Billy Corgan talks GMO, TSA, FOX, New World Order…down the rabbit hole with Alex Jones from Infowars.com
This is far deeper than new album promotional fluff. Listen…
Billy Corgan talks GMO, TSA, FOX, New World Order…down the rabbit hole with Alex Jones from Infowars.com
Billy Corgan talks GMO, TSA, FOX, New World Order…down the rabbit hole with Alex Jones from Infowars.com
Gapersblock.com did a nice story about Kickstarter (and interviewed us about our Jamboree 2012 project for this article, which we thank them for!) Below that are a few items from our own experience you can use to further investigate whether Kickstarter is right for you, including our cautionary tale, and a video to help you see more of the behind the scenes of this powerful tool. First, Katie Karpowicz from Chicago’s own Gapersblock.com:
Funding creativity isn’t always easy. It’s usually not cheap either. As money and the economy are a near daily worry for many Chicagoans, it’s no surprise that music labels of all shapes and sizes are also pinching pennies. More musicians and music industry professionals are turning to the kindness of friends and fans to advance their artistic endeavors. These appeals are seeing a much better response thanks to the online crowd-sourced funding site, Kickstarter.
Kickstarter, if you’re not familiar, allows musicians and artists (and indeed, any creative thinkers) of all types to create online campaigns asking fans to help fund creative projects, such as a book, an art installation, or even a new album. Each campaign has a set number of days to reach a predetermined monetary goal through donation pledges. Chicago alternative rockers State and Madison turned to Kickstarter last fall when they found themselves with an album’s worth of recorded songs and not enough money to produce that albuma physical product (an expensive endeavor that includes mixing, mastering and pressing CDs).
The band’s experience was one of the many Kickstarter success stories. On April 3, 2012 State and Madison released their new full length record Tar & Feather. The album is a product of both the band and its dedicated fans thanks to the band’s Kickstarter campaign. After first pooling all the money that the band members could contribute, State and Madison estimated they still needed more. They set a campaign goal of $5,500, and by January 2012 had accrued donations from 106 people amounting to $6,200.
“A friend of mine in Nashville’s band did [a Kickstarter campaign],” said State and Madison’s lead singer Nickolas Blazina. “We thought, ‘Well, we’re doing something we believe in and that other people might believe in too.’”
But State and Madison isn’t the only Chicago band that’s found success through Kickstarter. Chicago rock ‘n roll act Jumpsuit breezed past their $5,000 goal in a campaign to master and press their album Too Funky for the Rock and the Roll in December, 2010.
Proving that it’s not just a band’s albums that need funding, last summer, Michael-Phillip Scales, who performs under the moniker Briar Rabbit combined his passion for touring and the environment and raised $6,220 towards converting a school bus into a tour bus that runs on vegetable oil.
Even Chicago-based musicians with a national fanbase, like hip-hop artist Psalm One, have turned to Kickstarter in times of financial needs. Psalm One tours the country promoting her music and mentoring children through her music and education initiative Charm Lab. Last winter she found herself overdue on the release of her next album and in need of some new equipment. “Working with kids takes its toll on our gear,” she explained.
Part of what makes Kickstarter so appealing to donators is a tiered reward system that each campaign is required to offer. For instance, Psalm promised an unreleased mixtape to anyone that pledged more than $20 to her campaign.
Psalm planned her campaign around her touring schedule, hoping that being able to promote it in each city she stopped in would help increase the chances of reaching her $8,000 goal. But, like many other Kickstarter campaigns, the funding came down to the wire.
She reached $8,000 at 11:30pm on December 31, 2011. Her deadline was 12:01am on January 1. She even implemented a pledge-through-text system in the final days of her campaign. She attributed much of the success of her campaign to the fact that donators’ pledges would help the young aspiring musicians that Psalm mentors as well as her career. She also believed her goal was reasonably attainable.
“When I told people I was doing Kickstarter, I heard a lot of horror stories about people that had asked for too much,” she said. “If you don’t reach your goal that may not be an indication that your message isn’t right, it’s just that you might need to rethink your incentives or what you’re asking for.”
The “message” behind a Kickstarter campaign can take many forms. Whether you’re looking to advance your career by pumping out a new album or hoping to help someone else, it’s up to the artist.
