The Story of Glass and the Machines of God

Article by Arthur van Pelt
Hosting by Alberto


“Somewhere in the not so distant future, we may find a world of not so subtle torments…”(1)

Glass and the Machines of God is a (presumably unfinished) Smashing Pumpkins/Billy Corgan project that dates back to the year 2000. Right now, Smashing Pumpkins official eBay account (officialspmemorabilia) is auctioning a rare and previously unreleased poster related to the project. Due to the typical limited duration of eBay auctions (30 days in this case), there is a somewhat urgent need to inform the potential buyer(s) what they are considering purchasing. With respect, SPfreaks would like to give some context to this Smashing Pumpkins auction, and speculate if a price of $250 is reasonable for memorabilia of this type. At this time, only two copies of this poster are being made available to the public. The total pressing of this particular item, however, is unknown.

The Wish to Connect it All

In the Machina, The Machines Of God (Machina) and Machina II, Friends And Enemies Of Modern Music (Machina II) era, which we will define as the years 1999 through 2000, Billy Corgan was known for trying to make connections between several of the songs he wrote for both albums.


This drawing by Billy Corgan explains the connections between the songs on Machina and Machina II. The songs ‘Virex’, ‘Disco King’, and ‘Slow Song’ would be reworked into ‘The Imploding Voice’, ‘The Everlasting Gaze’, and ‘The Crying Tree of Mercury’, respectively. More title alterations on the Machina album follow as: ‘Stand Inside’ refers to ‘Stand Inside Your Love’; ‘Sunshowers’ is in fact ‘Raindrops + Sunshowers’; ‘I of the Radio’ would become ‘I of the Mourning’; ‘Heavy Metal’ refers to ‘Heavy Metal Machine’ and ‘Glass and the Ghost’ became ‘Glass and the Ghost Children’. ‘Blue Skies Bring Tears’ (listed on the chart under its’ working title ‘Blue Skies’) appeared on both Machina albums in different versions.

Machina II moves forward with the loose story of Glass And The Machines Of God started in Machina. Songs like ‘Glass’ Theme’, ‘Cash Car Star’, ‘Home’, and the Japanese Machina album bonus track ‘Speed Kills’ (which was also the B-side of the single ‘Stand Inside Your Love’) are without a doubt related to Billy Corgan’s Glass story. Furthermore, this is what Billy Corgan explained about the Glass project in an interview in 2000.

Interview Part 1


Interview Part 2


During this interview, Billy Corgan mentioned that other artists were reworking Machina songs for the Glass project. One of these artists was Matt Walker (former Smashing Pumpkins drummer from 1996 through 1998, replacing Jimmy Chamberlin during his absence). Matt contributed at least the following four remixed songs to the project:

1. Glass (Matt Walker’s Shard1-Betrayal Remix)
2. Glass (Matt Walker’s Shattering Glass Remix)
3. In My Body (Glass & The Machines Of God Remix)
4. The Imploding Voice (Matt Walker’s Exploding 2.0 Remix)

If interested, these four songs, never commercially available to the public, can be downloaded here.

The Smashing Pumpkins Radio

The Smashing Pumpkins Radio, launched on August 14, 2000, on the official website of the band, is loosely connected to the Glass theme. Mainly because of the name of one of the three streams, and the focus of the streams on the then-recent Machina songs. From the beginning it featured two different radio-like streams, followed by a single stream that replaced the initial two. When looking at the running times of each of the three streams, one may conclude they are three demo CDs similar to Mashed Potatoes (1994) that were handed to the site moderator for streaming online.

The first stream was titled Punch Drunk + Dizzy, containing 15 tracks, amongst them ‘Age Of Innocence’ (live 2000), ‘Lover’ (live 1998) and ‘The Vigil’ (live 1988). The total running time of this stream was 71:05. The second stream was titled Collapsing Cities , which contained 13 tracks and had a total running time of 72:19. Some of the featured tracks were ‘Heavy Metal Machine’ (live 2000), ‘The Everlasting Gaze’ (live 2000) and ‘Speed Kills’ (live 1999).

