Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan to write wrestling storylines

NEW YORK (AFP) - Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan on Monday was named senior producer of a professional wrestling programme and said he would try to push boundaries on cultural issues.

The alternative rock icon will develop characters and write storylines for Impact Wrestling, a weekly television show that airs on the channel Destination America.

Corgan is a lifelong fan of professional wrestling, which employs staged fights for theatrical television programming, and in 2011 founded a promotion company for bouts in his native Chicago.

The 48-year-old rocker said that he has frequently had to defend his interest in wrestling to naysayers.

"What they do is really mind-boggling," he said of professional wrestlers.

"I believe in how it brings such joy to fans and how it really gets into some interesting topics and storylines and pushes the boundaries of social culture in a way that most businesses are afraid to," Corgan said in an interview released by Impact Wrestling's parent company, TNA Entertainment.

Corgan, in a separate interview with entertainment magazine Variety, said that he would "break new ground" in how professional wrestling addresses contemporary issues.

"I think there's an endless supply of things in our culture where people are dealing with race or with gender, et cetera, and you can get into these things in a way that is both revelatory and enlightening," he said.

Professional wrestling historically has not been known for its subtlety, with industry leader World Wrestling Entertainment in its heyday in the 1980s known especially for casting foreign characters in stereotypical lights.

Smashing Pumpkins, with Corgan as its chief musician and songwriter, became one of the iconic US bands of the 1990s through emotionally intense songs that often brought an orchestral atmosphere to a heavy-guitar base.

Corgan took on the wrestling role despite a busy time for Smashing Pumpkins, which is recording a follow-up to last year's album Monuments to an Elegy.

Smashing Pumpkins in June will go on its first acoustic tour before a series of summer shows with Goth rocker Marilyn Manson, who has cited Corgan as a mentor.

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