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The Simpsons "Homerpalooza"
May 14, 1996, 11:00 pm

Source: Chicago Sun - Times

Pumpkins In 'Toon // Rockers to Guest Star On `Simpsons' Sunday; [LATE SPORTS FINAL Edition]
JAE-HA KIM. Chicago Sun - Times. Chicago, Ill.: May 15, 1996. pg. 53

The Smashing Pumpkins have an open invitation from the producers of "The Simpsons." Should the Chicago-based supergroup ever decide to stop the music, they are welcome to join the cartoon's cast.

The Pumpkins-Simpsons lovefest began in January, when the band members recorded roles as themselves for this Sunday's episode. The animated Pumpkins not only held their own against regulars Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson, but singer Billy Corgan and guitarist James Iha proved to be adept mimics.

"Billy did an amazing imitation of Homer, and James did a really good Marge," said "Simpsons" executive producer Josh Weinstein. "It was so thrilling to have them on because they're one of my favorite groups. I think everyone (on the staff of `The Simpsons') was a little starstruck by them.

"We have a policy that we're not supposed to hassle the guest stars, but we did. A bunch of people brought albums for them to sign, and we did a group shot. They're the only celebrities that I ever had a photo of myself taken with."

Iha, probably the biggest Simpsons buff in the band, cracked everyone up by reciting lines from old episodes that even Weinstein couldn't remember.

The Pumpkins segment will air during the first half of the series' hourlong season finale, starting at 7 p.m. Sunday on WFLD-Channel 32. Homer, feeling old and out of touch, takes his kids to a music fest where the Pumpkins are playing. He ends up becoming a performer in the fest's freak show.

The Pumpkins are the biggest guest stars this week, but they're not the only ones. Also appearing are cartoon versions of Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill and Peter Frampton.

The episode, called "Homerpalooza," is based on the annual Lollapalooza alternative music fest that the Pumpkins headlined in 1994.

"I've never been to a Lollapalooza, but when we had the idea to do this story line, we sent the episode's writer (Brent Forrester) to a show," Weinstein said. "We were really glad we did because he had a really awful experience. All the kids thought he was a narc, even though he's only 27. A lot of the lines on the episode are direct quotes from him after his concert experience."

The Pumpkins were touring Europe and unavailable for comment, but in a Fox statement Corgan said, "It was a great experience. The people were incredibly easy to work with, and we were honored they asked us to participate."

The group is riding high on the success of its double CD, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," which has sold more than 6 million copies in the United States. It's tied with Michael Jackson's "HIStory" as history's best-selling double CD.

Fame, though, has stirred up some controversy. In the latest issue of Spin magazine, Corgan seemed to raise questions about the band's future, with quotes such as, "You can only be this high-powered mojo rock band for so long. And then you just can't look people in the eye. So we've projected our own demise."

But a spokeswoman said the Pumpkins have no plans to break up and that Corgan was referring to the group's sound, not its existence.

"Billy wants the band to go in a different direction and said that (`Mellon Collie') will be the last Pumpkins album where they sound like a seek-and-destroy band," said Gayle Fine, the Pumpkins' publicist. "He's thinking more along the lines of `1979' as a hint of things to come."

The single "1979" was more gentle and pop by Pumpkins standards than, say, the harsher "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" or "Cherub Rock."

The Pumpkins will kick off their U.S. tour at the end of June. A Chicago date hasn't been announced, but the band will play at the Mark of the Quad Cities in Downstate Moline on July 19.
Smashing Pumpkins musicians James Iha (clockwise from top left), Jimmy Chamberlin, D'Arcy and Billy Corgan become cartoon characters on Sunday's "Homerpalooza" episode of "The Simpsons" (right). See also related stories.

Credit: Jae-Ha Kim