ChicagoVerseUniteD: Chicago Scene Salvation

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Performs Acoustic At Opening Of His Madame Zuzu’s Tea House In Highland Park

Posted in Billy Corgan,Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on September 14th, 2012

(Billy Corgan at Madame Zuzu’s Tea House in Highland Park. Photo via CVU.)

Yesterday saw the opening of Billy Corgan‘s Madame Zuzu’s Tea House in Highland Park. The Smashing Pumpkins frontman was on hand to perform acoustic throughout the day, and CVU was on hand for the morning set. Check out Corgan performing Machina cut “With Every Light” below, and watch for a full report from the opening to post soon via Illinois Entertainer.

Smashing Pumpkins Announce ‘Oceania’ US Dates, Return For Hometown Show October 19th At Allstate Arena

Posted in Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on August 27th, 2012

Fresh off their recently released Oceania full length, The Smashing Pumpkins have announced a series of US dates, including an October 19th stop at Rosemont’s Allstate Arena. The dates will see the Pumpkins running through their Oceania effort in full, in addition to integrating classic cuts from the band’s back catalogue. The sets will also feature cutting edge projections and videos courtesy of visual artist Sean Evans, who previously worked on Roger WatersThe Wall run.

The trek will also offer VIP package options, which include perks like backstage performances, artist Q&As, and more. Check out full details on the VIP packages, as well as a full run down of the band’s dates, at the SP tour page. And find video below of SP bandleader Billy Corgan discussing Oceania‘s live execution, with tour presale info on that video’s page. That clip follows the frontman’s CVU podcast from earlier this summer, and is followed by the band’s recent live appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where they performed Oceania cut “The Celestials.”

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Smashing Pumpkins Stream ‘Oceania,’ Talk To CVU, FMQB About The Album

Posted in Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on June 19th, 2012


With the record officially seeing release today, The Smashing Pumpkins are streaming their already acclaimed brand new full length, Oceania. That album stream is followed by Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan‘s new CVU podcast interview in support of the album, as well as the FMQB Oceania Special. Stream all that content below.

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New CVU Podcast: The Smashing Pumpkins!

Posted in ChicagoVerseUniteD,Dynasty Podcasts,Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on June 14th, 2012


This week on the ChicagoVerseUniteD audio podcast: Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins! In a special episode produced in part with Illinois Entertainer, and joined by his bandmates Jeff Schroeder, Mike Byrne, and Nicole Fiorentino, the Pumpkins frontman discusses the group’s new album, Oceania (streaming here). Corgan reveals how the album grew out from the ongoing Teargarden by Kaleidyscope effort, weighs in on audience expectations, and discusses the positive response to Oceania. Stream or download that podcast below.

Look for Oceania to drop this coming Tuesday, June 19th. And catch The Smashing Pumpkins tonight, Thursday, June 14th at Metro (limited tix just released). Or for a more immediate live Pumpkins fix, look for Jaime Black’s write-up of the Oceania listening party cruise event this past Tuesday, posting soon at Illinois Entertainer. And find CVU video of Corgan performing “Tonight Reprise” into “Tonight, Tonight” on the ship below.

ChicagoVerseUniteD is a weekly music and nightlife podcast series, hosted by Jaime Black. CVU features interviews with the premier talent and tastemakers in the Chicago music and nightlife communities, and is published through the Dynasty Podcasts network. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Posterous.


The Smashing Pumpkins Stream New ‘Oceania’ Full Length In Advance Of June 19th Release

Posted in Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on June 12th, 2012


With a week to go before the album is available for purchase, The Smashing Pumpkins have made their forthcoming Oceania full length available as a stream. The record is available in full via iTunes, where it will remain as a free stream for one week, starting Tuesday, June 12th at 12:00AM EST. The move comes just before the private Oceania listening party cruise, happening tonight, Tuesday, June 12th, in Chicago. Additionally, The Smashing Pumpkins will also take the stage this Thursday, June 14th at Metro for a sold out performance benefitting Chicago Cub Charities and Foundation To Be Named Later, Stream Oceania via the link below, followed by the album’s tracklist.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
1. Quasar
2. Panopticon
3. The Celestials
4. Violet Rays
5. My Love is Winter
6. One Diamond, One Heart
7. Pinwheels
8. Oceania
9. Pale Horse
10. The Chimera
11. Glissandra
12. Inkless
13. Wildflower


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Smashing Pumpkins To Play June 14th Benefit Show At Metro

Posted in Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on May 8th, 2012


Just in the time for the June 19th release date for their new album Oceania, The Smashing Pumpkins will take to the stage at Metro on June 14th. The event, Hot Stove Cool Music, benefits Chicago Cub Charities and Foundation To Be Named Later, features hosts Mike O’Malley, Jeff Garlin, and Joel Murray, and precedes the Red Sox vs. Cubs Series game the following night at Wrigley Field. VIP tickets are currently available for $1,000, though the Metro site lists general admission tickets will be available for $50. Watch for more on this event and the upcoming release of the Pumpkins’ Oceania album right here at CVU.

