Smashing Soundtracks

Article by Shaharaine P. Abdullah

From the visually arresting images of “Tonight, Tonight” to the avant-garde “Stand Inside Your Love,” songs by The Smashing Pumpkins have always been accompanied by groundbreaking music videos, demonstrating the band’s propensity for weaving stunning imagery and sound together for an enduring cinematic experience.

Not surprisingly, the visceral music of The Smashing Pumpkins translates well into the big screen – after all, the band’s penchant for compelling lyrics and innate arcane appeal make great ingredients for cinematic scoring.

From the obscure to the mainstream, the following are a range of diverse films that The Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan have written, produced and contributed musical material to:

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Singles (1992)

Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, Singles is a romantic comedy centering on a group of twenty-something friends whose lives unfold amidst Seattle’s expanding grunge-era scene. With its derivative plot and lackluster characters, the film’s soundtrack is what redeems it from being forgettable; featuring a stellar roster of grunge heavyweights like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, etc. As one of the bands routinely lumped in with the grunge movement, The Smashing Pumpkins make an appearance in Single’s OST with their track “Drown,” a song that debuted after Gish was released. It’s included in the bonus CD of the 2011 reissue of Gish, the 2001 Rotten Apples greatest hits compilation and it’s early demo format (originally 8:58 minutes in length) was also released through the SPRC (Smashing Pumpkins Record Club).

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Salto al vacío (1995)

A Spanish drama about a woman from a poor neighborhood named Alex who supports her family by drug-dealing and arms trafficking; on the side, she is also in love with Javi, a man whose life is constantly marked by violence. The movie revolves around the lives of both characters as they struggle for survival in the slums and try to deal with the bleak prospect of an uncertain future. The Smashing Pumpkins appear in the film’s soundtrack with their single “Disarm” off the album Siamese Dream.

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Ransom (1996)

Long before Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic meltdown, he starred in critically acclaimed movies like Ransom, a crime thriller about a millionaire who goes to unusual lengths to save his young son’s life after the latter is kidnapped and held for ransom. Originally, Howard Shore wrote and recorded a full score for the film but Director Ron Howard rejected it and went with notable composer James Horner instead, who collaborated with Billy Corgan. As a result, there are 7 tracks written, produced and performed by Corgan that all appear on Ransom’s soundtrack; namely “Lizards,” “Rats,” “Rats With Tails,” “Spiders,” “Squirrels,” “Worms 1” and “Worms With Vocals.”

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Lost Highway (1997)

Known for his cryptic plots and unique cinematic style, American filmmaker David Lynch reprises his surrealist trademark with Lost Highway, a movie about a jazz saxophonist framed for his wife’s mysterious murder. The rather disquieting mood of the film is echoed by its dark soundtrack listing, which features the track “Eye,” one of The Smashing Pumpkins’ singles released during the aftermath of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Originally a programmed backing track loosely inspired by Dr. Dre, Billy Corgan began work on “Eye” for a supposed collaboration with then aspiring rapper Shaquille O’ Neal, which eventually fell through. Lynch, in collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails at the time, was working on the compilation of Lost Highway’s soundtrack when he rejected Corgan’s initial submission, “Tear” (which eventually ended up on the album Adore). Corgan then finished “Eye,” which he also submitted to Lynch, who loved it and ended up using the song for a nightclub scene in the movie. The filmmaker refers to Corgan as a magical musicianafter their collaboration on the Lost Highway’s OST. To date, the track “Eye” is occasionally included in The Smashing Pumpkins’ set lists and appears in the band’s greatest hits compilation album, Rotten Apples.

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The Saint (1997)

The movie is an espionage thriller about a master thief, Simon Templar, who adapts the moniker of different saints to elude capture. In his next job for a Russian billionaire who is bent on rallying support against the current Russian president, Simon is tasked to steal a revolutionary cold fusion formula discovered by a young scientist but ends up falling for the latter instead, creating a dilemma. The Smashing Pumpkins’ cover of “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” by The Cars appears on The Saint’s OST.

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First Love, Last Rites (1997)

A couple of drifters are disenchanted in their relationship and lives, which they continue to aimlessly squander through intimacy and mindless conversations. The cinematography and soundtrack are what makes the otherwise boring and nonsensical plot bearable, with The Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan perking up things a bit by lending his vocals to the track “When I Was Born, I Was Bored” with the band Shudder To Think.

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Batman & Robin (1997)

Director Joel Schumacher’s second helm on DC’s popular Batman character, this installment features a star-studded cast led by George Clooney as Batman, with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the antagonist role of Dr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as the sultry villainess Poison Ivy. Despite the movie’s prominent roster and extensive marketing, Schumacher’s campy and family-friendly take on the franchise didn’t sit well with critics, earning the film negative reviews. It also drew heavy flak from fans, prompting Clooney to vow to never to reprise his role as the caped crusader. However, the film’s soundtrack had the opposite reaction, with The Smashing Pumpkins’ track “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” winning “Best Hard Rock Performance” at the 1998 Grammy Awards. It also garnered nominations at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards for “Best Editing,” “Best Cinematography,” “Best Special Effects” and “Best Direction.”

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Free Tibet (1998)

A documentary where different bands and musicians unite under one cause: to end the Chinese occupation of Tibet and to support the fundamental human rights of Tibetans. With their songs “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and “Silverfuck,” The Smashing Pumpkins join the likes of Sonic Youth, Cibo Matto, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Björk, etc. in a concert that aims to promote awareness of the plight of Tibetans among the youth through music.

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American Pie (1999)

Perhaps known as the film that forever immortalized apple pies, band camp, “Stifler’s Mom” and the term “MILF,” American Pie is a coming-of-age comedy about four boys on a quest to lose their virginity before their high school graduation. The movie’s soundtrack features staples from teenage playlists at the time, including Hole’s “Celebrity Skin,” which is co-written by Billy Corgan.

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Stigmata (1999)

Faith and the supernatural collide in this horror film directed by Rupert Wainright about a young woman afflicted with stigmata after acquiring a rosary formerly owned by a deceased Italian priest, who also suffered the same phenomena. Billy Corgan provides music for the movie by co-writing the track “Identify” (performed by Natalie Imbruglia) with Mike Garson.

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Any Given Sunday (1999)

A drama about a fictional professional American football team, Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday offers an unconventional insight on the athletic world and trappings of fame. It also features an eclectic soundtrack where the single “Be A Man” (performed by Hole and co-written by Billy Corgan) appears.

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Homicide: The Movie (2000)

Based on the series “Homicide: Life on the Street” that chronicles the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department’s Homicide Unit, this TV movie serves as the American cop-drama’s finale. “Crestfallen” by The Smashing Pumpkins appears on the end of the movie and can be found on the band’s fourth album Adore.

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Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

A parody of several teen movies and stereotypical characters, Not Another Movie is an underrated comedy that combines all the elements we love and loathe in teen movies, while maintaining plot cohesion. The Smashing Pumpkins cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” appears on the satire’s soundtrack and as a B-side to the band’s single “Rocket” (from the album Siamese Dream).

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On The Edge (2001)

Directed by John Carney, On The Edge is a film about a group of suicidal patients who discover themselves again after undergoing therapy at a treatment facility. Stellar performances by the cast, witty dialogues and a superb soundtrack will endear you to this movie. The track “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins is played at the beginning of the movie during a scene where the lead character, Jonathan Breech (portrayed by the talented Cillian Murphy), is riding his bike.

