Billy Corgan (now going by William Patrick Corgan) released a new piano ballad titled "Aeronaut" on Tuesday. The song serves as the lead single from Ogilala, Corgan's first solo LP in over a decade, which is slated for an October 13th release.
"Aeronaut" is stately and bare: an unhurried piano riff outlines both beat and melody, while glinting strings occasionally rise to meet the keening, nasal lead vocal from Corgan.
In a statement, the singer suggested that the spare production on "Aeronaut" is characteristic of the Rick Rubin-produced album as a whole. "For as long as I can remember, the delineation point between songs I wrote for myself and songs I'd pen for whatever band was something I couldn't explain," he said. "And it remains so, for they all feel quite personal to me, no matter their time or era. The lone difference on songs for Ogilala is that they seemed to want little in the way of adornment."
"Having written the songs for voice and guitar," Corgan continued, "I put myself in Rick's hands to take the music wherever he'd like. Normally I would have done more, and tinkered more on production, but rather Rick put the onus on me to deliver at a molecular level via live takes. The rest was simply a reaction."
Following the release of Ogilala on October 13th, Corgan plans to play a short North American tour. These shows, which will be solo and acoustic, are concentrated mostly in major cities – two apiece in Brooklyn, Chicago and San Francisco, plus three in Los Angeles – along with stops in Wilmington, Toronto, Nashville and Boulder.
Corgan has only released one solo album: 2005's TheFutureEmbrace. He's been more prolific in band settings; the last Smashing Pumpkins LP appeared in 2014.
Ogilala Track List
3. "The Spaniards"
5. "The Long Goodbye"
6. "Half-Life Of An Autodidact"
Billy Corgan Tour Dates
October 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Murmrr Theater
October 15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Murmrr Theater
October 18 – Wilmington, DE @ Grand Opera House
October 20 – Toronto, ON @ Queen Elizabeth Theater
October 24 – Chicago, IL @ Athenaeum Theater
October 25 – Chicago, IL @ Athenaeum Theater
October 27 – Nashville, TN @ CMA Theatre
October 29 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
November 1 – San Francisco, CA @ Herbst Theater
November 2 – San Francisco, CA @ Herbst Theater
November 9 – Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
November 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
November 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Tom DeLonge's Angels & Airwaves project will celebrate their 2006 debut We Don't Need to Whisper with an EP featuring acoustic reworkings of four songs from that album.
The We Don't Need to Whisper – Acoustic EP is out now on DeLonge's To the Stars site, with the EP heading to streaming services on Friday.
The EP boasts new acoustic renditions of four tracks from 2006 album: "Valkyrie Missile," "Distraction," "Do It For Me Now" and "The Adventure." The latter track is accompanied by a lyric video featuring footage from the original We Don't Need to Whisper recording sessions.
"It's been about a year since we put out new music and I wanted to give the fans something while the band works on the soundtrack to the upcoming Strange Times film," DeLonge said in a statement. "Being in the studio brought back memories of AVA’s first album and I thought it'd be fun to reimagine those tracks and play around with the arrangements a bit. It's the first time we’ve ever put out an all-acoustic release and it’s great to be able to do it with these songs, which are all pretty special to me."
The EP is also dedicated to the memory of producer Jeff "Critter" Newell, who worked with Angels & Airwaves as well as Blink-182's 2011 LP Neighborhoods. Newell died in 2012.
"Critter was everything to us. We considered him a member of the band," DeLonge said. "He had the most artistic and beautiful soul and was such a big part of our lives. He always spoke with such poetry. He was my companion during the making of the first years of AVA. He would drink and dance in the studio parking lot to these songs till 4am. When we started recording these new versions, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I miss him. His spirit was definitely with us in the studio."
DeLonge and Angels & Airwaves are currently working on new music for the guitarist's upcoming film Strange Times, based on his expansive sci-fi trilogy/graphic novel. DeLonge also recently published a non-fiction book about UFOs.
We Don't Need to Whisper – Acoustic EP Track List
1. "Valkyrie Missile"
3. "Do It For Me Now"
4. "The Adventure"
A new report from Buzzfeed details an alleged illegal relationship between Jerhonda Pace (then Jerhonda Johnson) and singer R. Kelly. Pace says that she had sex multiple times with Kelly before she was 17 (the age of consent in Illinois), that the singer filmed their encounters without permission and that he was abusive towards her on several occasions. Pace's story follows a July report from Buzzfeed which cited multiple sources accusing Kelly of leading a "cult" that brainwashed young women and kept them confined on two of his properties.
