The Smashing Pumpkins

(Redirected from Smashing Pumpkins) The Smashing Pumpkins (circa 1995) left to right: James Iha, D'Arcy, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin.

The Smashing Pumpkins (previously known as simply Smashing Pumpkins) were a critically and commercially successful American alternative rock band of the 1990s and early 21st century.

Less punk influenced than many of their contemporaries, their distinctive sound featured a dense, guitar-heavy sound and combined elements of heavy metal, psychedelia, power pop, acoustic music, shoegazer-style production and, in later recordings, electronica. They produced a series of critically and commercially successful records between their formation in 1988 and dissolution in 2000.

Early years: Foundation and Gish

At the age of 19, singer and guitarist Billy Corgan left his native Chicago, Illinois, moving to St. Petersburg, Florida with his Goth band The Marked. The band had limited success and quickly dissolved, and Corgan returned to Chicago, taking a job in a record store. There he met guitarist James Iha. They began writing songs with the aid of a drum machine. In 1988, Corgan met bassist D'Arcy Wretzky at another band's gig in Chicago; Wretzky would join the band shortly after; Wretsky and Iha would eventually have a personal relationship. Though they played their first gig as a duo at a Polish bar, jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was brought in to the band after Cabaret Metro owner Joe Shanahan agreed to book the Pumpkins, provided they threw out the drum machine and recruited a human drummer instead.

In 1990, they released their first record, a limited edition single called "I Am One" on local Chicago label Limited Potential. The single sold out and they released another single, "Tristessa" on Sub Pop Records, after which they signed to Virgin Records. To give them indie credibility, Virgin matched the band with Sonic Youth producer Butch Vig and released their 1991 debut album Gish on Virgin subsidiary label Caroline Records. Named after actress Lillian Gish, the record fused heavy metal guitars, psychedelia and Dream pop and went on to become a minor success. During the Gish tour, Iha and Wretsky went through a messy breakup, Chamberlin became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and Corgan entered a deep depression, writing some songs for the upcoming album in the parking garage where he lived at the time.

Siamese Dream: Mainstream success

Siamese Dream, the band's 1993 release.

To counteract his depression, Corgan worked overtime, playing all of the guitar, bass and vocal tracks for the 1993 follow up album, Siamese Dream. Contemporary music press portrayed Corgan as something of a tyrant during the recording sessions, with rumors circulating that Corgan had unilaterally erased and redone guitar and bass parts previously recorded by Iha and D'arcy, claims which band members say were greatly exaggerated. Corgan went on record saying if the record didn't sell well, the band would break up. Siamese Dream sold four million copies in the US, and the videos for the songs "Today" and "Disarm" garnered the Pumpkins international attention through heavy rotation on MTV.

In 1994, Virgin released a B-sides/rarities compilation Pisces Iscariot and a concert video Vieuphoria. A CD version of Vieuphoria, entitled Earphoria was released to radio stations only. In 2002, Vieuphoria (on DVD) and Earphoria were released to the public.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the band's 1995 double CD.

Following relentless touring to support the recordings, the band took time off to write the follow up album. Corgan worked non-stop over the next year and wrote, according to statements in interviews, about 50 songs for the next album. Following this spell of concentrated creativity, the Pumpkins went back into the studio with producer Flood to work on what Corgan described as "The Wall of the '90s," a comparison with Pink Floyd's famous double concept album.

The result was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a double-disc (triple on vinyl) album release featuring 28 songs and lasting over 2 hours. While the idea of an overriding concept was dropped somewhere along the way, Mellon Collie became even more successful than Siamese Dream, selling over twelve million copies worldwide. It also garnered seven 1996 Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. Its hit songs included "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "Tonight, Tonight," "1979" and "Zero." Many of the remaining songs that, for one reason or another, did not make it onto Mellon Collie were released as B-sides to the singles, eventually compiled in the now out of print The Aeroplane Flies High box set.

The band's fortunes changed significantly on July 12, 1996, when touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and Chamberlin overdosed on heroin in a hotel room in New York City. Melvoin died, and Chamberlin was arrested for drug possession. Chamberlin was subsequently fired from the band.

Though the band finished the tour with another drummer and keyboardist, their profile had taken a marked downturn. Billy Corgan became something of a hate figure amongst the hard rock press following a statement in which he declared rock to be dead. He stated that Mellon Collie would be the last Pumpkins record of that type, and that rock was, for himself at least, becoming stale due to a lack of willingness to experiment from other rock artists.

