Billy Corgan took time out to focus on the 30th anniversary of Smashing Pumpkins‘ debut set, Gish. The album, which was released on May 29th, 1991, was co-produced by Corgan and Butch Vig, who later that year was behind the boards for Nirvana‘s breakthrough album, Nevermind.
Corgan admitted to Rolling Stone that 30 years seemed to mean a whole lot more when he was a kid than it does today, explaining, “It’s pretty wild, because it doesn’t seem that long ago. I remember my grandmother telling me stories about things that happened and her saying, ‘Gosh, it doesn’t feel like that long ago.’ To me as a kid, 30 years seemed like a lifetime. And now I look back, and it doesn’t feel that long ago. I can still see us in Smart (Studios) with Butch. I can still see where the drums were and everything. It’s as clear in my mind as if it happened a year ago. It’s pretty wild. I know it’s real, but I’m a little slow on accepting it.”
In the ensuing years, the Pumpkins’ 1993 Siamese Dream album has garnered so much of the attention when discussing the band’s early work, that Corgan feels it’s happened at the expense of Gish: “People have tended to diminish the influence of the record. I remember having a conversation with Eddie Vedder when we were on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (in late 1991). He told me how much of an influence Gish was on their first record. And through the years, I’ve talked to many, many people who really pointed to Gish as the game-changer in their mind about how to approach guitar and how to record.”
With Butch Vig moving from the Gish sessions to recording Nirvana’s second album, the connection between the two ’91 alt classics is undeniable, with Corgan saying: “Obviously, the album had a lot to do with how Nevermind was recorded. The album had a lot to do with what became Queens Of The Stone Age. I remember Josh Homme talking to me about Kyuss, the band he was in before Queens, and how Gish was the record for him that really turned his head.”
He went on to say, “So privately, I’ve had a lot of conversations over the years of people talking to me about Gish. But it’s been kind of pushed aside because, obviously, what followed it was so massive and so game-changing that it got a little pushed back. And then Siamese Dream seemed like our breakthrough moment.”
Billy Corgan told us that he’s been aware for years how much the early-Smashing Pumpkins albums have influenced the music that came in their wake: “Overly masculine kind of invested rock on paper doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with what we did. But then, I’ve gotten to know Fred Durst a little bit, and the Smashing Pumpkins are, like, one of his favorite bands. When he was 16, 17, he was listening to Gish and Siamese (Dream). So, y’know, somehow along the way, we had to do Nirvana, and that approach seemed to invest itself into, like, what becomes heavier and heavier. So, I don’t think it’s a peer thing so much as it’s just part of a lineage. I’m not taking the credit or the blame.”
IN OTHER PUMPKINS NEWS
Smashing Pumpkins posted a message to fans on its social media platforms:
Announcing the very first SP archival release: SP Live in Japan, 1992.
This limited-edition release includes double LP purple swirl, 180g vinyl. Audio is from a board tape and is not available anywhere else.
This edition will only be available for 24 hours online at Madame Zuzu’s (https://bit.ly/3p6Jq2t). Autographed version by Billy and Jimmy is available.
Setlist from Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan February 1992 (includes banter, extended songs, yes this is a full 2xLP):
“I Am One”