Update: Metro has posted that $50 tickets for the event will go live this Saturday, May 12th at noon, and will be available for purchase at the Metro box office onsite at the venue, or through VIP tickets for the event will be available for purchase through the Foundation To Be Named Later site.

(H/T to Hipsters United.)

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Smashing Pumpkins Announce ‘Oceania’ Tracklisting, Release Date, And More

Posted in Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on April 30th, 2012


New information about The Smashing Pumpkins‘ forthcoming Oceania full length, including the album’s cover art (above), has emerged as of late. The record, itself a chapter in the band’s larger Teargarden By Kaleidyscope project, is set to drop on June 19th. A tracklist for the effort, via Rolling Stone, is available below. Update: A new Q&A with frontman Billy Corgan regarding Oceania has posted online here.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
1. “Quasar”
2. “Panopticon”
3. “The Celestials”
4. “Violet Rays”
5. “My Love Is Winter”
6. “One Diamond, One Heart”
7. “Pinwheels”
8. “Oceania”
9. “Pale Horse”
10. “The Chimera”
11. “Glissandra”
12. “Inkless”
13. “Wildflower”

In other Pumpkins news, footage from Corgan’s The End of Business As Usual panel from this year’s SXSW has posted online. Find that below, followed by Corgan’s recent six part Pumpkins webisode series.

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Billy Corgan Discusses Digital In SXSW Interview, Announces Summer Release For ‘Oceania’

Posted in Billy Corgan,Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on March 12th, 2012


Video of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan‘s SXSW Blogger Lounge interview has posted online. The clip features the artist sharing his views on the role of digital in the modern music business, which ties into the artist’s SXSW interview appearance from earlier today. Find that Blogger Lounge clip below, and look for the band’s forthcoming Oceania album to drop in June.

Update: Another official interview with Corgan at SXSW, this time with Google Play. has hit the web. Find that interview, wherein the artist further discusses his views on the current musical climate, below.

New CVU Podcast: The Best Of CVU!


This week on the ChicagoVerseUniteD audio podcast: a best of show, featuring segments from past CVU interviews! The podcast revisits interviews with Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction, Lollapalooza), Pete Wentz (Black Cards), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Jimmy Chamberlin (Skysaw), and Patrick Stump. Stream or download that podcast below.

ChicagoVerseUniteD is a weekly music and nightlife podcast series, hosted by Jaime Black. CVU features interviews with the premier talent and tastemakers in the Chicago music and nightlife communities, and is published through the Dynasty Podcasts network. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Posterous.

New CVU Interview: The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan!

Posted in Billy Corgan,Smashing Pumpkins by Jaime Black on December 21st, 2011

The Smashing Pumpkins

In the early ’90s, The Smashing Pumpkins made their mark in the then-young alternative nation with their debut full length Gish and its commercial smash hit follow up, Siamese Dream. The records not only introduced the world to The Pumpkins, but demonstrated both the band’s psychedelia (Gish) and sonic bombast (Siamese Dream) capabilities, elements that would work their way in and out of the Pumpkins’ catalogue across the group’s long career.

Now, two decades later, both Gish and Siamese Dream have gotten the deluxe reissue treatment, complete with a second disc of rarities attached to each album. Additionally, each efforts’ deluxe editions are packaged with era-corresponding live DVDs of the young group performing at the Metro. In the following email interview, frontman Billy Corgan revisits his feelings towards both records then and now, discusses the band dynamic at play in the group’s forthcoming 2012 effort Oceania, and offers his take on the positive response to the band’s recent work. Find reviews of both the Gish and Siamese Dream deluxe editions following the interview below.


