Billy Corgan has replaced his former group, the Smashing Pumpkins, with not one but two new bands: the electric Zwan, currently touring the U.S., and Djali Zwan, featuring the same lineup -- guitarists Matt Sweeney and David Pajo, bassist Paz Lenchantin and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin -- but playing different, acoustic material. And the singer-guitarist plans to film Djali Zwan in the studio this fall, with an album and DVD to be issued early next year.
"We're going to do it Let It Be
style," Corgan says, referring to the documentary about the 1970 Beatles album. "The album would be recorded live, with the cameras rolling. When you get the DVD, you can watch the takes on the album being done."
He describes the songs he's written for Djali Zwan as "more folk-driven, rooted in traditional music. I don't want to compromise veins of material to fit into an electric band, which I often did in the Pumpkins. With Djali Zwan, I can write an acoustic song and not worry how it's going to stand up against some rock epic."
Djali Zwan made their live debut as a quartet -- Corgan, Sweeney, Pajo and Chamberlin -- at the end of 2001; Lenchantin joined the two Zwans in '02. But the roots of Djali Zwan go back to Corgan's last years with the Pumpkins, who broke up in December 2000. Corgan had been writing material adapted from old folk and gospel songbooks. From that came new originals such as "Friends and Lovers," "Love Lies in Ruins" and "Rivers We Can't Cross," all slated for the forthcoming album, which will also feature Lenchantin's sister Anna on cello.
"We're not trying to be country blues," Corgan says of Djali Zwan. "But Djali Zwan is its own thing, a totally separate band. It would be exciting if we could pull this off."
Written by DAVID FRICKE for RollingStone.com News