Billy Corgan discussed the state of the Smashing Pumpkins and their viability as a touring act in a new interview with Crestfallen.com. Crestfallen.com owner Monte read off a few names from the top 25 touring acts of the last year which included Nickelback and Pearl Jam. Corgan responded, “If we had done the celebrate Mellon Collie tour we would have been in the top 25 easily.” Corgan compared the Smashing Pumpkins to a ‘rebuilding sports franchise’ and said ‘We want to be a team that can win championships.’ He also said that when people say he has become difficult, he said he has always been difficult (in the context of new material/live shows) and that he doesn’t understand why he should change his strategy that won him championships in the past. He also said that the Pumpkins will never again play a new album live front to back and that with Oceania it was a ‘one time thing.’
December 28, 2012- Washington DC- 9:30 Club
December 29, 2012- New York, NY- Terminal 5
December 31, 2012- Atlantic City, NJ- House of Blues
Red Hot Chili Peppers
December 31, 2012- Las Vegas, NV- The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan
A Perfect Circle
December 29, 2012- Las Vegas, NV- Planet Hollywood
December 29, 2012- Aurora, IL- Ballydoyle Irish Pub
December 30, 2012- Chicago, IL- Beat Kitchen
December 31, 2012- Chicago, IL- Beat Kitchen
December 28, 2012- Austin, TX- Moody Theater
A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel was asked in a new interview with Las Vegas Weekly if a new A Perfect Circle album was currently in the works, he responded, “No, I’d love to—when the time is right. It would be awesome. I’m trying to write songs with that in mind, but … right now, I’m focusing most of my energy on a new Ashes Divide record, which is under way with 11 songs. Still working on finishing vocals and writing lyrics, and hopefully get that thing mixed in January or February.” A Perfect Circle’s last album eMOTIVe was released in 2004, but it was mostly a covers album and only featured two original songs. The last A Perfect Circle album containing all new material was 2003’s Thirteenth Step.
Billy Corgan’s tribute song to his late friend Dennis Flemion of The Frogs, “25 Surprise,” has not yet been recorded according to BillCo in a new interview with Crestfallen.com. Billy recorded a rough take on Quicktime on his computer to document the idea, but has been too busy to record it with Smashing Pumpkins tour dates. He said he hopes to record it, possibly in demo form with him playing on piano.
From the PJ20 festival in September 2011 with Josh Homme. In The Moonlight is a Binaural B-side.
Billy Corgan stated in a new interview with Crestfallen.com that the next album needs to be “far strong than Oceania, that takes time.” He added that it needs to be an “album that shows real growth from Oceania.” He compared it to the jump from Gish to Siamese Dream, and from Siamese Dream to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. While he is proud of Oceania, BillCo said making something just as good as Oceania isn’t enough. He said he’d be shocked if the album was out in 2013.
Corgan also discussed the possibility of releasing a ‘reissue’ type version of Oceania on vinyl in 2013 with the ‘Abbey Road’ soundboard mix, along with some bonus tracks, to coincide with a possible European tour. He said that the odds of this happening though are less than 20%, and that a European tour happening is a coin flip.
I’m sticking to singers who have had commercial success on this one. Trent Reznor isn’t nominated because he is not the frontman of his current band How To Destroy Angels, and Josh Homme isn’t nominated because Queens of the Stone Age did not tour or release a new album this year.
Last Christmas season, Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland released The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Kicking off the album promotional cycle was the music video for “Winter Wonderland.” It’s hard to really describe it, so here are some pictures.
Anyways, so Scott released the video and people all over the internet shit on it. In interviews promoting the album Weiland stated that he was doing the album due to his love of old Christmas songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole. I bought the album the day it came out (hey, I did the same thing for Chris Cornell’s Scream). The best track by far was “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” which Scott had released two years prior digitally. His vocals on that were great. The rest were an odd mix off Scott adding a bossa nova vibe to Christmas songs and on a few he sounded like he may have sipped a bit too much eggnog in the recording booth.
