Winning Entry for ‘Your World of Mellon Collie’ Contest

Announcement by The SPfreaks Team

We’re pleased to share the winning entry of our contest, with the submitted article and decoupage set below. Our winner is now being sent a copy of the Mellon Collie CD Deluxe Box Set and an SPfreaks t-shirt!

 

The World of Mellon Collie

By: wK

Do you know these guys that “know music”? They’re familiar with every possible band you’ve never heard about, discographies by year, lineup changes, backstories and trivia? They also know their way around the different genres, styles, eras and influences?

Well, I’m sort of that kinda guy.

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The first time I heard “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” was in the summer of 2002, and I had just graduated from highschool. It was a good album with some great hits in it, but nowhere was it as coherent as the previous, grungier, Siamese Dream. The whole thing just seemed too bloated and overly produced for my taste. I had only a few months before recruiting to a mandatory 3-year army service, and had virtually nothing to do with that borrowed time. And, as it happened to be, that summer I fell madly in love with a girl.

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I was always fond of secondary titles appended to the name of a piece of art. If I had to choose one for MCIS it would have been: “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Music for the Heartbroken, in E♭”. Because when your heart is ill, you’re not simply depressed. Depression is for when something gets fucked up in your life. But when you are truly heartbroken, you are not merely depressed, you become melancholic. The difference being? Whereas depression is your life played as a monochromatic black-and-white film, melancholy is your life on a colored-canvas painting.

Just for comparison, “The Wall” is an album you want to cut your wrists to; Mellon Collie is an album that lets you know that everything is OK, and makes you feel perfectly fine with your sadness, and even lets you enjoy it in a strange way. Perhaps that’s what Billy meant when he described Mellon Collie as “The Wall for Gen X”.

* * *

So, being the self-proclaimed musical expert that I am, I’m very often asked what my favorite album is, and I always answer, without a second’s hesitation: “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”. “Why?” is the question that almost instantly follows, but it’s always very difficult for me to answer.

Because Mellon Collie isn’t just an ALBUM.

I’ve read somewhere that a great piece of art should conform to the following: It must be universal, introspective, and self-contained. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with that definition, but I think that Mellon Collie is just that; it can touch your inmost personal experiences and memories, while still providing some insight about the ‘world’. Most importantly, it’s not just a bunch of songs put together – it’s a complete universe.

Sure, there are the 28 songs from the official album, but once you are done with these, you begin to grow an appetite for more. Then you dig a little deeper and find out about long-sold-out “The Aeroplane Flies High” box set. At first you may think it’s an ordinary leftover B-Sides collection, but to your amazement you find 28 MORE songs, and damn! Some of these songs are even better than the ones released on the album. And just when you think that you’ve got your hands on all the stuff that could have possibly been recorded on that era, you stumble upon the demo tapes. The acoustic Sadlands sessions, the Pumpkinland rehearsals, the Gravity demos, the 666 video, a plethora of live performances, and of course the music videography highlighted by “Tonight, Tonight” which may possibly be one of the best music videos of all times.

* * *

The fall came, and my friends and I were staying up all night, getting high and drunk on a daily basis, just the way you’d imagine 18-year-old-soon-to-be soldiers facing the unknown. That was when I rediscovered the Mellon Collie universe, and it became the soundtrack to that weird, wonderful time of my life.

Because Mellon Collie isn’t JUST an album.

It’s about opening the booklet and getting that feeling you had when you were little, reading an old children’s book full of soothing Victorian-era anthropomorphic illustrations.

It’s wanting to learn piano just so you could be able to endlessly play the opening title for yourself; It’s wishing that the Reprise in the end of “Ruby” would never end; It’s being awaken by the mid-“X.Y.U” scream after you’ve fallen asleep just a few songs earlier, Or, if you’re lucky enough, falling asleep to the closing piano of the sweet, sweet lullaby that is “Farewell and Goodnight”, feeling at peace with world, even if for a brief moment.

It’s obsessing about the sold-out vinyl version, going into old record stores hoping they might just have it, even when you know they won’t. It’s constantly trying to find it on eBay at a reasonable price, and when you do, you realize it’s a fake cause you’re already an expert on this subject matter by now.