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Spun (2002)

This film debut by acclaimed music video director Jonas Åkerlund is a dark dramedy (drama-comedy) about the intertwined lives of a group of meth heads, which is originally inspired by creator/writer Will De Los Santos’ 3-day stint of driving a methamphetamine cook around Oregon. Billy Corgan penned most of the original songs (performed by The Djali Zwan, an acoustic incarnation of Zwan) from Spun’s OST, including “Freedom Ain’t What It Used to Be,” “Think You Know,” “Revolve,” “Jesus, I Have Taken My Cross” and “Wasting Time.”

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The SP leader also makes a hilarious cameo in the film as a doctor who utters “That’s gotta hurt” while examining one of the characters, Frisbee, after the latter gets shot in the crotch.

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On a side note, Åkerlund has also directed the The Smashing Pumpkins’ music video for “Try, Try, Try,” which explores the same dark themes as in Spun. It is originally adapted from Åkerlund’s short film “Try” and portrays the life of a homeless drug-addicted couple named Max and Linda from Sweden. Due to graphic scenes of drug overdose, prostitution and larceny, the extended version of the video never saw much airtime, while the music video edit only had limited rotation. The extended version also featured a bleaker, alternate ending in comparison to the music video’s conclusion – both cuts are available on The Smashing Pumpkins Greatest Hits Video Collection (1991 – 2000).

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Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003)

A documentary that chronicles the life of Rodney “Rodney on the ROQ” Bingenheimer, a radio DJ from Los Angeles’ KROQ station who was a fixture on the west coast’s evolving music scene. Hole’s “Malibu” (co-written by Billy Corgan) appears on the documentary’s extensive soundtrack.

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National Treasure (2004)

A historian and amateur cryptologist, Benjamin Gates (portrayed by Nicolas Cage) is a descendant of a long line of treasure-seekers who are on a quest to find a lost treasure that dates back to Ancient Egypt and is hidden by The Knights Templar. This adventure film features the track “Forget It” performed by the band Breaking Benjamin and co-written by Billy Corgan.

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American Pie Presents Band Camp (2005)

This direct-to-DVD spin off from the American Pie series focuses on the shenanigans of Steve Stifler’s younger brother, Max. This film also features the track “Forget It” performed by the band Breaking Benjamin and co-written by Billy Corgan.

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Air Guitar Nation (2006)

A documentary that traces the origin of the US Air Guitar Championships and chronicles the struggles of those vying for the title, this zany art form brings thousands of fans every August at Oulu, Finland, where colorful contestants duke it out for the Air Guitar World Championships title. The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock” (first single from the album Siamese Dream) aptly makes an appearance in the documentary’s OST.

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White Powder (2006)

White Powder is a short film about a couple, Mark and Cathy, and how drug addiction affects their relationship. The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Believe” (written by James Iha, from the Judas Ø B-sides and rarities) appears on the film’s OST.

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Clerks II (2006)

Written and directed by Kevin Smith (popularly known for his recurring role as Silent Bob in the “Jay and Silent Bob” comedy tandem), Clerks II is the sequel to Smith’s debut film Clerks and picks up 10 years after the events of the first film, which chronicles the misadventures of Dante Hicks, Randal Graves, Jay and Silent Bob. The movie also features The Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” (from the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) on it’s soundtrack; incidentally, the music video for “1979” was filmed in the same convenience store used in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, one of Smith’s other films.

whenamanfalls

When A Man Falls (2007)

A drama about the intertwined lives and disintegrating relationships of four people, When A Man Falls is a slow paced film that deals with disillusionment and self-destruction. Billy Corgan contributes three, previously-unreleased songs to the film’s soundtrack, which are “Shangra-La,” Sky Of Blue” and “Whisper.”

transformers

Transformers (2007)

The first installment in Director Michael Bay’s hit franchise based on the popular Transformers toy line about two warring factions of alien robots, the Autobots and Decepticons. The Smashing Pumpkins make an appearance on the movie’s soundtrack with their single “Doomsday Clock,” the opening track from the band’s seventh album, Zeitgeist. The song can be he heard twice in the movie: during a climactic action sequence involving the character Mikaela Banes (played by Megan Fox) rescuing one of the Autobots, Bumblebee, and during the closing credits.

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Paging David Cronenberg (2008)

A short film about Nicola Six, a self-proclaimed psychic who eerily predicted her parents’ death and is now plagued with dreams of her own imminent demise on the eve her 35th birthday. Now on her “final year,” she has narrowed down her murderer to 4 suspects, 2 of whom she interacts with during the entire movie. The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Eye” appears on the short film’s soundtrack.

100greatesthardrocksongs

100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs (2008)

A countdown of the top 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs hosted by Bret Michaels of the rock band Poison, featuring a slew of artists and bands (including The Smashing Pumpkins in an archive footage). “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” (from the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) appears on the soundtrack and ranks 91st on the countdown.

fanboys

Fanboys (2009)

A dramedy about a group of Star Wars fanatics who take a road trip to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch so that their terminally-ill friend can catch the screening of Star Wars: Episode 1 – the Phantom Menace before its release. The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today” (from the album Siamese Dream) appears on the soundtrack.

watchmen

Watchmen (2009)

Based on DC Comics’ Watchmen, this film adaptation is set in an alternate history of 1985 (during the height of Cold War) and chronicles a group of retired vigilantes that decide to investigate an apparent conspiracy against them – in the process, they uncover something more diabolical at a much larger scale. “The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning” (originally a B-side for the single “The End is the Beginning is the End”) by The Smashing Pumpkins prominently appears in the film’s trailer, as well as OST.

HOP

Hop (2011)

An animated movie about E.B., the Easter Bunny’s teenage son, who doesn’t want to inherit his dad’s Easter Bunny title or duties and instead, decides to make his foray into Hollywood as a drummer for a rock band. Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” (co-written by Billy Corgan) is featured in the comedy’s soundtrack.

footloose

Footloose (2011)

A remake of the 1984 musical drama film by Herbert Ross, Footloose tells the story of Ren McCormack, a teenage boy from Boston who moves to a small town where dancing is banned. His arrival serves as a catalyst for change in the community, particularly the movement to have the ban lifted for the local high school’s prom night. The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Window Paine” (a B-side of the single “Siva” from the album Gish) appears on the movie’s OST.

The following are also some television series, episodes and video games that The Smashing Pumpkins’ have either been featured in or contributed songs to over the years:

TV

Glee, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, South Park, FlashForward, Cold Case, Sputnik, Smallville, Crossing Jordan, The Simpsons, Polizeiruf 110, Saturday Night Live, Roswell, The O.C., Reunion, One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries, The Chicago Code, Masters of Horror” (Episode 3: “Dance of the Dead”), “Whale Wars” (Animal Planet)

Video Games

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground, Rock Band, Power Gig: Rise of the Six String, Grand Theft Auto IV, Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar Hero 5

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For Those Who Didn’t Buy (yet) Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness Deluxe

Review by Jeff Becker from The Way That He Sings

Other Smashing Pumpkins reviews:

The Smashing Pumpkins – live in St. Louis – October 18, 2012

The Smashing Pumpkins – live in Milwaukee – Sept 30, 2012

Oceania album

The Smashing Pumpkins -live in Milwaukee in 2011

Article on the brief Machina 2 sale last year on eBay

Please Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheWayThatHeSings

Billy Corgan’s magnum opus.

