Trying To Get To You

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Smashing The Pumpkins

There were three instances where I lost any interest I might have ever had in the Smashing Pumpkins. The first instance was at Roseland Ballroom in the fall of 1991, when I saw them on a triple bill, sandwiched between openers Pearl Jam and headliners the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Pumpkins were not memorable at all, and because I had been hearing a lot of buzz on them, I walked out thinking, "What's so great about them?"

The second instance was at Lollapalooza in 1994, when they headlined and followed the Beastie Boys (dumb move to follow the Beasties). By this time, I had become a semi-fan, liking some of both Gish and Siamese Dream. But their set was so meandering, boring and self-indulgent that my friends and I left about five songs into it. And then finally, there was the moment I heard "Zero," the song that probably inspired emo's worst self-pitying indulgences, with lyrics like, "Emptiness is loneliness/and loneliness is cleanliness/And cleanliness is godliness/and god is empty just like me." After that, I was done with them - I became an official hater.

Now they're back. I got an advance copy of their latest, Tarantula, out next week, and it only confirms for me what I thought back in the day: Billy Corgan has far more ego than talent. I have very little idea of what he's now singing about, but all I get from listening is the sense that he's a somewhat frustrated man with little outlet for his empty and outsized gestures. There's no heart or spirit in his music, let alone soul, and watching and listening to him, I am relieved to say that I believe that history will eradicate any importance they may have once had. Hearing them now, they only seem silly.


heather said...

I think it's a bit odd how they are saying it's a Smashing Pumpkins reunion without D'arcy or James Iha. I mean, that's what, like, The Drifters do when they play casinos with only one or two original members. Agreed - a bit lame. Even though I do like them and would have killed to see them play with Pearl Jamn. But I was 12. ;)

Anonymous said...

What an awful band. Thanks for exposing them for the frauds they always were.