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Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Billy Corgan has time to design a guitar for Fender...

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But still can't be bothered to set a Chicago date for a reunited Pumpkins show. What's up with that?

(Don't ask me; I haven't been able to get an answer out of anyone in the band's camp.)

In any event, the release from Fender follows the jump.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (July 1, 2008) — Fender unveils a smashing new addition to the artist signature line of electric guitars this month with the release of the Billy Corgan Stratocaster guitar, an extraordinarily versatile tone-machine, produced to Corgan’s exacting specifications. The new Billy Corgan Stratocaster is an especially modern take on the iconic Fender Strat® model, built especially for a high-gain sound and designed to create Corgan’s signature mid-’90s buzz saw tone.

When the alternative rock exploded in the 1990s, one of the movement’s driving characteristics was a lack of real guitar solos. One of the first and most successful bands to break away from that trend, the Smashing Pumpkins, also boasted one of Gen X’s first bona fide guitar heroes, Billy Corgan.

More than 30 million albums later and fresh off the success of 2007’s critically-acclaimed and gold-certified Zeitgeist album and massive world tour, Corgan teamed with Fender to create the guitar he’s always dreamed of. The guitar features three DiMarzio pickups (two of which are custom-wound for the instrument), a string-through hard-tail bridge, jumbo frets, a satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish and a vintage tweed case. It is offered in an Olympic White finish, with a black pickguard or Black finish with a white pickguard, reflective of Corgan’s signature style.

“The versatility of this instrument is what impresses me and is why I’m really excited about this model,” Corgan said. “This guitar has both a Strat articulation and enough low-end heavy metal sound to get the ‘Sabbath’ out of the guitar I want. My greatest go-to guitar got stolen at a Pumpkins club date in 1991, and I’ve always struggled since then to find a guitar that was my guitar. I’m really pleased with this model’s versatility, which I need because I’m playing music from a 17-year period of the Pumpkins’ history—from spacey early stuff to grunge to all-out cyber metal, then back to ballads.”

“Billy owns a lot of vintage Strat guitars, but he was looking for a primary ‘go-to guitar,’ said Justin Norvell, Fender marketing director for electric guitars. “Billy was very hands-on. We were bringing prototypes into the studio and rehearsal space while they were tracking the record, and did the fine-tuning on the specs while they were out on tour. Playing live and in the studio are two completely different things, so Billy wanted to be sure it met his needs in both arenas, so we worked together to make sure it was perfect.”

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Full on interview about guitars and making this model here:

Smashing Pumpkins are rock, and Billy Corgan is god of Rock

Dude, maybe he needs the help of myspace's dirty_bone and I know that that genIU$ MajiKand1 could whip one up in 10 min. My design will be posted in the morning of the 5th.

Keep up the good work Jim, your opinion is one of the few that carry weight (and not the stank of PaY0La that most of the rest emit,) along with the "thumbs WAY up Boys," in my circle.

the future 6 1/16th (see I am flexable after all, PLUS the six-million-dollar man TIE IN is just TOO much for me to resist) MILLION-$-MAN
that f"in" genIU$ MajiKand1

From The Simpsons "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Herbert: Homer, I want you to design a car. A car for all
the Homer Simpsons out there! And I wanna pay you
$200,000 a year to do it!
Homer: And I wanna let you!


Billy was my hero from the time I was about ten 'til I graduated from high school. The Smashing Pumpkins were gods. And it didn't really bother me when King Billy replaced D'arcy with Melissa. But they were great because they were from Chicago and Billy was an Irish kid born on the same day as me (we had so much in common!). And he really seemed to love this city, as evidenced by those last two shows at the United Center and the Metro.

Alas, it doesn't seem like any of that was real, or, at the very least, lasting. When I saw their initial run, I though, "Asheville? Seriously, Asheville?!? Who the hell cares about Asheville?" Apparently Billy Pumpkinhead is an Asheville fan. Fine. But, after my initial first couple of contacts with "Zeitgeist" (which sucked monstrously), I realized that The Smashing Pumpkins Corporation is what Billy resurrected. Which was pretty much the same as Zwan, which also sucked. Seriously, why couldn't Billy have made the same records with Zwan that he made with the Pumpkins (if the sticky wicket was Jimmy Chamberlain, well, he was already there, anyways).

No, Billy wanted to make money. Well, that's okay too. But he did it at the expense of his credibility as an artist. I mean, imagine if your favorite band growing up was the Jefferson Airplane. Now imagine if they'd kept that name when the band reorganized as Starship. This may sound like incandescent whining to some. But the Pumpkins meant something to my preadolescent self. It's sadder than seeing the Stones limp towards the finish line; it's sadder than seeing the unfulfilled possibilities of Neutral Milk Hotel. The Pumpkins' ending was perfect. Now, it's just a footnote for the giant melon-sized ego of one Billy Corgan. And, though most of the old Pumpkins stuff will always stand the test of time for me, I'll never be able to forgive Billy for taking that away from me.

