Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Further Disintegration of Billy Corgan

So I'm coming out of blogger hibernation because it's time once again for me to castigate my former hero, Billy Corgan. I don't *enjoy* calling him out constantly, but he makes it impossible not to do so!

In fact, I was actually feeling somewhat sympathetic to him after he posted a rambling explanation as to why he was going to continue working as a Smashing Pumpkin after even his right-hand man Jimmy Chamberlain jumped ship.

Well, this is the part I found kind of touching anyway, if you ignore the normal Billy pretentiousness:

"I appreciate that for many fans, the public part of my musical journey has often been quite confusing. I've tried to explain many times in both public and private venues that it's really not so different than a character on tv who embodies the role they are in. I don't think there is anything inauthentic about my play-acting within those created personas (zero, the whyte spider, the sad guy, the vampyre, etc) and acting them out on the grand stage in front of the glare of whoever cares. That to me IS what rock and roll is about. But many lack the sophistication to appreciate that just because I play a baby-faced killa upon the darkened stage that it doesn't come close to who I really am. I would point very gently to the diversity and complexity of my artistic work to give you some sense of who Billy Corgan really is (that is a joking 3rd person by the way). Part-alien, part-human, part-robot, part-star-crossed lover and part-mercury filled apparently if one was to read the songs in that way. I am a sensitive soul and I make no apologies for that. As Popeye said, 'I yam who I yam'. Or in my case maybe it's 'I am who I ain't.'"

And I mean, maybe this is all just more of Billy and his persecution complex, but as someone who has been criticizing him steadily since like, oh, 2006 or so, I can understand his frustration when people mistake the public image for the real person. If this frustration stems from his recently bitching at his audience during the Smashing Pumpkins anniversary shows, well, that's a problem all of his own making. Sure, that could be part of a "character" or "onstage persona," but it's just fucking stupid to start yelling at your biggest fans. In fact, in the same rambling blog post, he has this groundbreaking revelation:

"My wish is that from this day forward this group will represent nothing but love and light. If you see BC out there griping, it is only because I have failed to set the proper conditions to be in the love and light with you. The fan is NOT responsible in any way, shape, or form for my happiness or the my ability to do my job. (Nor have they ever been) If I have given that impression to any of you through the years I am sorry about that. That was an error on my part. When a fan comes to an SP show we owe it to you to put on the best show possible, rain or shine. I believe the days of standing on a stage somewhere in the world feeling torn about why I am up there are over. SP will be about peace from this day forward as well. The music WILL also reflect this shift in devotion and humble gratitude. You shall see!"

Well, gee, thanks Billy...that's quite a load off of my shoulders, as a fan. Okay, so my sympathy for him only goes so far. But I will say this: obviously, my criticism of Billy is criticism of the Rock Star and the Public Image and the Businessman and not the real, personal Billy who probably likes puppies and ice cream and who may just do nice things for strangers when no one is looking. That's how it is with anyone we write about on this site, even when it almost feels like we know that person. Because we don't.

But it's not like I don't have enough material with Billy The Rock Star and Public Image. In fact, he seems to be doing all he can to trash his own public image. I'm not even angry about it anymore, as a fan. I guess now I'm more curious...like, what is going on with Billy these days? Does he have a gambling addiction? An expensive blow habit? Why is he making everything about money, to the detriment of his own dignity and at risk of screwing over his biggest fans?

(Oh, and if you check out the Stereogum link above, you'll see a classic picture of Billy with Tila Tequila. Classy!)

To wit:

So after scorning bands who sell their best songs to advertising agencies, Billy has recently done just that, and I'm sure we've all seen the Visa commerical featuring "Today." Actually, I'm not all that riled up about this. Sure, sure, he explained his decision to refuse to sell "Today" for a commercial in this way:

"The record company's literally begging me: go ahead and take these commercials. At this point in my life, I don't feel comfortable. Those songs are the reason I'm alive. If your music is not sacred to the point where it's a really, really, really heavy decision about whether or not you would allow somebody else to exploit it, then what's not for sale?"

But, really, this is what every single rock star says before every single rock star winds up selling his/her songs for a commerical.

So, honestly, I could care less about that, but when you examine the Visa commercial in conjunction with every other terrible decision he's made recently, it all seems to be part of a disturbing pattern.

What terrible decisions, you may ask? Well, this one, for example:

Sure, Billy, we all liked The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke. That does NOT mean you need to start shilling for the WWE looking like Eminem with spoken-word renditions of your former hits. "You're still just a rat in a six-sided steel cage!"

And last night, I received this email from The Smashing Pumpkin, wherein he announced a subscription service. Now, I think subscription services are fine for the hardcore fans who want exclusive content, ticket presale opportunities, memorabilia, whatever. But of course, Billy has to announce a subscription service that would screw over the ones who love him most. Check out his plans, dependent of course on the interest he generates:

All of the details on this project are not concrete yet, but some information has all ready been provided.