It’s arguing with fellow MellonColliacs on whether “Marquis in Spades” should have been included in the album; It’s wondering why the hell “The Viper” wasn’t properly recorded; It’s constantly trying to build your own perfect album playlist out of the abundance of songs, only to find out that it’s an impossible mission, because you couldn’t let go of even the most obscure of songs, because you love each and every one of them a little differently.

It’s looking at a cookie-shaped moon, hoping it would smile back at you while you smoke a cigarette in the middle of the night; It’s wanting to tattoo one of icons from the lyrics sheet on your leg.

It’s imagining the girl you love, sitting on a huge star, staring at the skies.

 * * *

With every return of the fall, the little green grass begins to cover the hills on the countryside, the colors of the sunset get a little dimmer, the winter clothes being taken out from the back of the closet – that’s when I put on the pink CD in my little stereo, and with the sound of the C♯ piano chord being played, I begin my annual journey to the land of Mellon Collie.

Significant albums have come and gone during my life, some of which were really, really good. And I do return to some every once in a while. But with Mellon Collie it’s a bit different. Because, well, Mellon Collie isn’t just an album.

* * *

MCIS_Decoupage_Kit (small)

SPfreaks Contest Update – Your World of Mellon Collie

Announcement by The SPfreaks Team

MCIS box set cover art

December 15th was the deadline for the contest that we started on October 7th. We asked you to write an essay called “The World of Mellon Collie”, and add a decoupage set to the essay. The essay was to be between 1,000 and 2,500 words long. Members of the SPfreaks Team were not eligible to enter the contest.

The contest has been highly anticipated since early October, and we noticed multiple positive responses on the Smashing Pumpkins forum, Twitter, and above all, Facebook. However, in the meantime we were unable to have a band member of Smashing Pumpkins participate in the judging of our contest.

As a result, we will now judge the contest submissions within the SPfreaks Team. Accordingly, we will be able to announce a winner much earlier than previously expected. Instead of between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we will now have a winner announced by Friday the 21st! The winner will also be contacted at the email used to submit their entry.  So keep your eyes peeled on this blog,  and we will see you again on Friday!

SPfreaks Contest – Your World of Mellon Collie

Announcement by The SPfreaks Team

The World Of Mellon Collie

With the upcoming reissue of Smashing Pumpkins‘ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness scheduled for early December, 2012, we at SPfreaks thought it a good idea to have another fan contest!

SPfreaks has a history in organizing and/or supporting Smashing Pumpkins fan contests, with the 2008 Poster Contest (fully supported by the band) being the most remarkable to date. After this long running contest, the winner received tickets and backstage passes to a 20th Anniversary show of Smashing Pumpkins, and had her winning poster signed during a meet and greet with the band! The winner also won a rare piece of Smashing Pumpkins vinyl, which was later framed (pictured here).

The new contest however, will be on a somewhat different level. Art-related as always, but now the writers and designers amongst you will have a chance to compete and win a pretty cool prize. The winner of this contest will receive a Deluxe Box Set of the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness reissue, nicely packed with a SPfreaks promo shirt in your size!

Taken from the Mellon Collie reissue press release issued a few days ago:

“The Deluxe Box Set’s 5 CDs include 64 bonus tracks of previously unreleased material or alternate versions of Mellon Collie era songs, and its DVD features a live show filmed at the Brixton Academy, London (1996) and bonus performances from the German music television show Rockpalast (1996). It all comes housed in a 12 x 12 lift-top box with magnetic closure, reimagined cover art and velvet-lined disc holder. The package includes 2 books containing personal notes, lyrics, new collage artwork, plus a Decoupage kit for creating your own scenes from the Mellon Collie universe.”

What do you need to do to win this extraordinary Smashing Pumpkins release? There are two components. The first is a written piece between 1,000 and 2,500 words in length, entitled The World Of Mellon Collie. Feel free to interpret the title and the theme as widely as you see fit to your writing skills. The second component is the creation of a decoupage set. For those unfamiliar with this terminology, please have a look here for an explanation. The decoupage set must be related to a specific song that appeared on the original Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness release from 1995 (to include the vinyl with two additional bonus tracks).

