Tony Iommi Gave Bold Advice To Billy Corgan

In a recent interview with Joe Naylor (as transcribed by UG), founder and CEO of Reverend Guitars, The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan delved into the evolution of his signature guitars and shared insights into the influence of legendary guitarist Tony Iommi on his approach to sound.

Corgan started the conversation by addressing the tendency of rock fans to romanticize the “old” sound of their favorite musicians, drawing parallels with Tony Iommi’s journey. Despite the iconic status of Black Sabbath’s early works, Iommi, according to Corgan, actively sought to evolve from the classic tone that fans adore. Corgan recalled a conversation with Iommi about updating the sound for the modern era:

“I remember talking to Tony Iommi years ago about his relationship with certain amp makers. He was talking about how people romanticize the old sound, but how he’s trying to update that into the modern era.”

Corgan admitted that, at the time, he didn’t fully grasp the concept. However, with age, he came to understand the delicate balance between preserving a signature sound and ensuring its relevance in the contemporary music landscape:

“At the time I didn’t get it, but as I’ve gotten older I realized that you want your sound, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be dated or old. You want your sound to be brought into the 21st century.”

The interview then shifted to Corgan’s own musical journey and the development of his Reverend signature guitars. Citing examples from The Smashing Pumpkins’ repertoire, such as ‘Bodies’ and ‘Zero,’ Corgan explained his quest for a darker tone with less high-end, reminiscent of the Tony Iommi low-mid note. He highlighted the impressive ability of his Reverend guitars to strike a balance between vintage and modern tones:

“The most impressive thing about the guitar is its ability to get a vintage tone but find that balance with modernity.”

To achieve this, Corgan and Reverend opted for an alder body in the next generation of guitars, departing from the early korina builds. The Railhammer pickups, inspired by the company’s bespoke Humcutter ones, played a crucial role in achieving the desired sonic characteristics. Corgan expressed his satisfaction with the new guitars, emphasizing the ease of obtaining his signature sound with any amp:

“I get to play brand-new Reverend guitars and it’s not like I’m getting an old tone. I’m getting a new version of the tone. I can get my sound out the box, literally with any amp, whereas in the past it would have to be the right amp and the right guitar.”

The interview, conducted in honor of the limited run of Corgan signature axes with an Outfield Ivy finish exclusive to Chicago Music Exchange, provides a fascinating glimpse into the meticulous craftsmanship and artistic considerations behind Billy Corgan’s evolving sonic palette.

About Dustin Schumacher

Dustin is a reporter for Desperate Times that loves all forms of music ranging from Disco to Grunge to Hardcore to Rap and Pop music. DJ is also a musician. Dustin's hobbies include bodybuilding, fashion, fragrances, and watching professional wrestling. His favorite band is Alice In Chains. Dustin has reported for Alternative Nation, Britpopnews, and Wrestling-Edge. You can contact us at Desperate Times at grungereport

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