$40 for 12 weeks. A minimum of 5 updates from the studio per week, so that's 60 updates for $40.
Updates would be posted in a less-than-24-hour consistency. For instance, if something happened on Monday, it would be posted no later than Tuesday
Each update would be a minimum of 5 minutes in length. That would mean subscribers would receive at least 25 minutes of unique audio/video material per week, and at least 5 hours over the course of the 12 weeks.
There is a possibility of live streaming video content in addition to what has been presented above.

Wait a minute...$40 for 12 weeks?! Meaning that if you had the inclination to sign up for another 12 weeks, that's another $40? Meaning that if you really loved Billy THAT much, you'd be paying him around $160 a year? We are in a recession! Is he mad? I don't even see that you get a t-shirt out of the deal!

It is certainly not my place to tell Billy Corgan that he has enough money. But I don't understand why he is allowing himself to flame out like this, when he has a large enough fanbase to comfortably pay his bills for the foreseeable future as long as he refrains from abusing us and gives us a fair shake.

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. I'm going to try to put together another post before the husband and I leave for Hawaii on Saturday, but no promises!



JR said...

Maise = hypocrite.

Maise: "Billy Corgan is crazy, trying to earn money in a recession and all of this by giving EXCLUSIV CONTENT to his fans...blah, blah, blah...oh, wait, I can't follow up with more thoughts BECAUSE I HAVE TO SCRUB ALL OF THE IRELAND OFFA ME BEFORE I GO TO HAWAII...boo hoo, blah, blah, blah."

Sorry, cupcake, but your logic is flawed.
Meanwhile, I would totally pay that kind of money for the right artist. Emphasis on the ART part of ARTist.

maise said...

It's not that I am opposed to his offering a subscription service. I am opposed to the inflated price he is charging for said service. $160 a year? I wouldn't even take that shit from Trent.

maise said...

And it's not even that there's anything really all that morally wrong with Billy trying to fleece his most devoted fans...hey, if they're buying, that's their choice. But a) I don't think a large enough people are going to buy to make it worthwhile, b) he doesn't seem to be offering anything else other than this "exclusive content," c) is he *really* going to deliver on all the exclusive content he's promising? and d) is he not aware of this invention called the Internet, which will allow certain individuals to distribute his exclusive content all over the globe for free?

Plus, there's something weirdly needy about him making a person renew every 12 weeks to assure him that he's loved.

AND I'm not even getting into Billy going before Congress to promote the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger and call for legislation requiring every radio station to pay every performer every time they play a song. I'm sure he's doing all that purely out of the goodness of his heart...

maise said...

"large enough number of people," that is...

JR said...

Yeah, if a performer is stupid enough not to secure the rights to the material they created through ASCAP/BMI/SESAC, then they don't deserve the $0.10 they'd get if they were to be compensated. Screw them.

Radio stations pay for EVERY SONG THEY PLAY, they just pay the person with the rights, which isn't always the artist.

And Maise, you're only fooling yourself with your claim that you wouldn't pay $160/year for the opportunity to watch Trent fart in the studio. You know you would. I don't mean to be crude, mind you, I mean to be accurate.

And LiveNation and Ticketmaster joining forces is just the big explosion to distract you from all of the other smaller encroachments happening in the arts presentation world. StubHub, anyone?

Meanwhile, Suede was pretty good.

Ro said...

I think my biggest beef with Billy at the moment is not only the fact that he's charging an exorbitant amount for "exclusivity" but that his recent output has been pretty sub-par, going all the way back to his solo album a few years back. We waited patiently for more than two years after he went on a mission from God to get the band back together, and what did we get out of that? Fucking "Zeitgeist"? But not just fucking "Zeitgeist" 50 versions of "Zeitgeist," requiring fans to buy the same damn sucky album 50 times at 50 different places if you wanted to get all of the songs.

Billy's ego has gone off the rails because back in the "Siamese Dream" days, his work was worth coughing up $160 of my hard-earned money. Now...not so much.

maise said...

Radio stations do indeed pay for every song they play, but if they have to pay everyone on God's green earth to play the song, then a lot of local radio stations wouldn't be able to afford it. Plus, there would be more impetus to play only the huge pop acts because it would be more worth the station's while than some up-and-coming band that no one has heard of. I can see the argument in favor of paying artists, but at the same time, they are receiving free advertising on the radio.

Meanwhile, I would not pay $160 to watch Trent fart in the studio because a) he would never charge that; he even gave up the whole idea of a subscription service; b) I wasn't even terribly inclined to join the Spiral (but did so only because I wanted to secure a presale ticket for my husband for the Vienna show); and c) like, I said, anything that is "exclusive" would wind up on YouTube 20 minutes later anyway.

JR said...

Terrestrial radio is dying, anyway.

I agree with you, Maise. Why pay for anything? Wait five minutes and steal it off the interwebs! Web 2.0, man! Yeah!

Really, I do agree with you, just playing Devil's Advocate (a.k.a. "JR").

JR said...

