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Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins bring tour to town


UPDATE: The show, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 4 and cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, has been rescheduled for Dec. 9. Tickets from the original show will be honored. 

Billy Corgan isn't looking for a nostalgia trip.

"We found over the last few years of playing that this kind of sentimental culture pervaded everything to the point where we had audiences coming in expecting nothing but an oldies show," said the frontman of the Smashing Pumpkins. "So we felt we had to make a clear statement. This band is going to continue to make new music and to play new music.

"We're not going to sacrifice new music at the expense of sentimentality," Corgan continued. "If people aren't going to come, well, they're not going to come. Too bad. We'll figure it out."

The Smashing Pumpkins perform Saturday at the Patriot Center. The group is touring in support of its latest album, "Oceania," which dropped in June.

Smashing Pumpkins
Where: Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Info: With Morning Parade; $55; 800-745-3000; patriotcenter.com

This is not the Smashing Pumpkins that rose to be one of the biggest bands of the 1990s. Corgan, the group's leader, is the only remaining original member. Guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne now fill the shoes once occupied by Jame Iha, D'arcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlin.

Corgan is adamant that the current tour is not about looking back. He's focused on the present and the future of the Smashing Pumpkins, with only a passing glance at the past.

"People don't come to rock 'n' roll shows to just take a trip down memory lane," Corgan said. "Especially the younger generation that comes. They don't have a memory. They want to experience something that they can only get from you. So what is it about the Smashing Pumpkins that differentiates us from 99 percent of alternative music? We play with a certain veracity and passion that's unique."

Corgan divides the set list on this tour into two distinct parts. The band opens with "Oceania" in its entirety, followed by a collection of well-known songs such as "Ava Adore" and "Today." Corgan acknowledges that many fans would leave perfectly content having listened to two hours of the group's most well-known tunes.

"Oceania," which has garnered mostly positive reviews, benefits from the band's four members having played together for a couple of years.

"I think it was more about us working together to find what we're good at and not just say there's a certain sound, here's the monkey suit," Corgan said. "For whatever reason, people really like the voice of the four of us together."

Not that there isn't a little bit of nostalgia on the Smashing Pumpkins front. Corgan has been reissuing its earlier albums, with plenty of added material. The latest in this effort will be "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," the 1995 double-album opus that spawned the hits "Tonight, Tonight," "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and "1979." The reissue, which is scheduled for a Dec. 4 release, will include 64 bonus tracks, including alternative takes, live performances and previously unreleased material.

"That's my baby," Corgan said. "I pick everything that goes on it. What I try to do with the reissues is kind of take somebody into our world to hear what we were hearing, to get a sense of the process of how the album was made."