Faster than the speed of sound. Faster than we thought we’d go.  Beneath the sound of hope.” from ‘1979’

The overall release of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is scored a 9.5/10

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CD1 and CD2 – The original double album remastered

Generally considered to be either the best, or 2nd best staple of the Smashing Pumpkins catalog, there’s no question that Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is Billy Corgan’s most eclectic foray.   The remastered version here is something less distinguishable from the original than one may desire but that’s less of a knock on this new version versus an applaud towards the original, which stands the test of time just fine.  Let’s be honest – are you spending your money on this slightly-tinkered remastering of the original masterpiece, or for the 64 bonus tracks?  I choose the latter.  The remaster is primarily the vehicle to deliver this potpourri set of outtakes.  Would I be more interested in a remastered version of the Beatles Abbey Road or a CD of 12 unreleased Beatles’ tracks didn’t make the final cut?   It’s not even a fair question.  Give me the unreleased tracks.

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Mellon Collie quickly became polarizing for many grunge-based Pumpkins fans in the mid-90’s.   The fans of Corgan’s blazing, trademark guitar sound from Siamese Dream were left scratching their chins as they absorbed the slowed down quintuple-medley that completes Mellon Collie, “We Only Come Out at Night/Beautiful/Lily/By Starlight/Farewell and Goodnight”.  The leftover grungers from 1993 that were thrilled by “Hummer” had trouble adapting.  In their place arrived droves of fans magnetized by the sound of “1979”, “33” and the pop melodies that drop in and out throughout the double album in between the metal onslaught.  It was ballsy and at the same time unstoppable.  The perfect storm to wave a final good-bye to grunge and thus, raise the bar.

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Mellon Collie‘s success set the stage for another polarizing release a couple years later with Adore.  Where Melon Collie succeeded was it was the perfect playground for the most dynamic songwriter of those few short years.   In the mid-90’s Corgan would not be stopped and the sales success of this string of early Pumpkins’ albums opened the door for a near-decade’s worth of unabashed freedom in the studio.   No other artist could go from the wall pounding bombast of “XYU” and “Bodies” and finish it with “Farewell and Goodnight”.  This wasn’t KISS trying to sing “Beth” – this was a legitimate rock band that could pull off beautiful eclectic, alternative, dreamy pop music at the drop of a dime.

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The final mastery of Mellon Collie is how Corgan was able to use the dysfunctional qualities of the band members (James, Jimmy, D’arcy and himself) into one last, final group-hug success story before the inevitable implosion of their personalities and relationship took over.  Just as Nicole Fiorentino’s voice on “Pinwheels” from Oceania gives the listener that needed break from Corgan’s dominance, Mellon Collie is littered perfectly with those deep breaths of fresh air from the other band mates.   Who cares if they fucking hated each other at that moment – it was those few moments of serenity that moved the album into our emotional stratosphere regardless of this train wreck love story that ended the original band lineup.   Some of the greatest albums in our history was recorded by bands that hated each other at the time (The Wall, Let it Be).  The moments that D’arcy and James join into the vocal mix the album simply sounds more complete to us.  This, for a very brief time, was the Smashing Pumpkins we all wanted.  Everything after Mellon Collie was simply Billy Corgan.   By 1998 we were spoiled and it would be so hard for Corgan to meet an expectation of fans to relive the times that even Corgan probably didn’t want to necessarily relive.

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The 64 bonus tracks The girth of bonus material is as good as fans can expect an artist to provide.  I mean, no artist wants to provide B- material in heavy doses.   In the 42 years since the Beatles broke up they’ve officially released fewer demos and outtakes than you can find on this single reissue of Mellon Collie. A combination of strong fidelity mixed with melodic, unreleased melodic tracks are the most sought after.

CD 3-5

Let’s play the division game for the new 64 tracks and break them each down into three categories:

  1. Must own
  2. Nice to have
  3. Skip

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CD 3 MORNING TEA

  1. Tonight, Tonight (Strings Alone Mix) – Nice to have.  If this were from anything less than a classic song it would be a Skip.
  2. Methusela (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  And as with most of the Sadlands Demos, it’s a rather remarkable addition to what would have been a suitable triple album originally.
  3. X.Y.U. (Take 11) – Nice to have.  A good mix of the powerful track but not a significant addition to the original version.
  4. Zero (Synth Mix) – Nice to have.  But again, not a significant addition here to the original.
  5. Feelium (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Tracks like this and “Ascending Guitars” are where this deluxe set shows its true teeth!
  6. Autumn Nocturne (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Another strong fidelity demo of a song that sounds nothing like anything else on the original album.
  7. Beautiful (Loop Version) – Must own.  A dramatically different version of one of the album’s odd love songs.
  8. Ugly (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.   The Sadlands Demos should have just had their own dedicated CD in this release.   They’re that good.  That epic.
  9. Ascending Guitars (Sadlands Demo) – Must own and phenomenal.  This writer’s favorite track on this disc.
  10. By Starlight (Flood Rough) – Nice to have.  Rough mix, as noted, but simply OK.
  11. Medellia Of The Gray Skies (Take 1) – Nice to have.  Wonderful track but not too far away from its original beauty.
  12. Lover (Arrangement 1 Demo) – Nice to have.  A rough version of a below-average Iha track.
  13. Thru The Eyes Of Ruby (Take 7) – Nice to have.  A quality, slightly different instrumental version of a great track.
  14. In The Arms Of Sleep (Early Live Demo) – Must own.   Wonderful quality single-take.
  15. Lily (My One And Only) (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Another quality single-take on full acoustic by Corgan.
  16. 1979 (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  In my opinion, the track that changed it all for the Pumpkins.  It lifted them above potential niche that repeating Siamese Dream would have stuck them in.   This version is different enough to be a welcomed inclusion.
  17. Glamey Glamey (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  This is why reissues have true value.  Powerful instrumental.
  18. Meladori Magpie (2012 version) – Nice to have.  Not too far off from the original to be mandatory.
  19. Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (Home Piano Version) – Skip.  A beautiful track on the original album and this one adds very tiny value.
  20. Galapogos (Instrumental/Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Beautiful sounding track that is dramatically different from the original.
  21. To Forgive (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Sound quality alone on the opening chords of Corgan’s acoustic guitar blows this out of the water – sounding better than the original in fact.

