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Tuning in with Thomas Conner

The curse of alternative nostalgia: What the heck happened to the Class of '93?

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The Smashing Pumpkins, back when "Today" was the greatest -- live at Chicago's Metro in 1993, via YouTube.

During its intoxicating heyday in the mid-'90s, "alternative rock" was an ambiguous term for a wide variety of idiosyncratic bands that never subscribed to any one style, coherent aesthetic or single way of doing business.

"Alternative to what?" was the question some asked, and it was a good one. But there was one similarity to the many groups that stormed the pop charts after the phenomenal success of Nirvana's "Nevermind" (1991). The alternative rockers mostly were members of Generation X, that proudly defiant group of 17 million born between 1964 and 1979, the majority of whom were sick of hearing their Baby Boom elders waxing nostalgic about the sounds and spirit of their own golden youth.

"Hate Haight, I've got a new complaint / Forever in debt to your priceless advice," Kurt Cobain roared, and though Nirvana's leader insisted he wasn't a spokesman for anyone but himself, he did smile broadly in 1993 when I told him that I heard "Heart-Shaped Box" as the expression of his generation's disgust at pop culture's endless mythologizing of those halcyon '60s, from Beatlemania to Haight-Ashbury via Woodstock, Vietnam, Grant Park '68 and all the rest.

Whatever mistakes they might make -- and there would be plenty, starting with Cobain joining what his mother called "that stupid club" of dead-before-their-time rock icons Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison -- from the perspective of the mid-'90s, it was hard to imagine the bands of the alternative moment ever becoming the artistically stilted, cash-hungry or pathetically reactionary dinosaurs that preceded them.

Sadly, the argument can be made that that's exactly what's happened.

Alternative nostalgia has become big business, and just as they were one of the bands that bridged the gap from the indie-rock '80s to the alternative '90s, the Pixies were on the cutting edge, reforming 11 years after they first broke up to undertake one of the highest-grossing tours of 2004-2005, and then promptly disbanding once more. Since then, My Bloody Valentine, which crafted the second most influential album of '91 with "Loveless," also has ridden the reunion express, while a bevy of other acts including Sonic Youth, Built to Spill, Sebadoh and Liz Phair have adopted the ironically entitled "Don't Look Back" concept of the U.K.'s All Tomorrow's Parties Festival.

If an act is still a vibrant creative force, why would it want to tour and play one of its older albums in its entirety? The answer is obvious, according to an article in Billboard last August: At 11 shows in 2006 featuring a mix of new and old material, Sonic Youth grossed $315,305 in tickets sales. In 2007, during only three shows at which it played its classic "Daydream Nation" album, the band raked in $496,791.

Meanwhile, while some remember Lollapalooza as the defining genre-defying concert of the alternative era, after "three years of brand analysis and marketing surveys," Texas concert promoter Charlie Jones of C3 Presents saw in that phrase "the most recognized name in music today," purchased it from founder Perry Farrell in 2005 and reinvented it as an often bland, corporate-advertising and family-friendly "destination festival" based for the next 10 years in Grant Park. Which brings us home to Chicago.

Two years after the major-label feeding frenzy and worldwide hype that consumed Seattle in the wake of "Nevermind," the nexus of the alternative universe shifted to the Windy City, which produced its own platinum success stories and worldwide superstars, but with even more diversity and originality than the grunge bands of the Pacific Northwest. What has become of Chicago's Class of '93? The answers aren't pretty for the four acts once voted most likely to succeed.

URGE OVERKILL



"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"


After honing its James Bond/Playboy Mansion shtick and postmodern take on '70s funk and metal through a series of releases for Chicago's independent Touch & Go label, Urge Overkill signed to Geffen Records, home of Nirvana and Sonic Youth, paired up with big-name producers the Butcher Brothers and released their unrepentantly silly but enduringly catchy masterpiece "Saturation" in June 1993. The reception from modern-rock radio was lukewarm--the band fared better the following year when its cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" was included on the soundtrack of "Pulp Fiction"--but by the time they entered the studio to make "Exit the Dragon" (1995), Nathan "Nash Kato" Katruud, Eddie "King" Roeser and Johnny "Blackie Onassis" Rowan were lost in a fog of acrimony, confusion and non-ironic excess. And then they broke up.

Kato released a stillborn solo album and Roeser never really got his post-Urge band Electric Airlines up off the ground, so in 2004, they reunited minus Onassis to play the old should-have-been hits. Since then, Urge Overkill has played the occasional gig for beer money, but the band hasn't released any new music, its official Web site has been shut down and its MySpace page is still spinning tracks such as "Sister Havana" and "Tequila Sundae" that are now 15 years old.

LIZ PHAIR



"Never Said"


The favorite daughter of suburban Winnetka set the indie-rock world on its ear in '93 with her epic post-feminist manifesto "Exile in Guyville," but despite landing on the cover of Rolling Stone the following year under the headline "A Rock Star is Born," Phair was unable to win mainstream success with a retooled indie sound on the subsequent "Whip-Smart" (1994) and "Whitechocolatespaceegg" (1998). So the musician picked up stakes, moved to Los Angeles, recorded with the bubblegum-pop production team the Matrix and tried to reinvent herself as Sheryl Crow Mach II with a self-titled release in 2003 and "Somebody's Miracle" in 2005.

Those discs primarily succeeded in alienating Phair's original fan base, while scoring only modest success on the charts and radio play lists. So earlier this year, she tried to win back the faithful with a "15th Anniversary Tour" where she played all of her first album. This critic thought she strictly was going through the motions as she returned to Guyville, but as with Sonic Youth, Billboard reported a commercial hit: Phair sold out two shows at San Francisco's Fillmore (1,298 capacity) and Chicago's Vic Theatre (1,400) with an average gross of $31,787--a stark contrast to the $18,174 she earned during 17 shows mixing new and old material in 2003.

Phair reportedly is working on a new album for 2009, to be released on her new label, ATO, the company started by Dave Matthews.

VERUCA SALT



"Seether"


Guitarists, vocalists and songwriters Louise Post and Nina Gordon famously came together on New Year's Eve 1992-'93 after auditioning for one another over the phone. A little more than a year later, they'd released their debut album "American Thighs" and scored a major hit with the single "Seether." But the next full release, "Eight Arms to Hold You" (1997), suffered from the embarrassing over-production of Bob Rock and the growing dissension between the group's leaders, fueled by enough behind the scenes soap-opera drama to embarrass Fleetwood Mac. In 1998, Gordon left the band.

