For those of you who didn't yet know, our friend Billy was frontman of the Chicago band The Smashing Pumpkins
. A brilliant alternative rock-band, with grunge outbursts, garnished with a light and benign dash of Pop. The SP soon became very popular with millions of albums sold world-wide.
13 years later, Corgan breaks up the band and leaves to do his own thing with various projects that prove to be one failure after another, like Zwan
and succesively The Future Embrace
, his first solo work. Frustrating.
To become aware that ones creative spark has gone out and see success slowly slide away is something that could destroy anyone. But Billy wasn't one to be battered by such a blow and in true Balboa style (but less heroically) fought back: he knew what to do. He captured the scent of money on the breeze, the fleeting shadow of fame... his old Zero costume like Peter Parker's Spider-man guise couldn't just sit there collecting dust in an old attic -no- it was time to get the Smashing Pumpkins back together.
On the 21 June 2005, the same day of The Future Embrace's release, Corgan sends out a message to all the ex members of the SP (apart from Melissa Auf Der Maur
whose solo career proved to be far superioir to Billy's, and infact wasn't contacted by the latter); an intimate message, to his intimate friends. Intimate indeed! A couple of pages of the Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun with his bald head and a slightly Clint Eastwoodish expression and overhead a vaguely ego-centric announcement: "A message to Chicago from Billy Corgan" and an article where he invites the other band-members to re-unite. Only Jimmy Chamberlain
, the faithful drummer replies to his announcement and... surprise! It's time to celebrate the re-union!
Now it's official, the Smashing Pumpkins are back together. Who cares how many of them are. The best comment I heard regarding this folkoristic situation was "Hey! Have you heard? Ringo Starr and Paul McCarteny have reformed the Beatles!"
Billy Corgan has obtained what he wanted. He's at the centre of the attention, and a seven year-wait would push many fans to spend a lot of money. So be it. "Zeitgeist" is distributed in a myriad of editions and versions, each with their own colour tones on the front-cover, and each with its own extra-song depending upon the colour you choose (and of course your choice of financial investment). Various other little gifts and things, like the ones you find in crisp-packets, embellish the entire package. So long as one pays.
I don't wish to prolong myself further with regards to the obvious complaints this whole situation provokes in any critically minded being, so here's one of Corgan's maxims. One of those typically cryptic phrases that dark and mysterious musicians such as our friend Billy loves to puzzle the less acute amongst us with: "Whoever has a castle has my respect." What to say...
: a gem in an otherwise rather mediocre album. This song is very very beautiful indeed, with Billy's voice multiplying and the guitars trembling beautifully. Apart from this I hope to have warned you of a tepid album, whose opportunistic traits have little to add to the band's previous works. The sound is willingly dirty, and the drummer sounds like he's playing in another room. Believe me this album isn't worth a pound, euro, dollar, nothing.