Non-profit organizations are no strangers to fundraising, so it’s not a surprise that local organizations like Chicago’s Intonation Music Workshop have had successful campaigns. The after-school music education program funded a recent compilation CD from its students after raising $1,643 through the website.
Here’s what Q101 thinks based on our experiences with Kickstarter:
Think Kickstarter is a scam? That no one legitimate uses it? That it isn’t used by regular people and even companies to do cool things? That only bands and authors do Kickstarters? You’re wrong.
But that still doesn’t mean you should use it.
If you’re considering a Kickstarter, you should think it through. We certainly have some thoughts on that topic. First thing you should know and consider: Kickstarter’s Terms of Service states that you can NOT delete your project, whether it’s successfully funded or not. We knew this going into ours. No big deal we say, except…
Another Terms of Service caveat is that people can comment on your project so long as they back it. Which means…that someone who backs you for a $1 now has carte blanche to be a douche and say whatever they want, about you, your project, your company, your life…whatever they want. So long as they don’t break the law, you’re a sitting duck. You’re faced with defending yourself, and thereby egging them on, or being a schnook and letting people dead-horse you on a page, concept, and project that you spent countless hours of time and energy and thought on. In our case, we also spent thousands of dollars on ours, so to have it used as a way to treat us like dirt is beyond absurd.
Really, think Kickstarter through. We know of a half-dozen companies considering it for their business. Guys, please tread lightly.
Here’s the scene: So this $1 backer (or whatever your lowest number is…most projects have a $5 or $10 minimum pledge. You might want to consider going higher to fend off the riff-raff) can put up links to their site, facebook page, whatever; they can say negative things about you, and Kickstarter just shrugs. They even like it, by their own off-the-record admission, because they think it gets people talking about them and their platform. Yeah, it sure does, Kickstarter. Problem is you make money on successfully funded projects. If people’s projects are squashed, or, worse, people stop using your platform for fund-raising, you have now effectively cost yourselves money. We’re sure you’ve thought this through, right?) So, Kickstarter uses the First Amendment, as cover for their oddball belief that if people are trolling on their site, that’s somehow good for them.
We are big fans of that First Amendment. Freedom of speech is rockin’. Except when people use it as a weapon: On pages, platforms, and soapboxes you created. Imagine the farce that Kickstarter creates: You try to do something cool, and not only are you told you’re an idiot for trying something cool, whether its by some lunatic with a medical condition, or as part of some old, long-standing axe-grinding, or-and this is a stretch, we realize it (kidding!)-as part of outright corporate sabotage, but then you have to just let it live forever in the public, searchable space. Wait a minute…someone wouldn’t do that? Companies wouldn’t sabotage other companies? Think again.
See, the First Amendment is so sacred, and we believe rightly so, it literally provides cover for nasty people to do nasty things if that’s the way they choose to, uh, “Express themselves.” Remember that the next time you read an online review from Yelp, on Google, Angieslist, wherever: You have no idea who is writing it, whether what they say is true, or why they’re writing what they’re writing. Everything, including this article here, should be taken with a gran of salt. Because the reality is that if you have a product or service that is worth funding, you should know that there is possibility that a sub-set of humanoids with an internet connection exist that can try stopping you just because that’s their pathetic lot in life, or a rival company can try to stifle you before you come to market.
And that’s a fact. So before you head out there and try to build your better mousetrap, you might want to ask yourself: Is there another, better way to get this $10,000? Or $50,000? Or $299,000?
If you say, “no, this is the only way,” you’ve been forewarned. Good luck! We wish you safer landings than we experienced!
Having said that, (and obviously experienced the downsides of Kickstarter, including dealing with them ay Kickstarter HQ, and, sadly, dealing with the strange element it attracts and apparently is all too happy to give a louder voice to)…
When we looked into it months and months ago we saw some very cool things happen there. We’ve even backed some projects (yeah baby! That $25 hotdog we bought at Krash Maxwell’s hotdog cart in Woodstock is going to do down like a a $100 ‘dog, believe you me!). Nothing like rolling up one’s sleeves and trying something out. You learn a ton!