Scott also did a limited tour for the album. I had the pleasure of attending Scott’s show in Santa Ana, California. Scott showed up nearly 2 hours late, during this time I texted my father to discuss Weiland’s wherabouts. My father explained, “What is time anyway? Time is but material for a song. Meaningless fodder for those who fly high above us ticket buyers. You are trapped in a Weiland world.” Weiland showed up and crooned his way through the Christmas classics. He told the crowd he attended Huntington High School which was nearby, though he actually attended Edison High, in Huntington Beach. He also asked the crowd if they were there for medicine. He claimed his kids like celebrating Hanukkah with his managers because the food is better. There were these two drunk chicks that kept screaming to Scott all night long, he mostly ignored them. He did have some crowd interaction though. He talked a little bit about his admiration of Bob Marley and John Lennon. A few times he talked about the holidays, how all of our roads are tough, that kind of stuff. Somebody was yelling out fuck (you’re fucking hot or something) and Scott responded with something along the lines of, “Hey, it’s the holidays.” I think Scott mentioned that he thought Rod Stewart was there, most likely a joke.
The show was the most bizarre concert I’d ever attended. Only a year prior I had seen him rocking the stage, right on time, at the top of his game with Stone Temple Pilots at the Nokia Theater on their self-titled album tour. Now I was watching him pay tribute to Bing Crosby. The show was definitely worth it though, I’ll never forget it. I still wonder if the whole thing was tongue in cheek on Scott’s part.
A year later, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year remains one of the most fascinating things in recent alternative rock history. It ranks right up there with Chris Cornell’s Scream, Perry Farrell’s I Like Em Big music video, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Widow Wake My Mind, and Jerry Cantrell opening for Nickelback.
Recorded with Eleven in 1997 for A Very Special Christmas Vol. 3.
1991 Christmas single, also on Lost Dogs.
From the early to mid 2000’s on WGN.
Billy Corgan vs. Chris Cornell
BillCo went after Chris Cornell and Soundgarden this year, calling them a sellout reunion act only in it for the money. He also said Cornell criticized his Smashing Pumpkins resurrection in 2007 as not being ‘legitimate’ and he did not forget this. Cornell responded sarcastically saying that Corgan owed him his 40 grand paycheck for the Singles soundtrack since he got the Pumpkins their spot on the soundtrack.
Billy Corgan vs. James Iha
Corgan and Iha have been at it for over a decade now, with the saga beginning when the Pumpkins initially broke up in 2000. Sometime after this Iha began filing lawsuits against BillCo, which has caused him to refer to Iha as a “piece of shit” and one of the worst human beings he has ever met. Iha responded that the remarks sounded bitter, but BillCo has been landing the punches in most of this fight.
Billy Corgan vs. Stephen Malkmus
The longest running BillCo feud, dating back to 1994 when Stephen Malkmus mocked the Smashing Pumpkins in the Pavement song “Range Life.” Corgan has continued to call out Pavement and Malkmus for being hypocrites and doing a cash grab reunion tour with no new material.
Billy Corgan vs. Hipsters
BillCo declared war on the “bearded army of bloggers” in 2012, spending hours lecturing people at SXSW on how hipsters have killed rock and roll. Corgan’s feud with hipsters has definitely been the most popular among fans, who remain divided when it comes to the Cornell/Iha feuds.
Scott Weiland vs. Slash
After a one off reunion set in Los Angeles back in January, Scott Weiland saw dollar signs and began to use to the press to try and get a Velvet Revolver reunion going. Weiland claimed in May that the band were already back together writing a new album with a tour planned for later in the year. Slash responded saying Weiland is “out of his mind” and that he never wants to play with him again. Weiland resumed the reunion talk at an even stronger pace following Stone Temple Pilots’ summer tour, saying that a reunion is inevitable. Slash fired back claiming that Weiland is trying to coax him into a Velvet Revolver reunion because he was fired from Stone Temple Pilots, but yet again has said that he will not play with Weiland.
