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 . As a member of the Stills-Young Band. With Billy's blessing, the 5-disc set, along with many other demos, can today be downloaded on various sites throughout the web. As a member of Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and Young). 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. As a member of the Buffalo Springfield. In addition to official releases, there are a wide variety of bootleg and rare tracks circulating on the web. As a member of the Au Go Go Singers.

D'arcy Wretzky has not made any statements or appearances since leaving the band in 1999. Solo. James Iha continues his work as guitarist with A Perfect Circle. In 2000, Stills was an Al Gore delegate from Florida during the Democratic National Convention. At the same time, Jimmy Chamberlin has completed work on his first solo album, entitled The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. CSNY has long been associated with liberal causes. He is also publicly open with his work on a new solo album, even requesting fans to attend live taping sessions. In 1997, Stills became the first person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice in the same night for his work with CSN and the Buffalo Springfield.

In October, 2004, Corgan released his first book, a book of poetry entitled Blinking with Fists. This has led to the semi-permanent CSN reunion even though all three have released solo records since then. On June 3, 2004, he added that "the depth of my hurt [from Iha] is only matched with the depth of my gratitude". Stills was contractually obligated to finish the tour, but he did reunite with Crosby and Nash shortly afterwards. 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. However, Young would leave midway through the resulting tour. 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. At one point, Long May You Run was supposed to be a CSNY record, but when Crosby and Nash left to fufill recording and touring obligations, Stills and Young decided to go on as the Stills-Young Band.

Corgan and Chamberlin would reunite in 2001 as members of Corgan's next project, the shortlived Zwan. Then he switched to Columbia Records before an attempted reunion with Young. This is excluded because the rights are owned by Warner Brothers, who loaned out the band from their regular label, Virgin Records.). The next year, Stills teamed up with ex-Byrd Chris Hillman and several CSNY sidemen to form the band Manassas. (There is one notable omission, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", used in the Batman and Robin soundtrack. It provided Stills with the hit single "Love The One You're With" as well as the concert favorite "Black Queen." Stills followed this with Stephen Stills 2, which featured "Change Partners", a metaphor for the many relationships in CSNY. It also features the performance of "Fuck You (An Ode To No One)" from their final gig at the Metro. Stephen Stills featured guests Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Ringo Starr as well as contributions from other members of CSNY.

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.". In the wake of CSNY's success, all four members recorded solo albums. A greatest hits DVD was also released around the same time. Despite several breakups and reformations, CSN (and sometimes CSNY) still records and tours to this day. The now rare double disc version of the album, released as a limited edition, included a B-sides/rarities collection called Judas O. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, CSN and CSNY was one of the few North American groups to rival the Beatles in popularity. 2001 saw the release of a posthumous greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples (Greatest Hits), which included various singles spanning their decade long career. Neil Young would be added for their second album, and the group would become Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

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. During the disintegration of the Buffalo Springfield, Stills would join up with ex-Byrd David Crosby and ex-Hollie Graham Nash to form the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash. A DVD of the 4 hour concert is still in the works. Soon Stills' playing would show the influence of his friend Jimi Hendrix and also sometimes the rhythms and riffs of various kinds of Latin music. 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. Early on, it would display sources in generic rock'n'roll, blues, and country music, as well as the chordings familiar in the acoustic-folk music scene. The Smashing Pumpkins' final commercial recording was a single, "Untitled". Stills' guitar playing continually evolved.

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 band would release three albums (Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, and Last Time Around) and one hit single (Stills' "For What It's Worth") before breaking up. In May 2000, Billy Corgan announced the band's decision to break up at the end of that year following additional touring and recording. Years later, Stills, Furay, and Young would meet up in Los Angeles and form the core of the Buffalo Springfield. 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. Main articles: Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young). The band's lineup changed again at this point. On the VH1 CSNY Legends special, Stills would say that at that time, Young was doing what he always wanted to do, "play folk music in a rock band." The Au Go Go Singers would break up shortly afterwards.

