|Observations from a delayed traveler
||[Oct. 27th, 2008|03:15 pm]
Sitting now at the San Jose airport, waiting for a flight to Los Angeles seeing as my other flight was canceled. I love airports! Their fake security, their non-stop noise, their Starbucks addicted minions milling about like a khaki apocalypse. Reminds me why I love America so. Remember: America, love it or leave it!|
Last evening we were able to play for the first time as a 9 piece version of the band, which is very exciting. The more we let go of how the band is supposed to appear numbers-wise and more of what it is supposed to sound like heart-wise, the closer we get to a present kind of truth. It is very exciting to be making music again for the times we are living in. Playing live is such a big part of that. I had forgotten that in the fallow years of non SP, that connecting with the diverse backgrounds of our audience that has everything to do with finding that voice. I cannot thank those who attend our shows enough.
Of course, last night was not 'our show', more importantly it was 'their show', a concert to raise funds and awareness for the students of the Bridge School. We are really proud yet again to have been able to contribute to this wonderful school thru the dedication of Neil and Pegi Young, and of course, Elliot Roberts (our good friend and one-time manager of Zwan). Bridge School is the kind of place that makes me smile the biggest smile I can.
The night before we played the new Guitar Hero release party, which was great fun. I swore I kept hearing someone from the crowd yelling over and over, 'where are the Smashing Pumpkins?'. I think I imagined it but either way it made me chuckle to myself.
So two very different shows over 2 days, and we were able to play 4 new songs: Owata, A Song for a Son, As Rome Burns, and a 2012 version of Simon and Garfunkels 'The Sounds of Silence'. We've rehearsed now for 3 weeks for the 20th Anniversary tour, so I trust we have a few more suprises in store. That is, if you dare come to watch us piss on our own grave.
I've noticed in the run-up to the tour a few indications that seem to think that we are sentimental in announcing our 20th anniversary extravaganza. When you see the total set-list, particularly for the black crosses and white sunshine shows (or is it the other way round?), I don't think terms like 'harkening back' or 'sentimental' will be the words that will come to mind. This tour is a celebration of where we are, not where we've been. We are HERE! (With a big smile and a foot in your back) Enjoy it if you will, we realize its not for everybody. For that you have a whole army of fellaciators (is that even a word?) to gratefully service you. These are not angry words, by the way. We are having fun. Yes, who would have thunk it that after 20 years (or 21, who's counting?) we would not only be alive, but also loving our jobs and our shows and our experience of being in this group. The rest can go play their sad games of dominion and bridge-burning (meaning ubiquitous band 101 and 102). We have been there and have learned the lesson that there is no joy in it. Its a dead man's dance. Saying something as simple as 'we are real' is not grandiosity, it is fact. We are all real. We are all here. Life is an opportunity. We choose our opportunities wisely. Believe it or not we know what we are doing when we don't get along, don't play nice or fake our way thru the oblivion. So what about the consequences!!? What is life for if you don't make some waves or save a soul here or there? If anyone comes to this tour expecting a hand-holding, teary-eyed tribute to a dead band, forget it. That is long gone. Outside of 9 shows in 1999, that band hasn't existed whole since 1996.
Let me take this pause then to say a few things about our former bandmates...
We absolutely, without reservation, honor James and D'arcy. There is no qualification to that statement. We honor them IN FULL. They were there, then. And together we did some incredible things.
But let me go one step further. When Jimmy and I decided to move forward and begin again with SP we very openly addressed the question of James and D'arcy returning. We spoke honestly with each other about our feelings and personal reservations, and decided together that the door was open to them to return. Because it was the right thing to do. Honestly though it wasn't suprising to us that they didn't want to return, because that was consistent with their general position to date (and continues to be I might add), which is they see the band as something that they got away from for their own reasons. There were no conditions ever put on a return. They simply didn't even want the conversation with us.
I can now say definitively that they aren't ever coming back. Period. There is no maybe. If the door was once open to at least have the conversation and consider the possibility, it is now closed. For good. We have moved on. We love them, and we wish them well.