Some guidelines and rules to this contest.

  1. The decoupage set can be designed either digitally, or with physical materials. In the latter case we need a very clear photo(s) of the artwork created.
  2. The decoupage set must not relate to more than one song.
  3. As stated, the article that accompanies the decoupage set has to be at least 1,000 words, but should not be longer as 2,500 words. No exceptions!
  4. Send your contributions to the following email address only: TheSPfreaksTeam@gmail.com.
  5. We are in contact with the band to ascertain if any band member(s) is/are willing to assist with judging. We will make an immediate announcement if this occurs.
  6. Deadline for this contest is December 15, 2012. We hope to announce the winner of the contest between Xmas and New Years Eve, so the winner will have the prize as a New Years present.
  7. Members of the SPfreaks Team are not eligible to enter.
  8. Good luck to you all!

20th Anniversary show in Washington DC 2008

Article by Daniella Koontz

When I first found out that I won the SPfreaks competition I was completely shocked and elated. What an amazing feeling of accomplishment. The next step was to figure out which show I was going to attend. Since I live in the state of Florida, I’d have to fly. Several of the shows overlapped dates that I already had planned to be on vacation, so those were out. Several dates were already sold out, so those were obviously out, and several were too far away for my budget. On top of that I had to figure out how to manage my husband’s schedule so that he could attend with me, since Smashing Pumpkins has been his favorite band much longer than mine. Yes, I’m one of the younger generations of fans. Sadly, it didn’t work out for him, so I had a free ticket. You wouldn’t think it would be hard for me to find a friend to go with me, but it was. I chose to go to the Wednesday night concert in Washington DC. Most of my friends had work/school or other responsibilities that prevented them from going.

Finally the day of the concert, one of my friends couldn’t find a replacement for his work and couldn’t go. So I called up my best friend from when I was a teenager, who I hadn’t seen in 3 ½ years and told her to get ready because she was going with me. She had a whole 40 minutes to get ready, and pack an overnight bag for an amazing night in Washington DC.

When we arrived in DC we ate at one of my favorite spots, Pizza Paradiso. On our way from dinner to the concert hall, we saw the Motorcade. Very fun to watch. We arrived at the concert an hour and a half before the doors opened. Why? Because when my husband and I went to Hard Rock in August to see “A Night With the Smashing Pumpkins,” we arrived two hours early and the line was so long, I can hardly describe it. But the concert going must not be as hardcore in DC, because there was no line. So we walked around the DAR and I took photos of the tour vans, bus, and other interesting things. I was already screaming, and my heart was racing. Just knowing you are in such a close proximity to your favorite band is breathtaking.

We arrive at Will Call and I receive my envelope with two tickets. My friends said, “Hey shouldn’t you have gotten backstage passes?” I was too shy to ask and said, “I guess not.” Thankfully my friend stood up for me and told the lady at the window that I had one the SPfreaks poster contest. She then asked me in a brass tone, “What do you think you’re ENTITLED to.” In a sheepish little voice I said, “Backstage passes?” She said that she would check, and sure enough she handed me two beautiful backstage passes with my last name written on them. My heart was beating through my chest as I text messaged my husband in complete excitement while somberly wishing that he was with me.


As we entered the concert hall I was amazed that there was no security or bag check. I had snuck in my Canon 30D along with my little Canon digital camera that recorded video. Earlier I had called the operator and she said to me, “Well you can bring it, but you can’t use it.” Watch me woman! The concert hall was beautiful and ornate. They had a huge lounge in the lower level, beautiful seating, and high ceilings with amazing lighting fixtures.

We found our seats and waited patiently. Half an hour before the show, the concert hall wasn’t even half full. But by the time the show started it was packed! My seats were in the balcony on the left when looking at the stage. We were right above the backstage door and got to watch the band enter and exit the stage. The only downfall is that the speakers blocked the horn section.

