Billy Corgan’s teahouse opens today in Highland Park, IL 12:45 pm // Thursday, September 13, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, chicago, food, Madame ZuZu's, news, video.
Madame ZuZu’s, the North Shore teahouse that Billy Corgan has been working to open for some months now, is finally open for business. Corgan is holding court at the establishment today and sat for two brief interviews with WFLD-FOX Chicago’s Patrick Elwood. Elwood talked to some Zuzu’s patrons and queried Corgan a bit about his business plan for ZuZu’s and also found out a bit about some of the teas on offer.
According to a tweet, Corgan plans to play an acoustic set at 1pm – around 15 minutes from this posting. Are you at ZuZu’s today? Feel free to weigh in in our comments.
James Iha intends next solo album before 2026 10:42 pm // Sunday, September 9, 2012Posted by susan in a perfect circle, australia, james iha, japan.
While in Japan in July to play the Fuji Rock festival, James Iha sat for an interview with Yuriko Okamura of Tokyo’s InterFM that was broadcast on Saturday. Iha was in fine form, joking that his dog Buddy serves as his manager and accountant. Despite some pressure from Okamura, Iha didn’t reveal much about his current musical activities, other than the following (thanks to HU contributor Eric with help translating Japanese):
Yuriko Okamura: Going forward, the next plan is to release his album, Look to the Sky, in the US this month. We talked about that a bit.
James Iha: Yeah, you know, just get it out in the rest…in as many countries as we can. And work on another record.
Okamura: A solo record?
Iha: Yeah, yeah.
Iha: Yeah. I think I’m on a roll now. I finished one in fourteen years, and think I can knock another one out sooner than that. I’m working on a couple of b-sides for some promotion stuff in America, but not a new album yet.
Okamura also spun several Iha tracks, including lead Look to the Sky single “To Who Knows Where,” a live version of “Be Strong Now” from Iha’s Fuji Rock set, and “Where Are You Going To?,” a song Iha covered for a Yukihiro Takahashi tribute album that came out last month in Japan. You can check out a clip of that track here; also check out this amusing video in which Iha promotes the album.
Iha’s Look to the Sky hits US retail outlets on September 18. This Thursday, fans can attend a record release party in New York. Iha is to play a short series of dates in Japan and the eastern seaboard of the US starting on September 22; you can check all tour dates out at spfc.org. Iha’s sometime-supergroup A Perfect Circle recently announced their participation in Australia’s traveling Soundwave Festival in February and March; it is unknown if Iha will join the band for the ride. UPDATE (9/10): This morning, A Perfect Circle announced a December gig in Las Vegas. Judging from a tweet Iha made soon after, it seems safe to assume that he plans on joining them.
Mike Byrne joins Jane’s Addiction onstage in Portland 6:16 pm // Sunday, September 9, 2012Posted by susan in jane's addiction, mike byrne, news.
Smashing Pumpkins drummer Mike Byrne took a turn with Jane’s Addiction this past Tuesday night onstage in Oregon. Byrne, a native of Portland suburb Beaverton, joined Jane’s for “Chip Away,” a track from the band’s 1987 debut album. Members of the opening band Big Black Delta also took part in the performance.
Judging from YouTube, everyone but Perry Farrell seems to be banging on drums when Jane’s plays “Chip Away” on this tour, including other guests. Just last night, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins breezed through a several-minutes-long effort at the Doheny Days music festival in California. I haven’t been able to find video of the Portland performance of “Chip Away” with Byrne, but in the meantime, you can check out video of Jane’s doin’ it Friday night in Las Vegas.
Byrne’s band Bearcubbin’! recently played a series of dates in Washington and Oregon, which gave Byrne the opportunity to demonstrate his choreographic skills. Bearcubbin’! has at least one more date left before the Smashing Pumpkins reconvene to kick off their North American tour in Mexico City.
UPDATE (9/13): Here’s a very blurry video of the performance.
Corgan gets even with Chris Cornell, calls out U.S. alternative radio 10:35 pm // Friday, August 31, 2012Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, news, pavement, radio, radiohead, soundgarden.
