Out today (May 5th) is Smashing Pumpkins‘ Atum: Act Three – the third and final installment of the band’s ongoing song cycle, Atum: A Rock Opera In Three Parts. The conceptual project is directly linked thematically to group’s 1995 double LP, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.
Regarding the completion of the Atum trilogy, leader Billy Corgan recently told Rolling Stone that concept albums seem to find their audience in strange ways: “Most people don’t know what the records are really about. They’re focused on their favorite song or their favorite drum solo or whatever. It’s totally fine. The last 20-something years of social media have taught me to respect the fact that everybody has their own level of engagement, and any engagement is good.”
35 years after forming in Chicago and after the lofty creative heights the Pumpkins have enjoyed, Billy Corgan has never forgotten how it felt to be a new and struggling group: “When the band, in its infancy — 1988 — started, the idea of actually getting onstage and playing a song was like a momentous thought — like an unreachable goal. I have a memory of going to see James (Iha) play because he was still in his other band, and he asked me to borrow one of my guitars. I remember standing in the audience saying, ‘My guitar made it on stage before I did.’ I know that sounds silly, but it was, like, it broke my heart that I couldn’t stand on that stage yet. I hadn’t yet earned the right.”