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Finding Billy Corgan
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Musicians & conductors; Musical recordings
Author: Harrington, Richard
Date: Jun 24, 2005
Start Page: T.06
Section: WEEKEND

In the ad, [Billy Corgan] wrote, "For a year now I have walked around with a secret, a secret I chose to keep. But now I want you to be among the first to know that I have made plans to renew and revive The Smashing Pumpkins. . . . In this desire I feel I have come home again." Corgan did not say when he would try to re-form the Pumpkins, adding that the new album "represents a new beginning, not an ending. It picks up the thread of the as-yet-unfinished work and charter of The Smashing Pumpkins."

That Billy, he's full of surprises. For instance, as his new band's makeup suggests, "TheFutureEmbrace" is something of a departure from the swirling, distorted guitars and pounding drums that made Pumpkins' albums such as "Siamese Dream" and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" alternative rock touchstones in the '90s. In fact, the synthesizers, lush guitars and atmospheric drums are more reflective of Corgan's fandom for the '80s synth-pop of David Bowie, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, New Order (for whom he briefly played guitar after the Pumpkins broke up) and the Cure; the new album's only cover, a melancholy minor- key recasting of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody," features the Cure's Robert Smith on backing vocals.

If it sounds like Corgan's been working on himself, he has, and quite publicly. You can visit his Web site (www.billycorgan.com) and read the 31 "chapters" of Corgan's "Confessions," an online and ongoing autobiography in which he candidly recalls formative experiences as both child and musician. There are sobering discussions of Corgan's physically and emotionally abusive childhood as the sensitive son of a drug-dealing musician father and mentally ill mother, and disastrous relationships with wives, bandmates and record labels. (A lot of scores are being settled.)

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