CVU: Why now for a series of archive releases? And what is the origin of the Smashing Pumpkins archive project (the SPRC, reissues, etc.) as a whole?
Billy Corgan: Now just feels like a good time to take another look at the old albums, and also to try and put together some of our b-sides and unreleased tracks into one easy-peasy package. There is a bigger musical story on the band in that than the albums alone don’t tell. It’s also important to make sure the music is available in an optimal format.

CVU: What are your views on Gish now vs at the time of its creation and release?
BC: My general feelings are the same, as far as what we were trying to say at the time; power, force, grace, bam! The message is there. Hindsight for me at least affords a perspective where certain musical ideas may now seem naive, but that’s also what I like about the record. It is the band (as was) in a pure state of intention.

CVU: What about Siamese Dream? Same question, then vs now.
BC: At the time of release I thought Siamese was perhaps too polished, but I see now that it is the idealism of the record that has helped it to endure and age well. We could never have known then that records would one day be made mostly by nerds at computers, especially rock and roll records!

CVU: 20 years later, revisiting archive material and the proper records, did you find yourself second-guessing anything on the original releases? For example, wishing you’d gone with a different take, or thinking now you might’ve swapped one song out for another?
BC: Yes, I think that’s a natural artistic process, to look back and second guess. In our case, we spent a lot of time making our records, and because we worked with such great producers always had the benefit of their wisdom in song selection and overall direction. Because the musical vision was at times so sprawling, how all the pieces fit together was an important part of the process. I could easily argue that Gish has one or two songs that could have been swapped out for others. But that’s easy to say now; back then writing songs was a more a strange, mystical journey for me. I couldn’t write a good one unless the moon was in the right spot in the night sky.

CVU: What is it about you as a songwriter and the Smashing Pumpkins as a band that has resulted in such a large body of work? For every record, there seems to be a surplus of b-sides, alternate takes, and vault material.
BC: I’m really a restless musician, and I bore really easily. I was lucky to have had a band that supported me in going in all these different directions at once, It was also a release for us to have a bit of fun, after really long and drawn out album sessions, to just go into a small studio and bang out 3 b-sides in 3 days; to say in a messy way what the albums couldn’t in the pursuit of perfection.

CVU: What, if anything, do you want listeners, new or old, to take away from the Gish and Siamese Dream reissues?
BC: That the band was way more about music than any of the other public dramas and traumas that became part of our lore. As I like to say, people still talk about the past because the music was strong and often inspired. I think producing the equivalent of around 20 albums of music in 10 years is pretty good!

CVU: Between preparing and releasing the reissues and SPRC content, and working on Oceania, it would appear that you’ve been dividing your time between two distinctive eras and incarnations of The Smashing Pumpkins as of late. What was that contrast like?
BC: Not as strange as it would seem. Listening to the roots of my musical life is mostly comforting for me. Some old songs remind me of good times I’ve forgotten, and others also kind of warn me what not to get too caught up into. It’s also helped me to realize that i am still very much in a band called The Smashing Pumpkins, continuing on faithfully with the original mission as it was drawn up.

CVU: Talk about the band dynamic in creating Oceania, as, from reports online, the record sounds very much like a full team effort.
BC: We’re a peaceful band, with a different musical language. What we lack at times in excessive force we make up for in space and a dreamier, more epic space. It is inherent in the way we work that every member carries their weight in the studio, and the beauty is I’m not the only one with that message to share. The expectations within are very high, and even-handed. It’s a good time to be in SP, the best for me since the mid 90′s.

CVU: The reissues have received a strong response from the press, and you’ve talked about the positive feedback from those who have heard Oceania. How does it feel to have such a favorable reaction to your and the band’s work right now?
BC: Well, we are discussing The Smashing Pumpkins here, right? Not a name I generally associate with public support and good press! So i remain cautiously optimistic. History has shown that when I don’t follow the script that others would write for me that there is some weird hell to pay. I’ve had my past hijacked so many times that often I feel as if people are talking about someone else’s life; not mine. Through all of it, I’ve learned to trust ‘the song’, and the heart that goes into singing it. Everything else is just a child’s game in my eyes.

What are your feelings on The Smashing Pumpkins in 2012, with Oceania on deck, as well as additional reissues set for release?
BC: I’m feeling very optimistic about the next few years ahead of us musically. As long as the music is strong in the present, the rest will follow as it should. I’m really blessed to have had such an incredible life in and out of the Pumpkins. It is nice of course to revisit the past in a warm way with the reissues, but my mind is always pointed forward in the worst way. As my grandmother Lillian (who incidentally is about to turn 100!) says, “move or die.”

