Billy Corgan has a habit of giving people the unexpected in the most confusing (and sometimes frustrating) way possible. The Smashing Pumpkins has often followed the beat of his own drum, doing everything from booking an anniversary tour where he refused to play his band’s old songs to releasing his 44-track album Teargarden By Kaleidyscope one song at a time. So, when it was announced that Corgan was playing an intimate show at Madame ZuZu’s Tea House in Chicago, everyone could safely assume that the show wouldn’t be acoustic renditions of “1979” and “Today.”
Still, even for Corgan, this show is going to be a little weird: the show is allegedly going to be an 8-to-9-hour “ambient” set based on Herman Hesse’s 1922 novel Siddhartha. That information comes directly from Corgan, who posted the info about the show on his Facebook page yesterday. The free show will be “built on modular synthesis, on the fly,” according to Corgan. Readings of Hesse’s novel will also be incorporated into the performance.
It remains to be seen whether this indicates a new artistic direction for Corgan, but that will have to wait until after he finishes writing and recording songs for Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. The songs Corgan is currently working on would likely be another “album within an album” aspect of the Teargarden project, similar to 2012’s Oceania. We think.