Perry Farrell vs. Eric Avery
This feud began brewing when bassist Eric Avery left Jane’s Addiction again in 2010. Avery did a tell all interview later that year with Jane’s Addiction fansite Xiola.org, ripping Farrell for his lack of preparation and unprofessional behavior during recording sessions with Trent Reznor in 2009 and accusing him of being an egomaniac control freak who half assed the Jane’s Addiction reunion. Perry Farrell first responded in the Jane’s Addiction track “End to the Lies” on the 2011 album The Great Escape Artist, referring to Avery as the ‘foreskin’ of Jane’s Addiction while he was ‘the real head.’ Farrell then claimed this past August in an interview regarding recording the new Jane’s Addiction album, “The bass player wanted to do festivals only and cash in. I was of a different opinion.” This was in contrast to Avery’s claim that his first priority when the band reunited in 2008 was to record new material.
Courtney Love vs. Dave Grohl
Courtney Love accused Dave Grohl of sleeping with Frances Bean Cobain, she said she would “shoot him dead.” She also claimed that Grohl is obsessed with her and Kurt Cobain, accusing Grohl of naming his daughter Violet after the Hole song and making Taylor Hawkins the drummer of Foo Fighters because
Courtney Love vs. Frances Bean Cobain
Courtney accused her own daughter of having sex with Dave Grohl on her Twitter page. Frances responded “Twitter should ban my mother.”
Courtney Love vs. Krist Novoselic
Courtney went after the surviving members of Nirvana reuniting a couple of weeks ago with Paul McCartney to perform the new track “Cut Me Some Slack,” calling the performance bad. She in particular went after Krist Novoselic, the co-founder of Nirvana and one of her late husband’s best friends. Love claimed that Novoselic was never know for playing bass well, and that Paul McCartney “better get earmuffs for the bass playing.”
While Seattle is deservedly regarded as a nucleus of the 90s rock scene, there were some pretty exciting groups a thousand miles south in Los Angeles also responsible for some of the decade’s best musical moments. Stone Temple Pilots faced serious critical scorn, but quickly emerged as solid, consistent hitmakers. Red Hot Chili Peppers thrived thanks to the addition of guitarist John Frusciante and the universal appeal of songs like “Under the Bridge.” But while Sun 60 may not have been in heavy rotation on MTV or radio, their poppy but boundary-pushing sound makes their trio of releases required listening for any self-respecting 90s rock fan. Only, the band’s sophomore effort, might just be its finest hour.
“We had just finished writing the songs for the record and decided to really challenge our production and interpretation of our songs,” says Joan Jones, lead singer of Sun 60. That process led to a number of prominent guests dropping by the studio, covert recording sessions, and even the band obtaining a helicopter.
Under the watchful eye of Scott Litt (best known for his work with R.E.M. and Nirvana), the band wasted no time in bringing their diverse batch of songs to the next level. Several tracks boast a stellar back-up squad: Dave Navarro, the Jane’s Addiction guitarist on the eve of his ill-fated stint with Red Hot Chili Peppers; Jack Irons, already a veteran of RHCP, then playing drums in L.A.’s underrated Eleven, and later to join Pearl Jam; and Alain Johannes, a prolific producer and then the frontman for Eleven.
Sun 60 guitarist/pianist David Russo was happy to have the “remarkable” Navarro’s guitar work on two tracks. “Piano is my main instrument and I had just picked up guitar in order to bring some different textures into the mix but, really, I’m kind of dismal,” Russo humbly reflects. “[Dave] elevated ‘Never Seen God’ to a whole different level.”