Though Pace signed a nondisclosure agreement about her relationship with Kelly in exchange for a settlement, she said she felt compelled to tell her story in the hopes of aiding any women who are still connected with the singer. "If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that's what I will do," she told Buzzfeed. "He's brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson."
Pace met Kelly when he was on trial for child pornography in 2008. An employee of Kelly's later friended her on Myspace and invited her to a party at the singer's house. Kelly gave Pace his number, and the two allegedly had oral sex in June 2009. According to Buzzfeed, Kelly then "made his first attempt to ensure that she did not talk about their sexual relationship by having her write out and sign letters stating that she had stolen jewelry and cash from him and that her parents had set her up to blackmail him."
The next time they met up, Kelly reportedly gave Pace a drink – "I was drunk, because I wasn't used to alcohol," she told Buzzfeed – and they had sex. Their relationship continued for seven months; According to Pace, Kelly filmed many of their sexual encounters without asking Pace's permission. Pace informed Kelly that she was underage on July 17th, 2009, and the singer reportedly "told her things were fine."
Pace said she remembers having to follow Kelly's "rules" – rules similar to those outlined in Buzzfeed's first report of the singer's "cult." She recalled having to dress in loose-fitting clothes, turning her phone over to Kelly and having to ask permission to eat, use the bathroom, shower and leave the house. If she violated any of the rules, she was "mentally and physically abused."
“The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest," a rep for the singer told Buzzfeed. "It is clear these continuing stories are the result of the effort of those with personal agendas who are working in concert to interfere with and damage his career. Mr. Kelly again denies any and all wrong doing and is taking appropriate legal action to protect himself from ongoing defamation.”
Pace told Buzzfeed she ended her relationship with Kelly in 2010. "I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on," she claimed. With help from a lawyer who has negotiated numerous settlements with Kelly on behalf of women that have accused him of abusive or illegal sexual relationships, Pace got a settlement from the singer in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.
"I know speaking out against Kelly, Kelly could sue me," she said. "But I’m really not worried about it anymore."
Prophets of Rage – the supergroup/"elite task force of revolutionary musicians" featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill – paint a jarring picture of revolutionary protest and reactionary hate in the new lyric video for "Radical Eyes." The track will appear on the band's upcoming self-titled album, out September 15th via Fantasy Records.
With a relentless montage of photo and video, the D.J. Sing-directed clip traces the last five decades of American strife, from the struggles of the civil rights era up to the recent clashes between protestors and white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The "Radical Eyes" clip pays homage to revolutionary figures like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou and even comedian George Carlin, though it also includes images of far-right figures such as David Duke, Jeff Sessions, Barry Goldwater and Steve Bannon. Many of those figures, however, are treated to some animated cranial combustion, Scanners style.
Along with "Radical Eyes," Prophets of Rage have shared album cuts "Living On the 110" and "Unfuck the World," which featured a Michael Moore-directed video. Prophets of Rage marks the supergroup's debut LP and follows their 2016 EP, The Party's Over.
Prophets of Rage will embark on a North American tour in support of their self-titled LP September 7th in Boston.
"There are a lot of songs that are not on there," Roger Waters said last spring, pointing to the CD on a mixing console in a Manhattan recording studio – an advance copy of his latest album, Is This the Life We Really Want? "There's so much stuff that I've produced over the years that I never put out," the ex–Pink Floyd singer-bassist went on. "I don't really think about it. I'm focused now on what I'm doing, so I can't really remember why I didn't make a record for all that time. I have no idea."
"All that time" is the 25 years that have passed since Waters' last solo album of new material, 1992's Amused to Death – a period in which his only studio releases were a 2004 digital single ("To Kill the Child" b/w the 12-minute anti–Iraq War diatribe, "Leaving Beirut") and an original opera, Ça Ira, while his world tours were largely built on Floyd repertory (1973's The Dark Side of the Moon, 1979's The Wall).