In an interview published earlier this month in Manila’s Philippine Star newspaper, Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan somewhat confusingly lumped Soundgarden together with Pavement among bands of his generation that he said reunited not to forge a new future in music but merely for “one more round at the till.”
This morning, alert and sympathetic deejay Josh Goodman of Denver’s KTCL-FM had Corgan on the phone and, as part of their conversation, he prompted Corgan to expand on those comments related to Soundgarden. Goodman’s full interview with Corgan can be heard online.
Below, we of Hipsters United offer a partial transcript of the interview that corrects and extends a partial transcript posted earlier today by the diehards at New Jersey-based blog Grunge Report. Our transcript picks up just past the 4-minute mark in the online audio file, which of course is superior for conveying tone and so forth.
Josh Goodman: I love reading your interviews, and I interviewed you back when you played for Big Gig here in 2010, and I love that you don’t censor what’s on your mind, and…
Billy Corgan: [laughs] Maybe I should, though.
Goodman: No, you shouldn’t, man, it’s good, I think people need to hear it. But, you know, along those lines of what you were saying, about bands going out and playing sort of their rehashed greatest-hits stuff, you did specifically call out Soundgarden in that vein, saying: Hey, man, they’re just going out to make money, and let’s just call it what it is. I’m curious, did you ever, have you heard from the guys in Soundgarden? I know you’re a fan of the band. Did you hear from Chris Cornell or anything? Did they have anything to say to you directly, or not really? (more…)
Chamberlin done with Skysaw 12:22 am // Friday, August 24, 2012Posted by jjb in jimmy chamberlin, news, skysaw.
Jimmy Chamberlin told attendees of a drum clinic in Chicago on Thursday night that he has left Skysaw,
this the rock band he formed in 2009 with singer Mike Reina.
During the clinic, hosted by instrument retailer Chicago Music Exchange, Chamberlin demonstrated several drum parts from his repertoire, including the Smashing Pumpkins classics “Tonight, Tonight” and “Geek U.S.A.” along with a few Jimmy Chamberlin Complex numbers. Chamberlin also explained why the clinic had been rescheduled from a week earlier: He’d sliced his thumb while putting a mailbox together, badly enough to require treatment at a local emergency room.
UPDATE (8/29): Chicago Music Exchange is sharing some video from the clinic.
Lisa Harriton to play with ELLE RAE this Thursday in Los Angeles 10:04 am // Tuesday, August 7, 2012Posted by Jill in lisa harriton.
According to this listing for the show, Harriton will be performing at the cocktail lounge / burlesque club as ELLE RAE alongside vocalist Kip Blackshire who is best known for his work with Prince, drummer Jason Ganberg of the British rock band Purple Melon, and bassist Grant Fitzpatrick of Mink.
Who’s planning to check out the show? Let us know in the comments!
HU Podcast #92: “Pisces Iscariot” Reissue 8:08 pm // Monday, August 6, 2012Posted by chris in james iha, pisces iscariot, podcast.
Somewhat lost amid all the news and media appearances surrounding the Oceania release and tour was the reissue of Pisces Iscariot. We still don’t quite do justice to the criminally underappreciated b-sides collection, but we do talk a little about the bonus material, the joys of Topspin Media, and even James Iha’s surprising cover.
Listen to the full podcast (31:45)
-Chris and Eric
-We discuss the reissue and its bonus material. Eric has a few issues with Topspin, and I have some issues with the song selection. Plus, Eric makes an official SPFC ruling in the great debate of “Bye” vs. “By” June. (20:31)
-Eric weighs in from close(r) to the source of James’ controversial cover. (8:40)
Song of the Week
Purr Snickety, New Haven, CT (July 21, 1991)
We’re hoping to bring on a special guest for a report from the front lines of the Oceania tour very soon, so stay tuned.
When he could, he did! Iha plays “Mayonaise” live in Korea 10:52 am // Saturday, July 28, 2012Posted by jjb in james iha, live, south korea, video.