Later on a third stream with the name Glass Towers replaced the other two streams. Glass Towers contained 16 tracks and had a running time of 72:59. Songs like ‘I Want You To Want Me’ (studio 1998), ‘My Mistake’ (demo 1997) and ‘Let Me Give The World To You’ (demo 1998) were to be found in this stream. The three streams together encompassed the band’s career between 1988 and 2000, showcased mostly by live tracks from various concerts. In case someone wants to give The Smashing Pumpkins Radio another listen, here are the songs for your listening pleasure.


Glass And The Machines Of God  (The Animated Web Series)

The following text originated from Wikipedia. However, it cannot be found there anymore. It was copied to a few other places and was taken from those sources:

“In June of 2001, a few members of the Smashing Pumpkins Message Board were sent mysterious video clips that pointed to a website called Black Wings Over the World. Thus began the “June Mystery”. The first website held clues to find two other websites, also hiding the username/password for one site – The Paracell Corporation. Black Wings also hid another site’s address, Smash The System. Over the next two months more clues were dropped on the message board and more sites were found and codes cracked. Finally, all this frenzy of mystery and excitement climaxed with the announcement that Glass And The Machines Of God was being made as a web based animated series.

In the first episode, Zero hears the Voice in the Radio and contacts his old friend and manager, Ruby. Their conversation is intercepted and patched through to the head of the Paracell Corp, Mr. Valentine – who has had a history with Zero.


Episode two shows Zero’s transformation into Glass while visiting Ruby and the subsequent negotiations to get The Machines of God their first gig.


In the third episode we see how Glass affects the audience with his message of revolution.


Some Smashing Pumpkins fans however were disappointed, since they had been hoping that the project was a signal that the band was reuniting.

This was an early example of an internet-based alternate reality game, a form of viral marketing. The series would be interactive, to a degree, and everyone would have the chance, via Sony’s Screenblast, to create their own characters and remixes for the series.

The animated series has since been ‘put on the shelf’ indefinitely. Various rumors attribute the end of the project as lack of interest from Billy Corgan and/or his fans. Three episodes [shown above] were leaked onto the internet in 2003. There has been debate over whether these were early ‘drafts’ or final cuts. The first two episodes contain no credits, where the third episode shows credits at the beginning.


There was also debate about whether or not background characters were in fact the Ghost Children created by the fans. However, one character – Maya, the Paracell psychic – is known to be a character created by a fan.”

So far for this deleted Wikipedia text floating around on the internet. It seems quite accurate for what happened in 2001 and onwards. For that reason we leave it untouched. With the reissues of Machina and Machina II to be expected next year, we will have to see if anything of this Glass project returns, integrated in the total Machina concept. The audio of the three episodes above can be downloaded here.

Let’s go back to the two posters on auction that inspired this article. Is that poster genuine? Yes, of course, as the band itself is selling it. Is that poster rare? We presume the two posters come from a limited print run of prototype posters that were sent to Billy Corgan in 2001, so yes, it is most probably very rare. Is it worth $250? We hardly see Smashing Pumpkins posters being sold for prices like these. We know however of at least one rare poster reaching the $300 range sales price on auction.

Can this Glass poster be put in the same category as the 1991 Metro poster? Yes and no. Yes, because it is extremely rare memorabilia of an unfinished project that has caused a lot of buzz in the Smashing Pumpkins fan community back in the day. Yes, because the band is willing to sell it from its cherished archives. No, because the poster is not of a typical high quality pressing like the 1991 Metro poster. We leave it to the buyer if he/she is willing to pay the collectors’ price that Smashing Pumpkins want. In the end, a buyer now has the context and the background story of the poster antecedents. Good luck bidding, whoever you are!

(1) First sentence of Glass and the Machines of God / a Modern Fable by Billy Corgan, published on the Smashing Pumpkins website in 2000 somewhere. The full text of the fable can be read here.

