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HU Podcast #97: 3D Movie and MCIS Deluxe 7:23 pm // Thursday, January 31, 2013

Posted by chris in mellon collie, movies and film, podcast, tour.
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3d MovieIt has been so long since our last show that we went quite long with our latest podcast, so I split it into two parts.  In part one, we talked about the Brooklyn show that was filmed in 3D for possible future release and the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness deluxe edition.

Listen to the full podcast (41:12)


-Chris, Jill, and Susan

-Jill fills us in on the Brooklyn show and we discuss the possibility of three full dimensions of the Smashing Pumpkins in a theater near you. (17:30)

-We lament the pricing of the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness reissue but marvel at the wealth of bonus material and beautiful packaging. (22:35)

Tune in next time for part two, featuring our thoughts on Lucky 13 and Kickstarter as well as a look ahead at the Pumpkins in 2013.

HU Podcast #96: Oceania in St. Louis and Chicago 5:35 pm // Thursday, October 25, 2012

Posted by chris in mellon collie, podcast, tour.
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After attending a show last week, I had to bring on some fellow concertgoers this week to talk about our experiences (mine in St. Louis, theirs in Chicago).  As an added bonus, our special guest took part in the VIP festivities and gives us a rundown of the experience.  Did the sparse crowd dampen my spirit?  Did the orb burn the lies off of our souls?  Tune in and find out…

Listen to the full podcast (51:08)


-Chris, Alex, and special guest Doug

Song of the Week

A Song for a Son (October 18, 2012)

Thanks to everyone who wrote in and volunteered to be on the podcast.  Unfortunately I probably won’t have time to do any more shows before the end of this tour, but the offer stands in the future.  Sorry to those that wrote in that I didn’t get to; hopefully we can have you on next time around.

HU Podcast #95: MCIS Reissue, Eulogy for HU 6:32 pm // Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Posted by chris in Madame ZuZu's, mellon collie, podcast.
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This week the two founding members of Hipsters United came back to talk about their time blogging about the Smashing Pumpkins, and we also discussed the beefy track list of the upcoming reissue of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Listen to the full podcast (1:15:49)


-Chris, Jason, Jill, and Susan

-The full track listing for the deluxe edition of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is released, and we discuss some of the highlights.  Also, will the steep price tag affect critical reception?  (20:03)

-Jason and Susan visited Madame ZuZu’s and provide a review for anyone considering a trip.  Also, we touch on the presence of James Iha solo demos in the Mellon Collie reissue. (9:09)

-Jason and Jill talk about starting the Hipsters United blog and how it changed over the years, and Susan discusses her involvement and the chilling feeling of being blocked on Twitter by Madame ZuZu herself. (41:43)

Song of the Week

To Forgive, Dusseldorf, Germany (April 7, 1996)

I’ll be seeing the band in St. Louis tomorrow night (look for me in the crowd, I’ll be wearing a Pumpkins shirt!) and plan on talking to some other attendees about this and the Chicago show next week.

HU Podcast #94: “Oceania” Tour Hits the States 11:27 am // Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Posted by chris in mellon collie, podcast, tour.
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This week I talked with two people who attended warm-up club shows in advance of the arena tour proper.  We also touched on some other recent Smashing Pumpkins news, including the VIP packages that are being offered and the reissue of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Listen to the full podcast (46:52)


-Chris, Andrew, and Weston

-Andrew files a report from the show at Stubb’s Barbecue in Austin, Texas, which included the US debut of new song “Black Sunshine“.  (9:54)

-Weston details the shorter, Sunshine-less show at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (7:36)

-We discuss the VIP packages that are available for the larger venues in the Canadian and US legs of the tour. (10:42)

-We anticipate hearing the details of the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness reissue, although we recorded this before the full tracklisting and release date were announced. (11:22)

Song of the Week

Black Sunshine, Austin, TX (September 27, 2012)

If you’re attending an upcoming show, especially if you’re ponying up the cash for the VIP package, and would be willing to join us for a podcast, let us know (note: if you’ve already contacted us and haven’t heard back from me, sit tight).