UPDATE: Here is a more complete video, shot close to the stage but with overdriven sound.
James Iha plays Korean fest, adds October dates in U.S. 12:28 pm // Friday, July 27, 2012Posted by susan in james iha, japan, news, south korea, tour.
James Iha performed this afternoon at the Jisan Valley music festival in South Korea. Iha appears to have been backed by the same band that he performed a few US dates with back in April, including, at least, Frank LoCrasto and Steve Schiltz from that lineup. While in Korea, Iha sat for the press. We’ll keep you updated if video or audio of the set surfaces.
On Sunday, Iha will play Japanese festival Fuji Rock and, according to EMI Japan, he is also set to appear on Japanese radio that day.
Yesterday, Iha had posted additional tour dates to his official website (click on “shows,” or if flash is causing problems for you, try SPFC). Tickets went on sale this morning for early October shows in Boston (4th), New York City (5th), Hoboken (6th), and Philadelphia (7th). Iha has also added another Japanese gig for September, this one in Kyoto on the 22nd.
Additionally, EMI Japan has announced that Iha will appear on an upcoming compilation album. Iha will cover the Yukihiro Takahashi song “Where are You Heading To?” for Red Diamond – Tribute to Yukihiro Takahashi. Due out on August 8 in Japan, there is a deluxe version of the album, limited to 2000 pieces, which comes with a Vaporize brand t-shirt designed by Iha and emblazoned with a line-drawing of Takahashi’s face. Earlier this year, Iha got to meet Takahashi in Tokyo.
Marketing push for U.S. release of Iha’s ‘Look to the Sky’ begins 12:58 pm // Monday, July 16, 2012Posted by susan in james iha, look to the sky, merchandise, record labels, releases.
After premiering in Japan back in May, James Iha’s video for “To Who Knows Where” is now available for your streaming pleasure here in the United States (and possibly worldwide? Let us know if you have problems.)
Iha has also posted information to his Facebook account about the preorder for the U.S. release of Look to the Sky. The label for the release is listed as Brooklyn-based indie The End Records. You can preorder the album in CD or LP format along with other Look to the Sky branded merchandise; the first 100 orders will also receive a polaroid photo and button hand-made by Iha himself.
UPDATE: The U.S. Look the Sky CD and LP feature an additional track, “New Years Day,” that was not available on the Japanese release. As expected, the Japanese bonus tracks “Diamond Eyes” and “Stay Lost” are not included on either the U.S. CD or LP. However, “4th of July” and “Dark Star,” two album cuts from the Japanese release, are listed as bonus tracks for the U.S. CD and will not appear on the LP.
Corgan revisits making of ‘Siamese Dream’ for Australian rock mag 7:12 pm // Sunday, July 15, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview.
In advance of the Smashing Pumpkins’ tour of Australia, which kicks off on July 26, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has done print interviews for both Triple J Magazine (outtakes of which are online) and the Australian edition of Rolling Stone (which put a simulacrum of Corgan on its cover). In both interviews, he reflects on his entire career trajectory and how the Pumpkins’ new album Oceania relates to his earlier body of work. In addition, for Rolling Stone, Corgan reflected on the making of Siamese Dream, including some interesting anecdotes about the band’s interpersonal relationships at the time. Below the jump are three excerpted quotations. (more…)
Billy Corgan performs new song at memorial for Dennis Flemion 5:05 pm // Sunday, July 15, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, news, the frogs.
A memorial service for Dennis Flemion was held yesterday in West Allis, Wisconsin. Flemion, who for over 30 years had recorded songs together with his brother Jimmy Flemion as the Frogs, died unexpectedly on July 7.
During the service, mourners could view Frogs memorabilia including costumes worn onstage by Flemion and the original artwork from the Frogs’ first album. Both Jimmy Flemion and Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan performed music at the service, with Corgan’s contribution being a newly written song that he plans to make available online soon.
UPDATE (7/17): Corgan’s song is reportedly titled “25 Surprise.”
James Iha announces additional concerts in Asia 1:46 pm // Sunday, July 15, 2012Posted by susan in james iha, japan, look to the sky, news, south korea, tour.
