With the disappointing sales of his band's most recent album, Adore,
behind them and a new record in the works, you might think Smashing
Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan would be looking to the future of his
But Corgan is not about to let go of his past work.
Breaking from sessions for the grunge-rockers' first album since the
poorly received Adore, singer/songwriter Corgan and guitarist
James Iha spent just enough time in an abruptly terminated online chat
Tuesday to wax rhapsodic about their eight-year-old debut, Gish.
In the brief interview, crippled by technical glitches after about five
minutes, Corgan managed to squeeze in the admission that Gish
still holds a special place in the band's heart.
"People often look at albums without thinking about the continuity of
the time or the context in which the album was made," Corgan said during
the chat. "I like to remind people that this was our first album and
very special to us. But every album is special because it marks a time
in your life."
The Pumpkins are marking the present time in their own lives with work
on a new disc -- an album that some say will return the band to the
harder sound of Gish. Last spring the band's former co-manager,
Cliff Burnstein, described the then-germinating new project as an attempt
to make "the greatest f---ing rock album anyone's ever heard."
Corgan has admitted being disappointed in the sales figures for 1998's
Adore, which went platinum last year but failed to match the
popularity of the band's quadruple-platinum 1993 album Siamese Dream.
He was quoted last year in the New York Times as saying, "Not
every team wins the pennant every year."
Now, with work under way on the new LP, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin back in
the band after an absence of several years, and Mellon Collie & the
Infinite Sadness producer Flood helping in the studio, the Smashing
Pumpkins seem to be both looking to the future and reconnecting with
Looking to reignite interest in the band's debut album, Corgan went
online Tuesday in a chat produced in conjunction with the band's official
website (www.smashingpumpkins.com). In addition to welcoming fans, he
declared June "Gish Month."
"Thanks for being here for the start of Gish Month. We're doing
this as a chance to look back on the album and that time and to have
fans of Gish participate as much as possible," Corgan said.
Gish went gold in 1994 and reached platinum status in February.
It was the disc that first established the band as darlings of the
Though the Pumpkins -- Corgan, Iha, Chamberlin and bassist D'Arcy Wretzky
-- have attained superstar status in their decade-long career, their rise
to success didn't happen overnight.
Just after the release of Gish, the band played an acoustic set
at a Chicago-area Rose Records store. Shoppers browsed the bins,
indifferent to the future superstar rockers.
Still, the release of Gish sealed the Pumpkins' position as the
Chicago area's premiere rock outfit, and it contained their first successful
single, "Siva" (RealAudio
excerpt). But it wasn't until the band's second album, Siamese
Dream, that the band earned worldwide recognition on the shoulders of such hit songs as "Today" (
In 1995 the group turned out the double album Mellon Collie & the
Infinite Sadness -- a multiplatinum seller. A year later they released
Aeroplane Flies High, a box set of rarities.
And though they have led a relatively prolific career, Corgan and Iha
found themselves at a loss to get their most recent message out due to
technical glitches with the online chat. "We want to tell you we are
having a few problems," Corgan wrote to his fans. "But we're sorting them
out so please be patient, thanks."
In honor of "Gish Month" the band's website is offering reissued
T-shirts and transcripts from two 1997 interviews relating to the making
of the album.
The first interview was conducted with Corgan as he listened to the 1991
LP's original mixes. The second is with Gish producer Butch Vig.
The website also plans to post the complete lyrics to Gish and
related B-sides along with never-before-seen photos of the band, including
ones in which bald frontman Corgan sports long hair.
The brief transcript of Tuesday's Corgan/Iha chat can be viewed at
Smashing Pumpkins Internet Fan Club site (www.mbnet.mb.ca/spifc).