Yes, that's a new Smashing Pumpkins song you may have heard on the radio. And, no, they're not back from the dead already.
The Pumpkins, who promised they were hanging it up after a final show at the Metro in Chicago on December 2, have an unlikely posthumous radio hit with a track that they're calling a farewell to fans.
"Untitled", was recorded in Chicago in late November by leader Billy Corgan and the remaining original members of the group, guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Touring bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur, who replaced original bassist D'arcy Wretzky, did not play on the song.
The swaying acoustic rock track debuted November 29 on Chicago alternative station Q101 (WKQX-FM) and later streamed on the station's site exclusively for a month. Now more than 50 stations have played the melancholy swan song which is not commercially available according to a spokesperson for the band.
Dave Richards, program director of Q101, said Corgan called him a few days before the Pumpkins' November 29 show at Chicago's United Center to discuss plans for a simulcast of that show.
"I went down to the studio, and he said, 'I have something I want to play for you,' " Richards said. "I had no idea they were working on new songs. He played it for me, and I asked if it was from one of the [album] sessions, and he said, 'No, we just finished it yesterday.' "
Corgan sent over a master of the song two days later, and Q101 debuted it on air just before the United Center show.
The track follows the patented loud-quiet dynamics that were the group's calling card on such multiplatinum albums as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995) and the 1993 breakthrough Siamese Dream.
"When you're young/ You can promise/ Anything that you wanted/ To be in love/ To feel love/ All around," Corgan sings in a hurried, joyful flow. As it fades out, "Untitled" crashes to earth with what is, in all likelihood, the final screaming Pumpkins guitar solo from Corgan.
The posting of the song on Q101's Web site is in keeping with the band's Web-centric final days. A sequel to last year's MACHINA/the Machines of God was released in September to the Web only. Twenty-five copies of Machina II/Friends and Enemies of Modern Music were distributed to fans and friends, packaged as three 10-inch EPs and one double 12-inch LP along with instructions to distribute the songs free online. The tunes have surfaced on various Web sites, FTP servers and on Napster.
As for what's next for the Great Pumpkin? Corgan is still on an extended vacation and no information is available on his next move, the group's spokesperson said. Following the final show, Iha said he would slowly begin work on a second solo album, with no release date in mind. No information on Chamberlin was available at press time.