Adore

Billy Corgan

Recorded following the death of Corgan's mother, 1998's Adore represented a significant change of style from the Pumpkins' previous guitar based rock, veering into electronica, trimming much of the guitar-driven sonic underpinnings and infused with a much heavier mood. The record was cut using drum machines and was distinctly experimental. Corgan also modified his public image, shedding his alternative hipster look for a dark Gothic persona, and began hanging around Marilyn Manson. Although Adore received quite favorable reviews and was nominated for Best Alternative Performance at the Grammys, the album sold only 3 million copies.

Machina

The return of a rehabilitated Jimmy Chamberlin for 2000's MACHINA/The Machines of God signaled a return to a more familiar Pumpkins sound, but failed to widely connect with fans. MACHINA also brought Corgan's desire to write a concept album to fruition.

The band's lineup changed again at this point. Bass player Wretzky departed after the recording of MACHINA/The Machines of God, and former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur was recruited for the "Sacred and Profane" tour in support of the album.

Breakup

In May 2000, Billy Corgan announced the band's decision to break up at the end of that year following additional touring and recording. In a first for an established band, the group's final album, MACHINA II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, was released in September 2000 in a limited pressing on vinyl with permission and instructions for free redistribution on the internet by fans. The Smashing Pumpkins' final commercial recording was a single, "Untitled".

On December 2, 2000, Smashing Pumpkins played their final concert at The Metro, the same Chicago club where their career had effectively started twelve years earlier. A DVD of the 4 hour concert is still in the works.

The Smashing Pumpkins won many awards during their careers (including two Grammy awards: Hard Rock Performance 1996 for "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", and Hard Rock Performance 1997 for "The End Is the Beginning Is the End"), headlined several major tours, appeared on a few movie soundtracks and released an impressive number of songs in a fairly short time.

Post Breakup

2001 saw the release of a posthumous greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples (Greatest Hits), which included various singles spanning their decade long career. The now rare double disc version of the album, released as a limited edition, included a B-sides/rarities collection called Judas O. A greatest hits DVD was also released around the same time. It compiled all of the Pumpkins promo videos from Gish to MACHINA, the rare promo for "I Am One", a 15 minute short film called "Try" as well as a TV performance of "Geek U.S.A.". It also features the performance of "Fuck You (An Ode To No One)" from their final gig at the Metro. (There is one notable omission, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", used in the Batman and Robin soundtrack. This is excluded because the rights are owned by Warner Brothers, who loaned out the band from their regular label, Virgin Records.)

Corgan and Chamberlin would reunite in 2001 as members of Corgan's next project, the shortlived Zwan. Their only album, Mary Star of the Sea, was released to mixed reviews, and after cancelling a few festival appearances Corgan announced the demise of the band in 2003.

On February 17, 2004, Billy Corgan posted a bitter message on his personal blog calling Wretzky a "mean spirited drug addict" and blaming Iha for the breakup of The Smashing Pumpkins. On June 3, 2004, he added that "the depth of my hurt [from Iha] is only matched with the depth of my gratitude".

In October, 2004, Corgan released his first book, a book of poetry entitled Blinking with Fists. He is also publicly open with his work on a new solo album, even requesting fans to attend live taping sessions.

At the same time, Jimmy Chamberlin has completed work on his first solo album, entitled The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex.

James Iha continues his work as guitarist with A Perfect Circle.

D'arcy Wretzky has not made any statements or appearances since leaving the band in 1999.

Discography

Studio Albums

EPs and B-sides

Live and compilations

In addition to official releases, there are a wide variety of bootleg and rare tracks circulating on the web. A very limited-release boxed set of rarities (fewer than 10 copies are rumored to have been produced) was distributed to friends by Corgan in 1994; known as Mashed Potatoes, this set has achieved near-legendary status among fans.

With Billy's blessing, the 5-disc set, along with many other demos, can today be downloaded on various sites throughout the web. A large fan site currently offers all of them: http://www.billy-corgan.com/downloads/mp3/mashed_potatoes/index.php .

