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Band Pre Riviera Show Interview
October 22, 1995, 11:00 pm

Pre Riviera Show Interview
October 23, 1995

Bill Wyman: Welcome to the worldwide concert broadcast of Smashing Pumpkins live from the Riviera Theater in chilly Chicago. I'm Billy Wyman and we're hours away from the official release of Smashing Pumpkins' new 2 CD set, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and we're just minutes away from hearing the band's celebratory record release party from their hometown of Chicago. I'm sitting here with the Smashing Pumpkins themselves...

D'arcy: In a truck, taped by the Riviera...

BW: ...Billy Corgan, D'arcy...

BC: No, we're live right before the show, D'arcy.

D: O God...in a truck.

BW: ...Jimmy Chamberlain, and James Iha. Thanks for being here you guys.

James: Well, it's our show. (all laugh)

BW: You might as well show up

D: We had nowhere else to be.

BC: We're happy to be here.

BW: So what are you, are you nervous, are you happy, are you confident, how do you feel?

JI: I'll tell you, Bill, we're going in a little crazy, uh...we're feeling headstrong, we're playing confident, we're gonna play good ball out there tonight, uh...we heard the audience is tough, we know it's a Chicago audience...a lot of different things go through your mind...you're energize, but you're nervous, you're scared, but yet you're happy...

BW: I don't think you want to continue the sports metaphor in Chicago, James, cuz Chicago doesn’t have a whole bunch of winning teams right now, do they?

Jimmy: No, the Bears are in first place.

D: The Bulls have got Rodman.

BW: Ok, I was thinking baseball.

BC: I got three words for you...We're taking it to the streets.

BW: Ok, Billy...this record is a 2 cd set...

JC: That's five words! (all laughing)

BW: ...it's a two record set...

BC: I know Jimmy, it's a joke.

BW: ...where in the course of recording this album did it become sucha big and epic undertaking?

BC: Um, we decided to do the double album long before we ever actually set out to do it.

D: Long before we even started the band.

JC: We talked about it long before we though we could do it.

BW: A double album is every band's dream, I hear.

BC: It was in the DNA.

BW: Ok, is it a concept album?

BC: No.

BW: However, it's kind of, it's like, it is kind of scaled. There's two different cds, one's called Dawn to Dusk, and another's called Twilight to Starlight. What's the thinking behind that?

BC: Kind of a day and night thing.

BW: Hmmm...

BC: One's better for the day when you're rocking', the other...

BW: That's a good point, cuz the first album is kind of front-loader, with a whole bunch of hard rock tunes.

BC: Right

BW: This second album ha some very noisy stuff on it but I think the last like five songs really takes the listener out pretty well.

BC: Right.

BW: That was the intention from the beginning?

BC: We want to put you to sleep at the very end, yes.

JC: That's the knockout punch.

JI: Right.

BW: Ok, now at the same time I do hear some conceptual sort of things. I mean, you could look at it as the day in the life of some sort of every fan going through...

JI: The Everyman (all laugh)

BW: Every what?

JI: The Every man

BC: We're into the Everyman

JI: The concept of the Everyman

D: We are the Everyman.

JI: We are the Everyman.

D: Especially me.

JC: (laughing) Especially D'arcy.

BW: But none of this was intentional? None of this was intentional, there's no concept behind it.

BC: uuummm...you never know.

BW: Ok. The first song, we're going to play three of four songs from the new album, in the upcoming minutes, the first one we wanted to play is Here is no why. Do i hear this correctly, there's some sort of Ziggy Stardust-like character in there, there's some very kind of scabrous kind of commentary on some sort of...

JI: (laughing) scabrous...also, insidious.

BW: ...rock star.

BC: Um, no it's kind of a basic ode to like, the death rock me.

BW: O, you as a death rocker.

BC: The me that existed at 18. The black-haired misanthrope.

BW: Ok. And the sound of it is a little bit different from the Pumpkins of the past, it seems to me it has a real, not really classic rock styling, but it does seem to be...

BC: Um, a little glam...we always think of it as kind of glammy.

BW: Definitely glam feel. Let's listen to Here is no why from the new Smashing Pumpkins record Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and we'll be right back.


BW: And here we are outside the Riviera Theater.

BC: Whoo! That was heavy.

BW: Just minutes before the Smashing Pumpkins take the stage.

BC: And hey, by the way, thanks for listening everybody.

BW: ...for their celebratory record release concert here in Chicago. The record is Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the song you just heard is Here is no why.. What does that title mean?

