The time is upon us yet again for a Smashing Pumpkins tour. Hard for me to believe as I write this that save for the one show at Amoeba Records a little while back on Record Day, the last Smashing Pumpkins tour ended in December of 2008. Time passes quickly, and perhaps you have noticed like many of my friends that time as an experience is indeed accelerating. Who knows if time is indeed quickening or if we are only experiencing the sensation of time slipping past us much more quickly?
So yes, time, always a big issue with me. Working away on my 9th album to date I have a much greater appreciation for the past where it matters, but also I suppose you could say I have a greater appreciation for the moment I am currently in. I cherish the opportunities to play more now than when I was young because I am conscious that it isn't always in the stars to make things work the way you want them to.
When I walked off the stage after the last encore of the last show of what was a very contentious and intense SP 20th Anniversary tour in 2008, I wouldn't have guessed forward the changes in my life that were to follow. But life happens, and shifts occur between relationships and in the culture that you can't always anticipate. That is the beauty of life; you just never know for sure what will happen. Often you can say what won't happen, but what will happen is usually a guess. We get older, our priorities change. Or if we are lucky, we are able to re-affirm a commitment to someone or something we love.
Making the choice to continue under the banner of The Smashing Pumpkins name has been an easy and happy decision for me. Making the choice to continue it alone, as the only original member, at least on the surface of it was a difficult decision because it wasn't ever part of my original intention. If I got my dream the way I had wanted it from the beginning, no one would have left and no one would have died. My Mom would still be giving me guff on the phone, and my Grandma would still be watching the Cubs and the skies would be blue and not ash color gray. And in a dingy industrial space on the northwest side of Chicago 4 miscreants would still be making that massive wall of sound, arguing about stupid things but never about music. That of course is the great secret about the original SP: we never argued about music. But history is for those who write it, not those who actually go out and make it.
When we put together a new band for the release of the Zeitgeist album in 2006/2007, the goal was simple: find good musicians who could faithfully and respectfully help re-create the SP sound, and possibly take the band into the future. But it wasn't an organic situation, because it was more about making the tour happen. Jeff and Ginger came on board as the album was being finished, and they did the best they could with what we gave them to work with. They didn't officially join the band because there was no band by which to join. We all looked at it as playing together out of love and a shared purpose. Most people don't know this but Jeff and Ginger were both big SP fans before we met them so they have a unique perspective and understanding with regards to the band's legacy and the choices that we've made.
The Smashing Pumpkins of 2010 feature Jeff Schroeder on guitar, Nicole Fiorentino on bass, and Mike Byrne on drums. I must say I am really proud of this line-up of the group. It is the first time I have felt totally comfortable in a band situation since 1996, and that surprises me. I have no crystal ball of how long we will last together, but I hope we last for a very long time. We are doing each day what a band is supposed to do, which is make a new kind of music together.
I see this band coming together as it has as a sign that the past has been healed, and it is time to find new roads to travel. When music is played the right way to my heart, I see stars and fireworks. And this band gives me stars and rainbows and a big 4th of July. The time is coming right for us. I really feel that.
Joining us on the tour are Bad City and Kill Hannah, two excellent bands from my hometown of Chicago. Bad City play with the fire of early SP and somehow have managed to gene splice in 80's hair metal. A superfresh take on the Rock. I really look forward to watching them play. Kill Hannah I have known now going on about 10 years, and this is our first chance to play together. They are certainly one of the pioneering bands of what is now a successful mix of glam, alternative rock, and electronic music. When I first saw them back in the day I didn't totally understand, but now I see how ahead of their time they really were.
As of today, June 24th, 2010, the next Teargarden by Kaleidyscope song will be released on July 6th. Please spread the word and I encourage you to help by sending friends and family mp3s of the new SP songs, which are of course available to anyone on SP.com. So far I am very pleased with the reception to the music, and the people we have worked in conjunction with to get the music out have been fantastic. So thank you to all of them. While the rest of the world continues to engage in an outmoded and inherently negative way of releasing music, I am proud to release music in a holistic way. Free isn't really free. But I have great faith in the power of my music, and the power of this band to reach anyone who is open to listen. Please know I am grateful to you for your love and support. See you on the tour!