Musings of a Museum Fanatic: Tunes on Tuesday: Smashing Pumpkins

1.07.2014

Tunes on Tuesday: Smashing Pumpkins

One of my favorite bands to come out of the Windy City is definitely the Smashing Pumpkins.  They're 1990's grunge alternative rock at it's finest.  In the late 80's Billy Corgan hooked up with guitarist Jame Iha after moving back to his home town, Chicago!  After playing a few times together only accompanied by a drum machine they met D'arcy Wretzky, who played bass.  Jimmy Chamberlin, a jazz drummer, was recommended by one of Corgan's friends, after the guys were told by Cable Metro owner Joe Shanahan that in order to play the Metro they would need a real drummer and not the drum machine.  


Their first hit single "I Am One" sold out right away and they released their second single 
"Tristessa".  After another success they signed to Caroline Records and released their first album, Gish.  1991 was a crazy year for the Pumpkins being signed with Capitol Records, tour opening for bands like Jane's Addiction and RHCP, during which there were massive blowouts and drug addictions.

1992 brought a move to Georgia and a new album to produce, after four months of resentment towards Corgan (who insisted on playing most of the instrument parts for consistency), Corgan's increasing depression and Chamberlin's constant disappearing act, Siamese Dream debuted at number 10 on the charts.  The lead single of which was "Cherub Rock" a song which talks about Corgan's issues with the indie-rock type music world.


Next up was the album of their's which contains some of my favorite Smashing Pumpkin's songs, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  Released in 1995 it debuted at number one and got them seven Grammy nominations, they walked away with the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.    




While they were on top of the world in 1996 with a world tour, a guest spot on The Simpson's, Corgan's now iconic "Zero" shirt selling like hotcakes in stores it was not a year without major difficulties as well.  During their show in Dublin a young female concert goer was crushed to death by the over exuberant moshing, their tour keyboardist, Jonathan Melvoin, and Chamberlin OD-ed in a hotel room during their NYC stop.  Melvoin died as a result but Chamberlin lived and was arrested.  He was immediately fired from the band and replaced by a fill in.  

According to them rock had become stale at this point and electronic music was the future.  They said it would be their last conventional Pumpkins record.  I am not a fan of their later stuff so I'm not going to talk about it!  After a couple more albums the Smashing Pumpkins officially broke up in 2000, playing their farewell show at the Metro.  Corgan has done shows and released albums since then under the Smashing Pumpkins name but as it always is in situations like this it's just never quite the same. 
      

1 comment

  1. I was a huge SP fan back in the day! I saw them for my first concert ever and got to see them perform with all 4 original members. I'll always love their music, but like you said, the new stuff "they" have been putting out is just not the same.

    Améliorer la Vie

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