The Smashing Pumpkins are playing Terminal 5 tonight, and tickets are still available. But should you go see The Smashing Pumpkins? The answer should be an unequivocal “yes,” as very few bands from the past 20 years have such a rich back catalog.
But Grand Pumpkin Billy Corgan hasn't made it easy on his fans in the past few years, so your inner conflict is understandable. If you’re feeling on the fence about scoring a last-minute ticket, let Nonstop Sound help you work through your mixed feelings.
Pro: “Today,” “1979,” “Tonight Tonight,” “Siva,” “Perfect.” Their body of work is unimpeachable. Very few bands have ever had as much stylistic range -- from tender ballads to electronic pop to face-eating metal -- or perfectly matched forward thinking experimentation with beautiful, ingrating melodies.
Con: Doesn't their new stuff all suck?
Pro: Well, give or take a few songs, their 2007 “comeback” album Zeitgeist wasn't that impressive, but ever since then the band has focused on releasing singles online. Many of those are actually very good, from the prog-metal epic “Superchrist” to the lovely pop song "Owata.”
Con: Isn't Billy Corgan the only original member in the band anymore?
Pro: Plenty of bands, from Wilco to Nine Inch Nails to Jesus & Mary Chain to Bright Eyes to Broken Social Scene are based around a primary songwriter with the rest of the members coming and going, and those guys don’t get nearly the amount of grief for it that Corgan does.
Pro: Uhm….well I think he's in his early twenties now.
Con: And hasn’t he said plenty of unconscionably mean and petty things about founding members James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky?
Pro: Yeah, and that’s a pretty crappy thing to do, granted. But the Smashing Pumpkins were almost exclusively Corgan’s artistic vision. Well, maybe Corgan and Chamberlin. All he needs is a group of capable musicians to back him up.
Con: Why does Corgan dress like he’s in a ’70s Buddhist orgy cult?
Pro: Could we please focus on the music? A quick perusal through YouTube shows that his current backing band, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentio and drummer Mike Bryne are a solid backing unit and all the current run of shows have been high energy affairs.
Pro: You don't have to sign off on an artist’s personality to like their music.
Con: And doesn't this whole reunion seem like a desperate move after people clearly didn't care about Zwan or his solo career, and doesn't it all feel like he's treating his beloved band as a brand name first and foremost?
Pro: He clearly does his best work within the Smashing Pumpkins template, and it is his right to revive it if he thinks there's artistic merit in doing so. And does the amount of new songs and classic demos he's been giving away for free at the Smashing Pumpkins website not win him any points at all?
Con: Isn't his obsession with professional wrestling getting kind of weird?
Pro: The man is allowed to have hobbies.
Con: His voice is...
Pro: Shut up about the voice.
Con: When the Pumpkins played New York’s United Palace in 2008, didn't he subject the crowd to formless 20 minute jam session and then bitch them out for not appreciating it?
Pro: Did we mention that The Smashing Pumpkins are playing “Frail And Bedazzled” on this tour?
Con: Oh word? That song is awesome. How much are tickets?
Con: He just can't make it easy on his fans, can he?
The Smashing Pumpkins play Terminal 5 tonight along with Fancy Space People, Light FM. Tickets are available here.