Welcome to Producer’s Chair, a new mini-column in which Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman offers his own career advice to artists and various figureheads in the film and music industry. Last week, Roffman discussed why Frank Ocean should keep listening closely to Marvin Gaye. This week, Editorial Director Matt Melis is checking in to offer Mr. Billy Corgan some literary tips. Take all with a grain of salt — well, unless you’re the topic of discussion.
The Billy Corgan show is in full effect in 2014. News of new music, reissued albums, fired drummers, Tommy Lee collaborations, literature-inspired epic-length teahouse performances, and cute kitty pictures abounds. The latest update from the Corgan camp confirmed that the Smashing Pumpkins frontman is nearing the halfway point on a memoir (God Is Everywhere from Here to There) so sprawling that it makes his colossal magnum opus, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, feel like a radio-edited single.
I’ve never written a memoir myself, but I have occasionally jobbed as a literary critic and literature teacher and currently act as president of Consequence of Sound’s Book Club. That last gig requires me to read a music memoir each month while usually skimming several others. And without a doubt, there are several dos and don’ts that every musician-turned-memoirist needs to consider. So, before he crosses the point of no return—which he probably passed a few hundred pages ago—here are five memoir-writing tips for Billy Corgan.