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The Smashing Pumpkins’ Fill ‘Drum + Fife’ With Flutes

The Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan

“I will bang this drum till my dying day,” cries a defiant Billy Corgan on the Smashing Pumpkins’ new single, “Drums + Fife.” Packed with exactly those things — percussion and flute, natch — the fast-paced tune actually has Mötley Crüe member Tommy Lee banging said drums, but, you know, technicalities. Speaking to NME, the Pumpkins frontman (and only remaining original memeber) delves into more detail about Monuments To An Elegy‘s second single.

‘Drum + Fife’ was originally a folk song. We really had a problem getting it off its almost dour Irish balladeer aspect. And I must give a lot of credit to Tommy Lee, because he’s the one who turned the corner. Without saying it he was reacting in a way that told me he thought it was a bit boring. Tommy loves energy. Tommy wants to feel excitement. So he’s playing the song and he’s like ‘I know this is a good song but it’s just not working.’ And he said to me ‘Do you mind if I tinker around with it?’And so he got on the computer and used his experience in dance music and kind of turned the corner and found some loops and some beats and suddenly I was like…’wow’. It’s almost like mid 80s new wave or something and it reminded me a little bit of early U2 or Big Country. The open strut made the Irish ballad part of the song come alive and have more of a expansive quality and from there on it got a lot easier.

Hear the new cut via NME, and grab Monuments To An Elegy when it drops on December 9.