replica of a previous (original) time. Certainly, there's nothing obligating artists to have to create new things just to create new things. Also, there's the discussion about there being only so many chords and all of that, so how much differently could a guitar sound than what we've already had for the past 40 to 60 years? Food for thought is all.
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just to clarify, there is a difference between drawing from past experiences and influences and what I believe retromania is.
What is "retromania" to you? As you said before

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Also, I'm in complete agreement with him that Retromania needs to die off. It's everywhere, and it's uninspiring.
First off: why? and secondly how, a slow death or from instantaneous combustion?

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... One example, although I in no way mean they are a representation of the whole.

The Sheepdogs. If you're in the rock scene, you'll know them. If you're new to them, OK. What era does this look like to you?

Now what is interesting about that video is that the band spliced their live performance into footage (which I'm guessing) of Woodstock. However the music seems mixed of various artist at that time with some post-Woodstock Rock. It has a retro vibe, but that seems to be the norm to me. Almost every band I listen has some "retro" sound they incorporate into their sound. I guess the question is when is it too much, and when does it seem like stifle creativity. Another thing to consider is that Retromania may not be the problem, it could be just the artist fails at creating interesting music even though they are relying on past forms of music. I don't believe that only new forms of music can only be interesting.
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Actually, I like you a lot, Nea. That's why I treat you like ****. It's the MB way.

"it counts in our hearts" - ʕººʔ
“I have nothing to offer anybody, except my own confusion.” ― Jack Kerouac.
“If one listens to the wrong kind of music, he will become the wrong kind of person.” – Aristotle.
"If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'." - John Lennon
"I look for ambiguity when I'm writing because life is ambiguous." — Keith Richards ☮ 💖 ♫ ∞ ἰχθύς
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What is "retromania" to you? As you said before.
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First off: why? and secondly how, a slow death or from instantaneous combustion?
I should have worded my first post better than I did. Since Corgan was referencing many different things under retromania, I am also doing so. Outside of music, there are other hobbies I'm into that seem to do nothing but recycle history as a part of selling new items. History is important. History is interesting, but not when it gets over-saturated and becomes the majority of any scene (this is what I think Corgan was saying with retromania and its affects on rock music).

Another example: Take the Pharrell Williams "Blurred Lines" case where he was essentially channeling Marvin Gaye's sound. Sure, he was inspired by Gaye, but Gaye is what, two generations removed from Pharrell? Why, then, isn't Pharrell Williams channeling Pharrell Williams as the originating source of inspiration? See what I'm saying?

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Originally Posted by Neapolitan View Post
Now what is interesting about that video is that the band spliced their live performance into footage (which I'm guessing) of Woodstock. However the music seems mixed of various artist at that time with some post-Woodstock Rock. It has a retro vibe, but that seems to be the norm to me. Almost every band I listen has some "retro" sound they incorporate into their sound. I guess the question is when is it too much, and when does it seem like stifle creativity. Another thing to consider is that Retromania may not be the problem, it could be just the artist fails at creating interesting music even though they are relying on past forms of music. I don't believe that only new forms of music can only be interesting.
On the bolded, what was retro about The Beatles? Nirvana? Skrillex? Each day you wake up, you are in some way influenced by the past. You learn from the past. You build upon the past. Again, that's not the same as retromania. I guess I don't really know what he means by retromania as it's only a small quote within the interview. It's in video games too, by the way. Milking franchises over and over again. It's cool. It's fun. I even like it. But it's not revolutionary, which is the larger part of Corgan's points.
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Retromania will be a thing for as long as we experience nostalgia. Nothing wrong with it, I don't need new sounding music, just new music I enjoy.
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