Waters, 73, is back on the road this year with his latest spectacle, Us + Them. The show, which opened in Kansas City on May 26th and runs through October in North America (with plans for additional shows in 2018), is stacked with Floyd classics, including a provocative sequence from 1977's Animals squarely aimed at the current U.S. president, Donald Trump. It is also Waters' first concert production since 1987's Radio K.A.O.S. to feature new material. Us + Them, named after the Dark Side song, is a show, Waters explained, about "how we express the idea that to love our fellow human beings is really good for us and that to build walls between us is really bad." The songs that he performs from his latest record – including "Déjá Vu," "Picture That" and "Smell The Roses" – are "important" to that narrative, he insisted, "and really up to date."
I first spoke to Waters about the new record while he was still making it – during an interview in his backstage trailer at the Desert Trip festival in October 2016. We met again this year, in late April, shortly before Waters began full-dress rehearsals in New Jersey for the current tour. It was a candid, wide-ranging conversation, published here for the first time, about the album, its long, tangled origins and Waters' fiercely-held personal beliefs. Wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, drinking tea in a swivel chair, he looked at once rested and eager to hit the road. He spoke in a deep, soft voice, just this side of a whisper, but with certainty and a deep pride in the new work.
"Well, here we are again," Waters said, glancing down at the CD in front of him. Then he was off.
It has been 25 years since your last studio album of new material. When did you start writing these songs and was there a topic, a premise?
Years ago – around the millennium, when I started touring again in 1999–2000 – I spent a month in Nassau and got some people to come there. It was the band with [guitarist] Doyle Bramhall II, and we cut six or seven tracks. There was one song that we recorded then that I really liked. But it was completely surreal. "Judgment Day dawns black/Furnished with smoke" – that was the first line. And it's on this record. It's called "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World."
There was a bit in the song about a cowboy who was hung: "The rope hit the spot at the end of the drop/And the last thing they heard was him calling." That is now: "The bomb hit the spot where the numbers all stop/And the last thing she heard was her calling/Home/I'm coming home." I adapted the song and stuck in all the stuff about a bomber and drone warfare. I wrote those lyrics six months ago: "Fuck me, I can finally use this song."
There is a leanness to the writing – almost chant-like lyrics, like the repetitive pattern of "Picture That" – set in a theatrical-rock production.
"Is This the Life We Really Want?" is interesting because I was working with musicians I had never met, because they were friends of Nigel [Godrich]'s – [drummer] Joey Waronker, [guitarist-keyboardists] Gus Seyffert and Jonathan Wilson. It was the early days of being around the studio with them. We were feeling our way around one another, Nigel and I. I would say things like "We should try things at half-speed" or "double-speed." And at one point, Nigel said to me, "Well, are you going to play?" Play what? "Play the bass." Why? [Laughs]
It turned into a bit of a thing. "Why don't you play with the band now?" We wrote down a simple chord chart and, rather grumpily, I stuck it on my knee. "Oh, give me the fucking bass." We started playing. We played through it once. And that is the take.
"Picture That" was slightly different, more of a process. But "Is This the Life We Really Want?" was one take. That is actually part of a poem I wrote in 2008, ranting and raving about things.
There is a siege mentality to the album, in the images and emotions running through it.
This is a runaway train in my view [points to the CD on the mixing console]. We are all on board a runaway train, and it's scary as shit, coming off the rails at every turn. There could be nuclear war, easily, and nobody gives a shit. "Well, so what?" Your job is almost impossible now. The resistance to actually reporting anything is so intense.
I keep repeating the same thing again and again. I know people think I'm mad. Is This the Life We Really Want? – people say, "What does it mean?" It means what it says. A perpetual state of war; your government rewriting laws taking away most of your civil liberties ... Is this how you want to live? And if it's not, is there anything you can do about it? Do you have any choice? Or is the train going so fast that there is no way of finding where the brake is? Or persuading anybody that maybe it should slow down a bit?
There is a line in the title track in which democracy is defined as "what we all say goes." To me, that is not a definition of democracy. It's mob rule.
That's true as well. But that was ever the problem. [The British king] George V said, "Democracy is a Greek folly. It gives special powers to very ordinary people." [Laughs] Spoken like a monarch.
When you were growing up in postwar Britain, was America an ideal to you – as a society, as culture?
