The Smashing Pumpkins have a very interesting and awesome history with cover songs. Through all my years of listening to them, I’ve noticed that when they do a cover, it’s usually done in a manner that is tasteful, creative and a little different. I’m quite fond of their cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down.” So much so that it’s in my top 10 favorite covers. One of the cover songs that SP has done over the years that always was a fun one to delve into was their take on the David Essex classic “Rock On.” The Smashing Pumpkins version is a bit more experimental and artsy but, still retains the impact of the original with a new spin. If you haven’t heard this before, I’m interested to get your take on it.
It’s truly amazing how many great songs The Smashing Pumpkins have that are B-Sides. During the Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness era, not only did they write 28 songs for the alvum but also a whole plethora more which wound up being the box set, The Aeroplane Flies High. One of my favorite songs in the set comes from the “1979” single. That song is “Ugly” and it’s one hell of a great song. One of those B-Sides that you hear and right off the bat think, why wasn’t this on the album?! One day, I’d love for Billy Corgan to put together a whole album of Mellon Collie songs and Aeroplan songs into a full album and see what that sounds like.
One thing I genuinely enjoy about cover songs is when bands really make an effort to make it their own. Whether it’s changing up the vibe or arrangements, the new interpretation often times can take the song to new heights. A great example of this is The Smashing Pumpkins version of Joy Division’s “Transmission.” The Pumpkins take on it is spacey, borderline psychedelic and even transcendent at times. It’s different enough yet still pays homage in a very distinct way.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission (from Adore Deluxe Set):
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission Live 98:
The Smashing Pumpkins w/Davey Havok and Peter Hook- Transmission Live 2018:
The Smashing Pumpkins double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness celebrates it’s 25 birthday this year (actually October 24th is the official date). This album, was a huge game changer and has gone on to influence and inspire countless bands and artists throughout the years. I still remember buying the album when it came out, and the countless hours I’d sit in my room and listen to it. One of the memorable moments I have about this album is when I first saw the video for “Tonight, Tonight.” I was absolutely blown away by how visceral the video was along with how interesting it was. The video was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who would go on to make other pretty awesome videos for Korn and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a couple). The video won multiple MTV Video Music Awards as well as being a Grammy nominated clip. Another interesting tidbit about the video is that it stars Tom Kenny and Jill Talley who you might recognize from their work on Spongebob Squarepants and Mr. Show. This video is one of the all time greats and it deserves to get its acclaim and be celebrated along with the masterpiece of the album it belongs to.
For the past couple of weeks, The Smashing Pumpkins have been teasing something new in regards to their upcoming new album. Well, this morning they released two brand new songs, “CYR” and “The Colour Of Love.” They have an Adore feel to them along with an 80’s sensibility. It also kind of reminds me a little bit of where Billy was going on his solo album, The Future Embrace. Personally, I dig this a lot. It’s done well and the songs are well written. I look forward to this whole album which is supposed to be a double album with 20 songs. So I’ll reserve full judgement until it’s all out and I can hear it all in context. In the meantime, check out these two new songs!
There are certain bands that when they come out, hit a mark with such a sense of vigor and prowess that each era of the band, leaves a lasting impression. Some people tend to become very attached to “that era” and it becomes their be all end all. The Smashing Pumpkins have so many different eras and shades of themselves that have created some very dominant ones for many fans. I will say that yes, there are certain favorites of mine but, a band like this, and so many other of their peers, have this ability to forever take you on a journey as they and you grow. The Smashing Pumpkins are definitely a band that will do just that. On the bands super deluxe version of the Siamese Dream anniversary edition, there is a DVD in there from a legendary show in the band’s hometown of Chicago, at the Metro. This is one hell of a show.
One of the best things about going back through a band’s catalog is finding all the things you forgot about. Over the last couple years, I’ve rediscovered my love for The Smashing Pumpkins, and through my journey, I keep finding so many wonderful gems. For example, in the deluxe edition of Pisces Iscariot, there are so many great songs on the bonus disc. This cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” was one I forgot about. It’s really a very cool cover with a different vibe, a la 90’s. The Type O Negative cover of this song is still the best but, the pumpkins sure do a damn good job with it.
This isn’t necessarily a “collaboration” but, it did happen and it was pretty magical. A couple years ago, The Smashing Pumpkins did a few shows to celebrate them being a band for 30 years. They invited a few people to come join them on stage, Chino Moreno of Deftones fame being one of them. They performed two classic Pumpkins songs that evening, “Bodies” from Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness and “Snail” from “Gish.” It’s almost like Chino was meant to sing “Bodies” and “Snail”when you listen to him sing them. I’d love to hear the soundboard audio of these songs but, these versions are pretty good.
Way back in the year 2000, The Smashing Pumpkins, released the second part of their (then) swan song, Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music. This album never fully got the proper release and instead released for free on the internet on September 5, 2000. Plans for a standard physical release, bundled with the first part Machina I: The Machines of God, was supposed to happen in 2013 but was postponed due to legal setbacks. In a recent Q&A on Instagram, Billy Corgan revealed that all legal issues had been resolved. The two albums are said to be remastered and released as one in 2020. That being said, The Smashing Pumpkins did do some promotion for the album back in 2000 with a very memorable performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which also ended up being the band’s final television appearance until their 2007 revival.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Cash Car Star (on Tonight Show with Jay Leno):
Yesterday while I was at work, I had a song pop into my head and it sent me on a dive back to an album I hadn’t listened to in a minute. The song was “Stand Inside Your Love” by The Smashing Pumpkins from their highly underrated album Machina. It’s always been one of those songs in the bands catalog that has given me chills. I was sort of daydreaming while listening to the song and letting it take me away. It’s truly a beautiful song and one of Billy Corgan’s best too. It’s been said that the song was written about a then girlfriend. Billy once said in an interview about the track “‘Stand Inside Your Love’ is one of those rare songs that seems to write itself really quickly… As far as the song goes, it’s sort of a love song that rocks, which is pretty rare, even for me. And I even got my girlfriend dancing in the video, so it’s all a tribute to my girlfriend, I guess.”
The video itself is pretty stunning. It’s a tribute to the play Salome by Oscar Wilde. The look of the video is heavily influenced by the original Salome illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. You might recognize Ken Davitian (from Borat) in the video. Billy’s then girlfriend also appears in the video.
Something else that I find interesting is that “Stand Inside Your Love” was originally supposed to be the first single from Machina but, at the last minute it was changed to “The Everlasting Gaze.” Either way, “Stand Inside Your Love” is one hell of a great song and the video is interesting, intriguing and artful.