GishSiamese Dream

The Smashing Pumpkins

Gish / Siamese Dream Deluxe Editions

As deluxe editions, Gish and Siamese Dream are well positioned to appeal to both new and old generations of Pumpkins fans. For younger newcomers, remastered editions makes for an even more accessible listening experience for two of the band’s more acclaimed albums. For longtime fans, the real draw of both releases are additional discs of vault cuts and live DVDs. In fact, the bonus material on each album seems primarily aimed at the hardcore fan, comprised of demos, alternate mixes, radio sessions, instrumentals, and the like.

In a wise move, the Gish and Siamese Dream extra discs stay away from previously available deep cuts and b-sidess, opting away from simply attaching previously released Pisces Iscariot songs. Rather, on the Gish collection, tracks like the reverb-heavy “Hippy Trippy (Crush Music Box Demo)” and a Corgan-fronted “Old House Demo” of “My Daydream” offer alternate takes on familiar material. Songs range in tone and tempo, with ”Smiley (Gish Sessions Demo)” standing out in its simplicity, while the 2011 mix of the Reel Time Demos version of ”I Am One” comes across raw and powerful, and ”Pulseczar (Gish Sessions Demo)” is heavily fuzzed outAnd while the selections here might not have seen release up until now, tracks like the “Apartment Demo” of “Jesus Is The Sun” demonstrates the strength of vault material.

The second Siamese album, meanwhile, hits with bombast throughout. ”STP” features Corgan’s trademark snarl and the whirling, swirling full throttle Pumpkins guitar sound that has carried throughout the act’s career. Similarly, ”Hello Kitty Kat (Soundworks Demo)” has a brash and bratty quality to it, featuring a quality Pumpkins style freakout at the end. Elsewhere, “Luna (Apartment Demo)” carries an earnest charm, and “Apathy’s Last Kiss (Siamese Sessions Rough Mix)” has a sorrowful and somber mood, keeping with the band’s trademark sad style. And a radically reworked version of “Siamese Dream” is a new take on a track that itself remains a rarely heard b-side. Meanwhile, more familiar fare like the ”Rocket (Rehearsal Demo)” and “Disarm (Acoustic Mix)” stand out, with the former an endearing example of a well known production under construction, and the latter on par with the version that saw commercial release. Though not every track will translate as well to new or casual listeners, the works in progress and alternate versions on both reissues should give longtime die hards plenty to pore over.

The live DVDs included in both albums’ deluxe packaging, meanwhile, provide an experience unavailable in 2011. Namely, watching a live show featuring all four original Pumpkins: frontman Corgan, guitarist James Iha, bassist D’arcy Wretzky, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Metro owner Joe Shanahan provides intros for both the Gish and Siamese Dream era DVDs, with the former featuring the venue owner recounting details of the personal lives of the band at that time, from Corgan’s time working at a record store to Chamberlin’s Camaro. As a whole, the Gish concert is marked by a heavy coating of psychedelia, from the band’s aesthetic to the blue and violet stage lighting and hazily filmed footage. Notably psychedelic and accessible is the trippy, spacey “Rhinoceros.” ”Tristessa,” meanwhile, showcases the young band’s technical proficiency and power, while “Window Paine” features a full band blitzkrieg.

The real draw with the live show footage, however, is the band’s Siamese Dream-era Metro set. Displaying superior filming quality courtesy of JBTV, the footage features a short haired Corgan looking mischievously cherubic throughout the performance. Such is the case during a ferocious performance of ”Soma,” which features the frontman snarling his way through the emotional number. Similarly energized is the anthemic “Cherub Rock,” while elsewhere, more vulnerable fare like ”Disarm” and “Spaceboy” benefit from greater emotional impact, courtesy of live cellist Eric Remschneider, who also played on Dream. Reaching back to their last record, the rendition of “Rhinoceros”  here is slower and more stripped down, but matured, while Pisces cut “Starla” goes heavily psychedelic. In between, Corgan delivers stage banter and audience baiting, while appearing to legitimately enjoy himself.

More than anything, the packed Gish and Siamese Dream reissues are a snapshot of a time long gone from one of Chicago’s seminal alternative rock acts. If you weren’t there when it happened, this is your chance to flip through the scrapbook. If you were, this is your way back in.

Jaime Black wrote for the Smashing Pumpkins official website in 2009, and was provided the Gish and Siamese Dream reissues promotionally.