Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan sets stripped-back solo album

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Image: AFP/Andrew Cowie

Billy Corgan, the force behind hard-charging alternative rock giants The Smashing Pumpkins, recently announced a stripped-back solo album driven by piano and acoustic guitar.

The rocker, now going by his full name William Patrick Corgan, said that “Ogilala,” his second solo album, would come out on October 13 and will be accompanied by a solo acoustic tour of North America.

He released a first single, “Aeronaut”, a ballad with his distinctively intense, nasal voice backed by piano and strings.

Corgan said he wrote the 11-track album just for voice and guitar and let the songs develop with sparse arrangements when he went into the studio with Rick Rubin, one of the music business’ best-known producers.

Corgan—who, while officially just one of The Smashing Pumpkins, is the group’s primary creative voice and sole consistent member—said the line had always been blurred between songs he wrote for himself and those penned under the names of bands.

“And it remains so, for they all feel quite personal to me, no matter their time or era,” he said about his songwriting in a statement.

“The lone difference on songs for ‘Ogilala’ is that they seemed to want little in the way of adornment,” he said.

The 50-year-old Chicago rocker was at the forefront of the alternative rock boom in the early 1990s, with the Pumpkins initially known for raging guitar and darkly introspective lyricism.

But Corgan soon diversified to bring in symphonic and electronic influences, creating a dreamy sound that won both critical acclaim and mainstream success.

Corgan’s first solo album, 2005’s “TheFutureEmbrace”, went more deeply into electronic music. He last released an album as the Pumpkins in 2014, “Monuments to an Elegy”, which swayed from guitar rock to dance beats.

The origin of the title “Ogilala” was not immediately clear, although it is similar to the name of a town in Nebraska. The listed tracks include “Antietam” and “Shiloh”, both names of battles in the United States Civil War. JB

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