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The Ultimate Smashing Pumpkins Radio Show

Article by Arthur van Pelt
Hosting by Alberto


“I’ve often felt that our B-sides show more of our true character than some of our albums.” (1)

Many fellow SPfreaks members will remember the SPfreaks Live Compilations that were available for download on SPfreaks.com from 2008 through 2010. Here, we present a starting point to revisit those Live Compilations in the upcoming months, but we also present an ending point. There was always the idea of closing the series with a fifth edition, but it never took proper shape. However, that has changed: we managed to get permission* to spread a six-hour radio show by Dutch Radio Station Kink FM , dedicated to Smashing Pumpkins only! For this and future downloads we teamed up with Alberto of www.albert0.nl (Albert Zero). Alberto is currently developing a new initiative to create a “Smashing Pumpkins Rare and Unreleased Songs Archive”. We would like to invite every Smashing Pumpkins fan to pay a visit to Alberto’s website!

So, what did Kink FM do? Let’s go back to the year 2000. Smashing Pumpkins announced plans early in 2000 to dismantle the band by the end of the year. The goodbye and farewell world tour saw the band in Europe in September, October and the first week of November. Just before the European leg of the world tour started, Machina II, Friends And Enemies Of Modern Music was released for free on an extremely limited vinyl set (25 only) on September 5, 2000. Soon after, Smashing Pumpkins were booked to play the Ahoy venue in Rotterdam, Holland on September 20, 2000.

Inside this little time frame of two weeks, Kink FM decided to honor the Smashing Pumpkins‘ musical legacy with a six-hour long radio show dedicated to the band. Six hours, in which the four vinyl set of Machina II was broadcast in full. As far as we know, no other radio station in the world has since done the same for any band to date. The Smashing Pumpkins radio show on Kink FM took place on September 12, 2000. Virgin Records sponsored the show with several promo cds and other goodies, and during the show free tickets to the Ahoy gig were given away. To cut a long story short, the five-CD set of this show was unearthed by SPfreaks. For those interested, we can now offer the full radio show in MP3 format here. Warning: Language is in Dutch!

(1) Quote of Billy Corgan, found in Guitar School magazine, February 1997, in an article by Alan di Perna.

* Disclaimer: in the unlikely scenario that any rightful authority denies permission to spread the radio show in low quality MP3 format, please contact SPfreaks as soon as possible at TheSPfreaksTeam@gmail.com. We will take immediate and appropriate actions per appropriate request(s).

The setlist of this radio show, as provided by Kink FM, is provided below:

Pale Scales (live 24.01.00 – Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, NL)
La Dolly Vita (Pisces Iscariot, 1994)
Today (live 10.11.93 – Center Stage, Atlanta, USA [taken from Vieuphoria, 1994])
Dross (Friends and Enemies of Modern Music tape, 2000)
Pennies (Zero cd-single, 1996)
Eye (live 28.06.97 – Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, DK)
Galapogos (Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, 1995)
Cherry (1979 cd-single, 1996)
Love (Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, 1995)
Mayonaise (The Smashing Pumpkins 1991-1998 promo, 1999)
Glynis (No Alternative soundtrack, 1993)
Ava Adore (live 06.08.98 – Oven’s Auditorium, Charlotte, USA)
Window Paine (live 05.02.92 – Elysée Montmartre, Paris, FR)
1979 (live 28.06.97 – Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, DK)
I Am One (7″-single, 1990)

Obscured (Pisces Iscariot, 1994)
Apathy’s Last Kiss (Japanese Today cd single, 1994)
Bodies (live 24.04.96 – Palatrussardi, Milan, IT)
X.Y.U. (live 31.10.98 – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, USA)
Czarina (Ava Adore cd single, 1998)
Spaceboy (live 30.06.93 – VPRO Studios, Hilversum, NL)
Dancing In The Moonlight (Disarm [smile] cd-single, 1994)
Fuck You (An Ode To No One) (live 12.12.95 – De Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL)
Tristessa (7″-single, 1990)
Rhinoceraus (Moon demo tape, 1989)
Jennifer Ever (The Smashing Pumpkins demo tape, 1989)
My Dahlia (Light Into Dark compilation lp, 1989)
There It Goes (Mashed Potatoes, studio demos, 1988)
The Vigil (live 10.08.88 – The Avalon nightclub, Chicago, USA [cut due to technical difficulties in the KinK-studio])

