Pumpkins Target Scalpers

Jan. 19, 1996 -- Smashing Pumpkins started warming up for a forthcoming US tour with three shows in New York City last week -- in which the group appeared as its own opening act -- and also took serious aim at ticket scalpers.

BILLY CORGAN: It's almost all new album stuff. The basic idea was, we knew that if we didn't play in a small setting, we would never really play the majority of the album. We would end up playing the stuff you would expect us to play, like "Bullet" and "1979." But we wouldn't really play the songs that are kind of, like, more... If you know the album, you would like those kind of songs.

MTV: To help reproduce the intricate sounds of "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," The Smashing Pumpkins are bringing along an additional musician, Keyboardist Jonathan Melvoy.

JIMMY CHAMBERLIN: We basically put an ad in the paper for a keyboard player about eight months ago. We got about a thousand tapes. We didn't listen to any of them.. He showed up.

He could play, and we hired him.

D'ARCY: Someone to pick on. Someone new to pick on, you know?

CORGAN: We've already gone through every gamut of humiliation with each other.

D'ARCY: There's nothing left with us. That's why we get along so well now, you know?

CHAMBERLIN: He's the new whipping boy.

MTV: Along with altering their shows to include both acoustic and electric sets, the Pumpkins have forsaken the traditional ticket system. Fans wanting to purchase tickets, which are designed by guitarist James Iha, must get them through a cash-only voucher system.

CORGAN: You get a voucher, you present an ID, and then at a later date you come get your ticket. You know? And then again, you're rechecked again, so it's like, you know, at every point along the way you have to present that you are the person that bought the ticket. Well, the whole point of our ticketing system is to... Number one, pretty much cancel out scalping. There's almost literally

no way you could scalp. Number two, it's to really provide a chance for people who really want to come see you play to see you play. It kind of forces the fair weather fan to the side.

FAN 1: Signing papers and showing IDs is just, like, too much.

MTV: So why did you do it?

FAN 1: It's the Pumpkins.

FAN 2: It's better than Ticketmaster because you don't have to deal with all the helmets who really don't like the band, you know, people who just show up for a concert.

FAN 3: Yeah, you've gotta be really die wait to stand in line, so, you know, it's a cool crowd.

CORGAN: All the years that we've been playing, I've never seen such a high percentage of fans at our shows. I mean, it sounds kind of strange, but it's the most amount of fans...It's not a lot of record people, it's not a lot of people who are just there because you're the band of the moment or whatever. It's completely a fan element, and that's exactly what we want.