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BILLY CORGAN on Setlists: “You Can’t Live in the Past”

Published / Fri 7 Jun 2024

SMASHING PUMPKINS' Billy Corgan on Setlists:

Photo: SMASHING PUMPKINS’ Billy Corgan on Setlists: “You Can’t Live in the Past”  /  Credit: Picasa Picasa

Ahead of the Smashing Pumpkins’ co-headlining European tour with Weezer, Billy Corgan has indicated that fans should not expect the band to limit their performances to just their most popular songs.

Billy Corgan Emphasizes Artistic Freedom Over Popular Demand

Ahead of the Smashing Pumpkins’ co-headlining European tour with Weezer, Billy Corgan has indicated that fans should not expect the band to limit their performances to just their most popular songs.

In a recent interview with Kerrang! Corgan expressed his views on setlist selection, emphasizing his autonomy in choosing songs…


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“I don’t play any songs I don’t want to play,” Corgan stated. “I don’t care if they’re a classic or not. 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.”

Corgan acknowledged the expectations of fans who invest time and money to attend concerts, but he maintains that artists should not feel compelled to cater to these expectations if it means compromising their artistic integrity. “Like they’re chained to a past or a legacy,” he said.

Corgan believes there is a middle ground where fans of the Pumpkins’ older music can gain a new appreciation for deeper cuts and B-sides. “You put them in the position of feeling like it’s theirs to chase. You’re not preaching down — ‘Here’s our new song, you better like it or you’re not a fan.’ It’s really on the band to just play great. That’s the thing that fixes it all,” he explained.

Corgan’s perspective stems from a desire to avoid feeling like he’s performing karaoke. “It’s not a bad thing that they want to hear songs that they love,” he noted. “But you can’t live in the past. It’s the death of any artist. And particularly in America, you know, we have a whole cottage industry here of people living in the past.”

Despite Corgan’s stance, the Smashing Pumpkins do not entirely avoid their hits. During their 2023 “World Is a Vampire” tour, their setlist included classics such as “Today,” “Tonight, Tonight,” “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” and “1979.”

Following their European dates, the Smashing Pumpkins will join Green Day for the North American leg of “The Saviors Tour.” Additionally, they have scheduled their own headlining shows this summer and fall. Tickets for these dates are available now.


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