In fact, we love the motto “you learn something new everyday” because recently, as a matter of fact, we stumbled upon this regarding Chicago’s own Billy Corgan and his vision to do, basically, a Kickstarter:
The premise is that if you want box sets and other unique compilations of his music, you will have to “Kickstart” it; in other words, buy it before it’s manufactured, and then, once they have the dough in hand, they’ll go and make the box set you asked them to make.
Billy, it’s frigging brilliant. Anyone who thinks it is not has never spent a year and all of their money and developed a product and then gone out to market to find out no one wants it. That sucks. It sucks the life, and the money, right out of you.
Kickstarter, for it’s faults, allows one to make sure there is a demand for something and then they go out and build what was demanded of them.
That’s what we tried doing with Jamboree. Frankly, despite Kickstarter’s obvious flaws in terms of protecting businesses which use it, the concept of “looking before leaping” is a good one. Just beware that that applies to not only testing the market on your “new, hot idea”, but also on whether you should use Kickstarter, or any of the myriad other crowd-funding sites and services, to find out.
So, in the interests of telling it like it is, check out this vid if you please about how Kickstarter works, who uses it, and why. Thanks!
If this stuff piques your interest (the intersection of technology and fan activism and the changing business and music industry environments, etc.) Billy Corgan talks more about technology and how he would like to see an environment of fans getting more closely and actively involved in influencing the making of the music they like here: http://memeburn.com/2012/03/smashing-pumpkins-frontman-talks-social-media-at-sxsw/
This is obviously a stance we at Q101 obviously applaud.
“Liking” something on Facebook does not get things done. It’s nice and all and we enjoy being able to reach out to a lot of people (well, the positive-minded ones anyway), but we don’t live in the world of “Radio” anymore. Even if we or when we get Q101 back on the radio, we’re not so sure we want to go back to the “Radio” way of business: It’s the one where radio reps go out and sell to advertisers “numbers,” “eardrums” and “eyeballs.” These numbers are provided by companies they pay which take a laughingly small sample size of the population (how small? Try 2500 people in a market the size of Chicago), and through supposedly scientific methods extrapolate the listening habits of 9 million people. Notice I didn’t say “buying habits” or “action habits”. No, they measure “listening habits.” And for that matter, they can’t even measure how closely the message is “listened to” or if there is any understanding on the part of the listener. They merely monitor whether the listener was in the presence of the message.
So, eardrums and eyeballs…that’s all that matter in that world. No matter if the eardrums and the eyeballs are attached to people who don’t give a crap about what we’re telling them or what our sponsors are selling them. Radio companies don’t care. They don’t tell Ford, “You WILL sell more cars by putting your ads in front of our fans.” If they do say it, take it from some radio lifers who have been on that side of the world: They don’t mean it. How could they? They have no way of really knowing. They have, well, “numbers” which indicate that there “may” be “eardrums” and “eyeballs” on their client’s messaging. That’s where the “knowing” stops. But as for actual, well, action? Radio never is interested enough to find out. And, frankly, Ford never makes it find out or prove it.
And so it goes.
Well, we just don’t believe in that model. At all. We want to be able to look Ford in the eye and say, we deliver large “numbers” of “eardrums” and “eyeballs”, and when those large “numbers” of body parts hear and see your messages on Q101, there will be action, and that action will be more Ford cars sold because of what we do for you. Or Chevys. Or Hondas. The choice, as always, is up to you.
For our part, we’re merely the conduit between you and the people who have what you want. And to us, the only thing that matters, is action. Results. Proof.
If “liking” was all it took, Joseph Kony would be imprisoned or dead. Clicking the “like” button doesn’t equate to action. It might feel good for a moment, but in the end, the only thing that moves the needle, whether its Billy Corgan, or the makers of some Ipod Nano Watch on Kickstarter, or Ford, or the new Q101…is actual action.
If you feel the same way, please “like” this post.
Billy Corgan is working on opening a cool little tea house in suburban Highland Park. The Smashing Pumpkins founder and frontman lives in the tony North Shore burgh and frankly is tired of not having cool cultural things to do.
“We want to open it because there’s nothing really to do up here,” Corgan said, adding that it’s a beautiful place to live. “But [there's a] lack of culture for someone in their 30s or 40s. I think for such a nice place you need places to go and meet people and exchange ideas. That’s the idea fot the tea house … a place to gather.”