America represented consumerism. It represented blue jeans and bobby sox. And it represented naiveté and boastfulness. I may have gotten this from my mother. My mother visited America in 1936 or '37. She had only been to Texas and Ohio.
As a young man and particularly as Pink Floyd started, how much did you buy into the cultural uprising of psychedelia – the idea of a hippie utopia that was going to change society?
Oh, not at all.
You were born a cynic?
I never had anything to do with any of that, ever. Flower power? Are you fucking kidding me? No way. You have to remember I grew up on [Aldous] Huxley and [George] Orwell and H.G. Wells. We weren't listening to Timothy Leary or Owsley [Stanley]. That was all nonsense. You don't even need half an education to figure that out. I am old enough to remember the Atlee government [Clement Atlee, British prime minister from 1945 to 1951]. There was a social revolution in England after the Second World War. There was a shrugging-off of the overlords that characterized the Industrial Revolution and Victorian society. There was a genuine attempt to create a caring society. We still have a National Health Service that is 10 times as good as any health service you will ever have probably.
"Flower power? Are you fucking kidding me?"
Was there anything about mid- and late-Sixties London that had lasting value, other than the music?
What was important about that time had nothing to do with Carnaby Street. The Beatles suddenly made popular music a legitimate forum for expression of feelings – real feelings and ideas. That was revolutionary.
You went to architecture school. Did you ever consider, as a student, going into law, social work or politics?
No, I couldn't do politics.
You have the aggression for it.
I could be aggressive. I can figure out what I think. I can be coherent. [Pauses] I went into rock & roll because I wanted to get laid. Having said that, I am still interested in the way politics works and how people organize themselves and what different societies do and why they do it.
Do you write songs to confront or convince?
What do you mean?
As a songwriter – telling stories, drawing pictures – are you trying to confront people with the truth as you see it or draw them together?
I don't know. Half of the song "Déjá Vu" is not on the [new] record. The last verse was cut. But I quote it a lot: "If I had been God/I would not have chosen anyone/I would have laid an even hand/On all my children everyone/Would have been content/To forego Ramadan and Lent/Time better spent/In the company of friends/Breaking bread and mending nets." A lot of people would go, "Oh, there he goes, the old anti-Semite." Well, no. If I talk about choosing people, I'm not talking about the Jewish faith. I'm talking about all faiths – all members of different faiths.
But who do you hope to reach with this album and how would you like them to respond, what they could take away from it?
OK, that's a good question. [Long pause]
I'd like to reach people who are looking for a friend – who will encourage them to stand their ground and observe things and, if they see something they believe to be true, are prepared to speak up about it. Years ago, my pig [in Waters' live show] had "Habeus corpus matters" written on it. People think, "What the fuck's he talking about?" When you've been whisked off the street and you're rotting in a prison cell, you will get it. You Americans have allowed the law of your land to be subverted, so that can now happen. And you have no recourse. All it needs is somebody anonymous to suspect that you might be supporting a terrorist organization, and you can be taken away. You can be remanded somewhere, tortured and kept in prison forever, with no evidence - and no day in court.
Do you have U.S. citizenship?
You have residency status.
I have a visa. I pay tax – a lot of tax.
As a British citizen, did you vote against Brexit?
If I had voted, I would have voted obviously to stay in the European Union.
You didn't vote?
I wasn't there. It was one of those things where everybody thought it was a foregone conclusion. Certainly I did. "It's ridiculous. It would be so stupid."
Do you regret not voting, given that the result was so close?
Yeah. I thought we were better than that. I was wrong.
When you talk about recording songs at the millennium – writing poetry, generating things over time – when did you get to the point where you thought you were actually making a new album?
It was two years ago, when I started working with Nigel. It's not like we worked on it for two years. We'd do three weeks, then we didn't see each other for six months, then did another three weeks. Before that, I had a radio play. There was this whole narrative and a bunch of songs with it. I would occasionally play it to people, and they would go, "You've got to make a record. It's really good."
I got to know Nigel because he was mixing the sound for the  movie, Roger Waters: The Wall. Eventually I played it to Nigel, and he went, "Hmmm ..." He expressed an interest in making a record. Then he went, "Yeah, let's do these eight bars, and this four bars." I was like, "Hang on a minute, it's like two hours long, and you picked seven minutes. What about the rest of it?" "Let's start with this."
