Observations from a delayed traveler
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,