The lights went down and the band emerged, Billy in a long black and white coat. In his hand he held a pumpkin bucket. He grabbed the mike and dove into Ava Adore. My heart skipped a beat since this was one of the songs that we named our daughter after. (The first being Lily My One and Only). Billy shook his pumpkin and spread glitter across the front row of fans and all over the stage. Then Billy disrobed to showcase his tour getup; The white spider shirt, black spacesuit skirt, classic black and white leggings, red socks, and Nike sneakers. During the show, the lighting went from deep purples and pinks to cool blues and greens, alternating with patterned stripes, flowers, triangles, and spots.

The crowd went wild when the band tore into 1979. Just a taste to feed the beast of the past. I had almost as much fun watching the fans in the first few rows, as I did watching the band. Almost. In the front rows was a man who video taped the whole show. I’d love to see the video pointing up Billy’s nostrils all night. There was a woman who danced through every song, mouthing the words to most of them. There was the metal head with huge hair throwing his fists up and head banging. There was the man in the hat whose body gyrated for two and a half hours straight. Of course I took photos of all these amazing fans, because without fans like these the Smashing Pumpkins wouldn’t exist.

The first half of the concert was definitely for the fans, with favorites including Soma, Cherub Rock, Zero, and Bodies. I personally was almost in tears when Bodies started. My arms had goose bumps up and down them most of the night. We were also blessed with some new material as well as some amazing classics, a Simon and Garfunkel cover, and I think even a demo (that according to spfc.org had only been played 3 times previously).

My throat was sore from screaming so much. I felt bad because there was a mom with her young son sitting right in front of me. Later on I saw them backstage. What a rockin’ mom! I wish my parents were that cool when I was that age! (I related this to my mom and had to tell her that Dan Fogelberg and Weird Al don’t count)

There were lots of fans who wanted to get a closer look. Two gentlemen in particular had to be escorted out several times by a huge security guard with enormous gauges in his ears, along with other body modifications. Intimidation tactics? The funniest part is when the boys decided that they were going to sit in the special balcony chairs in front of me. The guard came up and laid one rather large hand on each of the boy’s shoulders instantly bringing them to their feet. I threw my arms up in the air and shouted “GO SECURITY! Woo Hoo!”

Although Gingger didn’t look like she was feeling well (she didn’t move very much throughout the night), Billy seemed to still be able to have a good time. He didn’t interact with the crowd at all, like he did during the August tour. He did, though, dance around the stage with tambourines, shred his guitars, and dance around in a top hat. When post processing my 4GB of photos, I had to zoom in on a few photos of Billy with his black guitar. It was sporting some stickers that I hadn’t previously seen. Some hearts, a green cloverleaf that says “It’s Easy Being Green,” and a few label made sentences that said, “I passed the man test,” “It’s cocoon time,” and “Dani of the moon.” (If anybody knows what Dani of the Moon means, please let me know)

Okay, so I realize that I haven’t said much about the other members of the 9 piece band. I adored the horns, especially because I’ve been a fan of Gabriel, from No Doubt, for much longer than Smashing Pumpkins. I remember buying my first tape and it was a No Doubt album. My dad played the trumpet for a few years, so I’ve always had an affinity for trumpets, especially during my SKA phase.

The violinist, Gingger, used an amazing double violin that added a rich deep sound to the music. According to a previous article on SP.com her violin covers the entire range of the orchestra’s double bass, cello, viola and violin. I was completely lulled to hear the sound of a full orchestra in ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.’ It was a complete lighter waving moment, to which there was no lighter or cell phone waving. DC crowds really aren’t that exciting are they?

After the show my friend and I ran around to the curtain to wait to go backstage. We proudly sported our backstage stickers and waited with schoolgirl glee. I pulled out my portfolio containing the winning watercolor and also the DAR poster that I repainted (the original submission was digital, this was a watercolor version of that). Finally our name was called and we headed backstage. I was shaking as I held my portfolio close to my chest. We first saw Jeff in the hallway. I sheepishly asked him if he would sign my painting, and he graciously obliged. Then we walked into the room and waited. I didn’t want to interrupt any conversations, so we just stood there and stared… and stared. Billy was on the couch in a white robe talking to several men involved in a radio station. They were asking him question after question and I wish my mind was clear enough at that point to have listened. Bass player Ginger walked by me with a salad and I again sheepishly asked her to sign my poster. She’s much smaller in person than she appears onstage. Unfortunately Billy asked that nobody take any photos backstage. I completely understand, I mean, he was wearing a bath robe!