How easy was that to take, given that you are generally the leader of your own domain?
I decided to do something different. Working with Nigel, I realized early on that though there was plenty of space for me to have ideas about things, as far as the minutiae of making a record – or even the big gestures – I was gonna go [smiles and mimics sitting on his hands], which is a new discipline.
Did you hold ultimate veto?
There are some things like that.
Are there particular musical or lyrical examples?
Yeah, tiny things. Other things that I let go were really important to me. Nigel was always very keen that we shouldn't be specifically political about anything. I took the words "Lay down Jerusalem" out of "Déjá Vu." The chorus used to go, "Maybe a woman at a stove/Baking bread, making rice or just boiling down some bones/Lay down Jerusalem/Lay your burden down." There was a big thing, Nigel trying to persuade me to take any reference to Jerusalem out. "I said, 'It's really important.'" But he said, "People will go, 'He's being an anti-Semite again.' I said, "There's nothing anti-Semitic about it. Jerusalem is hugely important because of the Crusades, the Ottoman Empire, the British, whoever has been fighting over this place."
But the phrase does not contain those details.
It doesn't, of course. Obviously, Jerusalem, the place, can't be guilty of anything. On the other hand, one feels that if Jerusalem could be peaceful – without the burden of that discontent, the fighting for faith – it would be fabulous. That's what I'm saying in this song.
What convinced you to take the line out?
I eventually got worn down. You can make a point about something without being specific. People would misinterpret my intentions.
How were you raised religiously? Church of England?
I wasn't raised anything. My mother did allow my [older] brother and I to go to Sunday school. My mother was agnostic. She was raised Church of England. My father was devoutly Christian, which is why he was a conscientous objector at the beginning of the war. Then he became politicized, joined the Army and got killed [in action in 1944]. I assume he retained his belief in Jesus Christ and the redemptive power of that. I never got the chance to ask him.
Where do you turn for spiritual sustenance?
When I was a kid, we always had a lodger. My mother was a teacher, and my brother and I would get home from school before she did. There had to be somebody in the house; she didn't like the idea of us being latch-key kids. But sometimes the lodgers wouldn't be there, so she would take us to meetings. She was very political. We used to go to British-China Friendship Association meetings in the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge, which was the Quakers' place of worship.
I remember her talking about it: "The Quakers are a Christian religious order. While I cannot share their faith, you must understand that their beliefs are rooted in some of the same beliefs I have, because I am a humanist. I believe in human rights. I believe we have a responsibility to look after each other. And so do the Quakers. They are, by and large [affects emphatic, maternal voice], very, very good people." [Laughs] I've never forgotten that.
The idea that you need some center of faith in order to be humane has never gained any traction with me. However, I do believe that part of the journey to develop one's capacity for empathy can reside in the transcendental nature of love – that extraordinary, powerful thing that happens to you.
Does it bother you that people don't think of you as humane?
Yeah, it does. The whole "bad guy who broke up Pink Floyd" bollocks – It is just fucking irritating.
It's your cross to bear.
There's not a lot I can do about it. Obviously, I'm a very lucky guy. I have great friends. I'm in a wonderful relationship at the moment. And I have my work, which I adore. The reward of doing the work is enormous.
In July, the band asked fans in all 50 states to submit home-made videos from their July 4th celebrations to create a "filmed portrait of the country." Those clips, along with footage the band commissioned, comprise the new "Walk on Water" video, with scenic landscapes, dabbing children, demolition derbies, military exercises, protests and plenty of fireworks filling the big block letters that make up the song's lyrics.
"Walk on Water" is a synth-rock cut in the vein of Imagine Dragons with Leto wailing over a steady stomp of marching drums and booming synths. The "Walk On Water" lyrics carry a slight political edge as well: "A thin line, the whole truth," Leto sings. "The far right, the left view/ Breaking all those promises made/ Times are changing."
Thirty Seconds to Mars will perform "Walk on Water" at the MTV Video Music Awards August 27th. The track is set to appear on the band's forthcoming fifth album, which follows 2013's Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams. A release date and title have yet to be announced.
Thirty Seconds to Mars have a handful of live dates scheduled for this September, starting September 15th in Mountain View, California.