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 . Sadly, Jenifer was killed in an automobile accident in 1986 at the age of thirteen. With Billy's blessing, the 5-disc set, along with many other demos, can today be downloaded on various sites throughout the web. He is still married to Norma and lives on a ranch near Cotulla, Texas. 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. are avid team ropers and Strait hosts the annual George Strait Team Roping Classic. In addition to official releases, there are a wide variety of bootleg and rare tracks circulating on the web. He and George Jr.

D'arcy Wretzky has not made any statements or appearances since leaving the band in 1999. Strait enjoys fishing and riding motorcycles. James Iha continues his work as guitarist with A Perfect Circle. In 2004, Strait topped the Astrodome attendance with 68,679 people coming to his rodeo concert at the larger stadium. At the same time, Jimmy Chamberlin has completed work on his first solo album, entitled The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. The rodeo event moved to Reliant Stadium in 2003. He is also publicly open with his work on a new solo album, even requesting fans to attend live taping sessions. The event set the record for paid attendance at the Astrodome with 68,266 people.

In October, 2004, Corgan released his first book, a book of poetry entitled Blinking with Fists. Since 1983, Strait has often appeared at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and recorded his album For the Last Time: Live From the Astrodome the last time the rodeo was staged at the Astrodome in 2002. On June 3, 2004, he added that "the depth of my hurt [from Iha] is only matched with the depth of my gratitude". He also appeared as himself in The Horse Whisperer (1998) and Grand Champion (2002). 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. He had a bit part in The Soldier (1982) and starred in Pure Country (1992). 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. Strait has acted in two feature films.

Corgan and Chamberlin would reunite in 2001 as members of Corgan's next project, the shortlived Zwan. He also holds the career record for Country Music Association (CMA) nominations with seventy-three. This is excluded because the rights are owned by Warner Brothers, who loaned out the band from their regular label, Virgin Records.). As of late 2004, Strait has had a record 50 #1 country singles. (There is one notable omission, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", used in the Batman and Robin soundtrack. He was one of the best-selling country singers of the 1980s, and one of the few from that decade who survived the influx of pop-country singers like Garth Brooks in the early 1990s. It also features the performance of "Fuck You (An Ode To No One)" from their final gig at the Metro. This was followed by "Down and Out" and then a whole series of #1 singles, beginning with "Fool Hearted Memory" in 1982 (see 1982 in music).

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.". "Unwound" was his first single and his first Top Ten hit. A greatest hits DVD was also released around the same time. It was also in 1981 that his second child, George Jr., was born. The now rare double disc version of the album, released as a limited edition, included a B-sides/rarities collection called Judas O. Strait has stayed with MCA throughout his career. 2001 saw the release of a posthumous greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples (Greatest Hits), which included various singles spanning their decade long career. In 1981, Strait went to Nashville, Tennessee to team with MCA and try a solo act.

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. An operator of one of the bars the band had played had connections at MCA Records. A DVD of the 4 hour concert is still in the works. While playing with the band at night, Strait managed a cattle ranch during the day. 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. In the late 1970s, the band recorded several singles in a Houston studio that were released under the Dallas, Texas based "D" record label, but the band ultimately failed (though they do still play as George Strait's touring band under the same name). The Smashing Pumpkins' final commercial recording was a single, "Untitled". They gained a regional following and opened for national acts such as The Texas Playboys.

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 played honky tonks and bars around south and central Texas and as far east as Huntsville and Houston. In May 2000, Billy Corgan announced the band's decision to break up at the end of that year following additional touring and recording. While attending SWTSU, he joined the Ace in the Hole Band. 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. He graduated in 1979 with a degree in agriculture. The band's lineup changed again at this point. After leaving the army in 1975, Strait went back to school at Southwest Texas State University (SWTSU) in San Marcos, Texas.

MACHINA also brought Corgan's desire to write a concept album to fruition. While still in Hawaii, George and Norma had their first child, a daughter, Jenifer in 1972. 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. During the stint in the army, he began performing with an Army sponsored band, Rambling Country (who played off the base under the name Santee), when he was stationed in Hawaii. Although Adore received quite favorable reviews and was nominated for Best Alternative Performance at the Grammys, the album sold only 3 million copies. In 1971, he enlisted in the United States Army. Corgan also modified his public image, shedding his alternative hipster look for a dark Gothic persona, and began hanging around Marilyn Manson. They repeated their vows in a church in Texas a few weeks later.