As a solo artist, Gordon has tried to morph into a cross between Jewel and Stevie Nicks, producing two saccharine and nearly unlistenable flops, "Tonight and the Rest of My Life" (2000) and "Bleeding Heart Graffiti" (2006). Meanwhile, Post put together a new version of Veruca Salt and made the brilliant if sadly underrated "Resolver" (2000) and the less powerful but still game "IV" (2006). Neither was widely heard, and Veruca Salt has gotten most of its airplay in the new millennium via a commercial for the Illinois State Lottery.

The band, now based in L.A. and with Post as the only original member, reports on the Internet that it's working on another album, while Gordon, who's also living on the West Coast, has not updated her Website since August 2007.

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS



"Tonight, Tonight"


Finally, we come to Chicago's bestselling alternative-era heroes, whose present status, in keeping with their past history, is the most confusing and controversial of any of the Gen X stars.

Propelled by their 1991 debut "Gish" and their 1992 slot on the "Singles" soundtrack, the Smashing Pumpkins broke big with "Siamese Dream" in 1993, selling more than 6 million copies worldwide, and then securing their reputation for grand gestures and overwhelming bombast with the 9 million-selling "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" in 1994. Throughout this dazzling ride, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Billy Corgan never tired of insisting that the Smashing Pumpkins were a band, and that his reputation for being a control freak and a megalomaniac was not only untrue, but an insult to his bandmates James Iha, D'arcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlin.

The illusion of the Pumpkins as anything other than the Corgan Show began to unravel when a drug-addled Chamberlin was banished from the band, followed by Wretzky and an obvious and growing resentment of Iha. The band continued to make strong music--in fact, contrary to the opinion of many fans, I maintain that "Adore" (1998) and "Machina/The Machines of God" (2000) are its best albums--but with his typical flair for drama and fanfare, Corgan announced that a Dec. 2, 2000 concert at Metro would be the group's last forever.

Nobody really believed that, but Corgan forged ahead for a while with a new group, Zwan, which lasted for one album ("Mary Star of the Sea" in 2002) and a couple of tours, and a solo career that died even more quickly. In June 2005, on the day he released his first official solo disc "The Future Embrace," Corgan placed a newspaper ad announcing that he was putting his old band back together. But what has that meant?

Though a now clean and sober Chamberlin is on board, as he was for Zwan, Corgan may or may not have made a sincere effort to re-recruit fellow founding Pumpkins Wretzky and Iha. The reunited band's first release, "Zeitgeist" (2007), sounds a little like the Pumpkins of old, only not as good, and though Corgan has positioned the group as being all about moving forward, it's returning home for the first time in its new incarnation to play four much-hyped "20th Anniversary" shows.

I'll reserve judgment on the reconstituted Pumpkins until after those shows, but all of the evidence so far--which also includes a strictly-for-the-money Indiana casino gig earlier this year and a recent deal with the silly but absurdly popular "Guitar Hero" video game--suggests that, as with the forces behind the new Lollapalooza, the Smashing Pumpkins 2008 are simply a popular brand name that sells more tickets than another might.

"Alternative to what?" we may once again ask, and finally the answer is obvious: "Absolutely nothing." Like so many rock bands before them, 15 years down the road, the most promising members of the Class of '93 are treading dangerously close to that sad but true scene in "Spinal Tap" where the aging metal legends find themselves playing at the state fair.

The only consolation is that at this very moment, somewhere in a basement in Bridgeview, a garage in Schaumburg or a bedroom in Oak Lawn, some kid with a guitar or a sampler is furiously ranting about the umpteenth Vh1 special about Nirvana, the hype surrounding some recent alt-era reunion and the way his or her parents are constantly talking about the magic of Lollapalooza, and he or she is about to make some noise that will really be alternative--at least for a while.

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23 Comments

It amazes me how a one of the most highly visible voices of music from Chicago like Jim D. can be so clueless about Smashing Pumpkins. Jim constantly berates Billy and SP and yet int eh same breath will turn around and praise their significance for the music legacy of Chicago.

First of all, MCIS was released in 1995, propelling SP to the biggest band in the world by 1996 (sales, singles and popularity). (only the b-sides collction Pisces Iscariot was released in 1994). Furthermore, I still think that Jim prophecizes repeatedly about Adore and Machina (which I enjoy, but certainly not as much as the seminal, soulful and cohesive albums Gish, SD, and MCIS) as a despertae plea for indie cred, purposefully "going against the grain" to create an image or point of view. I make these accusations because the things Jim criticizes most about Billy are THE MOST prevelant during these 2 albums.

Also, re: guitar hero. Are you really this out of touch Jim? Like it or not, the world has changed. The most receptive audience for rock music today is the same ppl playing the guitar hero and rockband games. Certainly tolerance for screaming guitar solos like in SP's Tarantula seem more at home in this context than what passes today as "alternative radio" or "rock radio". God forbid a song on the radio should have a guitar solo or deviate from the verse-chorus-verse forumla. I got news for you....those kids in Oak Lawn, a garage in Schaumburg, etc. are most likely playing Guitar Hero, not an actual Guitar. Should they evenutally pick-up a 6-string or start an actual non-cover band that writes original music, it will no doubt be born (at least partially) by fans and participants of this game.

So in an effort to help educate Jim, I reccommend he read the most recent blog posts by Billy Corgan as well as watch the newly released If All Goes Wrong DVD. The efforts to recruit James and Darcy are addressed, as well as the difficulties living in the shadow of their popular past and mainstream success. A little research, commitment and an open unbiased mindset will reveal that the current incarnation of the band is fundamentally coming from the same place, taking the same risks while under extreme scrutiny, pushing the limits of whatever supposed genre they are supposed to fit into, and continuing to be as loud, soft, heavy, mellow, touching, abrasive and diverse as they always been.

The back-catalog selections being played on the current (and last year's) tours only further illustrate how the new material fits right in to the SP catalog. The band is playing the tunes that compliment, supplement, and capture the current direction of the band. Balancing the old, the new, the obscure, the popular, the nostalgic and the more recent close-to-the-heart material...its no wonder they need 2 days and 48 songs to do it.

