Rare Gish era articles - Compiled By Jennifer Villaruz


Chicago Tribune - Friday, March 17, 1989
By Tom Popson

If you don`t have much to spend on entertainment this weekend and you`re looking to get a lot of music for your money, consider the "Light Into Dark" show Friday at the Smart Bar of Cabaret Metro.

Five Chicago bands will be taking the stage in a concert celebrating the upcoming release of "Light Into Dark," a Chicago-music compilation on newly formed local label Halo Records. The five-Poster Children, Gold September, Ghost Swami (pictured here), Smashing Pumpkins and Price of Priesthood-all appear on the "Light Into Dark" LP, as does another local unit, Seven Letters, which will be represented on video at the concert. Each of the five bands will play a 30-minute set.

Sample tapes of the "Light Into Dark" LP-now set for an April 12 release-are scheduled to be available for purchase at the concert, each tape containing one song by each of the six featured bands. The album, engaging on the whole and boasting a couple of really strong numbers, runs a pop gamut from crisp, clean, guitar-oriented material to driving, dance-floor-suitable fare, with excursions into guitar-bass-drums, power-trio stylings and paisley- underground psychedelia.

Originally, Halo Records had hoped to have one side of the LP contain mainstream material (the "Light" side) and one side offer an alternative sound (the "Dark" side). As the songs came in, though, the dividing line began to break down. While the "Dark" side of the album is indeed generally darker in sentiment and execution, there are songs on the album that really could fit on either side of the LP.

The "Light Into Dark" concert is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. Admission is $6.



Chicago Tribune - Friday, December 28, 1990
By Mark Caro

After being linked to various labels over the past several months, Smashing Pumpkins has finally found a home for its next album: Caroline Records.

Caroline, the New York-based label that also features Naked Raygun on its roster, plans to release the Pumpkins album in late March or April. The band just booked dates to record with producer Butch Vig at Smart Studios in Madison.

Singer/guitarist Billy Corgan says the album will be entitled " `Gish`- as in Lillian. When I was little, my grandmother used to tell me that one of the biggest things that ever happened was when Lillian Gish rode through town on a train. My grandmother lived in the middle of nowhere, so that was a big deal.

"It`s a very spiritual album," he adds. "How Gish and spirituality tie together is something only I can figure out in my head."

The band is hoping that the Caroline record will be the springboard to a major-label deal next time around. In the meantime, the band has a new single out this week, "Tristessa," released on Seattle`s Sub Pop label.

Smashing Pumpkins will play Monday night-New Year`s Eve-at Cabaret Metro, opening for Thrill Kill Kult.


Gish Era Article - Unknown date

Chicago Tribune

A Pumpkins smash: Smashing Pumpkins, originally a Limited Potential band, recently achieved a milestone when "Gish" (Caroline) became the first independent-label record to top the CMJ album chart since fIREHOSE`s "If`n" was No. 1 in February 1988. "Gish" also cracked Billboard`s top-200 album chart for one week, a feat that new albums by Squeeze, Marshall Crenshaw and Richard Thompson have yet to match.

They, not she: Catherine-a band, not a person-will mark the release of its new Limited Potential single, "Charmed"/"Sparkle," with a show Friday night at the Avalon. Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins produced the single.

In contrast, the Pumpkins were typically dour as they took the stage early Tuesday morning.

"We don`t do requests," singer Billy Corgan curtly informed the crowd as several fans shouted for their favorites.

But the quartet`s utter humorlessness only enhanced the aggression implied in their music.

Corgan was a charismatic presence, his round, cherubic face framed by flowing curls as he attacked every song with what seemed to be a deep-seated hostility.

Frequently, the music would fall to a near hush, guided only by an a cappella voice or a solitary baseline, then surge back with tidal-wave fury. At various times it aspired to the insinuating sensuality of T. Rex, the psychedelic wallop of Jimi Hendrix and the mind-blowing bombast of Led Zeppelin.

Despite the enveloping presence of Corgan, the Pumpkins functioned as a band rather than a star vehicle. Bassist D`Arcy outfitted in black lingerie, played with eyes closed in solemn concentration while complementing the swirling, nearly jazzlike drumming of Jimmy Chamberlin.

The guitars of Corgan and James Iha blended softer lyrical passages with groaning distortion and churning rhythms that ignited an orgy of slam-dancing during such tunes as "I am One"-a refreshing display of audience participation and enthusiasm in a seminar notable for the jadedness of many of its participants.

As the Pumpkins exited, Corgan held his guitar aloft like the sword Excalibur, then turned up the amplifier so that ear-splitting feedback rained down on the exhausted, cheering crowd.

It was a fitting, final gesture from a band that has become expert at assaulting, and occasionally altering, the senses.



Chicago Tribune - September 7, 1990

Personnel: Billy Corgan, guitar, vocals; James (he doesn`t use his last name), guitar; D`arcy (neither does she), bass; Jimmy Chamberlin, drums.

Formed: August 1988, in the city.

Sound: "We`ve been called everything from neo-glam to hypnotic drone grunge," Corgan says.

Influences: Corgan cites " `60s mega-rock bands like Cream, Black Sabbath, the Stooges, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin-your monsters of rock."

Songwriting: Corgan.

In-concert cover versions: Steppenwolf`s "Sookie Sookie" and "a pretty nasty" version of Blue Oyster Cult`s "Godzilla." The band also covered the Ozark Mountain Daredevils` "Jackie Blue" for an upcoming Pravda K-Tel tribute album.

Namesake: "It just kind of came to me," Corgan says. "It means absolutely nothing. It`s the most ambiguous name I could think of."