The record was cut using drum machines and was distinctly experimental. After graduating from high school, Strait enrolled in college but dropped out and eloped to Mexico with his high school sweetheart, Norma. 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. Strait counts country singers Merle Haggard, George Jones, Bob Wills and Hank Williams as his early influences. 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. He began playing with a rock band in high school, but his preference turned to country music. Though the band finished the tour with another drummer and keyboardist, their profile had taken a marked downturn. His mother left the family taking his sister with her while he and his brother remained with his father.

Chamberlin was subsequently fired from the band. When he was fourth grade, Strait's parents divorced. Melvoin died, and Chamberlin was arrested for drug possession. The Straits would leave Pearsall on the weekends and the summers to work at the family's 2,000 acre (8 kmē) cattle ranch outside Big Wells, Texas. 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. His father, John, was a Junior High math teacher. 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. Strait was born in Poteet, Texas and grew up in Pearsall, Texas.

It also garnered seven 1996 Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. George Harvey Strait (born May 18, 1952) is an American country singer. 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. 27, 2004. 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. Retrieved Aug. 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. George Strait's Official Web Site (http://www.georgestrait.com/awards.asp).

Corgan worked non-stop over the next year and wrote, according to statements in interviews, about 50 songs for the next album. "Awards". Following relentless touring to support the recordings, the band took time off to write the follow up album. 27, 2004. In 2002, Vieuphoria (on DVD) and Earphoria were released to the public. Retrieved Aug. 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. George Strait's Official Web Site (http://www.georgestrait.com/discography_main.asp).

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. "Discography". Corgan went on record saying if the record didn't sell well, the band would break up. CMA - Male Vocalist of the Year (1985). 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. CMA - Male Vocalist of the Year (1986). To counteract his depression, Corgan worked overtime, playing all of the guitar, bass and vocal tracks for the 1993 follow up album, Siamese Dream. CMA - Album of the Year (Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind) (1985).

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. CMA - Entertainer of the Year (1989). Named after actress Lillian Gish, the record fused heavy metal guitars, psychedelia and Dream pop and went on to become a minor success. CMA - Entertainer of the Year (1990). 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. CMA - Album of the Year (Blue Clear Sky) (1996). The single sold out and they released another single, "Tristessa" on Sub Pop Records, after which they signed to Virgin Records. CMA - Single of the Year (Check Yes or No) (1996).

In 1990, they released their first record, a limited edition single called "I Am One" on local Chicago label Limited Potential. CMA - Male Vocalist of the Year (1996). 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. CMA - Album of the Year (Carrying Your Love With Me) (1997). 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. CMA - Male Vocalist of the Year (1997). They began writing songs with the aid of a drum machine. Strait Country (1981).

There he met guitarist James Iha. Strait From The Heart (1982). The band had limited success and quickly dissolved, and Corgan returned to Chicago, taking a job in a record store. Right Or Wrong (1983). Petersburg, Florida with his Goth band The Marked. Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (1984). At the age of 19, singer and guitarist Billy Corgan left his native Chicago, Illinois, moving to St. Greatest Hits (1986).

They produced a series of critically and commercially successful records between their formation in 1988 and dissolution in 2000. Something Special (1985). 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. #7 (1986). 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. Merry Christmas Strait To You (1986). Download sample of "Cherub Rock" from Siamese Dream. Ocean Front Property (1987).

Untitled from Rotten Apples. II (1987). Try, Try, Try from MACHINA/The Machines of God. Greatest Hits Vol. Stand Inside Your Love from MACHINA/The Machines of God. If You Ain't Lovin', You Ain't Livin' (1988). The Everlasting Gaze from MACHINA/The Machines of God. Beyond the Blue Neon (1989).

Perfect from Adore. Livin' It Up (1990). Ava Adore from Adore. Chill Of An Early Fall (1991). The End is the Beginning is the End from Batman and Robin OST. Ten Strait Hits (1991). Thirty-Three from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Holding My Own (1992).

Tonight, Tonight from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Pure Country (1992). Zero from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Easy Come, Easy Go (1993). 1979 from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Lead On (1994). Bullet with Butterfly Wings from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Strait Out of the Box (1995).

Rocket from Siamese Dream. Blue Clear Sky (1996). Disarm from Siamese Dream. Carrying Your Love With Me (1997). Today from Siamese Dream. One Step at a Time (1998). Cherub Rock from Siamese Dream. Always Never The Same (1999).

I Am One from Gish (this video was finally released in 2001 on the Greatest Hits DVD). Merry Christmas Wherever You Are (1999). Rhinoceros from Gish. Latest Greatest Straitest Hits (2000). Siva from Gish. George Strait (2000). The Road Less Traveled (2001).

Honkytonkville (2003). 20th Century Masters: The Best of George Strait - The Millennium Collection (2002). For the Last Time: Live From the Astrodome (2003). 50 Number Ones (2004).

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