It seems like almost yesterday that I went to my first rock concert. It was actually 1997. The Smashing Pumpkins were touring on their smash double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. They stopped at Atlanta’s old Omni Arena for a robust rock show. The cost was a whopping $29 for a lower level ticket. Ah … the good old days. Now that we’ve established that I’m old and that I was a musical late bloomer, we jump 16 years into the future.
The Smashing Pumpkins, that I instantly fell in love with, have been shattered into a million pieces. D’arcy has divorced the music business to live out her days as a farm girl in Michigan. Jimmy Chamberlain flirted with coming back into the fold only to decide that he’d moved on. James Iha is part of a new circle these days (the perfect kind), but Corgan’s hatred for him couldn’t be more pungent. Billy Corgan is the last man standing.
Isn’t that how you always pictured it? The outspoken frontman was always held up as the creative engine behind the Smashing Pumpkins. The rest of the players were little more than session musicians performing Corgan’s genius if you believed the press of the day. The albums in the years since say otherwise. The Pumpkins still have that patented Corgan grit, but fall short of the imagination and complexities that defined earlier works like Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and Adore.
Calling Corgan and some random ensemble the Smashing Pumpkins may be about as accurate as labeling Axl Rose Guns N Roses, but if nothing else it holds the band up to a very high standard, competing with that rich legacy. We got to see the new look Pumpkins first hand when they stopped by Atlanta’s Chastain Park Friday night. The outdoor amphitheatre was just about perfect as it opened its season. The mosquitoes hadn’t been alerted to the sea of sweet bodies to feast on. The sweltering heat was still drinking pina coladas down in Florida. This is the way Chastain should be experienced — well bringing in your own dinner and bottle of wine would have put the cherry on this evening.
Polica opened our night. We got the chance to checkout their set at last year’s CounterPoint Festival, and they happened to stand out from the dozens of bands thrown at us that weekend. Their sound can best be described as a fusion of electronic and the lighter side of rock. Bon Iver slapped them with the designation of his favorite band, and its easy to see why. They have a very atmospheric, flowing vibe that catches the ear. Channy Leaneagh’s voice is beautifully entrancing. Polica deserves a listen.
The Smashing Pumpkins took the stage at 8:45. Chastain has an 11 o’clock curfew to appease the surrounding homeowners so Corgan would have to keep his set under 2 hours and 15. A tall feat, but I felt confident he was up to the challenge. The stage was setup with two triangle light banks to bookend the stage. There was no main spotlight per se. If you wanted to see Billy and company, these banks or a tangle of smaller lights had to light up his cue ball head. Needless to say, the band members were shrouded in darkness for a large chunk of the evening.
The band is touring in support of their latest release Oceania which is a little shy of a year old. Corgan started writing material for its follow-up in March which he’s told Rolling Stone will be “a bong-prog take on the alt-rock grandeur of Gish and Siamese Dream.” The band wasted no time with pleasantries, launching right into Oceania’s opening track, “Quasar.” “Quasar” features racing guitars, manic drums with Corgan’s pushy vocals. It seems almost a throwback to the Pumpkins of yore, and a great way to set the tone for the evening.
In an interesting interview Billy Corgan did with Fuse last year, he talked about grunge artists that were doing comeback tours to cash in. He commented that, “if that is the story then I’m dead as an artist and there is no future for my band so what the fuck am I doing standing there? I’m nothing but a rodeo clown doing the act from 25 years ago.” He takes a nice stab at Pavement to bring the point home, but he’s right. Look at the summer tour schedule, and you’ll see it littered with washed up 90s rock stars ringing up the nostalgia one ticket at a time. If you look at the setlist, its pretty clear that the Pumpkins aren’t just here to play the hits. The chart toppers comprised about half the set with four tracks going to Oceania, and a random assortment of odd ball tracks filling out the order. Corgan looks to stay relevant in a musical landscape that’s taken more than a few twists and turns since he first got started.
