We’ve all got our heroes that we look up to, and in a recent Kerrang! interview, we’ve learned who Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan holds above all else — the one and only legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
Corgan’s been promoting the first single “Begulled” off his band’s latest studio album Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts, which has been described as the sequel to the absolutely phenomenal “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” and “Machina/The Machine of God.”
When speaking about where he finds his inspiration for guitar riffs, Corgan pointed to Iommi and his time with Sabbath, as well as other major metal icons from that era.
“It has to be fresh. Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, he’s my hero, and Tony wrote those riffs that, when you hear him, it’s like a movie. In my mind, I always call it ‘Cosmic Sabbath’. When I would listen to Sabbath, I felt like I was peering into the universe. That’s the way it made me feel, even as a little kid. So for me, a great riff has to kind of make you feel something bigger. So if I’m not in the mood, it just feels weird. There’s the thin line between cartoonish and owning the space.
Bands like [Judas] Priest and Sabbath, and even Accept — which the riff [of the new Smashing Pumpkins single ‘Beguiled’] reminds me a little bit of — [they all have] something about fucking owning the metal. It’s like, you’ve gotta believe it.”
While Smashing Pumpkins wouldn’t fall under the umbrella of metal on any given day, that’s not to say Corgan doesn’t know his shit. He’s been linked in the studio with Code Orange, performed a cover of “Landslide” with Myrkur vocalist Amalie Bruun, and went so far as to tell Metallica’s Lars Ulrich that it was “amazing how disrepected metal is.”
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