The unnamed tea shop will take over the former U.S. Post Office in the Ravinia neighborhood on Roger Williams Avenue. They recently signed the lease and have been working with Highland Park’s mayor, who Corgan said has been incredibly supportive. The shop, which he’s aiming to open in March or April, will seat about 30 people and have a 1930s Chinese-style tea house vibe. “It’s a little bit of a salon vibe, not modern at all. Very old school,” he said. “What we’re going for is that Chinese-French style.”
Corgan, a self-proclaimed tea guy, said he wants this to be a gathering place with rotating exhibits and speakers. He wants people of mixed ages to come enjoy either a simple cup of tea or become engaged in a lecture on archeology, view local or nationally touring art or listen to live music, but think more Fred Astaire than Radiohead as Corgan likes things with a more vintage feeling. “It has a whimsical feel to it … it’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time in terms of space, but what we put into the space will change,” he said. “My dream number is changing it 15 to 20 times a month where you’re inviting people to talk about film or have an open mic night.”
“Even though it wasn’t the one that sold the most, it’s the one that seems to have come through the best,” Corgan told BBC Radio 1′s Zane Lowe. “As dark a record as Siamese Dream is, there’s a lot of fun in it, it’s almost like we’re kind of laughing at how stupid the whole thing is. It’s like, here’s my pop song about suicide and here’s my epic song about child abuse, and here’s my big middle finger to the indie world.”
Corgan also said he plotted his own death for two months during the album’s recording process.
The first time I saw Smashing Pumpkins perform was at a packed Metro in August of 1993. It was one of the very first shows of the “Siamese Dream” tour. That night, well the beginning of it at least, is seared into my memory: they opened with “Soma”. If you’re familiar with that tune from the band’s sophomore album, it’s hardly the type of song any normal band would open a show with. I remember (as if it were last Friday night at The Riv) swaying to and fro’ like a buoy at sea about 20 feet from Corgan, thinking, “What’s this lunatic doing starting a show with this slow ass song?” The album had been out for just about two weeks, so even though my traveling party had already sampled it plenty by then, we had clearly forgotten how that song kicks you square in the groin half-way in. After the guitars kicked in, the Metro went up for grabs, and it was then completely apparent to me that this guy, Billy Corgan, knew what he was doing. He was a real live rock star. Chicago didn’t have many in those days, not that we’re tripping over them nowadays.
How do I remember this event so vividly? Well, besides my initial incredulity that they would open with such a seemingly “down” track, there’s also the small matter of me being a big puss. I do not like seeing shows from the pit. It’s not fun to me at all. It’s machismo bullshit. I’m into music. I’m into the fanfare of the stage show. I’m not into pissing contests, especially at today’s prices. So when this show started, I was unwittingly in what would become a pit of sorts, however…it wasn’t until half way into the first tune, obviously, that I realized that. I enjoyed the cacophony of sound and took in the whole scene around me for a few bars, then fought my way for the back of the circle of shitheads. I was nearly out when I came upon a 14 year old blocking my path with outstretched arms and a look on his face that said, “Oh no you don’t. No one leaves the pit alive.” Like I said, I really hate pits. I ran that kid over like Jahvid Best plowing down a Bears cornerback. Hopefully that kid ended his career as a pit goalie that night.
Back to Corgan: The dude is a bona fide rockstar. He’s enigmatic. He’s moody. He’s sharp and sarcastic. He’s alternately unassuming and in-your-face. He’s the type of guy who thinks nothing of playing with the emotions of his fans by threatening to retire and leave us behind for good. I for one hope he’s just being dramatic. This guy is a feather in our music scene’s cap and to lose him would leave Chicago music with a void.
I’ve seen much online about how this show was “mostly new stuff” even from “radio people” who should, in theory, know better. I think that’s indicative of a real problem with radio in this town: Billy picks a smattering of “deep cuts” and because they’re not the three “radio-approved hits” radio consultants and researchers have designated, they’re derided and dismissed as “new stuff.” While there was certainly a healthy dose of new stuff (being leaked slowly at www.SmashingPumpkins.com) in this show, you can see for yourself what was played:Quasar
Lightning Strikes Soma Siva
Frail and Bedazzled
Thru the Eyes of Ruby
My Love is Winter
For Martha Encore:
Two-song Reunion set by the band Catherine (which apparently shared a practice space with Corgan and company back in the 80s. They sounded a ton like the SP, so that figures.)