And finally, above all else, the musical skill prevelant in the songs are untouchable. This band is rock solid (pardon the pun). The current line-up is the most talented group of musicians to ever play under the SP moniker. Led by the world-class drum and guitar skills of Jimmy and Billy, this is one aspect of the band curiously absent from all criticizm. The actual quality of the music. Go figure. Sure quality of the song-writing is subjective, but given a chance, one will find the only thing missing is the "nostalgia" Jim refer's to. That because SP needs to be looked at with an open mind, not within some cookie-cutter limitations that people mentally set for themselves based on the band's history.

I believe the lyrics to Heart-Shaped Box are, "Hey! Wait!" "I've got a new complaint." "Forever in debt to your priceless advice."

It happens. Most bands don't age too well after four years. How many musical acts truly have legs? Going beyond Chicago and looking at the entire early-90s alternative scene, I can only name the following bands that put out anything remotely interesting post 2000:
Dinosaur Jr.
Fishbone (really struggling right now, sadly - though playing the Double Door on 11/22!)
The Flaming Lips
Nine Inch Nails
Tool
Radiohead

Davin,

Look, bud, you may be a SP/BC mark, but not all of us are. The "cookie-cutter limitations that people mentally set for themselves based on the band's history" are the high standards that the band set for itself with a string of classic records and an incredibly emotional farewell. As much as my first kiss or graduation, the Smashing Pumpkins defined my youth. They were the band, as I've written on previous posts of DeRo's. But let's disregard that conceit of mine and address the topics you bring up:

>>First of all, MCIS was released in 1995, propelling SP to the biggest band in the world by 1996 (sales, singles and popularity).

You're right on this. I remember it well: In 1994, I was in fifth grade and got Pisces Iscariot for Christmas. I remember it so well because the first time I heard "Starla" was on the drive home from a Christmas party where I'd received it, and it has remained one of my two favorite tunes by the band since.

>>Jim prophecizes repeatedly about Adore and Machina (which I enjoy, but certainly not as much as the seminal, soulful and cohesive albums Gish, SD, and MCIS)

You have a right to that opinion, but Jim has a right to him. No reason to fault him for his. I happen to agree with him on Siamese Dream: I think it is insanely overrated, though there are a handful of really incredible individual tracks on it. I don't think it's nearly as cohesive as Mellon Collie or Gish. But again, that's an opinion.

>>Also, re: guitar hero. Are you really this out of touch Jim? Like it or not, the world has changed. The most receptive audience for rock music today is the same ppl playing the guitar hero and rockband games.

This is an unhinged argument, man. That's like the argument from the '90s that the most receptive audience for rock music was the ones buying CDs. They might be the biggest demographic of those buying music, but to say that they're "[t]he most receptive" is ludicrous. I don't play Rock Band or Guitar Hero, and yet, I somehow manage to listen to a hell of a lot of new music -- and I do so mostly by listening to albums online. How many of those "ppl playing the guitar hero and rockband games" are actually listening to full albums -- or even care enough to? I don't fault them for that; there is a place in pop music for the single, a very important place (witness "Be My Baby"). But to say that gamers have some kind of singularly integral role to play in the reception of pop records when they are simply one demographic that mostly has little interest in digesting full volumes of music is ludicrous.

Look, I know lots of gamers who are really into actually listening to the music, too. My little brother, a HUGE gamer, is one of them (we actually have quite similar taste in music). But the number of gamers who digest albums is likely proportional to the number of people in general who do the same. They are not "more" or "less" receptive, and I don't really know how you come to such a conclusion.

>>A little research, commitment and an open unbiased mindset will reveal that the current incarnation of the band is fundamentally coming from the same place...

I completely disagree. Billy might've always wanted to be a rock star, but there was a time when he had artistic vision. Of Zeitgeist and the fact that some fans had a less-than-favorable response to it, Billy said, "I know a lot of our fans are puzzled by Zeitgeist. I think they wanted this massive, grandiose work, but you don't just roll out of bed after seven years without a functioning band and go back to doing that." If Billy really believes that, he's a fool, because the only reason to bring back a seminal band like the Pumpkins is because you've got more to say and a masterpiece cooked up. Otherwise, it's just nostalgia.

Take Mission of Burma. Their first and only full-length was released in 1982; their second came 22 years later. In the intervening time, they became legends, and Vs. still stands the test of time. But they had more to say, and OnOffOn was very close to being a masterpiece -- a hell of a lot closer than Zeitgeist.

Further, the Pumpkins' breakup, as far as its pomp and circumstance was concerned, might -- and I stress might -- have been outdone by the Band's... but that's it. Their last album was released online; their last single was released (first!) on Sound Opinions; and as the site for their last two shows, they chose Chicago. Now, contrast that with the reconfigured Pumpkins: the album was released in several "exclusive" forms at big-box locations, which indeed did screw the mom-and-pop record shops Billy claims to have frequented as a kid; and for the site of their first shows, they chose... Asheville? Now, I have no problem wish Asheville. But I do think it's further proof that Billy ditched out on the fans that supposedly meant so much to him: The ones from his hometown. That's fine, if that's how he wants to play it, but it renders their tearful farewell kind of moot.

Besides that, let's look at Billy's reason for bringing the band back. He didn't want his band back. If he had, he would've done whatever he had to do to bring Iha and Wretzky (or, admittedly, Auf Der Maur) back into the fold. He didn't, though; those ships, he figured, had sailed. Fine. But can you tell me, davin, what the difference is between Mary, Star of the Sea and Zeitgeist? It's Billy and Jimmy playing everything, then going on the road with a bunch of faceless wonders. How were the Smashing Pumpkins a band worth bringing back if Billy could've just as easily played SP covers all night with Zwan? The fact is, nobody gave a rat's ass about Zwan, and Billy didn't like that, so he brought back a brand name that everybody knew and loved. But this incarnation tastes to me like New Coke.

>>The current line-up is the most talented group of musicians to ever play under the SP moniker.

How do you figure? You're talking about the live shows, I presume; because Billy played everything on Zeitgeist except drums the same way he played everything except drums on every other SP record. And this returns me to my question: What was the point of bringing back the Pumpkins in the first place if it wasn't going to be the band he left behind in 2000? Zeitgeist didn't exactly pick up where Machina II left off; it sounded like the albums U2 has been putting out since their last great one, Zooropa -- a repackaging of what sold them the most records without taking a single risk. And frankly, if the Pumpkins are going to be boiled down to one or two bombastic songs, then the hell with it. I'd rather listen to AC/DC or even Weezer. The Pumpkins were never at their best with bombast, even on their best bombastic tunes like "Zero" and "Cherub Rock."