Navarro’s impressive riffs on that funky track are matched only by his work on “Mary X-Mess,” Only‘s opener. Arguably the band’s greatest song, written as Jones’ “way of dealing with the holidaze,” it’s abstruse lyrics might not make it a favorite for carolers (though I certainly wouldn’t slam the door on anyone singing lyrics like, “Claim her drink tasted just the like the smell of the ham which made her sick 12 years ago”) but it’s certainly a good way to spice up a predictable Christmas playlist. It’s a perfect storm of Navarro’s wild guitar, Irons’ manic drumming, and Jones’ charming vocals (think a rockier Suzanne Vega).
The album offers more than chaotic rockers, though. Most of the band’s favorite tracks are the softer ballads, like “All of the Joy.” “That song came about quite simply and quickly,” Russo remembers. “I have a clear memory of the night and the joy. It held a lot of personal truths for me and the memory of sharing that with [Joan] is the most compelling.”
Jones cites “Pressure” as a particular standout. Written towards the end of the recording sessions, getting it on the album required some stealth on her part. “It was a Sunday and it was a day off,” she says. “I wanted to mess around in the studio and make up some stuff.” With the help of her friend Marc “Sugarshroom” Friedenberg, she began recording the song on free tracks of another song that the band was in the process of overdubbing. “[‘Pressure’] is moody and quiet ‘cuz we didn’t want to get in trouble for being in the studio that day,” she explains. Her plan was thwarted when a furious Russo unexpectedly came to the studio and kicked them out. But the bigger surprise came a day later, when Jones, expecting Russo and Litt to chastise her, learned that they loved the track. The group completed it and it became the album’s closing cut.
Truly, Only has something for everybody. There are inspiring anthems (“Hold On”), sludgy blues (“Tuff to Say”), warm acoustic numbers (“Tell Me Like You Know”), and harmonious grooves (“Water x3”). Whether that worked against the album commercially is unclear, but Jones has mixed emotions about the label’s commitment to the band. “Epic was a good record company for Sun 60 but there was always a battle,” she says. “They were one of the only majors that actually knew the value of college radio and touring. They did lack vision with the new wave of female performers that were not just rock or pop in a box. […] We battled on videos and imagery. They always wanted me to look like something I wasn’t.” Case in point: the director Epic hired for the “Hold On” and “Never Seen God” videos never finished them. The band members took it upon themselves to complete the videos, including a helicopter scene over Hollywood Hills.
Another problem with the label emerged shortly before the band’s publicity push for its third album, Headjoy, was about to start. A turnover at Epic removed much of Sun 60’s support base. With one album still left under their contract, the band could leave the label to get some much-needed cash. Hollywood Records was willing to sign Jones…as a solo act. For Russo, who was never interested in performing on stage, it was an easy decision. “Personally, I was ready to move on,” he says. “Sun 60, to me, was never more than an expression of my love for Joan. I never really cared about being in a band. […] It wasn’t an authentic life for me.” Since leaving Sun 60, he embarked on a European tour with Sheryl Crow; did various studio work; and scored over 40 films and TV shows, including Sin City, Pineapple Express, and Grindhouse. He’s currently scoring the third season of the CW’s Nikita. “I think what’s next for me is to continue to make music every day of my life in whatever fashion I can,” he says. “That’s really it.”
“It was a real shame that [David] and I couldn’t artistically move forward together,” Jones says. “The band had really become a well-oiled machine and was a lot of fun.” She has recorded several solo albums since leaving Sun 60, including 1998’s acclaimed Starlite Criminal. A regular performer at Arnold Palmer’s in La Quinta, CA, an injury kept her off the stage for most of 2012, but she’ll be back in action on New Year’s Eve. She also hopes to record next year.
Only is a record with a wide range of emotions, so it’s only fitting that Sun 60 shares that legacy for its creators. “Sun 60 is bittersweet for me,” Russo admits. “It was an unbelievable time for me and I was privileged to witness some magic that Joan created. She was a force of nature. A beautiful force of nature.”