Billy Corgan Rekindles the Pumpkins

Billy Corgan stopped by to promote the new Smashing Pumpkins album, 'Oceania', the first one he's recorded since the band's remarkable success in the 90s--a success that irrevocably fractured the band: "That triggered for me, a lot of stuff I couldn't control. … The band was everything to me and that was an unhealthy [attitude]. A self-perpetuating thing." Billy said it began when interviewers openly preferred to talk with the band's songwriter: "The band would be mad at me because this guy's asking me all the questions. So I'd say, 'Write your own f***ing song. I don't know what to tell you, you know what I mean, if they're focusing on me.' … so they started singling me out from the inside." Coupled with a "separating perception from the outside," the band fell apart: "It becomes like the Titanic. You just gotta figure out what to throw overboard to keep the thing up."

On Dating Jessica Simpson

Asked about dating Jessica Simpson, Billy said they never quite "dated," but they hung out: "She's a lot cooler, funkier than she comes across in public [but] it kind of got so far and it just didn't go any further." Howard noted that John Mayer had called her "sexual napalm" in the bedroom, but Billy begged off: "I don't have a cross word to say about her. She's really a great person. It was never like that. It was more like friends that kind of hang out."

On the Cult of Radiohead

Howard mentioned a comment Billy had made about Radiohead, so Billy clarified: "I wasn't criticizing Radiohead. I was criticizing the culture that licks their boots. … One thing [The Smashing Pumpkins] never got was good press." Even in '95 and '96, "we were cooler, smarter, and we rocked the f' out of everybody. … [But] the critical class still treats the band like it was a weird, freaky anomaly."

The Legacy of 'Tonight, Tonight'

Howard asked Billy to play a little of 'Tonight, Tonight', one of the Pumpkins' biggest hits, and Billy obliged, saying he doesn't usually delve into the band's past catalog. Billy said the band had bigger hits--'1979', for example--but "this is the song that seems to have endured on that other level … Certain songs get to a point to where they're almost not your song anymore." Billy said the song was to him what 'All Night Long' is to AC/DC: "Almost like, 'Wow, I can't believe I wrote that. I'm glad I got at least one of those.' Because it's a generational marker or something. … I never would've guessed that when I wrote it." Howard later played another of Billy's songs, his personal favorite song off 'Oceania', a song Billy had written about "my ex, Jessica" (Origliasso, of The Veronicas), 'Violet Rays.'

On Courtney Love and the 'Nobody's Daughter' Controversy

Asked about Courtney Love, Billy scoffed ("She's still alive, Howard?") that she was "the least loyal person I've ever known." When they were working together on Hole's 'Nobody's Daughter' album, Courtney was a mess: "She was so out of her mind, coming out of rehab, she couldn't remember what she did the day before." As for that record's co-writing controversy, Billy said he'd written a little for the record, but for the most part "shaped" Courtney's material.