The Smashing Pumpkins are now whoever is standing on that stage, on any given day, with a willingness to play those songs. Not just any songs, those songs. Because its not just what we play, its how we play them. The music MUST come first. And that's just the way it is. And to the credit of Bruce Hornsby on the whim of a memory, some things will never change. We are who we are. I know what I see. I see what I know. And nothing I know compares to you...
I am not crazy. I am just free. The Smashing too now are free, and in that we are truly insane from the mad beat.
God Bless, with love from the 7th ray and the rainbow at the end of my heart,
Their fake security, their non-stop noise, their Starbucks addicted minions milling about like a khaki apocalypse.
U have to write books.
lol i love this tacky motherfucker so fucking much.
Its so wonderful to see you having fun again. :)
I'm in San Jose- if you get too delayed, I'll buy you a Starbucks, so you can be like the rest of us.
I appreciate the work you do, and your artistry. Thanks, Billy.
:) in our dreams we are connected.
& THANKYOU for having your shows so I may attend ^-^
in an odd sense of full-circle irony, i absolutely feel the way i think you feel right now when I randomly listen to siamese dream on a hot summer day in michigan.
thanks for being who you've become today. the pragmatism is refreshing, especially in a year when everyone's either on the right or on the left.
Aww, bless you guys too. ♥
I hope the music always comes first. There's nothing more pure than that.
God Bless Billy!
I'm also a fan of yours since 1996 and I'm your music is still kicking! Thank you.
sorry I mean 1998, hahaha, I got confused on my high school years. sorry.
It is good to hear that you (collectively) still have respect for James and D'Arcy. Though I do recall James saying in an interview that there was no invitation extended to him.... it was clear from his comments though that he would have declined if one had.
Anyway. I understand fully that you and Jimmy and the musicians that are currently playing with you are in a very different place than you were in 1996, 1999, and 2000. I understand the desire to resume playing the amazing songs you wrote those many years ago. What I don't understand, however, is why this new band that you've formed... that you yourself have said is completely different from the past ones... still carries the name 'Smashing Pumpkins'?
Yes, it is your name to do what you want with it... and yes they are (mostly) your songs to play as you wish. But, if you are truly HERE and not THERE, why are you using the old band's name instead of touring as "Billy Corgan" or some new name?
I don't understand, really...
Similarly, in the news recently there have been reports that John Paul Jones, Jason Bonham, and Jimmy Page intend to tour as 'Led Zeppelin' without Robert Plant... what are your thoughts on that?
Word. The way I see it, Billy dreamt of proving to himself and to the world that he could still wow everyone without the Pumpkins, and that in part means without James and D'Arcy. His aesthetics were evolving, and this is clear on the Zwan album, which is different musically and philosophically. It failed to produce the splash we had all hoped for. So then he went solo. He failed again. The masses were ignoring him, new bands were rocking the airwaves. So onto to plan C: to "revive" the pumpkins. It was all so clearly a cheap ploy for easy success. But I think the return was a HUGE disappointment. Don't revive the Pumpkins unless either a) you can repeat the original sound with a nostalgic tour de force; or b) you can surpass what went before. Zeitgeist did neither.
Had Billy continued under Zwan or solo, he would have earned my eternal respect. I am truly proud James and D'Arcy (whom I always saw as essential components of the Pumpkins) for not joining in on the bandwagon and simply saying "Dude, it's over."
This isn't working. This is not the Pumpkins anymore; it is Billy, his drummer, and a couple of hired mercenaries. This is a can of imitation crab meat being sold to a store full of shoppers, a buy-one-get-one-free special on Aisle 5.
The Pumpkins went defunct a decade ago. I still mourn the band.
...and I tire of constantly hearing about what loveless traitors your old bandmates were. Not classy. In particular, you portray James Iha as the world's most unspeakable backstabbing scoundrel. I wonder how realistic that is, or why you feel compelled to overshare those things with strangers.
Please quit all the melodrama & posturing, and go create some solo music. You are a phenomenal musical and poetic talent, when you are not too busy being pretentious and repeatedly shooting your own foot.
2008-10-28 08:35 am (UTC)
Revolution Revolution Revolution Blues
Ooooooooow Sir Billy the meastro! YES real real real - give us more. Hope your world tis rocking on.
