Seven years ago this week, Michael Jackson's curious 20-month marriage to Elvis heiress Lisa Marie Presley officially came to an end when Presley filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Never previously known to be an item, the duo had married suddenly and secretly in the Dominican Republic in May 1994, just months after Jackson paid millions of dollars to settle out of court with a 13-year-old boy who claimed the singer had sexually molested him. The split was also preceded by the failure of Jackson's massively promoted History album and a canceled New York concert that was supposed to air on HBO.
Though Jackson's New York show was called off because he collapsed during rehearsals, the Smashing Pumpkins played a string of club shows in the Big Apple for their biggest fans.
"It's almost all new-album stuff," head Pumpkin Billy Corgan explained of the three shows' set lists, "and the basic idea was we knew if we didn't play in a small setting we would never really play the majority of [Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness]. We would end up playing the stuff you would expect us to play, like 'Bullet [With Butterfly Wings]' and '1979.'"
To help reproduce the intricate songs on the album, the band hired touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin (who would later die of a drug overdose while on the road with the band). Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin explained the not-so-painstaking process of hiring Melvoin.
"We basically put an ad in the paper for a keyboard player about eight months ago. We got about a thousand tapes," he said. "We didn't listen to any of them. He showed up, he could play, and we hired him."
In addition to delving deep into Mellon Collie and playing both acoustic and electric sets in the same show, the band used the New York gigs to experiment with a new ticketing system aimed at thwarting scalpers.
"You get a voucher, you present an ID, and then at a later date you come and get your ticket and then you're re-checked again," Corgan explained. "So it's like every point along the way you have to present that you are the person who bought the ticket. The whole point of our ticketing system is to, number one, pretty much cancel out scalping. ... Number two, it's to really provide a chance for people who really wanna see you come and play to come see you play, and it kind of forces the fair-weather fan to the side."
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the murder trial of Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Doggy Dogg as he was still known) continued, with a key prosecution witness testifying that the victim had indeed been reaching for a gun when Snoop's bodyguard shot the man from a Jeep driven by Snoop. The third person in Snoop's Jeep took the Fifth.
As for Snoop, he was just happy to have his parents in the courtroom showing support. "It's real important. Every man needs his mom and pops with him," the rapper said with uncharacteristic clarity.
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