Tag Archives: Smashing Pumpkins

Five From the Archive: Smashing Pumpkins in 2011

The Smashing Pumpkins at Le Grand Rex in Paris, France. May 22, 2007

Rolling Stone recently ran a Readers’ Poll of The Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs, as selected by their readers. The response was so large and varied that they decided to make it a Top 20 list instead of the regular Top 10 with Rolling Stone Readers’ Polls. I had been planning on running a Five From the Archive piece on the Smashing Pumpkins anyway, and when I read this, I thought it afforded the perfect opportunity. Here’s what I’ve done.

Last fall, the new Smashing Pumpkins lineup – Jimmy Chamberlin is out on drums – did a short tour of the states in October, and a quick jaunt into Europe in November. So I chose five songs from those shows that were also included in the Reader’s Poll. All but one of the selections are from Siamese Dreams, for two reasons. First, the album dominates the Readers’ Poll. Second, I have a special attachment to the record. I was a bit obsessed with it when it came out. I went on and on about what a brilliant set of songs I thought it was, to anyone who would listen. Including some GloNo colleagues I knew back then.

1. Smashing Pumpkins – “Starla”.  This epic length track, from Siamese Dream days, came in at Number 2o in the Readers’ Poll. I remember “Starla” from one of the many CD singles they were releasing at that time. I’m going to be honest with you. Some of my college buddies and I enjoyed sparking up to this one at the time. Full show: October 7, 2011 – Fox Theater, Oakland, CA

2. Smashing Pumpkins – “Geek U.S.A.”. This one of my favorite tracks from Siamese Dream.  I loved the three song sequence on the album of “Geek U.S.A.”, “Mayonaise”, and “Spaceboy”. I thought it represented some pretty innovative rock and roll at the time. It came in at Number 13 in the Reader’s Poll. Full show: October 14, 2011 – Riviera Theater, Chicago, IL

3. Smashing Pumpkins – “Zero”. This is the one not on Siamese Dreams. If you guessed that, give yourself a gold star. Full show: November 13, 2011 – 02 Academy, Glasgow, Scotland came in at Number 12 in the Reader’s Poll.

4. Smashing Pumpkins – “Soma” Apparently, this is also the brand name of a drug called Carisoprodol. It’s a muscle relaxant. “Soma” came in at Number 4 in the Reader’s Poll. Full show: November 11, 2011 – Manchester Apollo, Manchester, UK

5. Smashing Pumpkins – “Cherub Rock”. The recording for this one isn’t as hi fi as the others, or something. It’s quieter, anyway. Good rocker. “Cherub Rock” came in at Number 3 in the Reader’s Poll. That’s the closet we got to the number one song. Full show: October 17, 2011 – 930 Club, Washington, DC

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and the author, Matthew F.

Billy Corgan vs. Pavement

Ha ha ha. Sole remaining Pumpkin Billy Corgan just shot off a series of tweets dissing Pavement, calling them sell outs who “represent the death of the alternative dream.” So awesome.

“Just found out SP is playing with Pavement in Brazil. It’s gonna be 1 of those New Orleans type funerals. I say that because they represent the death of the alternative dream, and we follow with the affirmation of life. Funny how those who pointed the big finger of ‘sell out’ are the biggest offenders now…yawn. They have no love. By the way, we’ll be the band up there NEW songs because we have the love xx.”

Does Billy really believe in “the alternative dream”? Or is he just being ironic? Whatever.

When asked for comment, Stephen Malkmus replied, “I don’t understand what they mean and I could really give a fuck.”

Continue reading Billy Corgan vs. Pavement

Smashing Pumpkins – A Stitch In Time

MP3: The Smashing Pumpkins – “A Stitch In Time”

This is the third song from Billy Corgan’s Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project. This time we’ve got an acoustic pop song with psychedelic “sitar” noises and synths. I’ve tried hard to listen to these songs without preconceived hangups. I mean, it’s easy to put on your “snarky blogga” hat and make fun of old Uncle Fester, but the internet doesn’t need much more of that.

So yeah, of the three released to date, this is easily the best. It’s not trying that hard. I’ll come right out and admit I like this song. It’s good. “Don’t let ’em lay their trips on you / There’s somewhere I’ve just gotta be…”

Smashing Pumpkins: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Continue reading Smashing Pumpkins – A Stitch In Time

Smashing Pumpkins – Widow Wake My Mind

Save Your Hearing Now

MP3: Smashing Pumpkins – “Widow Wake My Mind”

“I’m looking for a love that I can’t find / To be mine / A love that’s mine / It’ll shine in my mind / A love that shines.”

Now I’m not one of those guys who thinks that dumb lyrics automatically wreck a song. A lot of my favorite songs have stupid lyrics. But you can’t take yourself too seriously if you’re going to get away with terrible lyrics. And Billy Corgan takes himself very seriously. Man, is he trying to write an anthem here? About a love that shines? Oy. Are you real this time?

Photo by kristinburns.

Smashing Pumpkins: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Continue reading Smashing Pumpkins – Widow Wake My Mind

Smashing Pumpkins – Song for a Son

MP3: The Smashing Pumpkins – “A Song for a Son”

Six-minute ballad which Billy Corgan describes as “something to do about not having any kids and thinking about why I don’t have any kids. And then also kind of thinking about my relationship with my father — there’s some kind of connection there, but it’s not overt.”

