Before Billy Corgan became known as a meme-ready eccentric megalomaniac, with bizarre appearances in the wrestling ring, and a hire and fire policy straight from the Mark E Smith playbook, he led Smashing Pumpkins’ early success as one of the most unique bands of the early 90s alt-rock revolution.
The Chicago band had more sophisticated layers than the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam — grabbing more from shoegaze and psychedelia than punk, metal and classic rock, while still landing with a crushing melancholy heaviness.
Tonight (Friday) they’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album Gish with a live stream including Corgan and founding drummer Jimmy Chamberlain. It’s a two-hour stream from Corgan’s own Madame Zuzu’s Teashop in Chicago, including a vinyl listening party and a Q&A.
While the Pumpkins perfected their widescreen psychedelic shoegaze heaviness on their mainstream-busting albums Siamese Dream (1993) and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995), Gish is still an incredible first chapter, from the distorted heaviness of I Am One, to the delicate slow burn of tracks like Rhinoceros.
Pumpkins disciples should check the Zuzu’s site for more anniversary celebrations. Nice touch charging $19.91! (Details at madamezuzus.com).