Corgan’s bandmates contribute by keeping up, not by reining him in 10:23 pm // Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Posted by jjb in analysis, band, criticism, mellon collie, oceania, thefutureembrace.
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Among the most tired canards found in criticism of the Smashing Pumpkins is that Billy Corgan’s work has been much better at those times when his vision was actively constrained by his collaborators.

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.

Corgan provides details on ‘Mellon Collie,’ ‘Aeroplane’ reissues 3:52 pm // Saturday, June 2, 2012

Posted by susan in mellon collie, news, the aeroplane flies high.
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Quick on the heels of the news that the reissue of the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1994 compilation album Pisces Iscariot is marked for release on July 17, Billy Corgan has provided additional information about the deluxe edition reissues of 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and 1996’s The Aeroplane Flies High. On his Twitter account today, Corgan tipped fans that the Mellon Collie reissue is to contain five CDs; in addition to the remastered double album, there will be three additional discs of music, as well as a DVD featuring a live performance from 1995 or 1996. The Aeroplane Flies set will most likely contain two extra discs of material and a DVD. (No word yet on if or how Aeroplane, originally a five-disc box set compiling every Mellon Collie-era b-side, may be resequenced. I’m curious if they will throw it all on two discs or keep the original five-disc format.)

In an April interview, Corgan indicated both the Mellon Collie and Aeroplane were due out at the year’s end. We don’t have any specifics confirmed about the bonus material content yet, other than that an alternate take of “X.Y.U.” will be featured. Late last year, Corgan had been listening to a few full-length versions of songs sampled on “Pastichio Medley,” and today he confirmed that some of those will make their way onto the reissues.

UPDATE (6/4): In a Twitter update, Corgan says some of the Gravity Demos will be remixed for the Mellon Collie deluxe edition. Furthermore, according to Pumpkins friend site Crestfallen.com, the Aeroplane deluxe edition will include “a compilation of the best tracks from the 1995 Double Door shows.” The Double Door shows are a series of four concerts the Pumpkins played in Chicago in February 1995, towards the beginning of the Mellon Collie studio sessions, in which the band played many of the songs that ended up on Mellon Collie for the first time. Apparently, there are plans for the February 27 and 28 Double Door shows to come out in full after the release of the Aeroplane reissue.

UPDATE (6/6): According to a post by the Crestfallen.com site runner on the Pumpkins’ official messageboard, the apparent reason that the February 20 and 21 Double Door shows were not to be released in full is that the band’s archival team had not been able to locate multitrack tapes for those nights. The February 21 multitrack tapes have now apparently been found. We are also told to expect “Towers of Rabble” on either the Mellon Collie or Aeroplane reissue.

Corgan sifts through the ‘Mellon Collie’ and ‘Adore’ attics 10:57 pm // Monday, December 19, 2011

Posted by susan in adore, mellon collie, news, releases.
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Since wrapping the Smashing Pumpkins’ European tour on December 10, Billy Corgan has been back in the United States and has apparently started working on sorting through material for the reissues of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Adore.

To recap a bit about the status and schedule of the reissue project: The Pumpkins reissued their first two albums, Gish and Siamese Dream, on November 29, and are scheduled to release several more reissues in 2012. In an October interview with the Detroit News, Corgan stated that the reissue of b-sides album Pisces Iscariot was due out on Record Store Day 2012 – that is, April 21, 2012. In a tweet on December 1, Corgan appears to have reinforced the April release date and suggested that around the same time, the band would release, via the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club, all of their pre-Gish demos and many hours of early live shows and rehearsals. As far as the rest of 2012 goes, the Pumpkins’ August press release stated that reissues of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Aeroplane Flies High, and Adore were all scheduled for 2012, probably late in the year.

Corgan’s recent comments give the appearance that he is sorting through unreleased tracks from the Mellon Collie and Adore eras, including full length versions of the “Pastichio Medley” clips “Knuckles” and “Zoom,” an alternate version of “Pastichio Medley” itself, and this guy’s remix of “Ava Adore.” 

Corgan told attendees of a fan meetup preceding the Pumpkins’ Boston show on October 21 that he is contractually obligated to reissue the band’s back catalog with EMI by the end of 2013.

