As Billy Corgan gets set to perform a special one-night-only solo set at Ravinia — the country’s oldest outdoor music festival — on August 30, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman has asked fans to help him craft the ultimate catalog-skimming set list. Interested parties should email email@example.com with 20 songs (no more, no less) by August 14. If chosen, you’ll get a chance to meet Corgan and Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder in person at the gig. Here’s the full breakdown of what you should and shouldn’t do:
1. You are allowed to choose 20 songs, which must also be presented in the order you’d have them played.
2. Pick songs from any era you like: pre-Pumpkins, pre-Gish, the original line-up years, Zwan, solo, and Pumpkins 4.0 and beyond. But beware if you lean to heavily on any one period, for an even, pleasing, career-retrospective show does not this make.
3. All songs must be written in whole, or in part by Billy Corgan; as he currently has no plans to play covers at RAVINIA.
4. Submissions must be in by Thursday, August 14th. The winner will be chosen personally by Billy, who himself will present your idealized setlist here on The Panopticon; with additional commentary on why yours was picked above all others. And who knows? He might even take some suggestions, or play that favorite song you’ve always wanted to hear privately during your meet and greet.
5. And lastly, entries with explanations or commentary will be discarded and not considered. So if you’re serious about winning, your list should contain nothing more than 20 titles in the order you’d love to see them played. That’s it! And don’t forget: one entry per person please.
In other news, Corgan is busy mixing the band’s next album (the Tommy Lee-backed Monuments to An Elegy) at the moment, with plans to release it by the end of the year and a more experimental follow-up (Day For Night) nine months later. He’s also exploring his vast home demo archives (more than 800 songs from 1985-1990!) for a “multi-volume collection” beginning with “a double or triple first set.”
“A word of caution,” he wrote, “as these ‘works’ are all over the place in terms of quality, etc, as I was just a kid of 18 when I started making my own recordings; and not only do my influences show a little too hard in places, but so do my inadequacies as a sound engineer. To help avoid confusion then over what would be on the records, short sound clips of every release will be made avail; as many are instrumental or ‘vibey’ in nature and may not appeal to everyone (I didn’t really start singing my own songs until I was 19).
He continued, “Comments from those that have heard them though are kind and positive, such as (and I’m paraphrasing) those from Jeff Schroeder of SP, who told me that ‘it’s cool to hear you piece together what would eventually become the band’s sound, even at such a young age.’ And pieces these are!”