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Can reissue booklets reveal, or must they conceal, ‘the real lyrics’? 1:14 am // Thursday, December 1, 2011

Posted by jjb in amusing, analysis, gish, lyrics.
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Open your eyes to these mustard lies
She knows and she knows and she knows 

—from lyrics to “Rhinoceros” printed in booklet for the reissued Gish

For the sake of argument, assume with me for a moment that the first time Billy Corgan had the thoughts that were to manifest themselves again every time he would sing or otherwise proffer the words to “Rhinoceros” over the subsequent 20-plus years, what would become the line quoted above instead surfaced initially into his consciousness as:

Open your eyes; to these, must I lie?

This line ‘makes more sense’ in that it does not seem to invoke a dishonest condiment. But it is also maybe a bit too intense, precious, or ’embarrassing’ for Corgan the Braincrusher to have rolled with and felt comfortable about every night on stage in front of detached crowds. So maybe he changed what he had to something dodgy that sounded similar, and even that preserved some of the meaning, but would pass as ‘arty’ or whimsical or flip.

Perhaps, though, that all still does not mean the more sensible line deserves to be tagged as the ‘original’ (or ‘real,’ etc.) lyric—for when does a surfaced thought become a lyric? Is it as soon as the thought hits? Or is it when it is sung aloud or jotted down in private, when it is shared with another person or collaborator, when it is performed in public, when a recording is given to the Library of Congress or sold in stores, or when it appears in a booklet from a publisher? Or…well.

And whether one decides to say the line in question was already a lyric or still only a thought at the time it changed, there’s also the question of when that was. Maybe it wasn’t in 1989 in Corgan’s bedroom, but at some later point. Possibly the line is one of a few ketchup gags created exclusively for and packaged inside every copy of the reissue of Gish. Maybe the opening line of “Rhinoceros” was actually “planned a show” through every single studio take and live performance before Corgan read a tweet sent by Lauren Bethany Hawkins of Norwich, England on August 19, 2011. Who knows? He knows, and we don’t.

Smashing Pumpkins crafting ‘Gish,’ ‘Siamese Dream’ reissues 9:49 pm // Friday, August 19, 2011

Posted by susan in gish, lyrics, news, pisces iscariot, releases, siamese dream.
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and chinos, chinos, chinosOver the last week, new details about the Smashing Pumpkins’ back-catalog rereleases have emerged. Billy Corgan said yesterday that “we’re working hard right now” to ensure that the Gish and Siamese Dream reissues, due out on November 15, will each have special packaging and contain two CDs and a DVD. Other formats, such as the high-grade vinyl mentioned in the initial announcement of the reissues, could also be pending. Corgan hopes to provide his Gish lyrics, which were not previously available, and he has tweeted that he has an extensive collection of his original Siamese Dream lyrics as well.

The band now projects that the Pisces Iscariot reissue (originally slated for this year) will come out in 2012 alongside Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Aeroplane Flies High, and Adore. Work for the Pisces reissue has apparently already commenced. Regarding formats for next year’s releases, Corgan still intends to release Aeroplane on vinyl for the first time. 2013 should see Machina I and II combined into one package, and the band’s most recent press release raises the possibility of a “best-of compilation” in that same year.

Smashing Pumpkins play new song “Tom Tom,” fan gets lyrics 10:45 am // Monday, September 20, 2010

Posted by jjb in live, lyrics, video.
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Above: Billy Corgan and friends performing the anticipated Teargarden track in Boise (YouTube)

A fan took and photographed a lyric sheet for “Tom Tom” that he found taped to the floor the next night in Salt Lake City.

“If All Goes Wrong” documents “re-united Smashing Pumpkins” 5:40 pm // Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Posted by jjb in if all goes wrong, jeff schroeder, lyrics, movies and film, revival.
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I guess WesleyDodds was right…either that, or whoever typed up the back cover verbiage didn’t get the memo on use of the word reunion (and will be hearing from Billy soon?).

So, now that it’s been widely available for a day (sorry we didn’t post anything about its release yesterday!), I’ve finally seen If All Goes Wrong. A few initial thoughts:

  • For about the first two-thirds of the film, I wasn’t particularly crazy about any of the lyrics that made it to onscreen text. Some better ones surfaced later…
  • …such as a few lines from “The Rose March”, which I personally would pick as the best song (or “peak experience”?) to emerge from the residencies — the film implies this is Billy’s opinion as well, but please come to your own judgments.
  • The most sizable bout of laughter from both myself and HU reader Stace was prompted by the immediate wake of the Super Melt-Down of “Jeff Shroeder” [sic]: as band members pull themselves together to troop back out on stage for an encore, of all moments Billy might choose to comically acknowledge the documentary camera…that one.

What observations or thoughts does everyone else have? There’s a lot to process in the film, but please jump right in.

L.A. Times: Pumpkins “frighten casual fans” at Best Buy 7:42 pm // Sunday, October 26, 2008

Posted by jjb in criticism, live, lyrics.
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In a rave review of last night’s “Guitar Hero”-launching performance by the Smashing Pumpkins, Los Angeles Times writer Charlie Amter gives his readers a full setlist, lyrics to the band’s brand-new song “As Rome Burns”, and this extended commendation:

The imposing guitarist played with vitriolic fury during the latter half of the set, as if to show wannabes what a real guitar hero looked like.