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
A longtime Corgan acquaintance told me he thought Billy looked “bored”. He knows him better than I do (which is to say, not at all), so I’ll defer to his judgement. However, if that’s Corgan “bored”, I’ll take it. The dude rocked. Hard. I was blown away at the selections from Gish, Siamese Dream, and Pisces Iscariot. The new backing band is fine too: The latest guitarist to fill the shoes of James Iha, Jeff Schroeder, is good at it, and Billy never fails to find leggy, curvy bass players to round out (pardon the pun) his rhythm section: Nicole Fiorentino is welcome in my band anytime Billy tires of her. Speaking of the rhythm section, the new Pumpkins drummer, Mike Byrne, is solid despite not having all of the jazzy chops that Jimmy Chamberlin displayed for more than twenty years behind the SP kit (which, by the way, is about the same amount of time the new drummer has been alive, so all in all the dude’s got time on his side!)
The only thing that was missing (and not in my estimation mind you but surely from many if not most in attendance) were “the hits”: “Tonight, Tonight”, “Today,” “Disarm”, and “1979″ were all conspicuously missing from this show. Even a hit in most hardcore fans’ books, “I Am One,” made a brief appearence in the midst of an extended jam of another song and, even then, only in rhythm and not in lyrical form. For my money, I’ll take “Siva”, “Silverfuck”, and “Frail and Bedazzled” over those tunes any day, but surely fans were disappointed. If you’re a diehard fan like me, or a fan of a bruising live show in general, you have to grab a ticket to see this band the next time they’re in Chicago (or near, such as in Milwaukee). I’ve only seen them 4 or 5 times in all, but this was second only to that first time at The Metro 18 years ago. Even the two-song “reunion set” by Corgan’s friends “Catherine” was a perfect example of why, for all of his moodiness, Corgan should be celebrated: People were heading for the exits when the four middle age bandmates came out and joined Corgan for two tunes (once they figured out they weren’t witnessing a full on Pumpkins reunion of Jimmy, James and D’arcy that is). While I was not totally digging their sound, on the inside I was loving every minute of it. Corgan used his rockstar status, his bully pulpit if you will, and made a couple of thousand people sit through a mini-set of a band it did not want to hear. He’s done it before with acts like the detestable band, The Frogs. He’ll do it again. I love that. Stick around as a couple more decades, would ya Billy? Chicago needs you and your chutzpah bro! For every time you foist a band 15 years since dead on us for 8 minutes of what should instead be the encore we demanded and were supposedly granted, you also delight us with unexpected surprises like “Soma” that a lesser band, concerned with doing what is expected of them, would fear to!
Sight of the night: WXRT Radio’s Lin Brehmer TOTALLY rocking out. I mean, this dude was hopping around, headbanging, air-guitar, the works. I thought he was the head coach of The University of Minnesota at one point. I have to hand it to him: whether it was real jubilation or merely mugging it up for clients and station staffers, the dude lets it all hang out and leaves it on the field. Well done. Now, if only I believed you are my best friend in the world…
In other Corgan news: In November, Billy’s wrestling promotion, Resistance Pro, holds its debut event at Excalibur. We’re hoping for a Q101.com party with those dudes, but we’ll see!
And, don’t forget, in honor of Billy and his long-standing relationship (it’s a love affair really, right Billy?) with Q101, we’re playing a Pumpkins song every hour throughout the month of October. Check it out at http://live.Q101.com
Hear more of what’s on Billy’s mind as he opines about his beloved Cubs, his new wrastlin’ outfit, and much more courtesy of ESPN 1000 Radio:
If the m3s here don’t work for some reason, you can rifle through the “Waddle and Silvy” podcasts at www.espn1000.com from Oct 13.
By Q101.com co-owner Mike Noonan
Want to review shows and more? Show us your stuff at http://bloggas.Q101.com