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CD 4 HIGH TEA

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  1. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Sadlands Demo)  – Must own.  Similar vocal arrangement to the original but an acoustic gem of a version!
  2. Set The Ray To Jerry (Vocal Rough) – Nice to have.  Similar to original in mix and sound.
  3. Thirty-Three (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Similar vocal track but quite a bit different instrumental track.
  4. Cupid De Locke (BT 2012 Mix) – Must own.  Another great sound quality, alternate version – different enough to warrant a listen away from the original.
  5. Porcelina Of The Vast Ocean (Live Studio Rough) – Nice to have.  Crisp, early demo version with a raw vocal track.
  6. Jellybelly (Instrumental/Pit Mix 3) – Nice to have.   Very similar to original in feel.
  7. The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right) – Nice to have.   Again, very similar to original in feel.
  8. Jupiter’s Lament (Barbershop Version) – Nice to have.   A slightly different feel to this.
  9. Bagpipes Drone (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.   More 1995 guitar work from Corgan.  Very worthwhile.
  10. Tonight, Tonight (Band Version Only, No Strings) – Must own.  A new way of looking at an obvious classic.
  11. Knuckles (Studio Outtake) – Must own.   Another track that makes the Mellon Collie era sound even more eclectic than it already is.
  12. Pennies (2012 remaster) – Skip.   Great, great song but very similar to original.
  13. Here Is No Why (Pumpkinland Demo) –  Nice to have.  Another not-so-different version than the original.
  14. Blast (Fuzz Version) – Must own.  Another instrumental gem in prime quality.
  15. Towers Of Rabble (Live) – Must own.   Great addition of an unreleased live track in near-perfect quality.
  16. Rotten Apples – Nice to have.  Perfect quality but very similar to the original.
  17. Fun Time (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.    Let’s make a rule:  Sadlands = Must have!
  18. Thru The Eyes Of Ruby (Acoustic Version) – Must have.  Alternate versions of previously released material need to be just like this.
  19. Chinoise (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Beautiful acoustic piano demo track.
  20. Speed – Must have.  Another odd how-did-this-get-excluded from the original album.  Wonderful track.

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CD 5 SPECIAL TEA

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  1. Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (Nighttime Version 1) – Must own.  Fairly stunning alternate guitar version.   It’s a gem of this collection and something that would have worked equally well on the original release.  Sounds like a Mojave 3 song.
  2. Galapogos (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  It’s a Sadlands demo and these demos are dominating this reissue, as they should.
  3. Cherry (BT 2012 Mix) – Nice to have.  Different but yet very similar to the original.
  4. Love (Flood Rough) – Nice to have.  The greatest Pumpkins song ever on headphones, just a slightly altered, early version here.
  5. New Waver (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.   Another short, sonic instrumental blast.
  6. Fuck You (An Ode To No One) (Production Master Rough) – Nice to have.  Top sound quality but as with most of these alternate versions – quite similar to the original.
  7. Isolation (BT 2012 Mix) – Must own.  Perfect-sounding remake of the Joy Division track.
  8. Transformer (Early Mix) – Nice to have.  Similar to the original in sound.
  9. Dizzle (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  More wonderful material from the Sadlands demos, even if many of them are instrumentals.
  10. Goodnight (Basic Vocal Rough) – Must own.  Very rough early mix in excellent sound quality.  Out of tune vocals but a great look at an early version.
  11. Eye (Soundworks Demo) – Must own.  Another very different, early look at one of the hidden gems from their official, but obscure piece of their catalog.
  12. Blank (Sadlands Demo) – Must own.  Quite stunning version in prime sound.
  13. Beautiful (Instrumental-Middle 8) – Must own.  Wonderful guitar instrumental of one of Mellon Collie’s final, remarkable tracks in great fidelity.
  14. My Blue Heaven (BT 2012 Mix) – Nice to have.  Very similar to the original.
  15. One And Two – Must own.  Typical, delicate slow gem from Iha.  Should have been on the album.
  16. Zoom (7 ips) – Must own.  One of many above-average instrumentals in top quality.
  17. Pastichio Medley (Reversed Extras) – Skip.  Adds no value.
  18. Marquis In Spades (BT 2012 Mix) – Nice to have.  Very similar to the original.
  19. Tales Of A Scorched Earth (Instrumental/Pit Mix 3) – Skip.   Adds no value to me.
  20. Tonite Reprise (Version 1) – Must own.  High fidelity mix of the standout track.
  21. Wishing You Were Real (Home Demo) – Nice to have only because it’s an original, unreleased track.  Sound quality is one of the worst.
  22. Thru the Eyes of Ruby (Pit Mix 3) – Skip.
  23. Phang (Sadlands demo) – Must own.  Outstanding, pounding and strongly melodic guitar finale.

DVD – live show filmed at Brixton Academy, London (1996) & Rockpalast (1996)

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Disappointing only in the fact that the DVD contains no complete show, which is an obvious head-scratcher.  In this day of High-Definition video quality expectations anything in Standard Definition looks like it was filmed in 1957 at this point.  But there’s no illusion here; viewing the original lineup during these Mellon Collie tour stops is sonically compelling.   What’s most gripping is the clear rage that Corgan so often illustrates onstage.  Far gone is the pop and dreamy side of Mellon Collie.  On tour, he is unleashed and borderlining on speed metal in front of the herculean Chamberlain and stylistic bookends to his left and right with D’arcy and Iha.  It’s a visual orgy as Corgan wails away like a man unleashed.   Captivating material even though I’d still prefer to see it re-released on Blu-Ray format.

For Those Who Didn’t Buy (yet) Pisces Iscariot Deluxe

Review by Jeff Becker from The Way That He Sings

The hidden gem of the Pumpkins official catalog.  Lost in the dream-world trifecta of Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon collie and the Infinite Sadness is Pisces Iscariot.  So where does it stand among the real Pumpkins’ albums?   Just a mix tape from Billy, or so much more?

Other Smashing Pumpkins reviews:

The Smashing Pumpkins – live in St. Louis – October 18, 2012

The Smashing Pumpkins – live in Milwaukee – Sept 30, 2012

Oceania album

The Smashing Pumpkins -live in Milwaukee in 2011

Article on the brief Machina 2 sale last year on eBay

Please Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheWayThatHeSings

reissues3

The overall release of Pisces Iscariot is scored a 8.5/10

CD1 – the original album

Blessed heavily with the sound that made Siamese Dream the sonic springboardit became, Pisces Iscariot fits snug on the shelves of all Pumpkins owners – somewhere close to their hearts for sentimental reasons as much as it is due to the quality of the songs.   Driven entirely by the Gish/Siamese Dream timeframe, Corgan is correct in that it’s less an album and more a mixtape.  That doesn’t exclude it from some dropdown Pumpkins’ classics such as the unimaginably perfect “Whir”, the bassy growl of “Blue” and the very classic Pumpkins sound in “Starla”.   From a song quality eyeball it falls somewhere equal to Gish, but well behind the Pumpkins best trifecta of Siamese/Mellon Collie/Adore.   It’s on the next shelf down from the best that Corgan ever put together – and that is ok, because that’s where it was meant to be.

The remastering does a fine job collecting all the sounds you may have think you missed from the original.   The best tracks sound greater, bigger and the new additions here are brought up to the sonic standards of all the Pumpkins releases, allowing them to run together far more seamlessly.   If this release had been marketed back in 1994 as a true “album” it would have stood the test of time, albeit a slight disappointment after following the monster-sized Siamese Dream. However, as a compilation it’s outstanding.

Mellon Collie turned everything upside down in Pumpkinland and Pisces Iscariot was that perfect appetizer. It’s that last piece of the early pre-arena Pumpkins for fans to embrace as Corgan became a far more eclectic songwriter as he hit full stride with both Mellon Collie and Adore.

Is this deluxe reissue package with the extra tracks, remastered original, DVD performance from 1988 and original demo cassette worth the price of admission?  Yes, it’s on the borderline of a no-brainer especially given the sonic quality of CD2 and fine package for the box itself.