Cheers ... Starla
-Their fake security, their non-stop noise, their Starbucks addicted minions milling about like a khaki apocalypse-
Reminds me of the suburbs. Reminds me why I need to get back to the city. I guess you cant have one without the other.
2008-10-28 02:48 pm (UTC)
Just an observation,
Many of the things you've previously declared dead and gone have seen new life in one way or another. I think you may be more sentimental than you'd like to admit. The problem with sentimentality that it has a tendency to hinder one creatively and spiritually. I don't come to your shows to see you open a time warp to 1996 on stage, and it would totally suck if you tried. I want to see something new. That being said, I still expect to recognize which band I'm listening to.
2008-10-28 05:36 pm (UTC)
billy my one and only
2008-10-29 12:02 am (UTC)
hey billy do not know if you're reading this, but I wanted to say that there is a song that is not as capable known, is the song of the album Gish is Daydream song that I framework. follow so that you are going to get what they queres.soy from argentina and I write in English is difil hope that I understand. lucky
I love airports! Their fake security, their non-stop noise, their Starbucks addicted minions milling about like a khaki apocalypse. Reminds me why I love America so.
I'm friending this LJ just on that alone. Genius statement.
My mates go to airports to hang out...FOR FUN!
They like to watch the planes..the planes!
Airports are lame factories..
Id rather smash myself in the face with a brick.
I'm pleased that the offer to James and D'arcy were even extended, it's sad to me that they wouldn't even really talk to you. I've been an SP for as long as I can remember, I'm simply thrilled that you're out playing touring making more music.
In the End, even without James and D'arcy, SP is still SP, and it is so because of you.
I hope you Tour through Salt Lake again soon.
2008-10-31 09:41 pm (UTC)
tho sad it is true...
i dont think they shouldve ignored you like that. if they were to say no, tehy shouldve at least done it in a nice way, that way u could bury the hatchet or something and say farewells. and your right. and you should be happy. the way things are now is great. as long as you are happy :]
Still reveling in the afterglow from the show at the Borgata on the 8th of November. The show was absolutely amazing, the whole band was having a great time on stage and so was the audience. I saw the shows at Tower Theater last year and have to say that your sound is so much more complete. Nowhere Man was an awesome surprise and I really really loved the set list. The new songs sounded awesome...Love you Billy, keep on keeping on.
ps....White Spyder...wink wink nudge nudge
2008-11-19 11:41 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to let you know that my husband and I flew all the way to Chicago from the Gulf Coast for less than 24 hours just to see you in concert last night. Believe me when I say, we were NOT disappointed!!! The show was amazing and so completely unexpected - in a great way. Although I love the old albums as much as anyone, I'm glad to see you moving forward and doing your own thang, even playing those big ass kettle drums!!! I can now see how pathetic it would seem in your mind to do the "standard reunion/anniversary tour," like it's an attempt to grasp at straws before fading out for good, and after seeing you last night, I know there's still so much more left in you before that time comes.
I once thought I had missed my opportunity to see you live when the band broke up, seemingly for good, and that was a very miserable thought indeed. I can finally die happy knowing that last night I finally did see the Smashing Pumpkins.
So here's to another 20 years, Pumpkins! Just remember: "go big or go home"!!!
Thanks for everything,
2008-11-20 01:58 pm (UTC)
art is living
I saw the show Sunday at Mohegan Sun and I can honestly say it was awesome. Not too many bands stay the same, and really do we want them to? Been married and been divorced and bands are no different. Art is freedom and good art is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is "normal" or acceptable. Great artists constantly re-invent themselves and are constanly exploring what it means to be. If only more folks took the time to explore the inner workings of who they are and what they want to be, what a different world it would be indeed. Rock on Billy!
2008-11-27 03:40 pm (UTC)
Well I'll say it...I was disappointed.
I love music. I generally love your music. I just saw your show last night, and I left feeling gipped.
