Billy Corgan Gushes Over 'Hero' Tony Iommi

By Katrina Nattress

September 21, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

The Smashing Pumpkins have unveiled their 33-track rock opera ATUM, and though Billy Corgan admits the project goes "in a million different directions," there's one distinct difference between its sound and that of 202's CYR: guitar.

During a new interview with Kerrang!, Corgan explained how he found inspiration to play guitar again, thanks to his "hero," Black Sabbath axeman Tony Iommi.

"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," Corgan recalled. "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 "Beguiled"] reminds me a little bit of – [they all have] something about f**king owning the metal. It’s like, you’ve gotta believe it."

ATUM is broken into three 11-track acts, which will all be released digitally. Act 1 is slate for November 15; Act 2 on January 31, 2023, and Act 3 along with a special edition boxset featuring all 33 album tracks plus 10 additional unreleased songs, will be released on April 21, 2023.

But fans will be able to hear the tracks before even those dates. Corgan launched a podcast series called Thirty-Three with William Patrick Corgan, where he debuts each of the new tracks and give fans insight into each of them. In addition to new music, each episode will also boast Smashing Pumpkins history and a classic track, as well as special guests. The first episode, about the title track, features David Bowie's longtime pianist Mike Garson, and the second episode, "Butterfly Suite," features sound engineer/producer Tommy Lipnick.

ATUM is the conceptual sequel to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Machina/The Machine of God. Listen to the first two episodes of Thirty-Three with William Patrick Corgan above.

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