PIreissue

CD2 – unreleased material

  1. Bye June (Ignoffo Sessions/2012 Mix) – Must own.   Near crystal-clear quality acoustic track sung by Corgan.
  2. My Dahlia (Ignoffo Sessions/2012 Mix) – Must own.  Another very high quality spiraling tune without the Pumpkins sound anywhere to be found.  Very much a precursor towards the B-sides that littered the Mellon Collie era.
  3. Jesus Loves His Babies (Gish Sessions Rough Mix) – Must own.  Another very worthy addition with a very trademark Gish sound.  Not Gish-album worthy, but optimal for this release.
  4. Cinnamon Girl (Ignoffo Sessions/2012 Mix) – Nice to have.  A decent rendition of a decent Neil Young song.  Once again, nowhere else would this be worthy of release than a reissue such as this.  This is the Pumpkins trying to sound like Neil Young versus the Pumpkins trying to repossess the original.   It’s not the landmark rendition we would hope for.
  5. Glynis (2012 Mix) – Must own.   A hidden Pumpkins classic that would have fit perfectly on either of the first two albums.
  6. Crawl (Gish Sessions outtake) – Must own.  Still yet another excellent sound quality unreleased track from the Gish days, running nearly 7 minutes long.  An absolute winning streak unfolding here.
  7. Cinder Open (Eddy St. demo/2012 Mix) – Must own.  Rather beautiful instrumental.
  8. Blissed (Sadlands demo/2012 Mix) – Must own.  One more gem, of the many, from the Sadlands demos.   Early vocal track apparent but these are why deluxe reissues add value to a catalog.
  9. Slunk (Live) (2012 – Remaster) – Nice to have only because of the obscurity of the song.  The track itself, while sounding like true Pumpkins, has few endearing qualities compared to its peers.
  10. Jackie Blue – Must own.  A much more worthwhile attempt at a remake than “Cinnamon Girl” provided.   Classic Pumpkins sounds recapture this track near perfectly.
  11. Venus in Furs (Live) – Nice to have, but a rather rough mix of this live cut.   A killer studio version would have looked ahead to the Adore-era sound.
  12. Translucent (Sadlands demo/2012 mix) – Must own.  The best track on this disc.
  13. French Movie Theme (Siamese Sessions outtake) – Nice to have.  Odd, but high quality track.
  14. Purr Snickety (Gish b-sides session outtake) – Must own.  Great quality outtake from Gish.
  15. There It Goes (Demo/2012 Mix) – Must own.  The 2012 mix provides this track with a full punch.  Quite outstanding with the full, lighter and more pop-style Pumpkins sound taking charge.  A very worthy candidate for the best piece of this collection.
  16. Vanilla (Ignoffo Sessions) – Must own.  Finishing off a rather spectacular release of top quality studio outtakes.
  17. Why Am I So Tired (Live in studio demo) – Must own.  A blazing layer of guitars to say good-bye.   A suitable instrumental that is probably a rarity in that it’s a full band effort.

BCconcert

DVD – basement jam, 1988

The DVD’s centerpiece – a rather decent quality video from the Basement Jam in November of 1988 (taken from the Pulse Cable Access show in Chicago) is worth the price alone.  Splattered along with a few random early live performances, it’s a great one-time document of the earliest in Pumpkins history, muchspring prom. Watching it more than once may not be necessary, but not many things in the world are.

1. Intro by Billy Corgan (DVD) 2. Pulse Cable Show Introduction by Lou Hinkhouse (DVD) 3. There It Goes (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 4. She (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 5. She (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 6. Under Your Spell (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 7. My Eternity (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 8. My Eternity (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 9. My Eternity (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 10. My Eternity (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 11. Bleed (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 12. Nothing and Everything (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 13. Jennifer Ever (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 14. Jennifer Ever (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 15. Jennifer Ever (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 16. Jennifer Ever (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 17. Jennifer Ever (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 18. Death of a Mind (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 19. Spiteface (Pulse Basement Jam – Chicago) (DVD) 20. Blue (DVD) 21. Offer Up (DVD) 22. The Joker (DVD) 23. Slunk (DVD) 24. Dancing In The Moonlight (DVD) 25. Snap (DVD) 26. Hello Kitty Kat (DVD)

Cassette

Having sonic expectations at a low point here, this early cassette is actually far more delightful than you’d imagine. Rather sparkling sound quality for this reproduction of the original Pumpkins demos, released in a reproduction of its original packaging. An obvious prelude to Gish is found in nearly every track and it’s one of the more pleasant surprises of the reissue. In full light here are the early Corgan vocals – already becoming a signature and disavowing any signs of the 80’s hair glam rock going on at the time. A signature Pumpkins sound is clearly found on tracks like ‘East’ and this is a prized addition to this already stellar collection.

1. Jennifer Ever (Tape) 2. East (Tape) 3. Nothing And Everything (Tape) 4. Sun (Remix) (Tape) 5. She (Live) (Tape) 6. Spiteface (Tape)

For Those Who Didn’t Buy (yet) Siamese Dream Deluxe

Review by Jeff Becker from The Way That He Sings

Other Smashing Pumpkins reviews:

The Smashing Pumpkins – live in St. Louis – October 18, 2012

The Smashing Pumpkins – live in Milwaukee – Sept 30, 2012

Oceania album

The Smashing Pumpkins -live in Milwaukee in 2011

Article on the brief Machina 2 sale last year on eBay

Please Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheWayThatHeSings

The overall release of Siamese Dream Deluxe is scored a 10/10

01. SD Deluxe review

 

CD1 – the original album

By 2013 it’s hard to find new words when discussing one landmark album that’s in a very tiny handful of the best rock albums of the 90’s.   If Nirvana’s opening chords to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hadn’t grasped the entire nation the world would look back upon Siamese Dream (along with Pearl Jam’s Ten) as the signature albums that represented grunge at its peak and said an overdue goodbye (and door slam) to the glam rock era of the late 80’s (Whitesnake, Poison, etc).

Siamese Dream is as powerful now as it was in 1993 with no band since then able to replicate the wall of guitar sound that Corgan and producer Butch Vig pulled together.  While playing the remastered version of the album what’s now most striking (when compared to albums such as Zeitgeist) is how Corgan was able to incorporate so many hooks into an album that had guitars coming at you from every conceivable angle.  Who had time for melody?   Well, Corgan did, and if you strip away the volume of guitars what you have are tiny pop gems that are almost nursery rhymes in their primal form – but reworked to set a landscape of sound that is still unmatched.  Recent day impersonators (the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Amusement Parks on Fire) bleed out Siamese Dream in every track but don’t even scratch the surface of songs that leak melody like ‘Mayonaise’, ‘Hummer’ and ‘Luna’.

This deluxe reissue is a tour de force with top notch packaging, a full disc of Siamese-era rarities, and an outstanding DVD of a hometown performance from 1993.   This album, along with Nevermind and The Bends may stand as the top three rock albums in the first half of the 90’s.   What’s interesting is the direction that the Pumpkins took after 1993.  As they prepped Mellon Collie, Nirvana self-destructed in the most tangible method possible and Pearl Jam decided to just get too strange for their fans.  This left bands like the Pumpkins and Radiohead as the unofficial greatest bands in the world as the decade came to a close.  Unfortunately for the Pumpkins, the dysfunction of the mid-90’s took its toll, but not before a series of remarkable albums (none better than Siamese Dream) became etched into our memory.

