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“That doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t think the records were good; I just don’t think you’d get that depth of listening. So, for me and the world that I grew up in, if you’re not listening to the material with any kind of depth or introspection, that’s not good. I don’t fall into the same category as most people these days, which is ‘one song equals great.’ It’s just not my style or the way I was brought up. So what is a good album? Well, I say a good album is one that’s actually going to be heard.
“Maybe it’s something with a little more focus, something with a little less prog-rock, something with a little bit more sizzle. Maybe time is an issue there as well. So we’re experimenting, you know? So far, the first album is very much a kind of grab-you-by-the-lapels thing. Hey, I can still write a good song. [Laughs] That’s the general idea. It’s not much more intellectual than that.
“It’s still about excitement, right? So what is my version of excitement at this point in my life, still under the banner of ‘Smashing Pumpkins’? I don’t think it’s that same old formula; I don’t see where people would listen to it. I think Oceania was in the neighborhood of that, and I didn’t see the level of listening that I would have liked. To me, that just says, ‘Well, I’m wasting my time’ – and, by extension, somebody else’s.
“I think that alternative bands – somewhat, not everybody – we fall into this thing of no longer competing. We’ve let pop kind of dominate the conversation. Of course, there are quote-unquote alternative bands, if you can even call them alternative bands, that are having pop success, but they tend to be doing it with pop music. So my idea is to go back to being competitive. If a cool, beautiful, deep prog-rock record isn’t gonna get it done, there’s other things I’d like to do with my summer than be in a dark room making seven-minute opuses.” [Laughs]
Tommy Lee played on half of the recordings, but what about Mike Byrne – will he be on the rest?
“Tommy Lee is the drummer on the Monuments album. Mike, like Elvis, has left the building.”
Oh… Do you want to talk about that?
“Mmm… Let’s just say that Mike, like Elvis, has left the building.”