The Smashing Pumpkins: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web

Continue reading Smashing Pumpkins – Song for a Son

D’Arcy Dishes on Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, and Davy Jones

DarcyOriginal Smashing Pumpkins bass player D’Arcy Wretzky unexpectedly called in to Q101 on their request line to ask about an upcoming Davy Jones show and to find out the name of the band who sings “Panic Switch.”

What you are about to hear is the unedited phone call. Edited versions of this have aired on Q101. Remember that this is merely a phone call; NOT an interview.

She sounds quirky and goofy, but not nearly as fucked up as Billy Corgan has made her out to be. She sounds pretty happy, actually.

Ethical question: are radio stations allowed to broadcast “personal” conversations from a request line? I’m sure it’s legal, but is it right? By the way, I recognize that by passing this along I am complicit in the breech of ethics (if that’s what this is). What do you think? It feels a little wrong to be hearing this.

MP3: D’Arcy Wretzky with Ryan Manno on Q101

Whatever happened to the Chicago Alternative Class of 1993?

Chicago Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis takes a look back to the promising music scene in Chicago in the mid-90s: The curse of alternative nostalgia: What the heck happened to the Class of ’93? For those of you too young to remember or too otherwise occupied to give a shit at the time, the Class of ’93 included Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and Smashing Pumpkins. DeRo checks back after a decade and a half to see where they are now:

“Alternative to what?” we may once again ask, and finally the answer is obvious: “Absolutely nothing.” Like so many rock bands before them, 15 years down the road, the most promising members of the Class of ’93 are treading dangerously close to that sad but true scene in “Spinal Tap” where the aging metal legends find themselves playing at the state fair.

Of course, this is the same conclusion that famously grouchy Steve Albini came to, well, fifteen years ago in his fantastic letter-to-the-editor of the Chicago Reader in January 1994, Three Pandering Sluts and Their Music Press Stooge:

In your rush to pat these three pandering sluts on the heinie, you miss what has been obvious to the “bullshit” crowd all along: These are not “alternative” artists any more than their historical precursors. They are by, of and for the mainstream. Liz Phair is Rickie Lee Jones (more talked about than heard, a persona completely unrooted in substance, and a fucking chore to listen to), Smashing Pumpkins are REO Speedwagon (stylistically appropriate for the current college party scene, but ultimately insignificant) and Urge Overkill are Oingo Boingo (Weiners in suits playing frat party rock, trying to tap a goofy trend that doesn’t even exist). You only think they are noteworthy now because some paid publicist has told you they are, and you, fulfilling your obligation as part of the publicity engine that drives the music industry, spurt about them on cue.

Does rockcrit get any better than the phrase, “Weiners in suits playing frat party rock”? I’m going to incorporate that phrase into my everyday language.

Iha and D'Arcy Sue for Pumpkins Royalties

Just when we’d almost forgotten that they were ever even in the band, James Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky-Brown have sued Virgin Records for not paying them for “music downloads and other digitally delivered Smashing Pumpkins music.”

Iha and Wretzky-Brown, who were founding members of the Smashing Pumpkins, said in their lawsuit that, five years after the band first broke up in 2000, Virgin entered into a deal with Billy Corgan, 41, and began licensing Smashing Pumpkins music through electronic transmissions.

“To date, Virgin continues to engage in the exploitation of electronic transmissions of the band’s recordings without plaintiffs’ consent,” the lawsuit states.

It’s nice to know they’re alive!

MP3: Smashing Pumpkins – “Fuck You (An Ode To No One)” (live in Chicago, October 25, 1995)

Pumpkins Sue Over Credibility

Claiming that Virgin Records’ use of Smashing Pumpkins songs in various promotional deals has damaged the band’s artistic credibility, the Smashing Pumpkins filed suit against their label for unspecified damages and an injunction to stop the label from future deals.

The band claims that the label is not authorized to make these sorts of deals and that the only active agreement they have is to allow Virgin to sell digital downloads of their music. They say that the unauthorized use of their music in promotions has damaged their credibility with fans and threatens their “artistic integrity.”

“[We’ve] worked hard for over two decades to accumulate a considerable amount of goodwill in the eyes of the public,” the band said in a breach-of-contract suit filed on Monday.

Furthermore, they say they would “never grant such authority to Virgin, or any other entity.”

So, if you hear any Pumpkins songs in future commercials, call the cops.

Question of the day: Do the Pumpkins have any artistic integrity and is it jeopardized by these promotional deals?

Previously: Smashing Pumpkins Giving Up on Albums?; Kid Dies in Pumpkins Pit; Buddyhead Gossip Update

Smashing Pumpkins Giving Up on Albums?

“Billy and I are going to start working every day like we used to, but I don’t think we will make records again,” Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain was quoted in a BuzzNet post..

The idea seems to be to exploit the trend going back to singles as fans buy more individual songs and fewer long playing albums. Since their contract with Reprise is done, the Smashing Pumpkins seem to be watching Radiohead and NIN and have adjusted their own plan accordingly.

“People just don’t buy records anymore. Anyone under the age of twenty-four just buys songs. It’s just in our best interest to release blocks of songs. And I think what we’ll do – not to let the cat out of the bag too much – is to create the framework where we can release a number of songs and maybe create a title.”

Given Billy Corgan’s penchant for vast themes that veers on wankery, does it make sense to go the singles route?

BTW, maybe they should concentrate on redesigning that awful website of theirs. Sheesh!

Classic Pumpkins single:

Smashing Pumpkins Disarm video