(Naturally, this gets to the heart of who owns music, the artist or the fans. I think it's pretty obvious on which side I come down. It's like Sapphire says in "Almost Famous": "They don't even know what it is to be a fan, y'know? To love some silly piece of music or some band so much that it hurts.")

Jim, Be careful what you wish for. Unless the Pumpkins just re-do their past close-out shows, they may as well not come back until they figure out how to re-package themselves. Billy knows better than to (re)play here and "pick up where he left off" with that new crap just to get thrown out of the city. And any artist or philosopher who were ever given credit for capturing the spirit of their time never themselves produced anything literally called "zeitgeist".

Brendan, no offense but you seriously need to do a whole lotta re-evaluating if any band/musician is a role model/hero to you. They play music, it's their passion but it's also their job.....stop taking it so personally.

Jim has often commented on how dreadful R.E.M. has been since Bill left the band. Many fans feel the same way; R.E.M. could've gone out on top rather than, as they see it, wasting away Stones-style. Imagine if they'd done a couple of final, triumphant shows and packed it up after "New Adventures," only to come back a few years later with only Stipe and Berry and crap out something along the lines of "Around the Sun." Just imagine it.

Jim also has said that "no one stays broken up." But despite this being Mr. DeRogatis's blog, let's not quote him chapter and verse. His opinion isn't your opinion or my opinion.

I could "Imagine if" a lot of things but there is really no such thing as the happy ending scenario you spelled out.......really, the only time that happens is when someone dies. Even then, you get into the whole memorabilia thing (Kurt Cobain has a special edition converse now....lunch boxes too) and people getting an Oliver Stone, "The Doors" sort of that is a bit too clean and convenient to have happened.

I embrace reality. Less disappointment that way. "What if" idealism only leaves you yearning for something that never happened and that you never had control of.

Ex. "What if Kurt Cobain hadn't shot himself in the head?" Well, he did. But to answer that question, the heroin would have finished the job anyway.

"What if James Iha was in the Smashing Pumpkins?" Well, he's not. And to answer that question, he probably would have been overdubbed anyway. (Come on, am I wrong?)

You see? Asking "What if?" is sort of pointless.

JMG, you're right -- we all have different opinions. But that is exactly what makes music so personal. Now, you're welcome to, as you say, "embrace reality." But for some of us dreamers out there, pondering the "what-ifs" is a very fun thing to do when talking about favorite bands. What if Mike Love weren't such an ass and the Brian Wilson hadn't crumbled under the weight of "Smile?" What if Dylan hadn't plugged in? What if Ike Turner had never invented rock 'n' roll (YES HE INVENTED ROCK 'N' ROLL)? Of course it's kind of pointless, but it's also a lot of fun. Read some Philip Roth if you don't believe me (the question "What if Lindburgh had run against FDR in 1940?" turns out to make for quite the interesting novel).

You're not wrong about Iha being overdubbed, if he'd even played on the record at all. But that's not the point. Everyone always knew it was Billy & the Pumpkins. But Billy made a point to undermine a promising and pretty decent (though by no means great) solo debut by taking out full-page ads whining about how he wanted his band back. He didn't really want his "band" back, though. He wanted to call Zwan, or whatever his next band would be, the Smashing Pumpkins, because nobody gave a f*** about Zwan.

I think I would've been less bugged if Billy hadn't made such a big deal about retiring the Smashing Pumpkins mantle, or if he hadn't been so dramatic about bringing it back. If, back in 2000, he'd decided he'd had enough of James's crap and kicked him out of the band but kept the Pumpkins name going, I probably would've been fine with it. But those last couple of concerts were milestones for me when I was a kid, and Billy cheapened them by... well, being Billy. I dunno. I guess, like I say, it's just a personal thing.

By the way, as far as the "no one stays broken up" rule, would that it were true. Then maybe we could finally have that classic-era Floyd reunion that you know you're just aching to see, even if we could probably name exactly what would be on the setlist right here.

"What if" is a waste of time.....and you're wasting mine. Stop taking band drama personally. If you like the music, you like the music. If you don't, you don't.

Dear JMG,

No one forces you to read, or to respond. I'm not wasting your time; you're wasting your own. Besides, isn't everyone allowed his or her own "sound opinion?"

Damn this is an old thread, I love this picture though , I am going to take one of me like that holding my basses! Also The REAL Smashing Pumpkins are awesome!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on July 3, 2008 12:04 PM.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the United Center was the previous entry in this blog.

The (sort of) Pumpkins are (sort of) coming home is the next entry in this blog.

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