Music videos

  • Siva from Gish
  • Rhinoceros from Gish
  • I Am One from Gish (this video was finally released in 2001 on the Greatest Hits DVD)
  • Cherub Rock from Siamese Dream
  • Today from Siamese Dream
  • Disarm from Siamese Dream
  • Rocket from Siamese Dream
  • Bullet with Butterfly Wings from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • 1979 from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • Zero from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • Tonight, Tonight from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • Thirty-Three from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • The End is the Beginning is the End from Batman and Robin OST
  • Ava Adore from Adore
  • Perfect from Adore
  • The Everlasting Gaze from MACHINA/The Machines of God
  • Stand Inside Your Love from MACHINA/The Machines of God
  • Try, Try, Try from MACHINA/The Machines of God
  • Untitled from Rotten Apples

Sample

  • Download sample of "Cherub Rock" from Siamese Dream

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A large fan site currently offers all of them: http://www.billy-corgan.com/downloads/mp3/mashed_potatoes/index.php . The song is about America's ability to rise from the ashes and remain strong even after such horrific events. With Billy's blessing, the 5-disc set, along with many other demos, can today be downloaded on various sites throughout the web. Smith mentioned that the President, a personal fan of the artist, had asked him to attempt to write a song about the attacks. A very limited-release boxed set of rarities (fewer than 10 copies are rumored to have been produced) was distributed to friends by Corgan in 1994; known as Mashed Potatoes, this set has achieved near-legendary status among fans. Bush in the Oval Office in October of 2001, a short time after the attacks. In addition to official releases, there are a wide variety of bootleg and rare tracks circulating on the web. In introducing the song before he performed it, he made remarks about meeting personally with President George W.

D'arcy Wretzky has not made any statements or appearances since leaving the band in 1999. He performed this song live for the 2004 Republican National Convention. James Iha continues his work as guitarist with A Perfect Circle. Smith wrote a song entitled "There She Stands," prompted by the |September 11th terrorist attacks. At the same time, Jimmy Chamberlin has completed work on his first solo album, entitled The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. After two decades, Smith finally won the coveted Male Vocalist of the Year award at the GMA Music Awards in 2003. He is also publicly open with his work on a new solo album, even requesting fans to attend live taping sessions. A Worship Again DVD was released in 2002, which immediately topped the Billboard video charts.

In October, 2004, Corgan released his first book, a book of poetry entitled Blinking with Fists. Both albums were recorded live in concert. On June 3, 2004, he added that "the depth of my hurt [from Iha] is only matched with the depth of my gratitude". The following year, Smith released an all praise and worship album, called Worship, which was followed by a sequel, Worship Again. On February 17, 2004, Billy Corgan posted a bitter message on his personal blog calling Wretzky a "mean spirited drug addict" and blaming Iha for the breakup of The Smashing Pumpkins. Nearly all of Smith's albums contain at least one instrumental track, and in 2000, Smith recorded his first all instrumental album, Freedom. Their only album, Mary Star of the Sea, was released to mixed reviews, and after cancelling a few festival appearances Corgan announced the demise of the band in 2003. He states the label is driven by the artists, and one of its first artists signed was Chris Rice, who had written "Go Light Your World," a #1 hit song by Kathy Troccoli, in 1995.

Corgan and Chamberlin would reunite in 2001 as members of Corgan's next project, the shortlived Zwan. In 1996, Smith opened his own record label (although he does not record on it), Rocketown Records, named for a teen club which he established for Christian youth in the Nashville area. This is excluded because the rights are owned by Warner Brothers, who loaned out the band from their regular label, Virgin Records.). Smith had been asked to perform at some of the memorial services that were held in honor of the victims, which made a huge impression on Smith. (There is one notable omission, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", used in the Batman and Robin soundtrack. In 1999, Smith released This Is Your Time, largely inspired by the Columbine shootings. It also features the performance of "Fuck You (An Ode To No One)" from their final gig at the Metro. Also in 1998, Smith released his second Christmas effort, Christmastime.

It compiled all of the Pumpkins promo videos from Gish to MACHINA, the rare promo for "I Am One", a 15 minute short film called "Try" as well as a TV performance of "Geek U.S.A.". That album was followed by 1992's Change Your World, 1995's I'll Lead You Home and 1998's Live The Life. A greatest hits DVD was also released around the same time. In 1990, Smith released Go West Young Man, which was his first real mainstream effort. The now rare double disc version of the album, released as a limited edition, included a B-sides/rarities collection called Judas O. The following year, Smith recorded his first Christmas album. 2001 saw the release of a posthumous greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples (Greatest Hits), which included various singles spanning their decade long career. After the release of his 1988 effort, I 2 eye, Smith once again teamed up with Amy Grant for her "Lead Me On World Tour".

