Hell hath no fury like Billy Corgan scorned. In an exclusive interview, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman lashed out at Virgin Records in the wake of a lawsuit the band filed against the label for improperly using its likeness in a promotion with Amazon and Pepsi. "I'm sure they indicated to Pepsi that they had a right to do this, full well knowing they do not have the right," he says of Virgin, which signed the Pumpkins in 1990. (The label does not comment on pending litigation.) Corgan is similarly peeved about the lack of attention to the Pumpkins' back catalog, but with the band now a free agent following the dissolution of its deal with Warner Bros., he's excited about the potential for disseminating music in new and creative ways.
How did you find out the Pumpkins were being used in this promotion?
Fuckin' . . . online. You get the, "Hey what's this?" call from somebody. In our case, it's not a gray area. We have precedents with Virgin where they have to come to us and ask, "Can we do this?" We have a paper trail. I think they hope people will just take the money and look the other way. At face value, it's not a huge deal. But in terms of precedent, it is, because there will be much more of this coming.
Can you fill in some of the background on how this all went so sour?
We've gone to them many times in the last seven years to suggest, "What about this? What about that?" It's always the same thing. They don't want to properly maintain the catalog and do what's necessary with a band of our legacy. At the same time, they then turn around and come to you with the most asinine proposals, which equate to, "Let us make a bunch of money off you, exploiting what we think is important, and squeeze a little bit more blood out of the stone without spending a dollar." You have this antagonistic, "we don't think you're important" relationship. But they turn around and package you in a promotional deal.
Click here for the full six questions, including Corgan's thoughts on potential archival releases, unreleased material and the upcoming plans for the band.