James Iha has announced a few additional tour dates in support of his second solo album, Look to the Sky. On July 27, Iha will put in an appearance at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon-si, South Korea. On the 29th, Iha will perform, as previously announced, at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival. Then, in September, Iha will play two club dates in Japan; he will hit Osaka on the 24th of that month and Tokyo on the 26th. According to CD Journal’s announcement of the September shows, Iha may be touring with a 20-piece band from Brooklyn (!?!).
According to a recent announcement, Look to the Sky will finally see a U.S. release on September 18 of this year, having been out in Japan since March. Last week, Iha took to Twitter to tease fans with images of goodies for pre-order bundles and promised an album-related announcement on Monday.
Smashing Pumpkins may work on new studio material in August 4:56 pm // Sunday, July 1, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania, teargarden by kaleidyscope, thefutureembrace, zeitgeist.
Bill Palmer of Beatweek Magazine has published a wide-ranging new interview with Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. In the interview, Corgan discusses the dynamics of the current Smashing Pumpkins lineup, their plans for future recordings, and how the Pumpkins’ reissue project has influenced their live performances, among other topics. Below are three excerpted quotations.
I think in that way I’ve never made a bad album. I would say the album that was the least fulfilling of its potential was Zeitgeist…I think every other album was in the range of its potential as an A or a B. I wouldn’t necessarily rate Zeitgeist as a C, it just didn’t hit its potential and it kind of got lost somewhere along the way in the process. Some of the best songs are in the demos that didn’t get recorded and that kind of shit. I think it’s up there, but I also think it has to do with familiarity. There’s a certain ring here that people are comfortable with, and I’m okay with it or obviously I wouldn’t have put it out. But I think TheFutureEmbrace was a great album, and it was completely overlooked, my solo album. Over time now, over the last seven years, now people are starting to really get into it because it’s got a bit of a visionary aspect to it. So again, what was the point of the album? The mainstream always assumes that every album you’re throwing yourself out there with your bust, and I’m not that type of artist. I pick my spot and I go for that spot, and I rate it on whether or not I hit my spot.
Of the first Teargarden by Kaleidyscope songs, Corgan says that “I think there were ten official Teargarden releases. In those ten there was at least two or three really good songs.”
On the future of Teargarden, Corgan had this to say:
I’m kind of mulling that around. There’s a lot of demos that are really fairly quality at least in terms of the songs. They’re just interesting, dusky sketches. The problem with the world we live in now is everything is judged so fast so hard and is given too much power, for lack of a better word. Three months from now I would love to just reach in and toss out a couple of those demos from 2009 so people could hear some different songs, maybe some things that helped lead to Oceania. But then invariably some asshole with a blog is going to write about the new Smashing Pumpkins song and how it sucks. I’m mature enough now that I don’t really care, but at this point we’re in a positive place and maybe we just need to play a positive game. Maybe we just need to be like everybody else and shine it up real nice and bright before we put it out. We definitely want to do another album. We’re already talking about starting to do some demos in August. It’s tough. I do want to put out some of this stuff that I’m sitting on. I do want to finish the project as I sort of originally sketched out. But right now we’re riding a wave and I’m not really sure where that wave takes us.
Go over to Beatweek and read the interview in full, because it’s fascinating stuff.
Back with Alex Jones, Billy Corgan links ‘Oceania’ to ‘Zeitgeist’ 12:15 am // Wednesday, June 27, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania, politics, radio, zeitgeist.
Billy Corgan spoke with info-warrior Alex Jones on the latter’s radio show today, phoning in from South America where the Smashing Pumpkins are, as I write, onstage for their first-ever concert in Venezuela. This is Corgan’s second appearance on the program this year; he sat down at Jones’s Austin studio during SXSW back in March.
Over the course of the new, 40-minute interview, Corgan and Jones discuss systems of social control, in particular as they relate to Corgan’s experience in the music business. Here’s one transcribed excerpt:
Alex Jones: Let’s cut right to the chase with this new album. Beyond political, you’re talking about the nature of reality: You know, ["Quasar," and "The Celestials," and "Panopticon,"] and of course, “Oceania,” right out of 1984. Break down the spirit that you were basically channeling when you put together this new album.