MACHINA also brought Corgan's desire to write a concept album to fruition. This group would release one album and embark on a tour of Canada where Stills and Furay would meet a young guitarist named Neil Young. 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. Stills eventually ended up in a nine member vocal harmony group called the Au Go Go Singers where he met Richie Furay. Although Adore received quite favorable reviews and was nominated for Best Alternative Performance at the Grammys, the album sold only 3 million copies. He was in a series of unsuccessful bands including the Continentals, which featured future Eagles guitarist Don Felder. Corgan also modified his public image, shedding his alternative hipster look for a dark Gothic persona, and began hanging around Marilyn Manson. Stills dropped out of the University of Florida to pursue a music career in the early 1960s.

The record was cut using drum machines and was distinctly experimental. He was also influenced by Latin music after spending his teenage years in Costa Rica and the Panama Canal Zone, where he graduated high school. 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. Moving around as a child, he developed an interest in blues and folk music. 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. Stills was born in Dallas, Texas on January 3, 1945 to a military family. Though the band finished the tour with another drummer and keyboardist, their profile had taken a marked downturn. Stephen Stills is an American guitarist and singer/songwriter best known for his work with the Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (at first it was Crosby, Stills and Nash; Young joined the group after their first album).

Chamberlin was subsequently fired from the band. Long May You Run, 1975. Melvoin died, and Chamberlin was arrested for drug possession. Looking Forward, 1999. 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. Carry On, 1998. 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. After The Storm, 1994.

It also garnered seven 1996 Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. CSN (box set), 1991. 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. Live It Up, 1990. 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. American Drean, 1988. 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. Allies, 1983.

Corgan worked non-stop over the next year and wrote, according to statements in interviews, about 50 songs for the next album. Daylight Again, 1982. Following relentless touring to support the recordings, the band took time off to write the follow up album. Replay, 1980. In 2002, Vieuphoria (on DVD) and Earphoria were released to the public. CSN, 1977. 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. So Far, 1974.

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. Four Way Street, 1971. Corgan went on record saying if the record didn't sell well, the band would break up. Deja Vu, 1970. 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. Crosby, Stills, and Nash, 1969. To counteract his depression, Corgan worked overtime, playing all of the guitar, bass and vocal tracks for the 1993 follow up album, Siamese Dream. Box Set, 2001.

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. Best of the Buffalo Springfield, 1969. Named after actress Lillian Gish, the record fused heavy metal guitars, psychedelia and Dream pop and went on to become a minor success. Last Time Around, 1968. 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. Buffalo Springfield Again, 1967. The single sold out and they released another single, "Tristessa" on Sub Pop Records, after which they signed to Virgin Records. Buffalo Springfield, 1967.

In 1990, they released their first record, a limited edition single called "I Am One" on local Chicago label Limited Potential. Au Go Go Singers, 1964. 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. Turning Back The Pages, 2003. 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. Stills Alone, 1991. They began writing songs with the aid of a drum machine. Right By You, 1984.

There he met guitarist James Iha. Thoroughfare Gap, 1978. The band had limited success and quickly dissolved, and Corgan returned to Chicago, taking a job in a record store. Illegal Stills, 1976. Petersburg, Florida with his Goth band The Marked. Still Stills: The Best of Stephen Stills, 1976. At the age of 19, singer and guitarist Billy Corgan left his native Chicago, Illinois, moving to St. Stills, 1975.

They produced a series of critically and commercially successful records between their formation in 1988 and dissolution in 2000. Stills Live, 1975. 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. Down The Road, 1973. 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. Manassas, 1972. Download sample of "Cherub Rock" from Siamese Dream. Stephen Stills 2, 1971.

Untitled from Rotten Apples. Stephen Stills, 1970. Try, Try, Try from MACHINA/The Machines of God. Super Sessions (with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield), 1968. 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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