Monday, March 2, 2015
Smashing Pumpkins - The Lost Tapes '94
Officially released on the DVD rerelease of Vieuphoria in 2002, as an extra feature not included in the 1994 VHS version. But, somehow I had this tape way back when, so I'm not sure if this version I am posting sounds any different than what is on that DVD. Feel free to comment.
Regardless, it's seeing the light of this blog today because of the Fugazi post below, and my heart wrenching story of personal discovery that accompanied it. You see, much like Fugazi and their own ebb and flow of favorability to me, Smashing Pumpkins also rocketed straight out o the gate to a place of prominence in my tape deck with the release of Gish. And I mean, how could it NOT?! With the opening salvo of "I Am One" straight into "Siva"? Fucking forget it man...pure gold!
When Siamese Dream came out, sure, there were some weird feelings about the commercial success the band was afforded, but hey, they didn't change their sound, the general public changed their sensibilities, so bully for Smashing Pumpkins. Good for them. Meant there were more people at the shows, but the shows around that time were still glorious.
Like the Fugazi show described below, seeing Smashing Pumpkins up to around 1995(ish) was a powerful mistress. Earth moving kind of power. The riffs came through as big, burly steamrollers, on the back of some of the fullest, warmest tones. The band was going nuts at that point, hitting all their marks with rabid intensity. Billy Corgan was a masterful soloist, and his use of feedback was pretty tough to beat. They could go from dreamy shoegaze to gigantic doom to thrashing rock at the drop of a hat. Really impressive. Impressive enough to overlook any issues one may have had with Mr. Corgan's live vocals, which generally were fine, albeit not as polished as on record (no surprise), or his penchant for a scat styled improve vocalization he would sometimes employ. Whatever though, no major complaints. The huge waves of fuzzed out bliss more than compensated. Shit man, everybody was trying to use a cello in the mid-90s...it's ok.
So, in my memory, Smashing Pumpkins will go down as an all-time great for those first few years alone. Doesn't matter how they have ended up (not good?), they were untouchable for awhile there.