Unless you mean that you wouldn't pay $160 to watch Trent fart in the studio because you'd really want to be there *in person*, you know, feel it hanging in the air, hear the sophomoric jokes get made, burn your nostrils, all that...yeah, I get it. I think it's nasty, but if that's what you're into, it's a free country (for now).

maise said...

Of course, I'd want to be there in person. I'd even keep my mouth shut when he blamed it on the dogs.

D:ANGEL said...

I agree with Ro, the biggest crime is the current mediocre output. Plus, I dont mind artists selling out but WWE? Oof. Come on!

Anonymous said...

Dare to click.

Isabel said...

Wow what hate-filled anonymii! I think if I had to put money on somebody being in need of psychiatric counselling it wouldn't be on the bloggers here.

Iris said...

Well...on the road for one day and the Annonymous take over. Comments have been deleted. Same policy applies here that did at WTC; if TR has a girlfriend/personal life, we don't really give a shit.

Anonymous said...

You should write a blog entitled: "The Further Disintegration of Trent Reznor".

I never thought he would be such a douchebag. He should been the one to make an official wedding announcement instead of this sleezy drama. He's been single for 45 yrs. and meets some young thing and proposes to her in a couple of weeks? Man, he is more fucked up than I thought.

emerald527 said...

I think Trent is back on the drugs. He is going to marry a woman who chainsmokes, drinks and smokes weed. Mid-life crisis? He has known her for a couple of weeks. It's very sad. I think his career is over. She is tweeting about his dick and how wet she gets. Fans are going batshitcrazy over the situation.

Isabel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Isabel said...

Actually I thought the fans were being surprisingly nice about it. But yes the twitter stuff she was saying was a bit tawdry, I mean who twitters such details about their sex-life when it can be read by anybody?

emerald527 said...

Not quite Isabel. Check these out:

DlistedMetal Sludgeohnotheydidnt

Isabel said...

Sorry Emerald, I refuse to go on those boards because after having had a baby my IQ does not need to be reduced any further

emerald527 said...

Have you seen this? It from Blacklightfreakout's myspace. I heard that the Moderators at Nin.com knows about this post and want her banned from the forums, but she posted this on Myspace, not Nin.com. Someone told me that she got a Warning from NIN.com for saying this.

Note: I am quite drunk after drinking 2 glasses of Chardonnay, but I think I am not THAT drunk to not be aware of what I say. And I doubt I will regret what I say the following morning. Excuse the drunk typos.

I am just going to say what people among the NIN community is afraid to say while using their well-known identities. Someone needs to have the guts and say it, instead of PRETENDING that your are liking or believing this shit.

It is bullshit. I am just calling it out how I see it. And I am not afraid to say that this is nothing but contrived, media whoring, fake ass bullshit!

Don't you find it odd that like Nyke Dogg, this MariQueen person is the one announcing the relationship and now engagement, but Trent ain't saying shit?

Are they fucking? Maybe so. It wouldn't surprise me that Trent is tapping her ass. Are they getting married? Fuck no. If there is one thing I do know about men...it is that if a man doesn't come out and say what kind of relationship he is having with a woman and only the woman is stating it...then that man is really not having a relationship with that woman. Or, he is not, in his mind, having the kind of relationship that the woman thinks she is having.

Trent ain't saying shit, because this whole relatiionship fairytale is nothing but shit.

I just see this as some sort of joke. Not an April's Fools type of joke, but some a laughable joke. Yes, I am amused.

I am only going buy what I am reading from other people's blogs (because I don't, ain't and won't read the NIN mess on Twitter....Twitter in general is just so fucking stupid and boring, how can you wake up in the morning and stand to tolerate yourself to succumbing to such lame assness as TWITTER) . If Trent has truly known this MariQueen in less than a month....some people say less than a week, then there is only one good reason why Trent is marrying this girl he hardly knows....HE IS BACK ON THE DRUGS! Jesus, living sober didn't last long did it. Someone please call Dr. Drew!!!! Someone needs detoxing before the NIN|Ja tour starts.

And if this shit is for real, which I doubt, then Trent better have a serious pre-nup. Because if he is not careful, the state of California is notorious of overriding pre-nups and a woman can get more than half of a man's assets. I don't believe after what Trent went through with John Malm that he has a whole lot of money left. So if Trent gets married and she divorces his behind, some of you NIN fans out in the Los Angeles area would have to offer Trent a home in your garage. Because the bitch will be getting that mansion up in Beverly Hills. And his doggies.

And he would be only be able to afford a $400 a month apartment in East L.A. among Mexican gangbangers. Talk about inspiration for writing more NIN depressing lyrics. Trent will crank out 20 CDs of new material with that shit. It would be NIN like you have never heard NIN before.

This wreaks the odor of FAKENESS ! And I have had enough talk about it. Just wanted to get it out of my system for the first and last time. So don't expect me to respond on it. I don't care if you agree with me, or not. Laters.

Isabel said...

I'm actually a bit agreement with Emerald, in that perhaps it is some elaborate joke on the celebrity community set to bring out the trolls

emerald527 said...

I love her because Mariqueen makes Trent look like a total dumbass.