About half way through the set, Corgan broke his silence to thank the old school fans for coming out and introduced Oceania’s title track saying this was served up especially for those on drugs. He said James Brown once told him that you can do anything in Georgia. The King of Soul must have been smoking something magical himself when he spouted off those words about a state tightly tailored in conservative culture.
The crowd were mostly mid-30s and older who have kept tabs on their favorite band over the years or were simply here to relive their glory days of youth. As expected, the cheers amped up for tracks like “Tonight, Tonight” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” but the audience seemed pretty plugged in throughout. Even when Corgan took a short detour into David Bowie land with “Space Oddity,” the Chastain crowd was more than happy to indulge his musical whim.
For better or worse, I haven’t seen the Smashing Pumpkins in the sixteen years between that first rock concert and last night. They still harbor a lot of passion and drive on stage even though the players have been shuffled around a bit. I remember at that first show they seemed to thrive on taking four minute songs and stretching them into twelve minute sonic jam sessions. The Pumpkins of now are considerably tighter and stay more true to the music. I also remember from ’97 a giant frog on stage and a fight breaking out in our row. No frogs last night (and no I wasn’t on drugs at the time, but thanks for asking), and the crowd was considerably tamer. Having to go home and pay the babysitter at the end of the night will do that to you.
Billy Corgan is an outspoken guy who can sometimes come off as a bit of a prick in our sound bite culture, but he has a fascinating perspective on rock music from his two plus decades of helping to shape its transformation and ultimately watching it evolve. I can’t say his new material matches the fervor and inventiveness of his younger self, but he is trying to make his sound relevant for today’s rock culture. The Smashing Pumpkins still put on a great live set.
Smashing Pumpkins Chastain Park Setlist
Atlanta, GA : May 9, 2013
2) Cherub Rock
3) Bullet with Butterfly Wings
4) The Celestials
5) Space Oddity (David Bowie)
8) Tonight, Tonight
13) Ava Adore
15) Stand Inside Your Love
16) United States
Billy Corgan is gearing up for a big year with the Smashing Pumpkins this year with an extensive would tour and a new album.
The North American leg of the tour will kick off April 29 at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla., and the band will stay on the road through an appearance at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio on May 18. Other U.S. cities the group will visit include St. Augustine, Fla.; Tampa; Memphis; Raleigh, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta; Gulfport, Miss. and Dallas. About a month before the tour kicks off, the band will perform at the Cumbre Tajin Festival in Mexico on March 23.
After the North American trek wraps up, the band will take about a month off before heading to Cologne, Germany, where they will start the European tour on June 20. That jaunt will last until a show at Wembley Arena in London on July 22. Corgan and company also will visit France, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy and Switzerland, among other places.
If that isn’t enough to get Pumpkins fans excited, Billy Corgan also said in an interview with the podcast “Interesting People Talking Wrestling” (you read that right) that the group has started working on a new album that may be ready for released in 2014.
“We’re just starting to work on a [new] album, so I’d say sometime early next year would be reasonable,” he said.
Additionally, he said that he’s been working on a book and a reality show for Resistance Pro Wrestling, the wrestling company he started recently. Still no word on why Corgan seems to have developed such a fondness for wrestling, though.
In other Smashing Pumpkins news, it is rumored that the band will hold a surprise performance at the SXSW showcase this year.
Smashing Pumpkins, Ed Sheeran, The Offspring and Train highlight the extensive and eclectic lineup for the 2013 SunFest Musical Festival.
This year’s incarnation of the event will be held in West Palm Beach, Florida from May 1-5. Other notable acts performing this year include Black Crowes, Jimmy Cliff, Cheap Trick, Barenaked Ladies, Kenrick Lamar, Gavin DeGraw, Phillip Phillips, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Boz Scaggs, Dickey Betts & Great Southern, Mac Miller, Slightly Stoopid, Gary Clark Jr., Yellowcard, Molly Hatchet and Reel Big Fish.