Now I want to make one major caveat: I like what I have been hearing about the setlists from recent shows. I heard "I Am One, Pt. 2" got some play. Also, "Eye" and "Galopogos." That makes me happy, and it makes me think that maybe Billy really does have something left to say (or, at least, to give us). But I'm not holding my breath after the s*** sandwich that was Zeitgeist. I'd love to be proven wrong, though. As I said at the outset, this was the band of my youth, and I wouldn't mind reveling in teenagerdom for an hour's listen to a really good record.

Nothing like some Smashing Pumpkins to wake up the masses. Nice article, one of Dero's better of the year.

All four artists mentioned had moments where they rose above the common din but the best live rock band in the world circa 1993 had to be The Jesus Lizard.

Jim,
You're absolutely right that the alternative rocks stars of the early 90s were alternative to nothing. I would also emphasize that rock n roll in general could be seen as one large alternative to civilized society: it was the same with rockabilly in the 50s, the hippies in the 60s, and the punks in the 70s/80s. So while the disappointment you express is very understandable, I don't think it's unique to alternative by any means; The Who touched upon exactly this is "Won't Get Fooled Again," and we've been fooled multiple times over since that song.

Brendan,

Regarding your guitar hero/rock band comment. I was speaking mostly of "the kids" out there today. You know, the ones listening to Q101 and trying to develop their own adolescent musical connections. Of course you and I continue to be into new music because of the way we started...I am just saying for the younger generation they are finding out about rock in a whole new way.

Regarding Zeitgeist, I disagree. Billy also said it was a meant to be a "re-introduction" to the band. For both old fans, new fans as well as him and Jimmy. He has talked numerous times about what it took to get back into that certain headspace, and how the sessions in Kerry Brown's home helped get him and Jimmy back there...even if it was just in terms of a process or mentality that went along with writing SP tunes. The other big part of this is the back catalog, another integral part of this band. With these 2 things in tow, the band was able to move forwad with SP again and strive back towards that "artistic comfort zone" out of which future awesome songs will be born. There is a lot of really good post-Zeigeist material, such as some things born out of the residencies and as recently as the recently passed fall sessions which include new songs "Owata", "Song for a Son", and "As Rome Burns" -- all of which you'll hear next week if you're going to the shows.

In regards to the method of comeback its already been established it was the labels decision to do the multiple releases. Billy also talked about it like baseball cards (i.e. people trading the extra tracks they may have gotton on their different versions). Sounds like you've been reading too much pitchfork because all of this is pretty secondary to the actual music itself.

In regards to Chicago, no one wantd them doign residencies or things like that here more than me....but for better or for worse, SP belongs to the world. The OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE sentiment from people in France (who got screwed by the last minute break-up and cancellations of Zwan) were really happy to have the comeback be in Paris. Somehow they thought it was fitting. People in San Fran and Asheville thought the same way...and if you listen to Billy & Jimmy talk about the subject (or better yet go watch the new documentary) you'll see that they chose those locations for certain artistic reasons. Similar as how they went to Atlanta and LA in the past to record albums to get away from Chicago, it was once again necessary to focus on the artistic development and not have it turn into a circus. Ok, ok...it turned into a circus anyway...but probably to a much lesser degree. :-) The fact remains that the global fan sentiment was relief that all the comeback stuff was not localized to Chicago. And Billy has spoken about this too, stating he wanted a grand home-coming when the band had become more cohesive and the new memebers had begun to create their own musical identities within the band and not just copy the old members parts. This is very important and in a way I consider it somewhat of a compliment that Billy wanted all these pieces to fall back into place before coming back home.

Again with the james and darcy stuff! When will people drop this?!? Again, if you stay informed you'd know from the recent blog posts and documentary comments that james and darcy were invited back, multuiple times even, and the offer was turned down. So what? Billy and Jimmy who did 95% of the work are just supposed to let SP die because 2 lesser contribuing members aren't coming back? No way! You know as well as I do that like Zeitgeist, both Gish and Siamese Dream were mostly done by Billy and Jimmy. Again, on the new documentary, Billy acknowledges that James and Darcy, more than anything else, contribted to the mythos and image of the band...not so much the music. Seriously, you and Jim should both go watch this!

and the difference between Zeitgeist and MSOTS is simple -- #1 Zwan did not play a single note of SP's back catalog, ever. This is reserved for SP only. #2 Billy has discussed certain writing methods, approach to song and music writing, and subject matter of songs that is specific to SP. I nor you can quantify what this means, however listening to new SP material and listening to Zwan material its fairly obvious there's a difference....not only in style but in lyrical content. These are 2 major differences, especially the back catalog.

I really can't buy into your "New Coke" comment Brendan. I mean, you tell me...have any 2 SP albums EVER sounded the same? As one ever sounded like the one before it? or after it? This band is known for its diversity and its constant evolution. To me Zeitgeist is the next step, while at the same time sounding fresh (thanks to Roy Thomas Baker production) and also waxing nostaligic. For example, the dreamy guitars that sound like Brian May like on Pisces...the Gish-like song structures...Gish-like bass lines like on Thats The Way (My love Is) because its billy playing them again...but yet you also have the abrasive guitar rock of MCIS and Machina...as well as the synth-laden tracks at the end that are reminiscent of elements of MCIS, Machina as well as Adore. Songs like Bleeding the Orchid would have been HUGE in the 90's, with its brand of nondescript angst. How is this not SP? How is it not them moving forward like always?

I implore that if the original lineup had been there, and probably contributed just as little, Zeitgeist would have been totally received differently. All because of non-music related reasons. Therefore I really hope you go back (you and Jim) and give Zeitgeist a chance. Its not something that can be completely absorbed and interpreted on first listen. It needs to be heard, put away, then brought back and heard again. It needs to be listened to multiple times...once with a focus on guitars, once with a focus on drumming, and once the song writing and composition. Its an amazingly well structured album with phenomenal world-class musicianship and musical performances! And like it or not, whether it "connects" with your subjective nostalgic idea of what SP used to be....the fact reamins that this is what SP is today. More than a nostalgia act, more than a straight-forward rock band, more than artists....they are back breaking the rules and doing things the same way they always have. On their terms.

