The breakthrough album by the Smashing Pumpkins created a whole new type of "classic rock".
"Indie world won't have me, and mainstream world treats me like an alien, but here I am still floating between these two worlds." – Billy Corgan
On the 27th of July 1993, Chicago-area Rock and Roll band The Smashing Pumpkins released their second LP, Siamese Dream. It would start a year's worth of singles, videos and incessant touring that would make the Smashing Pumpkins the biggest act in the then-nascent Alternative Rock scene, something they would transcend by the end of 1995 to briefly become the biggest Rock and Roll band in the world.
Founded by principle songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for the band, Bill Corgan, the group also included a female bass player in D'arcy Wretzky; guitarist James Iha, who was of Japanese descent; and former Jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin from Joliet, IL. The band released a well-received album on pseudo-indie Caroline Records, Gish, in 1991. Already facing heat and negative attitudes from the Indie Rock community as being "careerists", the band nonetheless forged ahead with their truly unique sound. This sound, a mix of late edgy 1970's New Wave, dreamy 1980's Shoegaze Pop, noisy Post-Punk and loud Heavy Metal was unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time.
Smashing Pumpkins photographed in London. July, 1993. Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns. (l-r) D'arcy Wretzky, Jimmy Chamberlin, Billy Corgan and James Iha.
The album, recorded in Georgia to keep drummer Chamberlin away from his drug dealers, hit #10 on the Billboard Top 200 LP's chart in its first week. The band undertook a world tour that saw them playing to ever bigger crowds (including headlining the Lollapalooza tour in 1994) and included a sound system that would have rivaled that of Aerosmith and replete with a light show that would have made the operators of your local planetarium's light show blush. They also developed a knack for using volume in their live shows much like the Who did, with force and power as an integral part of their sound, which alienated other acts in the scene who were more comfortable with less "showy" equipment and much smaller crowds.
The Smashing Pumpkins were definitely children of their influences, but then did something rare: they merged it all together to create a new type of "Classic Rock" sound that still sets them apart from their contemporaries. However, things were already tense between the band members for some time, and it would eventually come to a head by the end of the decade, causing their demise. They have reformed with 3/4 of their classic line-up and are on tour this summer.
This show is dedicated to my husband Travis as we celebrate our 23rd anniversary on the 30th of this month. He had never heard of the Smashing Pumpkins before I moved in with him. Siamese Dream was a CD of mine he got a hold of when we first started our relationship and he played it often in the car. And when I say often I really mean pretty much daily.
Our tracks this week: Title, Source
1. Hello Kitty Kat, Soundworks demo
2. Cherub Rock (acoustic live), MTV Studios London/Earphoria
3. Frail and Bedazzled, Siamese Dream outtake/Pisces Iscariot LP
4. Landslide, "Disarm" CD single B-side/Rotten Apples LP
5. Soma, Siamese Dream
6. Today, Siamese Dream
7. Siamese Dream, Broadway Rehearsal demo
8. Disarm, Siamese Dream
9. Spaceboy, Acoustic demo
10. Quiet (live), BBC Studios
11. Silverfuck, Siamese Dream
SECOND HOUR (presented in a continuous sequence)
Live from the PinkPop Festival, Netherlands, soundboard recording, 23 May 1994
1. Cherub Rock
5. I Am One
7. Geek USA
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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