The festival is held along Flagler Drive in the city from Banyan Boulevard to Lakeview Avenue, and features three stages for performers along the Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.
“Founded in 1982, SunFest is Florida’s largest waterfront music and art festival,” says the event’s official website. “Held annually in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida the first week in May, SunFest attracts more than 165,000 visitors. The festival and the patrons that it attracts have a very positive impact on the community.”
Tickets for the festival are on sale now, and early bird prices range from $30 for a one day pass to $61 for a five-day pass. That range will increase to $37-$69 when regular pricing takes effect April 28. Kids five and under are free.
In addition to the music, the event will featured a juried fine art and craft show that will feature more than 130 artists from around the country. The artist demonstration booth will be open Friday May 3-Sunday May 5. Examples of work by the artists include jewelry, painting, pottery & ceramics, photography, sculpture, wood, arts and crafts and more.
Other festivities during the event include the Captain Morgan Floating Oasis, which includes three floating barges tied up on the waterfront along Flagler Drive. Each will feature specially created Captain Morgan drinks. A fireworks show caps the festival, starting at 9 p.m. on Sunday.
This year’s version of the rock music festival will take place May 17-19 at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Much of the lineup reads like a best-of list of 1990s rockers, not that that’s a bad thing. Other notable performers include Bush, Korn, Papa Roach, Sevendust and Three Days Grace.
Additionally, legendary power pop group Cheap Trick will play, as will up-and-comers like A Day to Remember and Hollywood Undead. Lamb of God is scheduled to appear at the event, but it should probably be remembered that the band’s frontman, Randy Blythe, is due to appear in a Czech court next month on manslaughter charges. It is alleged that Blythe is responsible for the death of a fan at a Lamb of God show in Prague in 2010.
“This massive lineup has scratched a seven-year itch!” said Gary Spivack, co-executive producer of Rock On The Range, in a statement. “Getting Soundgarden for their first Ohio play in two decades and having seminal acts Alice in Chains, Korn, Volbeat and Papa Roach return along with bands new to ROTR that includes Smashing Pumpkins and Bush, and everything in between – the spectrum of rock n roll is covered… three days of constant energy. Rock On The Range is truly where rock lives.
Many acts playing the festival will have new music for fans.
“We are really looking forward to returning to Rock on the Range with a batch of brand new killer Alice tunes to play for everyone!” said Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell in a statement. The group is readying the release of a new album this spring, though no official release date or title has been announced.
Billy Corgan has announced that he will take the current incarnation of the Smashing Pumpkins on tour across North America later this year.
Thus far, only dates in Canada and Mexico have been announced, though a slew of U.S. cities have been confirmed and exact dates will be announced later. The first scheduled show will take place September 22 at the Arena Cirudad De Mexico in Mexico City, and will be followed by an appearance at the Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico the following night.
The Canadian leg of the tour will kick off October 2 in Winnipeg and run through an October 28 show in Montreal. Other Canadian cities the band will visit are Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto. The confirmed U.S. cities with dates TBA include Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit and Boston.
The group will be backed during the tour by visuals from Sean Evans, who recently worked with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters on creating a new staging of “The Wall.” A press release states that the group “will be using new technology in video-mapping to create something new and previously unseen.”
The group just completed a trek that took them to Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. Some of the show’s were festivals, and on headlining gigs the band played its new album in its entirety along with classics from the band’s past catalog.
The band is touring in support of their most recent album, Oceania, which was released in June of this year. Corgan has called the record an “album within an album” and is apparently part of a larger project by the band called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, and number one on the Billboard Independent Albums chart.
In the current lineup of the band, Corgan is the only remaining original Pumpkin.
More and more artists are allowing fans to stream their entire albums online for free before the records are released, and Fiona Apple and the Smashing Pumpkins are the newest additions to that list.