Finally, my comments about the current line-up. Jimmy has said himself that technically this band is the strongest group of musicians he has played with. Coming from Jimmy this means a lot more than them being just being defensive. Its sincere, and from seeing them on stage, once Jeff finishes his great solo work on Siva, Shame, Home, Silverfuck or Heavy Metal Machine...you may find yourself thinkin "James who?". :-)

To wrap this up Brendan, I appreciate where you are coming from. And I think there's hope for your relationship with SP yet. Therefore, I implore you...please watch the new documentary, please give Zeitgeist more of a chance with less predispositions or expectations than you may have had at the on-set, and of course above all else...please attend the 2 day live show. You will not regret it. You will find the same assortment of bombast, touching moments, old tunes, new tunes, heavy tunes, soft tunes, long 10+ min jams and touching love songs that you've always come to expect from this band. Sure, some people may get bored during some of the longer ones, but that would be no different than I Am One in 93, Starla in 94 or Silverfuck in 96. :-)

What I'm saying, it doesn't have to be all about "teenagerdom" or nostalgia. Because SP is still moving forward and changing and evolving like they always have!

At least there's still bands that didn't make it big and are still awesome like Mudhoney and ummm...(God, what's another one), Mark Lanegan?... You know what is still great though about this "alternative period?" Is there are still tons of bands from that period that never made it big, but you can still find their stuff around and its like finding a secret gem. Take Love Battery for example. Yeah there's really nobody left in their original form that still hasn't become a staple of rock.

Who knew Smashing Pumpkin fans were just as diehard as Oasis fans?

Oooh! Smashing Pumpkins debate! And Davin, may I say that it is a pleasure having a real music debate where we're both coming from respectful (and respectable!) ends.

Now, as to why I think you're completely wrong... :)

>>Billy also said it was a meant to be a "re-introduction" to the band... He has talked numerous times about what it took to get back into that certain headspace[.]

Don't get me wrong, dude, I do think this is an important point. However, I also think you're giving King Pumpkin a bit too much credit here. If he wants to get into a certain headspace, fine, no problem. But if he wasn't quite in the headspace to release a kick-ass album that gave reason for the Pumpkin Brand Name to come back (and I'm sorry dude, but after listening to Zeitgeist again on your advice to see if I was just missing something, I still feel safe saying it's the band's weakest effort by several miles), why bother?

I also disagree that anyone needed a "re-introduction" to the band. Why? If he wanted to do that, he could've taken the rejiggered lineup on tour first, and then released a record. In fact, I mightn't have protested so much had he done it that way. But my main problem with the re-introduction argument is that it insults the intellects of both fans and average listeners. If the Pumpkins had put out an album that was both artistically masterful and commercially viable, I could've gotten behind it, and I would have. Zeitgeist wasn't it. Your comment about an "artistic comfort zone" underscores this; if your art isn't fully developed, why publish it? Isn't that undermining your artistry?

(As a complete side note, I honestly don't know if I'd be going to the shows next week were I able. I would love to. Unfortunately, I'm off studying in Wales right now, so that'd be one hell of a hike!)

>>Sounds like you've been reading too much pitchfork because all of this is pretty secondary to the actual music itself.

Well, aside from my complete loathing of Pitchfork pretension (though they put on a pretty awesome music fest and were very nearly right about the best album of the year last year), I want to point out that you missed my point on the marketing of the album. Yes, the marketing is secondary to the music. It always is. That's why I still own a copy of Moby's Play even though I'm still hearing half the songs on commercials nearly ten years later. But I don't think it's secondary to the premise of the band. I think a band is hurt when the values it once claimed to uphold are compromised, the same way I feel they are when a politician compromises his values to score a victory. That doesn't mean I judge the album harshly primarily because of that; but I do judge the band harshly because of it. Of course, if the album were worth the big-box BS with which we'd have to put up, I'd say, go on, do it -- go to Best Buy or Walmart or wherever and buy yourself a copy; buy two or three, get it for all your friends and family for Christmas, etc., etc. As I've already mentioned, I don't think Zeitgeist is anywhere near a good enough album for that kind of work.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Billy used to champion mom-and-pop stores. It's his record. If he didn't want it marketed like that -- if he really cared as much about small stores as he claimed to -- he could've protested, could've held out the record, could've done something (and don't try to tell me his hands were tied; it's not like the SP reunion wasn't a hugely anticipated event, and it's not like Zeitgeist wasn't immediately going to go platinum upon its release). Now, when we add this newfound respect for "The Man" to the rush to get an album out even though he wasn't in a full-on artistic headspace for it, that, to me, indicates a problem. And there are others, too.

>>The fact remains that the global fan sentiment was relief that all the comeback stuff was not localized to Chicago.

I don't disagree with this point. But again, right after this, you resort to saying that they needed these warm-up shows (for this long??) so they could come back to Chicago a more cohesive band. I've heard Billy's excuses for this. You know what? That line may work for you, but it doesn't for me. I ask again: What is the point of bringing back a band that's not ready (or willing) to come back? If Billy really wanted to make this the newest, bestest version of the Smashing Pumpkins yet, he would've worked with the new lineup from the ground up.

Let's take a look, for example, at Wilco, another famously "Chicago" band. Now, they never broke up, exactly. But it's not the same band that started in the wake of Uncle Tupelo. More and more, Wilco belongs to the rest of the country (and, increasingly, the world). And their band, having gone through so many permutations, has needed time to work out the kinks. But they have always, always, always paid due respect to Chicago, witnessed most recently by the five-night Winter Residency, some of the best shows I've ever seen them do. The current lineup has been the most cohesive of the band's lifetime -- but they, too, needed time to grow. So they grew in front of Chicago. Billy could've done the same, but he had other plans. He used to pay homage to this city, to practically worship it; now, he pays it, at best, lip service. Now, that's fine, if that's what he has to do to get into a specific artistic headspace; but he has to understand why that pissed a lot of his Chicago fans off.

>>james and darcy were invited back, multuiple times even, and the offer was turned down.

You missed my point entirely. I'm a Wilco fan, and I like each incarnation of Wilco differently. And I don't care whether or not James and D'Arcy wanted to come back. My point was, why, oh why, does this need to be called "The Smashing Pumpkins?" You failed to answer this question. You do say, "Zwan did not play a single note of SP's back catalog, ever." I know that. My question: Why not? What kept Billy from doing it, besides his own pretentious idea of what kind of headspace he needs to be in to make music that actually matters?