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CD2 – unreleased material

1      Pissant (Rough Mix)  – Skip it.  Very close to the original version.

2      Siamese Dream (Broadway rehearsal demo) – Must own.  Intense, more garage-based jam than anything on the original album.

3      STP (rehearsal demo) – Must own.  Another heavy, intense garage style demo with Billy’s vocals buried deeper than normal in the mix.

4      Frail and Bedazzled (Soundworks demo) – Nice to have.  Slightly longer but overall similar version (albeit instrumental) to the original.

5      Luna (apartment demo) – Must own.  Lovely, and more sparse version than the original in pristine quality.

6      Quiet (BBC Session) (Billy Corgan 2011 mix) – Must own.  Wouldn’t any high quality alternate version of the rocker be a must have?  Absolutely.

7      Moleasskiss (Soundworks demo) – Must own.   Fine Siamese outtake and clearly shows the wide gap between Siamese-era demos and the work that went into the finished original album that was so clean you could eat off of it.

8      Hello Kitty Kat (Soundworks demo) – Must own.  Pumpkins lore rates this track higher than I do – great quality nonetheless and similar in style to the other outtakes presented here.

9      Today (Broadway rehearsal demo) – Nice to have.  Mostly an early demo version of the classic, but it’s more interesting than enjoyable.  Like why would anyone ever play this more than 3x when the original version should be in the Smithsonian?

10    Never Let Me Down Again (BBC session) – Must own.  Sexier, groovier track than nearly anything in this timeframe.

11    Apathy’s Last Kiss (Rough Mix) – Skip.  Great track but similar to the version on Still Becoming Apart.

12    Ache (Silverfuck/rehearsal demo) – Nice to have early demo version of Silverfuck.  On the borderline of being a must have but not quite.

13    U.S.A (Soundworks demo)  – Must own.  Sounds like more Gish to me but very high quality and high-driving instrumental demo.

14    U.S.S.R. (Soundworks demo) – Nice to have.  Brief, high quality below-average instrumental when compared to the other instrumentals on these reissues.

15    Spaceboy (acoustic mix) – Nice to have.  Acoustic mix with what appears to be the original vocal track.  Nothing groundbreaking here on this classic and beautiful song.

16    Rocket (rehearsal demo) – Must own.  Nice early rehearsal in decent quality but the guitar melody hooks were already in place.  Once again, demos like this truly showcase the shine of the original’s album versions.

17    Disarm (acoustic mix) – Same comments as above regarding Spaceboy.

18    Soma (instrumental mix) – Nice to have.  Instrumental track from the original.   Reminds you how beautiful of a track this is and is somewhat a staple of the nursery-rhyme style melodies that Corgan incorporated in the first three Pumpkins albums.

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DVD – August 16, 1993 at the Metro, Chicago – live performance

1. Rocket (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

2. Quiet (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

3. Today (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

4. Rhinoceros (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

5. Geek U.S.A. (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

6. Soma (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

7. I am one (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

8. Disarm (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

9. Spaceboy (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

10. Starla (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

11. Cherub rock (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

12. Bury me (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

13. Hummer (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

14. Siva (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

15. Mayonaise (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

16. Drown (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

17. Silverfuck (Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93) [DVD]

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This is the kind of DVD fans should expect.  Outstanding quality and captured during a pivotal time of the Pumpkins skyrocketing growth.   Best yet, it’s not stuck in the MTV-style editing of current times where there’s 18 camera angles and each glance is only for two seconds or less.   There’s no distractions here.  An extremely high energy hometown performance that includes a smiling, bouncing and jovial Corgan behind the mic and guitar for a ripping run through of every major early Pumpkins track in a show that runs just shy of 2 hours.   The body-surfing Olympics taking place is a non-stop attraction as the crowd becomes as much a part of the show as the young band themselves.

The DVD is simply an outstanding addition to this deluxe set.   If there’s a weakness to be found it’s in Corgan’s live voice, and that’s true even today.  His ability to maintain top notch vocals during high energy performances in which he’s also playing lead guitar has never been his greatest thing.   However, overall, this is a can’t-miss performance and certainly worthy of the quality of these reissues.    If this DVD doesn’t satisfy the Siamese Dream deluxe reissue, what possibly could then other than 2 hours of studio footage recording the actual album?

For Those Who Didn’t Buy (yet) Gish Deluxe

Review by Jeff Becker from The Way That He Sings

Faster than the speed of sound. Faster than we thought we’d go.  Beneath the sound of hope.
Billy Corgan

From today onwards, SPfreaks will team up with Jeff Becker. Jeff is a very talented writer who works for The Way That He Sings, a non-profit website fully dedicated to the support of independent rock and pop. We will cooperate on a multi-level scale with Jeff; not only Smashing Pumpkins related articles from his hands will be partly or fully shared, also exclusive material about our favorite band might find its way to SPfreaks in future.

So far, The Way That He Sings has published the following articles about Smashing Pumpkins:

Please feel free to ‘Like’ them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheWayThatHeSings.

As a start, Jeff will present us his reviews of all four Smashing Pumpkins album reissues that we have seen so far. Each week one of them will be published on both The Way That He Sings, and on SPfreaks. And he hopes to suit the needs of those Pumpkins fans that have been hesitating so far in buying any of the deluxe reissues.

The overall release of Gish deluxe gets a 9/10.

CD1 – the original album

Gish Deluxe Review 01

Gish, the final product, is not only the precursor of two Pumpkins albums that followed – it probably exceeded even the expectations of Billy Corgan with the scope of its sound.   That’s because Corgan caught lightning in a bottle when he grouped up with Butch Vig and Jimmy Chamberlain.   The Bermuda Triangle of Vig’s keen ear for sonic perfection, matched with Chamberlain’s thumping heartbeat on the drums and Corgan’s growing mastery of both songwriting and guitar playing created the perfect storm.   While that storm came into full fruition on Siamese Dream, Gish created a storm of interest that helped propel the Pumpkins into the stratosphere over the next five years.  While Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie lifted the Pumpkins into the hearts of millions, Gish has remained a remarkable album, even though it was clearly outdone by its predecessors.

The psychedelia of Gish separated it from Pearl Jam’s Ten, Nirvana’s Nevermind and every other band that emerged in the early 90′s.   While grunge dominated the early part of the decade, many of the songs on Gish stepped outside of that stereotype .  Songs like ‘Snail’ and ‘Daydream’ provided the Pumpkins with an early signature, that separation from everything else released in this gigantic era of change in rock music.   Long gone were the glam hair bands of the 80′s, and now we had homeless-looking rockers from Seattle, Portland and Chicago tearing up the airwaves.  This remastered version highlights how much Gish has dug its heels into that point in time and that it holds up remarkably with a sound that is more timeless than something like Pearl Jam’s Ten.   Corgan and Vig had just scratched the surface of what they were capable of and Gish, despite not having any early commercial success, is not looked back upon with the credibility of anything else before 1995.

Gish Deluxe Review 02

CD2 – unreleased material

1      Starla (2011 mix) – Nice to have, spectacular quality but it’s hard to decipher it from the original.

2      Siva (Peel Session) – Nice to have and great quality mix from the Peel session.  Not dramatically different from original.

