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Interview by Neville Pearce & Kris Peters

The World Is A Vampire Festival – featuring The Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction, RedHook, Battlesnake and Amyl & The Sniffers – kicked off last weekend in Brisbane with shows at Eaton’s Hill Hotel and Sandstone Point Hotel in Bribie Island.

HEAVY celebrated this momentous occasion by joining forces with Neville Pearce from Everblack Podcast to conduct backstage interviews, with this chat with Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins and his World Champion wrestler Kerry Morton a feature of the day.

We start by talking about Corgan’s goal in bringing a festival like The World Is A Vampire to life.

“We did it in Mexico City recently and had about 30,000 people,” he smiled. “On the wrestling side it was the NWA versus AAA – AAA are the biggest Mexican-based wrestling promotion – so it was a real honour to work with them. And then of course we had 30,000 fans coming out to see an incredible line-up of bands. The idea is to try and bring back a true alternative festival. As we’ve seen with many of the major festivals that were once alternative, and they have gone very pop – that’s their business so all good – but I came of age with Lollapalooza in the 1990s when it was a travelling festival – and it was very important for us and a generation of fans to see a truly alternative line-up. And think of that line-up. Beastie boys, George Clinton, Green Day, Urge Overkill, The Breeders, it was an incredible line-up and to this day people still stop me and say I was there. So you’ve gotta make memories, but it’s important to turn over that alternative culture.”

Neville elaborates on that by pointing out how important such festivals are to the younger generation who are being brought up more on computer games and the internet and may not have had the opportunity to be swept up in the world of such a festival.

“In many ways I grew up somewhat dispossessed by the world and I think it’s even harder for young people today with the internet and social pressures, identity being a huge issue,” Corgan measured. “Who are you? I think it’s important that young people, if they feel alienated by society – and many do. Not everybody, but many do. They can come to a festival like The World Is A Vampire and find like-minded people and to celebrate like-minded artists. People always say, how does wrestling fit into that? Well wrestling really is one of the true last counter-culture things in the world. Just the fact that anybody even asks the question why wrestling? That just shows you that it still remains outside of the mainstream. That’s the whole point. We want to present an alternative culture, and it doesn’t stop with wrestling. It’s fashion and lots of other things.”

In the full interview, Corgan talks more about the festival, future plans for it, the wrestling side of the entertainment, Carrie’s history as a wrestler and putting it all on the line as champ, interviewing Eddie Van Halen, The Smashing Pumpkins new album Atum and more.

The World Is A Vampire Festival hits Melbourne this Saturday, April 22, Ballarat on Sunday, Adelaide on Wednesday, April 26, Melbourne the following day, Newcastle on April 29 and the Gold Coast on April 30.

Tickets available from www.oneworldentertainment.com.au

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