Billy Corgan: Well, I think some of the roots start—on this album—start from the last album, in 2007, Zeitgeist, which you know, on some conscious or unconscious level, listening to you, and doing my own research on the Internet, kinda led me to a dark place where I felt, you know, what’s happening to my country? How do I grapple with these feelings that I’m having? When I started in music, you know, it was all cheery, Reagan, flags-a-wavin’, everything is great, and there was a lot of middle-class discourse on stuff that maybe now seems really small in comparison to what we’re really grappling with as we see what’s coming economically down the pike.
So, I think if you can draw a line from sort of a darker place and trying to grapple with the American Dream, which Zeitgeist had something to do with, five years later, now Oceania I think is a way to say, you know, I’m just not gonna live in that spirit, that energy, that dark energy. I’ve heard you talk about it, and certainly I’ve thought about it a lot, which is, you know, we gotta live. You know? Some of the most inspirational stuff I’ve ever heard you talk about is when you just talk about nature, about how God’s kingdom inspires you to fight the good fight and think of families and what life’s really about. And I think my album is really about that, it’s like, we all go through hard times, our country’s going through a hard time. It’s not a political album in that sense, but at the same time, if the politics is part of the backdrop, in the foreground I just wanna embrace my life, and get right with God, get right with my spirit, because I think that’s the way to lead us out of this kind of craziness that again seems to be coming, and God knows where it’s coming from. But everywhere you go, people feel it. And they can’t put their finger on it.
Corgan’s bandmates contribute by keeping up, not by reining him in 10:23 pm // Tuesday, June 26, 2012Posted by jjb in analysis, band, criticism, mellon collie, oceania, thefutureembrace.
A metaphor often used to illustrate Corgan’s supposed position has been that of a horse beneath a rider, and (as predicted) that metaphor has been trotted out in reviews of the Pumpkins’ new album Oceania. Spin Magazine’s Rob Harvilla used it today:
And so when it’s time for the nine-minute, multi-suite title track that gets way out of hand, these young bucks at the very least keep up, rein Corgan in, keep him honest.
Yes, it can plausibly be argued that Corgan’s music has been better when other hands are very involved; if you don’t love his solo record TheFutureEmbrace but hold dear the Pumpkins canon, that’s a ready conclusion to reach. But this is probably the case because Corgan is, or at least feels, freer to explore and go crazy when he’s in a band setting: His bandmates improve the music not by burying him in noes but by, to borrow Harvilla’s other phrase there, keeping up—not in the saddle but alongside Corgan, enabling him to divide labor and achieve wilder visions. What, after all, are the attributes we ascribe to the band’s reputed best work? Harvilla lists a few himself:
Prime Smashing Pumpkins reveled in the alleged worst aspects of the ’70s (the excess, the prog, the squeedly-deedly-doo guitar solos) and has nonetheless aged splendidly: Siamese Dream is a shitload less dated than, say, Ten; and Mellon Collie, for all its blatant absurdity, is an astoundingly deep, committed, multifaceted, entrancing clusterfuck that is way closer to being the best record of the grunge era than any of us should be comfortable with.
The next time someone says that TheFutureEmbrace reveled in excess will be the first; as was fairly apparent, Corgan imposed some tight constraints upon its recording, such as a limitation to only one guitar track per song. That record aside, the other major output from Corgan’s interstitial solo period was…a batch of exclusively acoustic music. And we are supposed to believe that James Iha, D’Arcy Wretzky, and Jimmy Chamberlin’s contributions to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream are best characterized in terms of placed restraints? When Corgan talks about Butch Vig’s influence on Gish, he doesn’t speak of boundaries—he says that Vig was the only one who could stay up with him, while everyone else had gone home.