It has always been Billy & the Pumpkins featuring Jimmy Chamberlain. I have not denied this; and you must think I'm some kind of fairweather fan, or you think very poorly of me, because you repeat a lot of things I know very, very well, like the fact that everything but the drums were played by Billy. Look, I know James and D'Arcy and Melissa were hired guns to play onstage, and every so often, to satiate the relentless ego of his secondary guitarist, Billy would let James have his George Harrison moment (the most "yikes" example of this being the only weak track on Mellon Collie, "Take Me Down"). So Billy could've continued on with the Smashing Pumpkins, kicking James and Melissa off to the side and hiring some other stooges. The problem with that is that's not what happened. Billy closed up the doors to Pumpkinland and embarked on that ill-fated Zwan thing before getting all synth-pop touchy-feely with TheFutureEmbrace. I don't fault him for that. Billy wanted to be an artist, and he wanted to do it on his own terms. But only later did he find out that nobody gave a crap about Zwan or his solo stuff because the music business is a dirty, sordid business that eats people's souls and stifles attempts to create art.

Now, I want you to imagine for a moment that, instead of building up Zwan, Billy had written Zwan over the course of a couple of years post-Machina II, and hadn't released "Untitled" as a single. So in the meantime, Melissa decides to go off and do her own thing; and Billy finally has enough of James the Artiste and tells him to pack his bags and get his useless arse out of the studio. He then brings in Matt Sweeney and Paz Lenchantin to round out the live group, but records a new album the way he usually did, just himself and Jimmy. "Untitled" (which is musically similar to "Honestly") goes on that new record, as do most of the MSOTS tracks (in my fantasy, including cuts that didn't make the Zwan record like "Rivers We Can't Cross"). The album is released as Djali Zwan. It gets mixed reviews, with Pitchfork slamming it but Entertainment Weekly giving a very positive review (as it is want to do for just about everybody but my beloved Polyphonic Spree). Before the new Pumpkins go back on tour, Billy and Paz have a huge public falling-out. Billy fires Paz and brings in Ginger Reyes for the tour.

Okay, yeah, that's all a fantasy sequence. But do you see my point now? There is not connection between the Pumpkins of old and the Pumpkins of new, besides Billy and Jimmy. But that's all Zwan was, and that's all TheFutureEmbrace was. I frankly would've respected an album like Zeitgeist had it been released by a reconfigured Zwan, or by Billy as a solo record. Which brings me to my next point...

>>I mean, you tell me...have any 2 SP albums EVER sounded the same? As one ever sounded like the one before it? or after it?

No, and that's what offends me the most about Zeitgeist. I loved Adore not just because it was a great record (their second-best IMHO), but because it took a huge risk. I mean, certain things were very identifiable, especially guitar solos. And whereas the three previous albums had seemed like logical growths from the last, Adore was SP's Achtung Baby, refining the sound but turning it on its head.

Zeitgeist, however, is their How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. See, they already did the career summation record with Machina, and they did it very, very well. Machina (and its only slightly inferior follow-up Machina II) bookended the Pumpkins very well. I agree with Jim and Kot on this: You get one of those. And the Pumpkins pulled it off, and then called it quits, which is what made it so perfect. But Zeitgeist pulls the same thing off again, using certain identifiable characteristics so you know it's the Smashing Pumpkins. Yes, it's a re-introduction; I get that. But, as I mentioned before, what's the point of making a record if it's just to reintroduce yourself? If Billy is the artist he seems to think he is, that's no-no number 1. You don't release a record to re-introduce yourself; you release a record because you have something more to say than you did on your last one. That goes double for a re-formed band.

That's not to say the album is completely and utterly devoid of merit. It's not the mess it could've been. "Pomp and Circumstances" is good. "That's the Way" has a beautiful melody. I like the guitar sound on "Bleeding the Orchid" a lot, though the progression is a little obvious. But I can't stand "Tarantula" or "Doomsday Clock" or "Come On" because they sound like they're trying too hard to duplicate the righteous rage of "Cherub Rock" and "Zero," and "United States" is a grandiose epic that lacks the artistic genius of "Porcelina" or "Starla." Considering that "Porcelina" and "Starla" are my two favorite SP tracks, I had high hopes for "United States," and frankly, I just get bored by it every time I listen to it (yes, even the live clips of it I've seen on YouTube).

>>please watch the new documentary

Oh, don't worry Davin, I plan to. I've been keeping up with the postcards as much as possible; but the DVD won't be released over here until December 1st. I will see it; don't worry your pretty li'l head.

I also should mention, in the interest of full disclosure, why the Pumpkins are so personal for me. It's not just that they were my favorite band growing up, or that they were from Chicago. It's that I've got way, way too much in common with Billy. I'm Irish-American, too, and was born on St. Patrick's Day -- on Billy's 17th birthday. When I found all this out, I was about ten, and I became obsessed. I felt like we were kindred spirits or something. And I worshiped at his freakin' altar because of it. Pisces Iscariot became my mantra, though I didn't (and don't) have any idea what it meant, except that I was a Pisces and always felt like Judas -- I was sure Billy felt the same way. The first rock show I ever went to was at the venue formerly known as the Rosemont Horizon in October '96; it's extra-specially poignant for me because I remember having tears in my eyes, screaming "I just want to beeeeeeee me!" during the "Mayonaise" encore, a day after having my heart absolutely broken by this girl at school (I was twelve and very melodramatic, ha ha).

So it is, in fairness to you and all the other fans out there, really, really, really personal for me. I know it's not necessarily fair to evaluate it because of such. But I have to, and I think it's fair to hold Billy and the Pumpkins to a higher standard after all those years, all those memories. Which brings me to my final point:

>>[I]t doesn't have to be all about "teenagerdom" or nostalgia. Because SP is still moving forward and changing and evolving like they always have!

I hope it doesn't have to be all about nostalgia, but I was and still am so utterly disappointed by Zeitgeist that nostalgia's all I have keeping me coming back. And as far as the "moving forward and changing and evolving," I really, really hope so. Like I said, I hold out hope, after seeing the setlists for (and this afternoon hearing!) the shows from Canada, I'm grateful that Billy is at least digging a little deeper than I thought he would. But that's still nostalgia; it's just a fan's-wet-dream kind of nostalgia, rather than the setlist for the drunken boneheads screaming out "Cherub f***ing Rock!" It is appreciated, to be certain; and I'm glad that, unlike a truly nostalgia-based band like the Stones have become, the Pumpkins are playing stuff from their most recent releases. But aside from "Pomp" and "That's the Way," I don't really care if they play anything off Zeitgeist, and I'd probably be happier to hear them do a really obscure tune they haven't played live in ages, like "Frail and Bedazzled" or "Medellia of the Gray Skies" (have they ever played that one live? If not, they should! It's one of Billy's most underrated compositions).