HU Podcast #77: Owata 7:37 pm // Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Posted by chris in adore, mellon collie, podcast.
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MCIS Liner ImageThis week we talked about the newly-released Owata, but we also continued our look at the upcoming reissues with the set of albums slated for 2012: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Aeroplane Flies High, and Adore.  To round things out we talked a bit about the upcoming music video, although our discussion took place before it was announced that the video would feature Owata.

Listen to the whole show (49:30)


-Chris, Andrew, Alex, and Susan

-Owata is released.  Our thoughts on the use of synthesizer as well as a little about the issues with single-song releases and the lack of media coverage. (15:17)

-We go in-depth with the MCIS, TAFH, and Adore rereleases.  We speculate about the possibilities for alternate takes from the Adore sessions, and of course no discussion of MCIS is complete without mention of full-length Pastichio Medley tracks. (13:37)

-Finally, in all the tidbits that Billy touched on in his big announcement, one that he didn’t mention at the time was a music video.  We podcasted before the press release announcing that the video will be for Owata, so we spend a bit too much time on consternation about how the video shouldn’t be for Freak.  (14:47)

Song of the Week
-Owata, The Chris Isaak Hour (April 2, 2009)

Interview with director Samuel Bayer 10:54 am // Friday, March 5, 2010

Posted by Jill in interview, mellon collie, video.
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This week at Slashfilm.com, Samuel Bayer was interviewed in anticipation of his remake of Nightmare on Elm Street. The legendary music video director (yes, his first video was “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) also has a history with the Smashing Pumpkins; he directed the breakout vid for “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” in 1995. The whole interview is a great read, as he discusses loads of music videos I grew up on, but check out the except below for more about BWBW.

Thanks to HU reader Hugo for the tip!

Slashfilm: Let me just ask you about “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.” How did you come up with the premise of that? Obviously you play around a lot with depth of field and with sort of the color palette. If you could just talk a little bit about the making of that video, I’d love to hear it.

Bayer: I mean, first of all– I mean, the “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” it was a very big, anthemic album that came out. This was like an event. It was the first single off a double record that Smashing Pumpkins came out with. And you know, I think I had seen these photographs by Sebastiao Salgado of– who’s a wonderful still photographer of diamond mines in South Africa, and–

Slashfilm: I actually thought about– I was watching the video the other day, and I actually was like, “This looks a lot like Salgado,” and I guess that’s no coincidence.

Bayer: Yeah. And so I think I was very influenced by the Salgado images. And then I really liked giving the film– and then I shot– actually, it was very exciting. I had a set of lenses developed at Panavision, that they actually grinded off the– the whole thing that you learn about film is sometimes less is more, and one of the reasons why older films kind of have a beautiful kind of shallow depth of field and a very deliberate focus is because the way they used to machine glass on the lenses was a lot less exact than they can do these days. So in a very kind of organic, primitive way, I asked the guys at Panavision to develop some lenses for me, and they actually– I think they took something and they ground down some glass on some lenses, and I had a whole set of lenses that I used for the video that really kind of gave it a very cool look, and unfortunately those lenses got destroyed. But I used them for a while. They were really badass.

And for a bit more badass, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” revisited:

Alan Moulder talks “Mellon Collie” recording 2:18 pm // Thursday, October 22, 2009

Posted by jjb in alan moulder, billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, interview, james iha, mellon collie.
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Triple J has a new interview with Alan Moulder (HT: @GermanPumpkins) during which he discusses the recording of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  The relevant portion is four minutes long starting at the 5:20 mark.  Here are two transcribed excerpts:

On setting up the studio space:

On Gish and Siamese Dream, Billy had played nearly all the instruments that weren’t drums.  They had limited time; he knew that he could probably play all the parts quicker and more to his satisfaction than if he waited for D’Arcy and James to do it.  So…[on Mellon Collie] he wanted them to be more involved.

Billy’s not good when he’s not doing anything; he’s got to be kept occupied, otherwise he gets twitchy.  So on this one we came up with the idea — because it was Flood and I doing it — we’d have two rooms going.  That way Billy could always be working, and in the other room work would be getting done too, so, double gain, really.