Harvilla is smart, and his review of Oceania is mostly on point. But it does suffer, pardon that expression, from
pomposity a lack of self-awareness. Harvilla goes on for 1,200 words, the writing is showy as a public fuck…and it’s fine; the piece is entertainingly expressive, and a hardass editor cutting out modifiers would probably kill the major joys therein to be had. This here is to urge the guy forward, not to choke him back into an amble: Rob, write on.
Billy Corgan made the great lost record. 3:28 pm // Saturday, June 23, 2012Posted by jjb in amusing, analysis, billy corgan, chicagosongs, interview.
During a Los Angeles meet-and-greet yesterday, this exchange (video) took place between KYSR-FM deejay Darren Rose and Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan:
Billy Corgan: If I told you my real opinions of every album, you’d probably laugh.
Darren Rose: Do you have a favorite?
Corgan: Not really, no. Honestly, I think the best album I’ve ever made I haven’t released. It’s sitting in a can at home. I did a solo acoustic record about my hometown of Chicago. And I played one show, and I thought the show was amazing, and then I went on like an idiot the next day and read what the fans were writing and they said ‘Can he just please pick up an electric guitar again? Screw this acoustic music, we don’t want to hear this shit, dadadada.’ And I said OK, and I put the album back in the can and it’s sitting there to this day. People who’ve heard it say it’s some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever done. It’s just sitting there.
While Corgan seems to blame “the fans” for the album not having been released, another possible reason is that Corgan has to be his own best editor. If he’s putting out something, it’s a decision he’s made, and sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with musical quality. It has to do with personal satisfaction. He’s earned the right to fucking suck.
Also, exuberance from Corgan about his yet-to-be released records (e.g., Zeitgeist, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, Oceania), as well as negative comments by Corgan about released records that the public has not embraced (e.g., Zeitgeist, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope), are par for the course.
RESEARCH UPDATE: On October 19, 2004—exactly six months after the “one show” Corgan played—a Toronto radio DJ asked him (audio, at 3:55) to “Tell us about the [ChicagoSongs/ChicagoKid] DVD.” Corgan replied: “It’s in the can. It’s all acoustic. There’s been about thirty songs recorded. And we’re just starting to cut it together, and hopefully that’ll be out by the end of next year.”
On CNN, Corgan laments absence of “vigorous democracy” 9:31 am // Thursday, June 21, 2012Posted by apm in billy corgan, interview, television.
A previously recorded interview of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan conducted by CNN talker and Salon “Hack List” denizen Piers Morgan was aired last night on the cable network. Below is a full transcript.
Piers Morgan: On next tonight, he’s got strong opinions on American politics, he’s written some of the great rock songs of the 90’s, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. He’s not happy with President Obama.
[clip of "Tonight, Tonight" video, commercials, clip of "1979" video]
PM: That’s 1979, a killer song from the Smashing Pumpkins, a band that’s been churning out hits for years selling 30 million albums achieving worldwide fame. Their new album O-Cee-Ana, Oceania, I knew I’d get it wrong.
Billy Corgan: They actually said you’d get it wrong. (more…)
HU Podcast #91: More ‘Oceania’ 6:08 am // Wednesday, June 20, 2012Posted by chris in james iha, oceania, podcast.
After being left out of the meat of the Oceania discussion last week, I finally was able to hear and digest the album, so I brought Alex on to talk about the album as well as the concert he attended at the Metro last week and Billy Corgan’s newest comments about James Iha.
-Chris and Alex
-Our thoughts on Oceania, which sound a bit more negative than I think either of us intended, especially considering my answer to my own question of Best Corgan Album Since _____. (27:06)
-Is Oceania an artistic progression for Billy Corgan? We talk about what that means to us and some other bands that have not progressed at all. Plus, Billy’s ambitious goals for the album. (17:48)
-Alex attended the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert at the Metro, so he gives us a full report. Plus, he’s not so sure about the plan to play Oceania straight through. (5:40)
-Billy once again made some inflammatory comments about a former band member, and once again he has something to promote at the same time. Are the comments a calculated attempt to get publicity? (11:17)
Song of the Week
Bleed, Chicago, Illinois (June 12th, 2012)