The State of the Band - 2019
Now that we are well into the beginning of 2019, and as it’s always a good idea to take stock and sum up our standing, let’s take a look at the current state of The Smashing Pumpkins - where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going from here.
First, where we’ve been. 2018 was an explosive year for the band, and in truth, a real rebirth. Let’s take in the grand picture. With 2014’s Monuments to an Elegy having only Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder as the remaining members, and the waters muddy on whether or not the proposed follow up (Day For Night) would ever materialize, the future of The Smashing Pumpkins was certainly a large question mark. But in 2016, there was a rush of new excitement as Billy Corgan and James Iha played together for the first time since 2000, showing that fences had been mended and there was a possibility of new creative collaboration in the future. With the repairing of relationships between Corgan and his former bandmates, including D’arcy Wretzky, all signs pointed towards a reunion. Sadly, as everyone knows, D’arcy ended up not participating – which is its own unfortunate story, no matter whose side you’re on. But nevertheless, the band marched on and made an effective line up for their 2018 reunion tour, and to the delight of fans, kept Jeff Schroeder on guitar, in addition to James Iha, and enlisted Jack Bates as touring bassist. What followed was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable and spectacular tours in the history of the band, and probably the most visually stunning.
With the creative direction of long-time collaborator Linda Strawberry and choreographer Jessica Redish, a three-hour show was crafted with amazing theatrical pieces on a backdrop screen that interpreted the feel of the songs and also built a kind of artistic narrative to go along with the show. Having three guitars also allowed Billy Corgan to go guitar-free and simply take the mic and perform, interacting with both the set and the audience and do multiple costume changes. Simply put, it was an extravagant, incredible tour, full of meaning and dedication, and a real gift to the fans. As one who attended the Nashville show, words are not enough to express how incredible an experience it was. For me, it was one of the best times of my life.
2018 also brought us the 8 song EP Shiny and Oh So Bright, vol.1 No Past. No Future. No Sun. The volume featured a diverse bundle of songs that yielded three singles (Solara, Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts), and Knights of Malta respectively) and consequently gave fans two of the most interesting, delightfully bizarre and fun music videos ever in the history of the band (Solara and Silvery Sometimes). Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts) in particular has been a fan favorite and considered a continuation of the feeling and aesthetic of songs like 1979 and Perfect.
The year also marked the 30th anniversary of the founding of the band in 1988, (when it was just Billy and James) and was marked on the Shiny and Oh So Bright tour, the commemoration continuing with some additional shows towards the end of the year, post-tour.
So as it turns out, 2018 has been one of the most significant and triumphant years in the history of the band.
And fortunately, there’s more to come.
Because 2019 has a number of exciting projects being worked on.
For the first time ever, we have a forth-coming Smashing Pumpkins Christmas album in development, to the chagrin of many a detached critic, but to the delight of fans. In fact, it’s really an intentional stick in their eye. And it's hilarious.
We have the third solo album coming from William Patrick Corgan, following up 2017’s Ogilala.
We have new Smashing Pumpkins songs being written for Shiny and Oh So Bright vol. 2
Finally, at long last, we have the Machina re-issue in development and moving forward, along with a graphic novel being created to tell the Machina fable in full.
In addition, other projects being worked on, or at least on the menu to take on, include re-issues of Zwan’s Mary Star of the Sea and WPC’s first solo album, TheFutureEmbrace, the release of WPC’s long awaited album ChicagoKid, a reissue of his work for the soundtrack to the movie Spun, and also a new greatest hits compilation for the Smashing Pumpkins.
In other words – TONS OF STUFF.
And for those of you in Europe, don’t forget, we’ve got a tour starting in the Spring, too.
We’ve come a long way, and gladly, the journey continues. The future for the Smashing Pumpkins and fans of the band is “shiny and oh so bright,” indeed.