On “Thru the Eyes of Ruby”:

My philosophy is ‘more is more’.  On a track called “Ruby”, there’s seventy, I think seventy-eight tracks of guitar.  But, we did them all in an afternoon!  He just was on fire, we just could go, “next-next-next…”  All different sounds, it was just like, “How many we got?”  I remember counting them up, there was fifteen tracks of EBows, and it was…yeah, it was crazy.  When you’re making records like that, there’s something charming about the ridiculousness of it all.  It’s not, “What the heck?!” you know.  Leave minimalism to somebody else.

The dad who changed it all 12:11 am // Monday, June 22, 2009

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, family, mellon collie, touching.
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A Father’s Day note from a son:

I found a little bit of myself in every track on that album. Now, back to my dad. Had it not been for my father buying me that album, I think I would be a different person today. So, today, I took a few moments to go back and listen to that album, it was kinda my way of thanking my father. Thanking him for doing the right thing and allowing me to fall in love with music from such an early age. Most parents of my friends didn’t allow MTV and here was my dad buying me the Smashing Pumpkins.

HU Podcast #42: The Drummer of the Future 5:16 pm // Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Posted by chris in machina 2, mellon collie, mike byrne, podcast.
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It has been awhile, but we return with the full complement of podcasters to talk about the news that Billy Corgan has chosen a drummer of the future and whether Jill and Andrew care to defend Machina II after our last podcast.

Listen to the whole show (38:36)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, Jill, and Andrew

-Machina II followup from Jill and Andrew.  Do they agree with our previous statements?  Plus, Jason draws a comparison between Machina II and that other band we talk about occasionally. (7:39)

-Mike Byrne has been confirmed as drummer of the future.  What does this really mean?  Is he the new Jimmy or just another studio collaborator?  And stop me if you’ve heard this, but he’s only 19.  (20:16)

-SmashingPumpkins.com featured an interview with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness art director Frank Olinsky last week.  We talk a little about the MCIS packaging and add “psychedelic music played by a heavy metal band in the 1920’s” to the growing list of music genres that the Pumpkins belong to.  (6:26)

Song of the Week
-Translucent, Asheville, NC June 23, 2007

So I ask you, the reader and listener, which Smashing Pumpkins album could be best described as “psychedelic music played by a heavy metal band in the 1920’s”?

MCIS: Concept to Execution 12:40 pm // Saturday, June 13, 2009

Posted by apm in adore, art, b-sides, mellon collie, smashingpumpkins.com.
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A fascinating new article was posted to SP.com on Friday featuring an interview by Media Militia writer Simon with Frank Olinsky, art director for all the Smashing Pumpkins’ releases from 1995 through 1999. We all know the iconic artwork of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness very well, but the article includes never-before-seen concept sketches by Billy Corgan which were faxed to Olinsky and used as the starting point for the final artwork by illustrator John Craig.

MCIS Front Cover Concept Sketch

After executing the Siamese Dream album’s artwork in a single day together with his then wife Chris, Billy passed along the job of fully capturing his ideas for the visual side of Mellon Collie to Olinsky, who was already well-known in the industry at the time, having worked previously with R.E.M., Talking Heads, and many other bands, as well as co-creating MTV’s original logo.

The article touches on more than just Mellon Collie as Olinsky worked on the artwork for the Mellon Collie singles as well as the Adore album and its singles. Billy’s inspiration for the 1979 single’s roller rink? Linda Ronstadt’s 1978 album Living in the USA:

Linda Ronstadt Album1979 Cover

Olinksy has a blog and posted this entry about the article. He was very touched by Billy’s thoughts about their collaboration, which read:

Looking back now over 10 years, what sticks out most in my mind about Frank is he is total class. I am really fortunate to have been able to work with someone so talented, kind-hearted, and really someone who puts everything he has into his work. He really is a true artist thru and thru!

Billy and D’Arcy, comedic duo 9:23 am // Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, interview, mellon collie, video.
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Here’s one way to be misunderstood: Include a deadpan “No, this is serious,” comment to your bandmate as part of an extended introduction to your not-serious answer to an interviewer’s question about your hotly anticipated new album.

