Billy Corgan Says He Has "65 Unreleased Songs" for a Forthcoming Zwan Reissue

The supergroup's lone LP, 'Mary Star of the Sea,' turned 20 this year

Photo: Nadia Davoli

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Apr 19, 2023

We'd like to think Billy Corgan is still chipping away at the long-awaited Machina reissues when he isn't writing rock operas or "Spellbinding" new singles, but this year includes another anniversary milestone for a pair of Smashing Pumpkins in himself and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.

This past January marked the 20th anniversary of Mary Star of the Sea, the only album from alt-rock supergroup Zwan. Active between 2001 and 2003, the group featured Corgan, Chamberlin, bassist Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle) and guitarists David Pajo (Slint) and Matt Sweeney.

These decades later, Corgan hasn't forgotten that a reissue of the LP was on his lengthy list of musical projects. Asked by Rolling Stone about plans for a rerelease, the vocalist answered, "Actually, I'm working on the box set right now. I think there's 65 unreleased songs."

At present, Mary Star of the Sea is not available to stream digitally, and while CD copies are plenty available online, vinyl pressings on resale sites like Discogs sell for three-figure sums.

Asked when the reissue could arrive, Corgan shared that he isn't sure, explaining that there's still a deal to hammer out with distributor Thirty Tigers.

"I'm working on the box as we speak. I'm very excited because honestly, I personally think the best Zwan music didn't get released — the acoustic side of the band, which is really what we should have done, and not tried to do an alternative pop record. That would've been the stronger effort, I think, and a more timeless thing," he divulged.

Corgan continued: "I'm glad to see that people have reappraised some of the music, because it is strong. In many ways, it's like the great lost Pumpkins record. The quick backstory on it was when things started to go south in the band when we were making the record, Jimmy and I just took the record over and basically turned it into a Pumpkins record, because I felt the shadow of the record company over me."

The Rolling Stone interview, which you can read in full here, also sees Corgan give an update on his memoirs. "I put it down. I wrote about half of it, which was half a million words, and I turned it in," he shared. "The publisher loved it and said, 'We want to wait for you to finish it before we start putting it all out.' And I asked them, 'Why don't you start putting it out and I'll keep writing?' So then it just ground to a halt, and I stopped writing, because it was such a herculean effort just to get to the half a million."

Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins will kick off a North American tour this summer behind their three-part rock opera ATUM. The effort's third and final instalment arrives May 5.

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