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Will Simpson

"Does anyone know any songs on this playlist?”: Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan addresses the 'elephant/ rhinoceros' in the room

Billy Corgan.

Billy Corgan has addressed a growing controversy - largely of his own making - about playing or not playing ‘the hits’.

In an interview with Kerrang earlier this month, the Smashing Pumpkins leader seemed to say that, unlike the vast majority of heritage acts, he wouldn’t play any hits he didn’t like, whether or not fans wanted to hear them. 

“I don’t play any songs I don’t want to play,” he said. “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.”

Now in an Instagram post he seems to have gone back on that. “I want to address the elephant (rhinoceros) in the room – about [Smashing Pumpkins] not playing the hits or fan favorites,” he wrote. 

“Just going to leave this here – here is SP not playing the hits in Glasgow at @ovohydro.  Does anyone know any songs on this playlist?” Enclosed is a pic of a setlist that contains many of the band’s best known songs, including Today, Tonight Tonight, Cherub Rock and 1979, as well as a cover of U2’s Zoo Station.

“Super deep cuts/not fan favorites,” Corgan added sarkily. “But thank you Glasgow for being absolutely aff yer HEIDS last night. Spectacular audience. Will show more of SP not playing hits/fan favourites as the tour goes on!”

The band have just finished the UK leg of their European tour, which finishes up in Athens on July 16.

In a separate interview Corgan also defended the length of Taylor Swift’s latest album The Tortured Poets Department and described those who complain about album lengths as “childish”. Corgan is no stranger to sneaking huge albums past record companies. The Pumpkins most recent album ATUM was a three act rock opera that contained 33 tracks.

Speaking to the Irish Times, he said: “Taylor Swift is one of the most gifted pop artists of all time. How is it a bad thing that she’s releasing more music? I can’t follow that… You can go on Spotify and just skip it.”

“People complained about the length of my last album... I thought, ‘Well, just go make your own playlist.’ Just listen to the record one time – rag over the six or 10 songs you like and make your own record. Why is this such a strange concept? Have some sense of proportionality. This hyperbolic thing – ‘They ruined Star Wars. My God, this is all too much for me to process’ – it’s all a bit childish.”

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