If and when Billy & Co. release an album that gets me as excited as everything post-Pisces did, I'll stop clamoring for deep cuts. 'Til then...

"PLAY MEDELLIA OF THE MOTHERF***IN' GRAY SKIES!!!"

(Betcha Billy doesn't hear that in concert very often!)

In the Urge Overkill paragraph it NEIL Diamond not NEAL.

I'll get back to my discussion with Brendan shortly....but first I want to say "good work" to Jim D., who took my advice for his latest suntimes.com article. :-)

Spinal Tap played an Air Force base and a theme park, but never the state fair. What this means for the future of '90s rock I do not know.

Just a few comments...



I liked Tonight And The Rest Of My Life... I think she was trying to grow with the fan base on that one... I like Nina Gordon... but Veruca Salt without her is simply Salt.



Smashing Pumpkins... where to begin? I, like so many other thousands of people was devastated when they "broke up"... thought about them a lot. Then Zwan came about, hated it at first, then embraced the brilliance of it (it was an alternative to what was out there at the time), then the Corgan solo album (loved it right away, and again an alternative to what was out there). The moment he announced the "pumpkins" were getting back together I was against it... still am. After hearing Bleeding The Orchid off of Zeitgeist I refused to hear any of the rest of that album...



His attitude has never been more narcissistic. The “band” has never sounded more desperate and unfocused… never.



As far as Gish goes it was a breath of fresh air. In a world filled with semi-punk “alternative” music they gave us back the zeppelin “sound” (not to be confused with the actual band, I don’t think they ripped them off). And the guitar on Bury Me alone is enough to make anyone fall in love.



Adore was incredible… an approach to his synth heroes of the past when that clearly wasn’t the thing to do… yeah, a bit alternative, but many people didn’t connect with that record, for all it’s obscurity it is beautiful.



Machina… critically, it had at least 5 songs that are the best of their career, but it was way too long. From a fan standpoint it got confusing, but still rocked.



But you heard it here first, the modern "pumpkins" are a scam, they suck and are not welcome in my iPod (pre-2001 Pumpkins are).



Anyway, I know a lot of fans may say the same thing but I will say this about the Chicago music scene I miss being there. Office, Assassins and Prairie Cartel (Caviar too!) are great examples of what the future of Chicago music can be. Especially Office, A Night At The Ritz is incredible. I don’t know enough about these bands but I know when I hear an album or song that I can’t get out of my head for months that it must be good, because like Jim, or Greg or anyone who probably posted on this page I’m a critic at heart, and I love to be proven wrong.



Adam

I look at the “Chicago class of 93” and think eh. There really was not much there, a lot of smoke and mirrors little substance and little lasting success beyond the Pumpkins. Really all the bands mentioned were OK, including the Pumpkins who always seemed insincere or not quite what they were advertised to be. To me there was always and intangible with them that I did not cotton to. But overall there was not too much to the 93 kids.

Veruca Salt? One hit wonder destined to the dust bin of history to be brought out for annual where are they now shows and VH1 one hit wonder specials.

Urge Overkill? As long as Pulp Fiction exists they will have a life, but honestly outside of Chicago very few people know much about these guys other than their name. Fewer still actually know that Urge Overkill performed the song in Pulp Fiction or really care. Most overrated band in a long time.

Liz Phair? Exile in Guyville is a pretty decent record, but it is a recording with a niche audience. I like it for its low-fi quality and its off the beaten path lyrics. But I don’t now nor have I ever seen a lot of wide spread acceptance for this album, which may actually be the best album of the bunch.

Smashing Pumpkins? I’ve never been a huge fan. The music sounds OK, but the voice is a grating as any ever recorded, while the pomposity of Mr. Corrigan has always been way beyond I generally liked Gish and SD but the rest just grew more and more tiresome as they went on. And this comes from someone who took the time to download Machina II with a 56K modem. I tend to view Zwan and SP MK II as being pretty much the same thing, much like the new Son Volt. Each band original and new (and all intervening steps) are really vehicles for the ego of the main man be he Jay Farrar or Billy C. Either way the notion of a “band” is not really there in either case.

Even though they did not release an album in 1993 Material Issue could be lumped in with this group. And like the rest they raised little attention outside of the Chicago area and are pretty much a regional one-hit wonder.

All in all this is much ado about not much. Don’t get me wrong I don’t avoid any of these bands, but I also don’t seek them out. It’s just that outside the Chicago area they, pumpkins excepted, were just here and gone bands not much remembered anymore except in articles like this one.

>>It’s just that outside the Chicago area they, pumpkins excepted, were just here and gone bands not much remembered anymore except in articles like this one.

Mark, you obviously, then, don't understand much about a music scene; nor do you seem to have any idea about what you're talking. First of all, Veruca Salt was not a one-hit wonder. "Seether" and "Volcano Girls" were both charting hits, and some may also remember "Shutterbug," which was a minor hit.

Second, you're entitled to your opinion, but I think Urge Overkill was (and perhaps will be again) a spectacular band. I still listen to Saturation somewhat regularly; I got into them again when my ex played them nonstop and I remembered how much I liked 'em back in the day.

Third, I don't at all get what you mean by calling Exile a "recording with a niche audience." If you mean an audience with taste, well, okay, sure. But you further confound with your claim that there's not "wide spread [sic] acceptance" of it. Spin had it very highly ranked on one of their best-of lists; VH-1 had it in its top 100 albums of all time; Rolling Stone had it on its 500 greatest albums list. Now, those three are pretty mainstream, and they haven't forgotten about that li'l ol' record; it seems like pretty widespread acceptance to me. Besides that, though, I thought Whip-Smart was a damned fine record, nearly as good as Exile, even. You're welcome to your own opinion. But despite her appearance now as an Avril Lavigne wannabe, she produced more than just one good record, in my opinion -- something that tends to get lost amid the "Why Can't I" nonsense of the last few years.

Fourth, you don't do much to help your argument by referring to The Great Pumpkin as "Mr. Corrigan." It's Corgan. Look, I recognize this is a blog, but it doesn't hurt to get at least basic facts right. Davin rightfully called Jim out for getting the year of Mellon Collie's release wrong; and so, too, I rightfully call you out for this kind of ludicrous mistake (especially considering how many times his name is used in this post).

