Friday, November 10, 2006

Spaceboy I've Missed You

Zero the HeroIt's been far too long since a pompous, whiney, bald guy named Billy Corgan has been out of the limelight. Thankfully Mr. Zero himself has resurrected Smashing Pumpkins (albeit no one knows exactly who's in the band at this point), and if we're all lucky, there will be a new album next year. And let's face it: the music scene sorely needs them and their blend of alterna-metal back.

I imagine a lot of the younger folk out there just don't get why people like me really dig Smashing Pumpkins. But there was something about 1991's Gish that was really special. Back then they were nobodys (hell, I figured from the album photo of the band that James Iha was the main guy) and the music itself spoke to me. There was nothing quite like it: thick guitars sounding like automobile motors (dig the cool tone on Siamese Dream's "Quiet" and the end riffage of "Geek U.S.A."), wailing solos (not to mention wailing singing), plus really groovin' rhythms. They just pushed all the "man this stuff is cool" buttons, and even had a chick bass player with a cool name (D'Arcy) before it was fashionable to have a chick bass player in your band. Damn, even the band name is cool.

I personally had no clue that they'd make it big, but in 1993 my friend Mark told me the buzz surrounding their soon to be released Simaese Dream was gargantuan, and he was right. "Cherub Rock" stomped its way onto regular pop radio, and alternative rock had a new hero to worship alongside Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. How could you not like a band who penned a song named "Silverfuck"?

From here things got a bit tough as Corgan's ego inflated (which is probably partly responsible for the similarly inflated run time of the Mellon Collie album). Drummer Chamberlain was fired (possibly due to the drug related death of a friend of the band) and replaced with a drum machine, which led to a good song with an even better name ("The End is the Beginning is the End"), but it also led to a lousy album (Adore). Chamberlain returned for their next album, but then they just died out.

Billy has surfaced from time to time to do solo and other band projects. His band Zwan was a pretty good effort, and his song with Tony Iommi, "Black Oblivion", is so awesome that I almost want Sabbath to reunite with Corgan at the helm. But nothing 100% clicked for the public.

Here's for hoping that something clicks in 2007 for Billy and the boys (and if we're lucky, a girl named D'Arcy).


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