Apple has her new album – full name: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – is available to be streamed now on the “First Listen” section of NPR.com. The Smashing Pumpkins new collection, Oceania, can be heard on iTunes. Both albums will be released on June 19.
The idea to release free streams of albums before they are released has been around for years, and many see the first high profile example of this coming from Wilco back in 2001. The band had been dropped from their label before the release of their finished album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and so the band made the entire album available on its website so fans wouldn’t have to wait for the group to find a new label home to hear the album. The album eventually was released on Nonesuch Records and has become the most critically acclaimed of the group’s records to date.
The online stream of Apple’s new record is an assurance to fans that the album actually will be released. She has long been known to take many years in between albums and then to push back the release date of new albums. The Idler Wheel is Apple’s first album since 2005’s Extraordinary Machine. That album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The Smashing Pumpkins haven’t released an album since 2007’s Zeitgeist, which marked the return of the band to the studio after seven year hiatus. Oceania has been called an “album within an album,” as it is reportedly a part of a larger project Corgan is supposedly working on called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.
The recently announced lineup for this year’s Splendour in the Grass Music Festival contains some very big names that will be heading down under later this year.
The Shins, Jack White and the Smashing Pumpkins all will appear at the Australian festival this year, along with a slew of other notable acts.
The three-day festival, presented by Village Sounds and Secret Service, will take place at Belongil Fields Byron Bay July 27-29. Other notable acts include At the Drive-In, Bloc Party, The Kooks, Azealia Banks, Explosions in the Sky, The Afghan Whigs, Lana Del Rey, Metric and Wolfmother.
The festival was held at Belongil Fields for most of the last decade, though it was temporarily held in Woodfordia, Queensland for the past two years.
In addition to the music festival, an arts festival will be held on the grounds, as well. In addition to art vendors will be special interactive art experiences set up throughout the grounds. There also will be a Kidzklub since the festival is all ages. Kids under 11 are admitted to the festival free.
This is the twelfth year of the festival, and co-producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco recently released a statement about the event.
“The show has grown over the past few years with the addition of an extra day,” said the two in the statement. “We have a bunch more bands on the lineup and new venues like The Forum, the Very Small Mall and Day Spa etc., plus we’ve got some surprises in store this year. It will definitely be the best Splendour ever staged in Byron Bay.”
Byron Bay is known as one of Australia’s premier vacation spots, and its mayor, Jan Barham, spoke recently of the festival’s return to her city.
“Splendour’s home is Bryon Bay,” she said, “and there is defined benefit that the festival delivers to the area, especially in winter, so it is a welcome return.”
This fall the Smashing Pumpkins, consisting of frontman Billy Corgan, bassist Nicole Fiorentino, drummer Mike Byrne and guitarist Jeff Schroeder will be returning to the road for a 12 city intimate tour of the U.S. The outing will be a warm-up for the band’s big touring year in 2012. Their fall tour will kick off on October 5 in Los Angeles at Wiltern Theatre with the trek wrapping up on October 22 in Philadelphia at Tower Theater.
The tour will mix deep cuts, classics and a few tracks off “Oceania,” their upcoming album that is scheduled to be released in early 2012. The outing will include dates for Chicago, the band’s hometown, on October 14 and on October 18 the band will perform at Terminal 5 in New York City. Following the critically acclaimed 2010 shows of the band’s, concert tickets will be going on sale soon. The Smashing Pumpkins, at all of their shows will be supported by Light FM (Nicole Fiorentino’s former band before she joined the Pumpkins) and Fancy Space People (which features Don Bolles from 45 Grave, Celebrity Skin and the Germs).
Currently the Smashing Pumpkins are working hard to complete “Oceania.” It will the first full album from the band since “Zeitgeist” was released in 2007. “Oceania” is part of the band’s in-progress “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope” 44 song work and is an album inside an album. “Oceania” features 13 new songs and is scheduled to be released in the early part of 2012.