3      Honeyspider (Real Time Demo/2011 mix) – Must own and the 2011 mix brings it life even further.

4      Hippy Trippy (Crush Music Box demo) – Must own.

5      Snail (Live Radio performance) – Nice to have.   Decent quality live radio performance with a muddy mix.

6      Plume (2011 mix) – Nice to have.   Perfect quality alternate version that is similar to the original.

7      Bury Me (Real time demo/2011 mix) – Must own.  Perfect quality again on this powerful demo version.

8      Daydream (Old House Demo) – Must own.  Dramatically different version in pristine quality.

9      Tristessa (Sub Pop single/2011 mix) – Nice to have.  Once again, another alternate version in near-perfect quality.

10    Girl Named Sandoz (Peel Session) – Nice to have.  Similar arrangement and sound to the original.

11    Jesus is the Sun (Apartment demo) – Must own.  Great quality outtake.

12    Blue (Gish Session demo) – Must own.   Acoustic-driven version in perfect quality and a little free Billy chatter at the beginning.

13    Smiley (Gish Session demo) – Must own.  Pristine.

14    I Am One (Real Time demo/2011 mix) – Nice to have.  Great quality – very similar to the original.

15    Suffer (Apartment demo) – Must own.  Significantly different version in outstanding quality.

16    La Dolly vita (2011 mix) – Nice to have, but it’s either similar or the same as the version on Pisces Iscariot.

17    Pulseczar (Gish Session demo) – Must own.  Dark, haunting track and an ideal inclusion here.

18    Drown (Alternative guitar solo) – Must own.  Still a classic track.

DVD –  August 25, 1990 at the Metro, Chicago – live performance

1. I am one (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 2. Snail (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 3. Rhinoceros (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 4. Bury Me (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 5. Tristessa (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 6. Window Paine (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 7. Razor (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 8. Sookie Sookie (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 9. Godzilla (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD] 10. Crush – Acoustic (Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90) [DVD]

A full, hometown performance highlighting the Gish album shot at the Metro in Chicago back in 1990.   As with the DVD that accompanies the deluxe reissue of Siamese Dream, this is perhaps the definitive show from the Pumpkins’ Gish era.   The audio quality exceeds the video, largely due to the fact the show was shot in a swash of blue and red lights.   In addition, the source of the video doesn’t appear to be a first generation or master copy.  Nevertheless, to the upper 2% or 3% of Pumpkins fans, this DVD will warrant repeated viewings. For the other 97% it’s a one-time showing in most instances.

The performance itself shows the vigor at which the Pumpkins shows had evolved into such a powerful live setting.   Aside from the outstanding tracks, the band was a flourish of eye candy between D’arcy’s long blond locks, Iha’s odd uniqueness (does any other rock star really look like him?), the veins in Chamberlain’s biceps – and of course the exuberant Corgan hiding often behind the classic 1990 bushel of hair.   Clearly, their live show was one of huge underground hype in Chicago early on and their reputation for tearing up a club was just forming.  This show captures that well just as the Smashing Pumpkins firestorm was beginning to take shape.

The Aeroplane Flies High (Zero Left, Looks Right)

Article by Derek Miller

In 1996, after the highly awarded and critically acclaimed release of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the Smashing Pumpkins released a companion box set titled The Aeroplane Flies High.  The box set contains each of the five singles released from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness to include all the b-sides that accompany them.  One disc in particular contains exclusive cover songs made available only within the box set.

The purpose of this article is to give some clarity to the numerous pressings, release dates, promo versions, and even bootleg versions associated with the release.

First US Pressing

The first pressing of the box set was released on November 26, 1996.  According to an article on mtv.com, the initial pressing was limited to 200,000 box sets [1].  The box set was meant to be a collector’s piece.  However, the product had an unforeseen mass appeal and the stores quickly ran out of the product.

Virgin records quickly decided to press more copies for release in the US market.  During this time, some stores gave out vouchers to be exchanged for the box set once the second pressing was complete [1].

01. First US Pressing InsertFirst US Pressing Insert

UK Release

The UK version was released the same day as the initial US pressing.  This version has the identical UPC; however, the insert containing the barcode is slightly different and has a few additional numbers.  Specifically, the code UK: SP BOX 2 appears on the label to represent a local release code.  The first Smashing Pumpkins box set, Siamese Singles, came with a similar local release code, SPBOX 1.  Unlike The Aeroplane Flies High, Siamese Singles was only released in the UK, and it was also exclusively pressed in the UK.

The total amount of box sets pressed in the initial run remains at 200,000, however a percentage of these were manufactured for release in the UK.  Of the first pressing quantity, it is unknown how many were shipped to the UK with the slightly different label.

02. First UK Release InsertFirst UK Release Insert

Second US Pressing

Due to the overwhelming demand for the box set, a second pressing was made available on January 17, 1997 [2].  This version comes with a unique barcode, exclusive to the second pressing.

The release was certified platinum by the RIAA on January 27th, 1997 [3].  Between the original street date and the RIAA certification date, 300,000 units were sold in the US [4], making it realistic that another 150,000 units were sold worldwide, adding up to 450,000 units produced; consequently, the second pressing was likely 250,000 additional units.  This seems congruent with estimated pressing numbers found on other Smashing Pumpkins websites.

Incidentally, January 27th, 1997 was also the day Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was certified as eight times platinum, or 4,000,000 units of the double CD set sold.

03. Second US Pressing InsertSecond US Pressing Insert

Discrepancies

While the box set is relatively consistent across all releases, there are a few intriguing differences that do exist.

04. Discrepancies - the hinges

The hinges used for each release seem to be somewhat rampant and inconsistent.  There are two versions: one appears very simplistic and the second is somewhat more elegant and ornate.  While it would seem straightforward according to the entries found at SPfreaks, the hinges that ended up on the box set vary from release to release.  Therefore, it is thought the hinges were used in a “what was available at the time” fashion.

05. US sticker (left) and UK sticker (right)

        US Sticker (First & Second Pressings)                                             UK Sticker

When sealed, each box set came with a circular sticker to promote the contents inside the box.  The first US pressing sticker displays the proper UPC number.  The UK release also contains the correct number, but adds SK2 at the end.  Clearly, this sticker was meant for the UK release.

However, the second US pressing, although containing a completely different barcode on the reverse insert, displays the exact same UPC number associated with the first US pressing.  It is thought Virgin simply manufactured more of these stickers exactly the same for one of two reasons: first, they already had a sticker plate and thought it unnecessary to generate a new one to press the appropriate code; or two, they did not realize the sticker contained the UPC number and it was not changed due to an oversight or error.

The matrix codes found in each box set can vary slightly from release to release, even though they were all manufactured in the US.  The main identifying feature of a matrix code is the IFPI code, which only came into existence in 1994.  However, using these codes, which are consistent for each CD, all releases have been proven to be US disc pressings.

Promotional Copies

Very few copies of The Aeroplane Flies High box set were released as promos.  Not much is available to distinguish a promotional copy versus a commercial copy; there are no special codes, or stamps, or writing.  The only way to know for sure is to obtain a copy of the box set that is still sealed.  The promotional versions have the barcode removed.  If the box is opened (not shrink wrapped) it is impossible to tell if the barcode was removed in order to mimic being a promotional copy.

06. The promo box

In addition to the promotional box sets, two different promotional sampler CDs were manufactured in the US.  One CD contains four tracks and the other CD contains 12 tracks.  These CDs are strictly promotional, so the pressing quantity is hard to track down.  It is decisively known, however, that the 12 track sampler is much rarer than the four track sampler.