Music to me is a time capsule. There are some songs that trigger memories, good or bad, and hearing those songs is what makes life good. I hear "Today" on the radio, and I'm 15, smoking my friend's dad's Marlboro Reds on a train track, not a care in the world. I hear "1979" and I'm at a party in high school, thinking the world would end if some guy didn't talk to me, who's name I can't even remember. I hear "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and I'm arguing with my husband over which SP song to play at our wedding. But apparently you can't play the old stuff because its "selling out" and you've elvolved. Would it really have killed you to play a few more songs for us lame-asses? I went to your show for the great concert concert experience, to hear your new stuff, but also for a little bit of that time capsule; so that for just a couple hours I could be that carefree naive girl again, without a full time job and a house payment.
Overall, it was a good concert and you put on a hell of a show. Minus the 20 minutes of bird songs. I was not on nearly enough to appreciate that. But to not hear the old songs that make me feel like a teenager again was just heartbreaking. I hate to tell you this, but charging $60 a freaking ticket shows that money is a factor. And I'm sure you received absolutely no royalties by putting your songs on Guitar Hero. So don't give me that line about "its all for the music". You are creative genius enough without having to be difficult for difficult's sake. And if it isn't about the money, that's good for you, because you're not getting any more of mine.
2008-12-03 06:42 pm (UTC)
Smashing Pumpkins at Gibsom Amphitheater Reveiw
Saw the Smashing Pumpkins, or should I say "Billy Corgan" play at the Gibson Amphitheater in L.A., last night. Hallmarks and pillars of the Pumpkin's sound, songs like "1979," "Zero," and "Disarm" among MANY others were not even played! How do you not play 1979??? I'm sure Corgan must have known what the fans really wanted to hear, given the reaction to the few classics he did play, an energizing "Tonight, Tonight" and an uninspired "Bullet with Butterfly Wings." But instead, an obviously still- bitter Corgan chose to grace the adoring audience with artistic, self-indulgent drum-beating and jokes made in poor taste about past band members. He accused James and D'arcy of "giving up" on him and Jimmy.
Corgan began the show wearing a Marilyn Manson-esque wedding dress and head-dress, but this wasn't even the weirdest moment of the evening. Corgan displayed the eccentricity that ultimately made him who he is (or was), by choosing to end the show with a popular 80s love ballad, performed on, what else but, the kazoo. The freaking kazoo. I, and everyone else came for the nostalgia and sentimentality of 1979 and all the other transcendent songs of the 90s, and Billy gave us the freaking kazoo. However, what Corgan lacked in hits, he made up in charisma and stage presence, including an impressive Jimmy Hendrix rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." The man is clearly a rock star, and he described to the audience his whole life-mantra, taught to him by his late mother: "My mom taught me not to give a fuck about anything." Corgan, certainly did not give a fuck, and though entertaining, he failed to deliver what Pumpkin's fans came for. Ironically, he left me with a feeling of melancholy and sadness.
2008-12-09 10:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Smashing Pumpkins at Gibsom Amphitheater Reveiw
I think it's sort of funny that people rely on the former members to call the band "The Smashing Pumpkins" when Billy and Jimmy did most of the recordings themselves. I draw comics for a living and when I draw for a certain title, I can't get myself to emulate that same style when I draw for another title. Each book has its own feel to it. I think the same applies for Billy and his different acts. His work with the Pumpkins came with a certain type of energy and I think it only carries under the Pumpkin brand. Zwan had its own feel, and even though people compared his solo stuff to Adore, it was different. Another thing that irks me is how a lot of people want to see Billy play his older stuff. This isn't the Pumpkins reunited, it's the Pumpkins revived. If he plays the classics, fantastic, but let him play his new stuff too without saying "he should have played this one".
Billy, you effin' rock! I saw you in person just once, but you were probably the most humble and down to earth person I have ever spoke to. I hope you don't get discouraged by the negativity, you keep doing what you love because the rest of us love you for it.
2009-01-18 07:36 am (UTC)
your music is precious
your music is amazing no matter what you wanna catagorize it as you don;t need to because it's great the way it is. I love the new music and I love the old music too. you can't change the past but only look to the future, that's what I always tell myself. I was at your concert in Vancouver, British Colombia , Canada and there was no words great enough to describe the passion in the music. I would be sooooo happy to hear if you were coming back to BC. I actually live on Vancouver island(very beautiful) and know many friends who would love to see The Smashing Pumpkins play their music
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