Edited by Brett Buchanan
Late last year we reported Chicago television personality and spiritual author Jennifer Weigel would have a conversation with Billy Corgan as a part of her series on conversation with significant cultural figures and spirituality. The interview took place December 15th and as Weigel personally responded to me with, the interview would be up this week and finally has surfaced. A two hour event, the first hour mainly consisting of Corgan and Weigel covering a number of different but inter-related topics, including but not limited to Donald Trump, social media, Corgan’s creative process, American and international politics, Corgan’s spiritual influences and much more. The second hour consisted of a dialogue with audience members. Below, we include selected portions of the conversation divided into multiple parts by topic, transcribed exclusively here at Alternative Nation. (All citations are my own)
What Puts You in a Creative Mindset?
BC: “I’ve said many times I’m a whore when it comes to creativity.”
JW: “You’re whore? So, you’ll take it when you can get it?”
BC: “No I have some ethics, but… [all laugh] probably not the best way to start. I think creativity…”
JW: “There’s the tweet: Billy’s a whore.”
BC: “There’s nothing new there…[all laugh] I think creativity is really about oppurtunity and whatever you attach to it is ultimately going to be an impediment. So you’re standing in line at the 7/11 and you have a really great idea and you don’t think it’s important enough to write down or stop what you’re doing, you’re kind of sending a signal up to the universe where your priorities are. For example, the opening riff to “Cherub Rock” on Siamese Dream came to me driving down Irving Park Road [Chicago, Ill.] heading east…and to where we were at the time, I was passenger, and where I had to get was about 25 minutes…and this is an era before cell phones. So I had to tell my friend, ‘Don’t say anything,’ because I felt something significant was happening and I didn’t know what it was, and I literally sat in the car for 25 minutes and went [hums the opening riff to Siamese Dream] …because I was so scared I was going to lose this little lightning bolt. So I think if you start with the premise that God is perfect without any asterisk or exception, and inspiration or at least the sense of inspiration is our way of reflecting the creator, if you believe in that kind of organization, then anything that comes between you and something that is pure or feels pure, is your own BS. So when you say something like, “I like to be near water to be creative”, that might be a preference, but if at some point you think, ‘Here I am standing in the desert, how am I going to write this chapter?’, that’s you, that’s not divinity.”
JW: “So how do you explain Donald Trump?”
BC: “Well, without getting into the politik of it because it is a time unlike any that I remember. Of course, I can read about the late ’60s and early ’70s, I was very small, but the ’30s in Germany or any kind of tumultuous time in history, and certainly there’s hundreds of examples going back…I tend to look at those things through the prism of ‘people rise to the fore to express an unconscious desire.’ So when people say for example, ‘Well Donald Trump is the face of the angry white man who is frustrated by the process,’ [sic] I think, ‘Okay, so what?’ As is any version of…. [e.g.] Gloria Steinem represented something about women’s liberation…people rise to the fore as symbols. Having at times, and in particular one particular time being a symbol myself, you start to understand there’s an unconscious process at work with the public far larger than the personality. So the question isn’t so much who Donald Trump is but the world that made Donald Trump and then by what particular prism you see a Donald Trump. Let me take someone who is a little less of a political flashpoint at the moment, who is generally considered the second person behind Trump, which is [Ted] Cruz. I remember watching Cruz on the floor of the Senate filibustering what would later become Obamacare. I think he filibustered for 26 hours. If you look at the microcosm of press that went around the event, he was reviled, was an ‘idiot,’ ‘how could he do such a stupid thing,’ ‘this is gonna haunt the Republicans.’
Yet here’s the guy only a few years later in contention to be the President. So maybe something he represented maybe is more important to people that what he actually did. So when you get into the public mind, it’s more about symbolic representation. Which is why oftentimes when you see Trump supporters questioned by mainstream media they say, ‘I don’t give a shit about whether he’s right or wrong, it’s what he represents,’ and so he’s giving voice to that. So you could spend all day looking at the personality but you’re actually looking at the wrong direction. Look who would’ve been considered politically appropriate another time, would be considered a total racist today. As the great producer Flood once said, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s snare drum.’ What sounds like a snare drum to one person sounds like a thudding piece of meat to another. So it’s all in the eye of the beholder. So I tend to look at those things through the prism of the imaginations of public discourse and the unexpressed desires because no person, no human that I know, unless they are a guru or spiritual master who has dedicated themselves to spiritual practice, nobody I know can actually embody the projection.
Stay tuned for more installments of this interview!