Corgan spat on the stage as he unleashed wall after wall of dissonant, driving riffs that sometimes devolved into extended feedback loops. He broke strings, played kettle drums, hissed and sang into “the heart of the sun,” as he droned in a mantra-like moment during their cover of the classic Pink Floyd song “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The sun.”

I was beginning to think I was at a Liars show, and damn if it wasn’t compelling for those willing to make the journey with Corgan. And while the Pumpkins have been doing this shtick on stage since at least 2000, something felt different Saturday…perhaps as a result of a new sound emerging from rehearsals (the band is getting ready for their 20th anniversary tour, beginning Friday in Columbus, Ohio and a new “concept” record).

Do we get all that? 2:28 am // Monday, February 4, 2008

Posted by jjb in live, lyrics, video.
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It appears that the Pumpkins have retired their Heavy Metal Machine/White Rabbit > Iron Man > On the Road Again > I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll mashup (example: 2007/11/18 setlist) in favor of a Cash Car Star > Easy Livin’ > Foreplay > For What It’s Worth > Wasted Years combo (example: 2008/01/31 setlist).

Below:  Meet the middle three-fifths of the new metal medley (YouTube)

She missed a line 5:23 pm // Thursday, January 3, 2008

Posted by jjb in american gothic, lyrics.
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You can help HU’s own Jill transcribe lyrics from American Gothic over at BlamoNet.

Maybe it’s “Lucky 14″? 3:01 pm // Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Posted by jjb in audio, lyrics.
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Here’s (7MB mp3) some okay-quality audio of the ending to “Lucky 13” as performed on night three in Cheesesteak City.  It’s tough to make out all the extra lyrics, but I hear the lines “I let you touch my memory” and “I stand for truth and love” in there.  Google searches (#1a, #1b, #2) on fragments of those phrases turn up nothing in the way of song lyrics, so I think we’re dealing with Billy-written material.

Obligatory Radiohead backlash post 11:41 pm // Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, lyrics, radiohead, rant, video, vieuphoria.
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When Billy said “the world is a vampire”, he covered Radiohead’s entire emotional palette with one line. Discuss.

(What? Was I supposed to say something about how I wouldn’t pay five pence for In Rainbows? Come on, as a “cause of the month” it is probably worth a pound or two.)

Inspired by that last encore 9:45 pm // Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Posted by jjb in blogging, live, lyrics, news.
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Not me…I wasn’t there in Vancouver. But before last night (setlist from spfc.org), Sabrina hadn’t blogged since June.

UPDATE: Sadly, Vancouver radio station CKWX-AM is reporting that a fan died from injuries suffered in a fall during the concert.

UPDATE: The Vancouver Sun has additional details.

UPDATE (9/26): The story has been picked up across Canada and made its way to the UK tabloids, even drawing a typically tactless mention from Perez Hilton. With a more personal perspective on the crowd’s makeup at the show, LiveJournal user madkal posted a review.

UPDATE: A new user of Netphoria says he attended the show with the deceased and that the cause of his death was a seizure.

The elaboration of Asheville’s song (?) 11:26 am // Monday, September 3, 2007

Posted by jjb in acoustic, audio, live, lyrics, video.
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Of the 13 post-Zeitgeist songs the band has performed, “Question Mark” (“?”?) appeared first. Billy fought his way through a solo performance of the song at the initial gig in Asheville (3MB mp3 from archive.org), then pushed it along quickly in practice; the full band played the song to open the third Asheville concert (3MB mp3 from archive.org), and shortly thereafter some of its lyrics appeared in a newspaper advertisement thanking the city.

Since performing the number seven times in Asheville, the band has played it only twice, both during the residency in San Francisco.  Here is the most recent performance, closing out an acoustic set at the final Fillmore show.

Below:  It’s a song he titled with punctuation? (YouTube)

Fine, call it “Rat in a Cage”. See what I care 1:43 pm // Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Posted by jjb in lyrics, machina.
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One of the more memorable (not “controversial”) quotes from Billy is this one (sourced from the Jim Stapleton interview disc), on his philosophy for titling songs:

Say you write a song about a chandelier, and the chandelier gives off light, and the light is the color red, and red reminds you of the color you’re not supposed to wear around a bull. So you name the song “Cow”.

This got me to thinking, “How would the Pumpkins’ discography read if instead of using this approach, Billy had given the most obvious title possible to each of his songs?”

I’m not intending to go through the whole thing — though it would be fun if someone would (and comments are open!) — but here’s one to get us started: an obvious-titles tracklisting for Machina. You could certainly pick a different “obvious” title for a couple, but these are at least defensible options:

1. You Know I’m Not Dead
2. Between the Raindrops
3. Who Wouldn’t Be the One You Love?
4. Radio
5. You’re All a Part of Me Now
6. Try to Hold On
7. Heavy Metal Machine
8. Crashing Down
9. Everywhere You Are
10. I Want to Live
11. If You Wait
12. My Whole Life
13. Taking Over
14. Blue Skies Bring Tears
15. Desolation Yes, Hesitation No

Jillysp’s reaction to this was “it’s like backstreet boyz!” True enough, and I especially find the idea of retitling “Glass and the Ghost Children” in this fashion to be…hilarious.


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