07. The Aeroplane Flies High sampler cd

Prototype Box

During the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tour, Billy Corgan had received at least one version of the box set that utilized different artwork than was ultimately released.  Billy Corgan had this box on tour and reportedly left it behind after a concert.  The box appeared on eBay and went to a private collector.  SPfreaks has since contacted the owner of the prototype box, and the price tag is a mere $5,000.  This is more than likely a one of a kind, unofficial release that was never meant to be in the public’s possession.  For more information on the prototype box, please review Collecting to the Extreme, Episode 3.

08. Prototype Box

Prototype Designs

On Thursday, March 6, 2008, Frank Olinsky, who designed the artwork in 1996, released some more sketches for this box on a blog on his website.  Here are a few designs that were considered.  Which one do you prefer?

09. Prototype Designs

Bootleg Versions

Due to the popularity of the release, it is not surprising the bootleg market quickly picked up on the demand to try and make a few dollars.  The most notable of these bootlegs is called The Aeroplane Flies Lower.  This deceiving box was bootlegged in Germany.  Although it shares most of the title with its namesake, the unofficial box set actually contains no songs from the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness singles or their respective b-sides.  Instead, it is merely a hodgepodge potpourri collection of Siamese Dream-era singles and an exclusive interview disc.  Interestingly, even the interview disc is not exclusive, as it is available on previous bootleg interview CDs as well.

There are other CD bootleg versions of this release that at least attempt to include the material from the original box set; namely, the Australian and Japanese 2CD versions.  They look somewhat official, but upon further review, it becomes quite obvious the unscrupulous and illegal nature of the releases.  Besides the inclusion of completely irrelevant songs, both releases are dated from 1995; almost an entire year before the official box set was released.  More information can be found by clicking the links above.

References

[1] MTV News.  (December 16, 1996).  Pumpkins’ “Collectors” Set Has Mass Appeal.  MTV.  Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1434226/pumpkins-collectors-set-has-mass-appeal.jhtml

[2] (n.d.).  7243-8-38564-2-8.  ItemLookUp.  Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://www.itemlookup.net

[3] RIAA Searchable Database.  (January 17, 1997).  The Aeroplane Flies High.  Gold and Platinum Searchable Database.  Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?content_selector=gold-platinum-searchable-database

[4] Wikipedia.  (n.d.).  The Aeroplane Flies High.  Wikipedia.  Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aeroplane_Flies_High

Who are the Girls on the Today Single?

Article by Arthur van Pelt
Additional research by Geo Folkers

Always wondered who are the girls on the infamous Smashing Pumpkins’ Today single? And couldn’t find their names in the liner notes of the release? We wondered too, and we didn’t find their names in the liner notes either, so we tried to find out. And please read on, because we did find out, and we had a little interview with one of them.

It all started with this autographed promo cd for Today.

The relevance of the song Today is clear to any follower of the band Smashing Pumpkins. It is one of the anthems of the grunge era back in the early 1990s. As Wikipedia states it nicely:

“Today” was released in September 1993 as the second single from the band’s second album and major label debut, Siamese Dream. Although Corgan opted for the lead single from the album to be the opening track, “Cherub Rock”, “Today” and its follow-up “Disarm” are credited in Allmusic for popularizing the band and “sending Siamese Dream into the stratosphere.”. “Today” has been generally well received by critics, and in an article about the song in Blender it was described as having “achieved a remarkable status as one of the defining songs of its generation, perfectly mirroring the fractured alienation of American youth in the 1990s.”

And what was the rest of the information to go by?

“1 track promo only CD autographed on p/s by Yingy & Magda (the girls in the picture) and by D’arcy & Billy in 1993, guaranteed authentic or your money back.”

“I had the CD in my own collection for years. I got it from a friend who got the autographs herself at the time. I don’t have the full details but I know for sure that it is authentic.”

Basically, this is all we knew, till recently. This was the information given by a very reputable seller from the US, about this autographed promo cd for Today when it came to the collectors market back in 2009. At a closer look, we indeed notice the signatures of Yingy (presumably the girl on the left on the artwork, she draws an arrow towards herself), D’Arcy Wretzky, Magda (presumably the girl on the right) and Billy Corgan, who added the year 1993 to his autograph. We can find this iconic picture of the two girls on Today’s promo cds, on commercial cassettes, vinyl and cds too, all over the world.

Billy Corgan and D’arcy Wretzky, both band members of Smashing Pumpkins at that time, need no further introduction. But who are Yingy and Magda? For the sake of this article we did some research, and we found the following. The liner notes of the Today singles worldwide, if any, give no clue who are the girls pictured on the front. And here it is starting to get interesting… How to find out who are the two girls?

To cut a long story short, Yingy is the nick used by Jennifer Molly Wretzky (she mostly likes to go by the name Molly, however), who is the younger sister of D’arcy. Tanya Wretzky is the older sister of D’arcy, but Tanya is obviously not on the artwork. It was rumored a few times in the Smashing Pumpkins fan community that both D’arcy her sisters, Molly and Tanya, were presented on the artwork of the Today single, but that information is obviously not correct. So who is Magda? Magda is in fact Magdalena Kijewska.

Let’s meet the girls we just introduced. And let’s see how they are currently doing. Magdalena Kijewska (Magda, left), Jennifer Molly Wretzky (Yingy, middle, photo by Thia Penta) and Tanya Wretzky (right) are pictured above. Magdalena now runs a fulltime business called ‘Magdalena Kijewska Translations’ with well-known companies amongst her customers. Jennifer is a lawyer at Law Offices of Michael L. Tinaglia Ltd. in Rosemont, Illinois, but she is also publicly known for being a derby skater under the nick Ying O’Fire at Windy City Rollers, Chicago, Illinois. Tanya is a horseback riding lessons instructor and equestrian teacher at Willow Tree Equestrian Center in Bangor, Michigan.

Magda was happily surprised when we contacted her with a few questions, and emailed her the picture of the autographed cd. And almost immediately she gave permission to ask her a few questions more.

SPfreaks:
“Dear Magda, we asked around a little, and according to our sources you are one of the girls on the Today single, could you please confirm this?”

Magda:
“Yeah, that would be me on the right, and D’arcy’s youngest sister Ying on the left!”

SPfreaks:
“Is there a reason why you girls were not mentioned in the liner notes of that release? Isn’t that kind of funny?”

Magda:
“Yeah, neither did we ever get any thanks or recognition… That’s how it goes in the music business sometimes… That’s rock ‘n’ roll. Your face all over the world for a moment for nothing.” (laughs)

SPfreaks:
“Could you tell us a bit more about that famous photo?”

Magda:
“It was not long before the release of Today. That photo was taken by our friend Renee Sabbath, she used to study film at Columbia College and it was for her assignment with color. We were at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, eating oranges and wearing crazy colorful suits from a thrift store. Mine I think even has a price tag on it in the photo!” (laughs again)

SPfreaks:
“We know a few things about the Wretzky family already, but how are you related to them, if we may ask?”

Magda:
“I’m a good friend to the Wretzky family… but hey, I’m sorry, I gotta run now! Thanks for hearing me, send my regards to your readers!”

It was a short interview, but well, we know enough. Thanks Magda! It is our pleasure, and honor,  to finally give a name and a few words to two iconic girls on the artwork of the single of an iconic Smashing Pumpkins song.