A woman walked in and handed Jimmy Chamberlain a golf ball from the White House. I finally caught his eye and was brave enough to get his signature and tell him exactly what my husband asked me to tell him. I’m sure he hears it all the time, but he is the best drummer ever. My husband was so disappointed that he didn’t get to make it to the concert, but he sacrificed this opportunity to finish his orientation with his new job so that he can take care of me and our little girls.

I met so many other people who enjoyed the winning poster. One guy worked for the White House. Remember earlier when I said that we saw the motorcade? We indeed saw Barack Obama driving to the White House! Well his car at least. He also confirmed that Billy accepted the invitation to have lunch at the White House. He was very nice and I wish I would have gotten his business card and given him mine. I had my business cards with me, but didn’t give them to anybody because my phone number has changed since I got them printed.

Finally I worked up the nerve to speak to Billy. All day I had been racking my brains with what I would ask Billy Corgan if I got a chance to. All I could do was look at my shoes as he signed my paintings. My friend asked him how he keeps his voice so strong through such a long concert. Billy chalked it up to genetics. After signing our tickets he didn’t return my Sharpie… so I said, “Uh, can I have my Sharpie back?” Then I started laughing and said, “Okay, so I just have to tell you that I’ve been trying to figure out all day what the one question that I’d ask Billy Corgan if I had the chance to, and I just wasted it on ‘Can I have my Sharpie back?” Billy chuckled and said, “Yeah, you only get one question.” As I walked away and told my friend, “That was such a South Park moment, like when they got to ask god one question and Stan totally wasted it.”

 

Then I finally turned to Gabriel, he was the first band member to offer a handshake. I was blown away. I didn’t hold my hand out because I was too shy to force somebody to shake my hand. He took a while to look over my poster and seemed thoroughly impressed. I melted. I had told everybody else that this was the winning poster for SPfreaks, and they just smiled and said it was nice. Gabriel examined every inch and even asked me what some of the symbolism was. I even admitted that I drew the bombs backwards and he helped me make excuses as to why they were just fine. He inquired as to my art background, and encouraged me to keep going with it. He is also the only one who addressed his signature to me. Don’t pelt me with rotten tomatoes, but looking back it was so much more exciting to meet Gabriel because he took an interest in who I was and the art that I made for the contest. Not that I expected Billy to be interested in me, he meets so many fans per show. But to have such an amazingly talented musician take an interest in me for even the smallest moment….. yeah…. I was on cloud nine.

Then I pulled a blond moment while looking for Lisa, Ginger, Kristopher and Stephen. I walked out of the room and asked Jeff to sign my poster AGAIN. So instead I got him to sign my DAR poster. I felt like such a moron, but really, I was completely star struck. Seeing them in person is actually a calming feeling where you remember that they are just human beings like you. They have thoughts and feelings, they get tired, have to eat, and have friends and family, just like you and I. At the same time you just can’t believe that you were this close to somebody whose work has inspired you and millions of others for so long. This close…. For all the fan girls, need I repeat the fact that Billy was in a bathrobe? I saw him shirtless as he came out for the encore (he threw on his T-shirt while walking onto the stage) and I saw his thigh when his bathrobe fell open. Go ahead, squeal with glee. I joked with my friends that I want his brains not his babies.

Then security pointed us to the exit before we could find the rest of the band. Thankfully we found Stephen outside and got to talk to him for a little bit. He signed my poster and we thanked him and excused ourselves. We got to walk past all the fans waiting to see the band emerge from backstage. It felt like walking the red carpet. As we walked back to the car I spun and danced gleefully. This will be something I tell stories about for a very long time.