Billy Corgan Extorted Over New Smashing Pumpkins Album: 'The FBI Got Involved'

8 May 2023 | 11:57 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

"The FBI got involved… I don’t know how they got what they got.”

(Source: Supplied)

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On Friday (5 May), The Smashing Pumpkins released their 33-track rock opera, ATUM. But according to vocalist Billy Corgan, six months before its release, he was forced to pay off a hacker threatening to leak nine tracks from the new album.

In a new interview with KROQ’s Klein/Ally Show, Corgan revealed that six months before the album’s release – when the band was in the throes of mixing and mastering – a hacker got a hold of some of the music. The FBI got involved and prevented the leak before it could happen.

“They were all probably the most catchy, single-y type songs,” Corgan stated. “So it’s like, not only is it six months too early, you’re pretty much giving away the album before you even have a chance to set your feet into the ground.

“Somehow, some hacker was offering the files for money, and we were able to trace it and pay off and keep it from leaking. The FBI got involved… I don’t know how they got what they got.”

Corgan also said that the extortion attempt was paid “out of my pocket”. 

He added, “What we were able to do was stop the leak from happening, because it was a mercenary person who had hacked somebody — I don’t want to say who — and they had other stuff from other artists. It wasn’t like some Pumpkins fan that was hellbent on breaking it on Reddit. Somehow, they gave some information that allowed the FBI to track them.”

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The stuff from other artists was “shocking” and included “classic stuff from bands of the past probably doing reissues”. You can check out the full interview below.

The Smashing Pumpkins returned to Australia last month for the first time in eight years. Their comeback was highly anticipated, to say the least.

The band’s World Is A Vampire festival was a triumph – “From the curation of bands (No Redhook in Sydney, unfortunately) to the wrestling sideshow to the truly impressive lighting display, this was an event that really proved how well live music can be showcased and packaged,” our review concluded. “It just takes some ingenuity and enough people willing to take a chance.”