Below: The band’s ‘hopes’ for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (YouTube)

What’s the relevance of this quotation? 1:31 am // Sunday, May 10, 2009

Posted by jjb in chuck berry, mellon collie.
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From Mark Humphrey’s liner notes to the double-disc Chuck Berry compilation Gold:

In retrospect, “Maybellene” reads like the first entry in Berry’s extended ‘song cycle’ celebrating automotive escape from adolescent restraint…

If nothing looks so simple today, the extroverted optimism that emanates from Berry’s songs never sounds naive.  There’s an obvious intelligence behind his lyrics and a wry point of view inspired, in part, by the songwriter’s maturity and ironic distance from his subject matter (Berry was 30 when waxing songs like “School Day”).  As a result, few of his songs sound quaint or cloying today, which can’t be said of many first-generation rockers.

Song cycle to be taken for Seattle spin 4:11 pm // Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Posted by jjb in influence, live, mellon collie, news.
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Hollow Earth Radio is sponsoring an evening without the Smashing Pumpkins — but with an army of bands performing the entirety of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness — on March 20 at 20/20 Cycle in Seattle.

Full list of artists and songs (courtesy HU reader Grant V.) after the jump.



Beyond my hopes 2:09 pm // Monday, March 2, 2009

Posted by jjb in amusing, mellon collie, video.
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Ever wanted to see Billy perform “Tales Of A Scorched Earth” live?  Me neither, but that he never has makes this at least somewhat novel:

Want to try to dare for a little more? Here’s Phil Mckenna with the drum part.

Triangle weekly anticipates looming “shadow of Corgan” 4:31 pm // Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Posted by jjb in criticism, genre, influence, mellon collie.
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In advance of Sunday’s Smashing Pumpkins concert in Raleigh, Robbie Mackey of North Carolina’s Independent Weekly discusses the influence of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on “the rise of ‘mainstream indie rock'”:

These bands share Corgan’s principal flaws—over-indulgence, a lack of critical perspective, records that are too long and noticeably lacking in focus. But they also share some of his strong points, too: When they’re good, they’re rich and rewarding in their denseness. Hyperactive collagists Evangelicals, the grandiose pop crew of Manchester Orchestra, Oxford, Miss.’s Colour Revolt, and our very own Annuals might not champion the sonic value of the Pumpkins, but they most certainly appreciate the aesthetic. Indeed, the shadow of Corgan still looms, convincing an entire generation, with the world at their keyboard tips, and weaned on Dawn, Dusk, Twilight and Starlight, to just fucking go for it. For better, or for worse.

HU Podcast #3: Hardcore Fan Concerts and the Double Door 7:23 pm // Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Posted by chris in billy corgan, james iha, mellon collie, podcast, tour.
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podcast logoI’m a little late getting the podcast up this week due to some technical issues, but here it is for your enjoyment.  We’re in between tours, so I’m expecting to the news to slow to a trickle, leaving me with plenty of time in the show plan for debate.  If you have a question you’d like us to talk about in a future in-depth discussion segment, leave a comment below or email me (remove the NOSPAM).

Listen to the whole show (56:13)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, and Andrew

-Billy mentions James and D’Arcy’s absence at the RockWalk induction.  We awkwardly discuss the awkwardness of his comments. (3:42)

-What is a 20th anniversary show?  Andrew predicts a rock-’til-you-drop marathon, while I opt for surprise guest musicians, each more surprising than the last. (5:34)

-Billy rekindles more DVD rumors, and we do more gambling on the band’s future. (2:05)

In-Depth Discussion
-How could the Pumpkins put on a show that would satiate the hardcore fans yet still remain solvent enough to the dresses and costumes to which they’ve become accustomed?  We throw out ideas while Jason schools us in economics. (14:53)

Show Review: February 28th, 1995 Double Door; Chicago, IL
-Upon a relisten, the Double Door shows aren’t as fabulous as I remembered.  I break down the screaming crowd, the setlist, and the songs that never made it.  Plus, we enjoy a classic James Iha rap. (20:15)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-The MCIS 3LP is released in a limited pressing, although Andrew remains bitter about the limit.  D’Arcy turns 40.  Plus, we look back on the historic April 30th, 1989 show, and I somehow refrain from singing a few bars of Alabaster. (4:27)

Song of the Week
-Speed February 28th, 1995

She glomps him 12:34 pm // Sunday, April 27, 2008

Posted by jjb in amusing, blogging, mellon collie, urbandictionary.
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It would seem that “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is still working its peculiar charms.


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