EMI Music this fall will be honoring The Smashing Pumpkin’s legacy with a campaign that is extensive. The albums of the iconic band from 1991-2000 will be reissued in deluxe versions that are fully remastered, with each one also containing bonus material.
A global catalog campaign will be rolled out by EMI, with guidance and full support from The Smashing Pumpkins. “Gish,” the 1991 debut album of the band’s and “Siamese Dream” from 1993, will both will be released on November 15. The band has sold more than 30 million albums over their career.
In 2012 their will be more excitement when EMI reissues “Pisces Iscariot,” a compilation album from 1994, “Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness,” the 9x platinum double album from 1995, “The Aeroplane Flies High,” a five disc boxed set from 1996 and “Adore” from 1998.
Their albums from 2000 “Machina” and Machina II” will be released in 2013 as one package. Also in 2013 there will be a best-of compilation released. The many hits of the Smashing Pumpkins helped to define the alternative rock era and continues to resonate with modern rock radio and influence new generations.
Alt-rock act Smashing Pumpkins had just unveiled the itinerary for their upcoming tour to support their newest release, the EP “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor.” It has been two years since Billy Corgan and the rest of the Smashing Pumpkins has torn the road with their live performances.
The upcoming tour, which will feature the band’s new bassist Nicole Fiorentino, will kick off in Cleveland on July 6 and will be hitting 12 other cities including a performance at the Forecastle Festival in Kentucky on the 10th, which will then conclude with a show in Memphis on the on the 24th.
The band will also be hitting three cities in Japan come August and will also be performing in Australia and South America later this year, details of which will be confirmed in the coming days.
The group is also planning to have a set of intimate sound checks with their most loyal fans where they will be singing all new material with some of their classic hits. Although the details for the sound checks are still being worked out, the band says that entrance to the venues will be solely by invitation.
Smashing Pumpkin’s new EP “Teargarden” which features four new tracks surfaced in the market in December and can also be heard through streaming by visiting the band’s official website.
The EP also comes in a silk-screen, collector’s package wooden box which is available only for a limited time.
2010 Smashing Pumpkins Concert Tour
6 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
8 – Grand Rapids, MI – Orbit Room
9 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
10 – Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
12 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
13 – Richmond, VA – The National
15 – Norfolk, VA – NorVa
16 – Charlotte, NC – Fillmore Charlotte
17 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm
19 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House of Blues
20 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
21 – Tampa, FL – The Ritz Ybor
23 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
24 – Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
7 – Tokyo, Japan – Chiba Marine Stadium
8 – Osaka, Japan – Maishima
10, 11 – Tokyo, Japan – Studio Coast
For the 9.7% of the population scouring the want ads daily, I’ve got a job lead for you. Billy Corgan is looking for new band mates to play with. Notorious weirdo Corgan, who once took out a full-page newspaper ad to whine about how much he missed Smashing Pumpkins, is looking for a keyboardist and bassist to fill out the band. As for qualifications, you had better be a gushing fan of prog rock and be able to play a mean Jon Lord or Rick Wakeman to be able to fondle Corgan’s discerning ear.
Former Pumpkins bassist Ginger Pooley has recently left the band to raise her new baby. Upon her departure, Pooley released the statement, “with sorrow and yet with much thankfulness for the opportunity to have played in the Pumpkins, I am sad to say that I can no longer tour with the Pumpkins,” Pooley said in a prepared statement. “… I wish Billy all the best and look forward to seeing the Pumpkins in the near future. I would also like to thank all of the Pumpkins fans for all of their support. I will see you at the Pumpkins shows!”
All this scurrying about for new band members comes on the eve of the announcement of a Smashing Pumpkins world tour. For those interesting In ‘Slappin’ the bass’ with Billy, should kick him an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for keyboardists. Be sure to include your age, resume with any bands/recording work you’ve done as well as photos and performance web links. Only applicants with video clips will be consider. Think YouTube. Get those applications in by March 31.