Finally, I have to wonder if you missed the point of this post. When you say that the bands listed are "not much remembered anymore except in articles like this one," well, um... that's the whole reason an article like this exists. You don't necessarily have to like the Pumpkins or Liz Phair or Urge Overkill; but if people outside Chicago don't remember these bands, articles like this one help them remember.

And you see? It worked! It got you to talk about all these bands, and why (aside from Phair) you don't think they're all that great. So whether you liked 'em or not, you do, in fact, remember them. Way to prove DeRo right.

(No, seriously, did you have to do that??)

Brandon, thanks for all the condescension and the education…I’ll try to explain a little of my little thoughts.

“”Mark, you obviously, then, don't understand much about a music scene; nor do you seem to have any idea about what you're talking. First of all, Veruca Salt was not a one-hit wonder. "Seether" and "Volcano Girls" were both charting hits, and some may also remember "Shutterbug," which was a minor hit.””

Yet in the long run all they will be remembered for is Seether. Sure you will remember them for more than that but I would wager to bet that the public at large has either no memory of Veruca Salt or only knows Seether, that is the one they will remember if any. I’m not condemning them for this, I happened to have liked them…at the time. They just did not have the staying power to keep me interested. I’m not suggesting they were Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler or The Starland Vocal Band, but neither were they the Zombies either.

“”Second, you're entitled to your opinion, but I think Urge Overkill was (and perhaps will be again) a spectacular band. I still listen to Saturation somewhat regularly; I got into them again when my ex played them nonstop and I remembered how much I liked 'em back in the day.””

We all have our own opinions and entitled to them. Urge is to me at best a band that rose above their abilities because of Pulp Fiction. Opinions, we all have them.

“”Third, I don't at all get what you mean by calling Exile a "recording with a niche audience." If you mean an audience with taste, well, okay, sure. But you further confound with your claim that there's not "wide spread [sic] acceptance" of it. Spin had it very highly ranked on one of their best-of lists; VH-1 had it in its top 100 albums of all time; Rolling Stone had it on its 500 greatest albums list. Now, those three are pretty mainstream, and they haven't forgotten about that li'l ol' record; it seems like pretty widespread acceptance to me. Besides that, though, I thought Whip-Smart was a damned fine record, nearly as good as Exile, even. You're welcome to your own opinion. But despite her appearance now as an Avril Lavigne wannabe, she produced more than just one good record, in my opinion -- something that tends to get lost amid the "Why Can't I" nonsense of the last few years.””

Exile being ranked on best of lists means squat to me. By niche record I mean it never gained any widespread acceptance i.e. never sold particularly well. The best of lists also consistently have records such as Trout Mask Replica on them, yet I believe I would be correct in stating that Captain Beefheart never really gained wide spread acceptance. Acceptance by critics and acceptance by fans are two entirely different things. By niche record I mean that the record appealed to a specific audience and was not ever going to sell a million copies. Like I said I own it, I like it and still listen to it occasionally, yet I might be the only person in the town I live in who owns a copy…I can probably say that about Trout Mask Replica and Metal Machine Music too.

“”Fourth, you don't do much to help your argument by referring to The Great Pumpkin as "Mr. Corrigan." It's Corgan. Look, I recognize this is a blog, but it doesn't hurt to get at least basic facts right. Davin rightfully called Jim out for getting the year of Mellon Collie's release wrong; and so, too, I rightfully call you out for this kind of ludicrous mistake (especially considering how many times his name is used in this post).””

Didn’t you notice that I am a casual fan of these guys who never saw anything important about them? (Even after seeing them from 20 ft away at a pre-Mellon Collie warm up show in Peoria) That being the case why on earth would I care about how to spell his name? I see this as a wasted comment and answer on both of our parts.

“”Finally, I have to wonder if you missed the point of this post. When you say that the bands listed are "not much remembered anymore except in articles like this one," well, um... that's the whole reason an article like this exists. You don't necessarily have to like the Pumpkins or Liz Phair or Urge Overkill; but if people outside Chicago don't remember these bands, articles like this one help them remember.””

Umm…I got the point. Perhaps you missed my point in that once the flury of activity on this blog die down these bands will for the most part fall back into obscurity once more until the 20th then 25th then 30th anniversaries of 1993 come and go.

“”And you see? It worked! It got you to talk about all these bands, and why (aside from Phair) you don't think they're all that great. So whether you liked 'em or not, you do, in fact, remember them. Way to prove DeRo right.””

I don’t actually think Phair is great. I think she made a great album a long time ago. Greatness to me comes about with a little longevity and more volume in the career. I would give Mr Corrigan (HA!) more of a nod towards greatness than I would Liz he managed to string together several albums that many many people really liked and is still able to garner the attention low these many years down the road. Phair on the other hand is , in my opinion, floundering, and not at all living up to the potential displayed on Exile.

“”(No, seriously, did you have to do that??)””

Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

Brendan, Mark, et al.

Having just returned from night 1 of 4 of the Pumpkins shows, I wanted to come back here and offer some thoughts.

As much as I would love to go tit for tat, back n forth, make a counterpoint to all the above points, a rebuttal to all the earlier rebuttals, etc....I'm not going to. And trust me, I have a talking point for every counterpoint that was raised. :-)

Fact is we could have had a similar discussion back when Adore came out and there was no Jimmy. Or when Machina came out and they played with Melissa. Or maybe the Matt Walker tour legs.

My point is anyway you look at, past or present, love them or hate them, take them or leave them, this still is Smashing Pumpkins. Period. Same highs and lows as there's always been, same everythign as always. And at its musical core is Billy and Jimmy.

I'm just happt this band still exists, and these discussions can continue, and that they continue to push the boundaries of what a rock band is supposed to be.

Even Jim D's review agrees this is unmistakenly SP. And thats' all they every claimed to be. For better of for Worse.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/derogatis/2008/11/smashing_pumpkins_at_the_chica.html

i don't know, i think it's unfair to uphold these class of '93 artists to the same commercial success standards in 2008. the music industry is a very different place. people's tastes change.

also, urge overkill has an official website still -- it's just at a different link. and nina gordon's been super-busy raising her kid, which is why she might not be making music. and Sonic Youth never played two nights in berkeley, so i'm not sure where that billboard article got its facts.

more here:
http://tinyurl.com/5mahps

Quite the impressive string of commentary. Reminds me of an enormous debate between Rich and me comparing the relative measurable success and cultural relevance of Jeff Buckley vs. Al B. Sure!

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on November 13, 2008 11:43 AM.

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