In a series of recent interviews, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has intimated that 2015 may mark the end of the band, calling the future of the band “murky.” Primarily at issue for Corgan is the discrepancy between his desire to move the band forward musically and artistically and the tendency of the band’s fanbase to only be interested in engaging in nostalgia for the band’s heyday of the mid 90s. As he told the Wall Street Journal in December, “In pop, you have this weird cycle where you have to have a pressing awareness of the past, constantly, and it weighs you down more than it lifts you up.”
On the one hand, it is easy to understand and sympathize with the usually, notoriously unsympathetic Corgan: while some of his former alternative rock compatriots are more than willing keep cashing the checks, releasing bloated anniversary reissues, coasting through reunion albums and nostalgia-laden tours, Corgan wants to continue moving forward, making new music. On the other hand, its is hard to blame fans for wanting the familiar comforts of past hits. Corgan seems to be hitting on a dilemma that grips the entire music industry these days.
Indeed, a simple glance at the headliners of nearly any festival indicates that nostalgia is perhaps the single biggest driving force in the music business. Sometimes it seems as if the only 90s bands that haven’t reunited are the ones that can’t (although that doesn’t mean they haven’t tried). And the suffocating dominance of nostalgia is not solely endemic to bands and music fans from the 1990s.
Of course, it remains to be seen if this is actually the end of the Smashing Pumkins. Corgan, in addition to being known for running his mouth a bit in interviews, is notoriously fickle about these kinds of things, having broken up and reformed the Smashing Pumpkins more times than one can count. For the time being, Corgan plans to release Day for Night, the third album in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Teagarden by Kaleidyscope trilogy, and tour with the band this fall. Beyond that? No one knows.