Siva (live 15.01.92 – VPRO Studios, Hilversum, NL)
The Vigil (live 10.08.88 – The Avalon nightclub, Chicago, USA)
Murder-Mix (The Marked demo tape, 1986)
Silverfuck (live 24.02.94 – Astoria Theater, London, UK [taken from Vieuphoria, 1994])
Set The Ray To Jerry (1979 cd single, 1996)
Soma (live 24.02.94 – Astoria Theater, London, UK [taken from Vieuphoria, 1994])
Heavy Metal Machine (e.a. live sampler, 2000)
Disarm (live 23.05.94 – Pinkpop Festival, Landgraaf, NL)
To Sheila (live 24.01.00 – Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, NL)
Smiley (Peel Sessions cd-single, 1991)
Blue (live 22.10.91 – Atomic Records, Milwaukee, USA)
Bullet Train To Osaka (I Am One 10″-single, 1992)

Glass + The Ghost Children (live 24.01.00 – Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, NL)
Transformer (Thirty-Three cd single, 1996)
Pug (Adore, 1998)
By Starlight (live 08.01.97 – The GM-place, Vancouver, CA)
Crestfallen (live 28.05.98 – Parc du Botanique, Brussels, BE)
Cherub Rock (live 26.10.93 – Del Mar Fairground, Del Mar, USA)
Drown (Lenny Kravitz studio outtake)
World premiere Machina II/ The Friends & Enemies Of Modern Music by KinK FM
CR01 (10″-‘single’ 1)
Slow Down
Vanity
Saturnine
Glass’ Theme (spacey version)
CR02 (10″-‘single’ 2)
Soul Power [James Brown cover]
Cash Car Star
Lucky 13

Speed Kills
CR03 (10″-‘single’ 3)
If There Is A God? (piano/vocal version)
Try, Try, Try (alternate version)
Heavy Metal Machine (alternate version)
CR04 (double LP)
Glass’ Theme
Cash Car Star
Dross
Real Love
Go (James Iha)
Let Me Give The World To You
Innosence
Home
Blue Skies Bring Tears (heavy)
White Spider
In My Body
If There Is A God
Le Deux Machina (instrumental)
Here’s To The Atom Bomb
Farewell And Goodnight (live 05.04.96 – Ahoy, Rotterdam, NL)

Coat of Eyes – An Interview with Greg Bates

Article by Geo Folkers


Before The Marked or Smashing Pumpkins were conceived, Greg Bates co-founded Coat of Eyes with Billy Corgan. Not much is known of this band, but at least one full cassette tape of music was recorded (see pictures below). Last week, Greg and Billy reunited forces at the opening of Billy’s new Tea House in Highland Park, IL, called Madame ZuZu’s. They played Smashing Pumpkins’, Today. I had a chance to sit down with Greg and ask him a few questions about the band that very few people know about. Here’s what he had to say.


1. How did you meet Billy Corgan and how did Coat of Eyes come to be?

“I met Billy Corgan with a group of friends that used to hang out in front of a teen night club named Medusa on Sheffield and School St. in Chicago. It was around 1984/85 that he was walking down the street with another friend or relative (I don’t recall) and stopped to talk with our group. Billy and I hit it off quickly as we started to talk about music and bands we liked. We decided that we would get together to work on some music as we thought we could collaborate on some cool ideas of songs we had. Shortly after that within a few days Billy picked my friend Angel Espada and I up in his old Camaro from my house in Wrigleyville and drove us over to his Dad’s house near the Portage Park area in Chicago. After we recorded a song, Billy and I decided that he and I clicked more musically so we decided to start working on music together minus Angel. We were deciding if I would just play rhythm guitar or keyboards as Billy obviously had lead guitar covered. After some time it was decided he didn’t like his voice and I would in addition to keyboards also be the singer. We went for a long time under the name Bates Motel as a play on my last name. Shortly after that we changed our name based on a visual idea Billy came up with based on a ‘coat of arms’ meets a long trench coat in which he thought would be freaky with a bunch of eyes on them and so we decided it would be Coat of Eyes.”