BC: Don't know.

BW: Uh..ok.

JC: It used to be No, is here why.

BW: and just got mixed up in the transcription?

JC: Right.

BW: Another thing people are going to notice about this record is how epic it is, how ambitious it is, and how diverse the music is. The Smashing Pumpkins have always dealt in diverse musical styles but now we've got weird electronic songs, we've got a lullaby, we've got a country song...

D: (laughs)

BW: ..an almost country song...

BW: ...and something that almost sounds as noisy as Nine Inch Nails..:

BC: Hey, watch it...

BW: I'm thinking of Lily.

D: That wouldn't be that burlesque song would it?

BW: Yeah, that would be the last thing...

JC: Yeah, that's a burlesque song.

BW: The first use of a ukulele on a Smashing Pumpkins record. I'm just joking. Any thought about that? Is that part of the concept too of the record?

JC: Yeah, we'd like to thank Tiny Tim for doing the guest appearance on that one.

BC: Um, no, it was a really exciting record to do cuz um we got to try all sorts of different crazy stuff. James had his kazoo out..

JI: Yep, my harmonica, my kazoo...

BW: The other members of the band take vocal turns on the closing song.

JC: (in a high pitched voice) Yes.

BW: Ok, and how was it with Flood? Did Flood help you work on the diversity, was he a steadying influence...?

JI: No.

BC: Well, he had one of those English whips with the...

BW: How'd you come to, how'd you hook up with him?

BC: Um, we're really big fans of a lot of records that he'd done, like Crime and the City Solution, and Erasure and Depeche Mode and he made some really cool records with bands that you wouldn't necessarily like all heir music but somehow those records seemed to stand out, and I kept picking up all these records and noticing this guys names on, named Flood. So I met him at a party and we talked and I mentioned that I'd be interested in having him work with us at some point and he seemed interested and we talked about it alter and that' s how it worked out.

BW: On Siamese Dream, the lead off song Cherub Rock began with "Let me out of your scene, let me out of your scene...

BC: Now, see now, it never...I never said.

BW: ...you were kind of...

BC: Let me out of your scene, I don't understand that.

BW: What did it, what doe sit say?

BC: It just says "Let me out"

BW: I guess the implication...

BC: Out of your scene...?

JC: (laughs) That's on your version.

BC: Out of your scene, man? (all laugh)

BW: It seems you could read that as a critique...

BC: Sure...

BW: ...of the alternative rock world. This record seems to stay away from all that. I mean, now that you've headlined Lollapalooza, you must feel like you're pretty much in control of your place in the...

BC: Well, we were reacting to what was like the old status quo kind of, you know, the bands that were probably the more early alternative bands, like the Mudhoneys and people like that, I mean, bands that we liked and we couldn't understand why they had a problem with us. Suddenly, you know, we were like the bane of their existence and we couldn't really understand why, having been fans and having followed the bands it was kind of hard for us to understand, so it was kind f a negative reaction to a lot of the vitriolic crap that came out of all that, you know. So...it wasn't...it was, you know, it was something, you now...and plus it was some of the stuff that had gone on in Chicago too, but you now it's great now cuz we're in a totally different position, and um, there's not much anyone can really say that can stop us or hurt us or keep up from being what we are and that's a much nicer position to be in.

BW: I can see that, too. The next song we're going to play is 1979, and when you talk about um, you know, what you used to write about, now you really seem, as you said in the Tribune this morning, you're concentrating on writing about you know what life is like for kids these days. 1979 I think is a real nice portrait of sort of ...I'm reading it as sort of teenage restlessness, it seems to be, have characteristics of...

BC: Really, that's actually kind of an...this, well this song is kind of interesting cuz it was um the last song that actually got put on the album and we were actually going to throw it off the album and u I went home and kind of completely rewrote the song in one night and came back the next day and Flood just loved it and we recorded it like pretty much right there.

BW: And as we listen to this I think it has a really interesting backing track, it's really lulling, it brings you a long, there's al sort of weird little sound effects init, too, where did they come from?

BC: That's all the electronic equipment we've been using, sampling and stuff. I think it's really, this kind of an interesting way where you can still retain your identity musically but still encompass the new technology available to make a different kind of music. So it's kind of like you know it's like synthesizers without the hokey like synthesizer parts, you now.

BW: Terrific. Check it out, 1979. From the Smashing Pumpkins new record Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness. We'll be right back.