The Smashing Pumpkins won many awards during their careers (including two Grammy awards: Hard Rock Performance 1996 for "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", and Hard Rock Performance 1997 for "The End Is the Beginning Is the End"), headlined several major tours, appeared on a few movie soundtracks and released an impressive number of songs in a fairly short time. In 1986, Smith released the critically acclaimed rock effort The Big Picture, with well known record producer Johnny Potoker (Brian Eno, Genesis, Madonna, No Doubt, Talking Heads, etc). A DVD of the 4 hour concert is still in the works. By the time Smith's second pop album was released in 1984, he was headlining his own tours. On December 2, 2000, Smashing Pumpkins played their final concert at The Metro, the same Chicago club where their career had effectively started twelve years earlier. He would eventually become Grant's opening act, and recorded his first Grammy nominated solo album, Michael W. Smith Project (which he also produced), in 1983, on the Reunion label, a label started by Grant's brother-in-law, Dan Harrell, along with Michael Blanton. The Smashing Pumpkins' final commercial recording was a single, "Untitled". In 1981, Smith was signed as a writer to Meadowgreen Music, where he racked up a number of highly successful gospel hits penned for artists like Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither and Amy Grant. The following year, Smith began touring as a keyboardist for Grant on her Age to Age tour.

In a first for an established band, the group's final album, MACHINA II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, was released in September 2000 in a limited pressing on vinyl with permission and instructions for free redistribution on the internet by fans. He cleaned up his substance abuse problem and began playing keyboards for the CCM group, Higher Ground. In May 2000, Billy Corgan announced the band's decision to break up at the end of that year following additional touring and recording. In October of 1979, Smith suffered an emotional and mental breakdown that awakened a recommitment to the Christian beliefs of his childhood. Bass player Wretzky departed after the recording of MACHINA/The Machines of God, and former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur was recruited for the "Sacred and Profane" tour in support of the album. Nevertheless, he was able to get through a couple of years of college and develop his songwriting skills with various local bands. The band's lineup changed again at this point. By the time Smith graduated from high school, he had found himself with serious drug and alcohol abuse problems.

MACHINA also brought Corgan's desire to write a concept album to fruition. By 2003, he had 10 gold records and 3 platinum records. The return of a rehabilitated Jimmy Chamberlin for 2000's MACHINA/The Machines of God signaled a return to a more familiar Pumpkins sound, but failed to widely connect with fans. Smith had sold more than seven million records and had 25 #1 hit songs. Although Adore received quite favorable reviews and was nominated for Best Alternative Performance at the Grammys, the album sold only 3 million copies. Smith has frequently topped both Christian radio and Billboard charts, and is often listed as one of the top keyboardists in rock and roll in Keyboard Magazine. Corgan also modified his public image, shedding his alternative hipster look for a dark Gothic persona, and began hanging around Marilyn Manson. Since his first solo project in 1983, Smith has become one of the most popular artists in the Contemporary Christian music world, while also finding considerable success in the mainstream.

The record was cut using drum machines and was distinctly experimental. Michael Whitaker Smith (born October 7, 1957 in Kenova, West Virginia), often nicknamed "Smitty", is an American singer, songwriter and keyboardist. Recorded following the death of Corgan's mother, 1998's Adore represented a significant change of style from the Pumpkins' previous guitar based rock, veering into electronica, trimming much of the guitar-driven sonic underpinnings and infused with a much heavier mood. Billy Corgan became something of a hate figure amongst the hard rock press following a statement in which he declared rock to be dead. He stated that Mellon Collie would be the last Pumpkins record of that type, and that rock was, for himself at least, becoming stale due to a lack of willingness to experiment from other rock artists. Though the band finished the tour with another drummer and keyboardist, their profile had taken a marked downturn.

Chamberlin was subsequently fired from the band. Melvoin died, and Chamberlin was arrested for drug possession. The band's fortunes changed significantly on July 12, 1996, when touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and Chamberlin overdosed on heroin in a hotel room in New York City. Its hit songs included "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "Tonight, Tonight," "1979" and "Zero." Many of the remaining songs that, for one reason or another, did not make it onto Mellon Collie were released as B-sides to the singles, eventually compiled in the now out of print The Aeroplane Flies High box set.