Memorable concert experience: "This guy got on stage and grabbed the microphone, so I shoved him," Corgan says. "He proceeded to stand one foot in front of me as I sang the next song."

Turf: The band often plays at Cabaret Metro, which is run by their manager, Joe Shanahan. The Pumpkins have also toured throughout the Midwest.

Side project: Corgan is in a less ear-friendly side band, Star Children, whose motto is "Be repetitive for nuisance`s sake."

Recordings: Smashing Pumpkins released the single "I Am One" on Limited Potential Records in May. The band just recorded a single, "Tristessa"/"La Dolly Vita," for Seattle`s Sub Pop label for a November release.

Philosophy: "It`s such a personalized band that I wouldn`t say there`s an external philosophy," Corgan says. "We just do what we do, and if you like it you like it, you don`t you don`t."

Goals: "Success to me would be to be able to put out the exact type of records I want to put out and play the shows I want to play and have people accept that," Corgan says. "If you`re doing exactly what you want to do and you`re getting support for that, then there`s no reason to do anything else."

Next appearance: Cabaret Metro, with Tad, Friday.



Chicago Tribune - Friday, June 21, 1991 br>By Greg Kot

In a year already flush with fine albums by Chicago bands, perhaps the most audacious and accomplished of all is Smashing Pumpkins` "Gish" (Caroline).

It had to be. The 3-year-old quartet, which headlines Saturday at Cabaret Metro, has been under pressure to deliver the goods since its fourth local gig, when it opened for heavy-metal innovators Jane`s Addiction.

"It was intimidating," says guitarist-singer Billy Corgan. "Shows like that really forced us to re-evaluate the bedroom mentality we were in."

A few months later, they were warming the stage for punk legends the Buzzcocks at yet another sold-out local show, and then last year drew intense interest from major-label talent scouts at several make-or-break "showcase" gigs.

After the bids were counted, the band wound up on the fiesty, New York- based independent label Caroline, postponing its date with six-figure advances.

"We could`ve signed for mega-money, but we chose to take the hard-earned route, because I`ve seen too many bands lose on those kind of big first-album deals," Corgan says. "Music is about excitement, about buzz, the high that goes around it. You don`t get that kind of vibe from major labels.

"I don`t think major labels are like the Evil Empire, but I think indy labels have to use what the band is as the selling point. They can`t pound those dollars down people`s throats."

The band prefers to pound listeners with a sound that even Corgan acknowledges can be "pretty bombastic at times."

While Corgan and James Iha test the limits of their guitar amplifiers, bassist D`Arcy and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin unwind ferocious, snake-like rhythms. The music ebbs and flows, slows and quickens, with organic power-a process Corgan calls "flow arranging."

"We tried to work a couple of songs like `Window Paine` to a (metronomic) click trick in the studio, but it didn`t work because within four bars the song took on a completely different feel," Chamberlin says.

"Gish," which cost $20,000 to record, captures some of that dynamic with a clarity that is unusual for independent-label records. Commuting last winter from their home base in Wrigleyville, the Pumpkins slashed their studio costs by about half recording with Butch Vig in Madison, Wis.

"We just went ahead and did everything we wanted to do without concern of how hard it was going to be," says Corgan, who was left exhausted by the sessions.

The effort paid off, because "Gish" fulfills the complex emotional implications of its back cover illustration-a sacred-heart medal that was a gift to Corgan years ago.

"It`s a heart bounded by thorns, with a cross coming out in flames," the singer says.

"The story of Jesus is bound in such contradictions, ending in a painful, horrible death. . . . Almost every song on the album deals with those kinds of contradictions," veering between intense hope and anger.

"It`s not a mystical record, but it definitely touches on things that are beyond the obvious. That`s what makes me want to live-things that are behind what we see. I think people just sort of accept life, and that`s why you see them veering off into the two-car-and-a-house syndrome, because to them that`s satisfaction."

Corgan sees a similar complacency in the local music scene.

"When we got together, people kept drilling one thing into my skull-` You`re never going to make it if you stay in Chicago`-and I chose not to believe it," he says. "There`s an awful lot of whining in this town from bands who, let`s face it, aren`t very good.

"The idea of the Pumpkins from the beginning was to not care about Chicago as this oppressor, but to be the best band we can, because if you`re good, the word will get out-and it did.

"There are bands here that wish nothing more than to be popular in Chicago. It doesn`t matter that they couldn`t get arrested anywhere else. To me, that`s not success."

To avoid such traps, the band keeps putting pressure on itself to reach the next level.

"If the next record is no better than this record, then we`ve failed," Corgan says. "We worked to get to this point, but we have too much pride and respect for what we`re doing to be satisfied with that. You put that kind of pressure on yourself and you have to rise above it, or it`ll crush you in your insecurity."



Chicago Tribune - Friday, July 24, 1992
By Mary Stevens

The people have spoken. And right now, the members of Smashing Pumpkins can hold their heads up high and say, "You like us! You really like us!"

Smashing Pumpkins grabbed a fistful of honors between the readers and critics polls in the Illinois Entertainer`s 1992 Chicago Musician Awards, presented during recent ceremonies at Cabaret Metro.

The music magazine`s readers selected Smashing Pumpkins as best hometown national act, the Pumpkins` album "Gish" as best local album, the Pumpkins` James Iha as best guitarist and the Pumpkins` Jimmy Chamberlin as best drummer. Chamberlin and "Gish" also aced the best drummer and best local album titles in the critics poll (voted on by local writers, club owners and radio personalities).

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