2. How often would Coat of Eyes record/play?

“We played and recorded almost everyday. He would either pick me up or I would take the bus to his house.  He had a black Fostex four-track machine that we would record on very often. He was very particular to sound quality and also having a unique type sound.”

3. Who were your musical influences?

“We had a wide range of musical influences. We had both gone through a heavy metal phase and enjoyed some of the classics. At the time we had really loved the sound of New Order and I was a big Depeche Mode fan. We would go to local concerts at the Metro and also saw INXS live at the Aragon Ballroom together. The Cure was a band that we both really liked a lot. But we enjoyed stuff from Metallica to Tears for Fears.”


4. Was there something special about Billy then?

“Billy was always very unique and had qualities that I had never experienced before meeting him. He had a passion and drive that was far and above the strongest even to this day of any person I had ever met. He was a musician and was fiercely determined that, that he was going to do music. No matter what came of it. This is what he did; ‘I write songs and play guitar’ he would say. He didn’t care how he had to live as long as he was able to write and play music. It was about expressing his deep passion through his words and music and simply that.”

5. How did Coat of Eyes end?

“When Billy met Ron [Roesing] and Dale [Meiners] we started to play together as a band. Billy and Ron had rare birthmarks and they decided that it would be cool to rename the band The Marked. We rehearsed a couple of times and shortly after that they decided they were going to move to Florida because the Chicago scene wasn’t a good place to be. I talked about it briefly but since I was still in high school at the time I stayed home. That is when The Marked began.”

I would like to thank Greg for taking the time to share this information with the community. Hopefully, we can all one day hear what Coat of Eyes recorded!

No Barcode: A Greece-y Release?

Article by Derek Miller

Very few Grecian Smashing Pumpkins items have ever been officially released by Virgin.  However, Virgin Greece (the Virgin Records label in Greece) has been producing its own releases since at least the 1990s.  We only know this because of a few rare Grecian vinyls that have been acquired by collectors throughout the years.  Virgin Greece ceases to exist today, because in 2001 EMI Minos (EMI’s own Grecian record label), consolidated Virgin Greece and discontinued the use of the Virgin brand name.

So what Smashing Pumpkins releases came out of Greece during Virgin’s tenure?  As stated previously, not much.  The only known releases have been:

A)     Compilations  (a grouping of various songs from various artists) and,

B)      Mostly produced on vinyl

It is unclear why Virgin Greece pressed vinyl in addition to CDs.  Typically, pressing one or both platforms is costly (especially the vinyl product).  Nevertheless, they exist and are pretty elusive, even in today’s macro network of information exchange and data searches.

One of the most noticeable aspects to the Virgin Greece releases is that they do not contain barcodes.  The absence of such should raise a collector’s eyebrow.  If there is no barcode, a collector may presume two things:  they are bootlegs; or, they are promos of some sort.  SPfreaks has determined neither presumption is correct.  All releases produced and manufactured by Virgin Greece are official in nature.  Barcodes were not widely used in Greece in the past, and the tradition of their omission carried forward into the 1990s.  This makes all Grecian releases true commercial compilations – or does it?

The only way to distinguish a promotional copy from a commercial copy, so far, is by locating small stickers located on the release.  One such case, presented below, shows an example of one of these stickers.  The translation is roughly Sample Free (Catalogue Number).  In other words, Free Sample, which is another way of saying promotional.  Promos were often produced and provided this way in Greece – a commercial release is stickered and then distributed to radio stations and journalists alike.

To compare one release that shows all three forms (CD, commercial vinyl, and promotional vinyl), have a look below.