It also garnered seven 1996 Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. While the idea of an overriding concept was dropped somewhere along the way, Mellon Collie became even more successful than Siamese Dream, selling over twelve million copies worldwide. The result was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a double-disc (triple on vinyl) album release featuring 28 songs and lasting over 2 hours. Following this spell of concentrated creativity, the Pumpkins went back into the studio with producer Flood to work on what Corgan described as "The Wall of the '90s," a comparison with Pink Floyd's famous double concept album.

Corgan worked non-stop over the next year and wrote, according to statements in interviews, about 50 songs for the next album. Following relentless touring to support the recordings, the band took time off to write the follow up album. In 2002, Vieuphoria (on DVD) and Earphoria were released to the public. In 1994, Virgin released a B-sides/rarities compilation Pisces Iscariot and a concert video Vieuphoria. A CD version of Vieuphoria, entitled Earphoria was released to radio stations only.

Siamese Dream sold four million copies in the US, and the videos for the songs "Today" and "Disarm" garnered the Pumpkins international attention through heavy rotation on MTV. Corgan went on record saying if the record didn't sell well, the band would break up. Contemporary music press portrayed Corgan as something of a tyrant during the recording sessions, with rumors circulating that Corgan had unilaterally erased and redone guitar and bass parts previously recorded by Iha and D'arcy, claims which band members say were greatly exaggerated. To counteract his depression, Corgan worked overtime, playing all of the guitar, bass and vocal tracks for the 1993 follow up album, Siamese Dream.

During the Gish tour, Iha and Wretsky went through a messy breakup, Chamberlin became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and Corgan entered a deep depression, writing some songs for the upcoming album in the parking garage where he lived at the time. Named after actress Lillian Gish, the record fused heavy metal guitars, psychedelia and Dream pop and went on to become a minor success. To give them indie credibility, Virgin matched the band with Sonic Youth producer Butch Vig and released their 1991 debut album Gish on Virgin subsidiary label Caroline Records. The single sold out and they released another single, "Tristessa" on Sub Pop Records, after which they signed to Virgin Records.

In 1990, they released their first record, a limited edition single called "I Am One" on local Chicago label Limited Potential. Though they played their first gig as a duo at a Polish bar, jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was brought in to the band after Cabaret Metro owner Joe Shanahan agreed to book the Pumpkins, provided they threw out the drum machine and recruited a human drummer instead. In 1988, Corgan met bassist D'Arcy Wretzky at another band's gig in Chicago; Wretzky would join the band shortly after; Wretsky and Iha would eventually have a personal relationship. They began writing songs with the aid of a drum machine.

There he met guitarist James Iha. The band had limited success and quickly dissolved, and Corgan returned to Chicago, taking a job in a record store. Petersburg, Florida with his Goth band The Marked. At the age of 19, singer and guitarist Billy Corgan left his native Chicago, Illinois, moving to St.

They produced a series of critically and commercially successful records between their formation in 1988 and dissolution in 2000. Less punk influenced than many of their contemporaries, their distinctive sound featured a dense, guitar-heavy sound and combined elements of heavy metal, psychedelia, power pop, acoustic music, shoegazer-style production and, in later recordings, electronica. The Smashing Pumpkins (previously known as simply Smashing Pumpkins) were a critically and commercially successful American alternative rock band of the 1990s and early 21st century. Download sample of "Cherub Rock" from Siamese Dream.

Untitled from Rotten Apples. Try, Try, Try from MACHINA/The Machines of God. Stand Inside Your Love from MACHINA/The Machines of God. The Everlasting Gaze from MACHINA/The Machines of God.

Perfect from Adore. Ava Adore from Adore. The End is the Beginning is the End from Batman and Robin OST. Thirty-Three from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Tonight, Tonight from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Zero from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. 1979 from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Bullet with Butterfly Wings from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Rocket from Siamese Dream. Disarm from Siamese Dream. Today from Siamese Dream. Cherub Rock from Siamese Dream.

I Am One from Gish (this video was finally released in 2001 on the Greatest Hits DVD). Rhinoceros from Gish. Siva from Gish.

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