Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Says Tony Iommi Is His ‘Hero’


The guitarist and primary composer of Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan, recently joined a conversation with Kerrang!, revealing how Tony Iommi’s riffs inspire him.

The Smashing Pumpkins’ new ‘ATUM’ album will meet the audience in November. It will be the sequel to the band’s 1995 seminal album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ and 2000’s ‘Machina/The Machine of God.’ The unique thing about ‘ATUM’ is that the rock opera will consist of three acts, the first of which will be released on November 15.

The primary composer Billy Corgan has been working on this album for a long time, and it seems to have excited him not only for its thematic features but also for its sound. In ‘Cyr,’ the band’s 2020 release, Billy Corgan sought to step out of his comfort zone and compose the songs on a more ‘contemporary’ basis built upon synth-pop tunes.

In contrast to this previous album, this one will bring back and enhance their guitar-dominated sound. It seems like some names inspired Corgan while composing this heavy guitar sound, including Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Corgan recently attended an interview and revealed his ‘guitar hero,’ who has inspired him both in terms of riffs and playing style.

The musician he named was Tony Iommi, the co-founder, primary composer, and guitarist of Black Sabbath. The guitarist stated that he could follow a different narrative-like style in Iommi’s riffs and feel as if he was ‘looking at the universe’ through his sound. Corgan said that the bands like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath felt like they owned the metal sound.

Billy Corgan’s comments on Tony Iommi’s guitar sound reads:

“Yeah. But it has to be fresh. 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. 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 a thin line between cartoonish and owning the space. Bands like Priest and Sabbath, and even Accept – which the riff reminds me a little bit of – they all have something about f*cking owning the metal. It’s like, you’ve gotta believe it.”

‘Beguiled,’ the first cut of the album, is currently available. The rest of the album will be released in mid-November. The remaining two acts are scheduled to be released in 2023. The band, meanwhile, will be performing live shows in the States throughout October.

You can listen to their new release, ‘Beguiled,’ on Youtube below.