For the past seven years, Smashing Pumpkins (singer/songwriter Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha, bassist D'arcy and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin) have been continuously creating music since their inception in Chicago back in July of '88. Their music has since aheived enormous amounts of success and recognition for the band worldwide. The Pumpkin's last studio record, '93's *Siamese Dream*, sold over 3 million copies in the U.S. alone, and their '94 release *Pisces Iscariot* ( a collection of b - sides and rarities) exceeded a million copies in the States as well.
The Pumpkins' latest release is a double album, *Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness*, features 28 tracks varying from rockers to ballads and is divided in to two subtitles- "Dawn to Dusk" and "Twilight to Starlight." Frontman Billy Corgan says the reason for this was merely to separate the discs, and it bears no resemblence to a concept album. He also insists that the opus "is not self - indulgent. It doesn't have long - winded guitar solos or space jams - it's a song based album." Unlike prior albums, *Mellon Collie* incorporates more of a group effort, with the song "Take Me Down" written by Iha, as well as co - writing "Farewell and Goodnight" with Corgan, who in the past has been the main songwriter of the band. Bassist D'arcy lends her vocals on the latter and "Beautiful." *Mellon Collie* is a brilliant continuation of the Pumpkinlagacy, expanding their wings a bit further than their smash *Siamese Dream.* Phoning from her home in Michigan, bassist D'arcy spoke of the making of *Mellon Collie*, fame, fortune and life in Pumpkinland.
FACES:Why did the band decide on recording a double album this time?
D'arcy: It's something that we've been talking about for a long time. It just seemed like something of a challenge and we wanted to bring everything that we've been trying to accomplish with the band musically to its frution. Just put it all out and than sort of move on to a new sound the next time around. We felt we really couldn't do that with one album.
FACES: The actual recording of the record took place between March and August. Did you record straight through that time?
D'arcy: Yeah. Twelve and thirteen hours a day, six days a week, and seven towards the end. It was a lot more relaxed this time though then it had been in the past. I think we didn't really have the pressure that was there. Everyone's learned to relax and have a lot more confidence in the band and in ourselves, so we didn't really worry that much. But there's more pressure as you get further into it, and you're more behind the deadline.
FACES:You had a lot a lot of songs to choose from this time for the single. Was "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" the first choice?
D'arcy: We had trouble with it because it was such an obvious choice. In terms of what we do, it seems like such a staightforward pop song for us. I like the song a lot, but we're not exactly all about straightforward pop.
FACES: I thought there were a couple other ones that sounded like classic Pumpkins' songs such as "Galapogos."
D'arcy: I love that song personally. We generally don't like to come out of the box with a ballad. We've always tried to come out with the one song that tried to sum up everything that was happening with the specific album. And that's not the reason that we chose this specific song this time because there's too much material. Like on the first album, the first single "Siva" (off *Gish*) was a really good representation of everything that the band was about at the time. But, with this album, there's so much material that we just kind of wanted something that was really solid that sounded like us, but was kind of different.
FACES: How much time did you have off between the last tour and the start of the new record?
D'arcy: About a month. And that's a lot to us. (laughes). That's the most time we've had off ever in the whole history of the band. We're like, "We get four whole weeks off!" We were totally grateful.
FACES: Did all of you go your own separate ways just to give each other some breathing space?
D'arcy: Not really to get away from each other. We all just have our own separate lives. I lve in Michigan now. Billy's married. I'm married. james is like starting to base his life more out of New York. And Jimmy, no one really knows what Jimmy does. (laughs). The Mystery Man. i think he takes his cats fishing. It's crazy to us. We're on tour ten months out of the year, and then we get home and he's like, "Yeah, I'm going to go on this fishing trip." And he'll just drive fourteen hours. It's like, "What are you crazy?" It's kind of a stupid question to ask Jimmy because of course he's crazy! We're all crazy.
FACES: With only a month off is it easy to re - adjust to your own lifestyle?
D'arcy: I used to have a really hard time. For about four years I was completely agoraphobic when I lived in Chicago. I think it's been a lot healthier for me living in the country. I would get back to my apartment and it would take me about two weeks to adjust to normal life. And i would be just terrified to leave my house. 'Cause when you're on tour and bombarded with people all the time, it's really, really difficult to adjust. But we've been doing it for so long now, it's really easy for me to adjust especiallt since we would come home and say, "Hey, we have a day off! We're going to be off for one day." Well, you don't want to spend it cowering in your house being neurotic. It's like you're successful, nut you're so busy - it's not worth it if you don't learn to enjoy that you can get out of your success. You have so little time to enjoy it. I think you're really forced to learn to adjust to that or you'll just lose it completely like so many other people have and do.
FACES: It must be tough keeping a relationship together.
D'arcy: My husband's in a band too, and he's traveling a lot of the time. When I'm at home, he's traveling and vice versa. He's a really stable person and comfortable with who he is. And we're both really secure in our relationship. We just feel like we're lucky because the time we have together isn't the nine-to-five grind. The time we have together is special. It's quality time. And we can afford at this point to come fly out and visit each other when we're on tour. LIke every time we're apart, when we're together again it's like a rejuvenation.
FACES: Did the success of the band come unexpectedly to you when it finally happened?
D'arcy:No. You have to have a lot of faith to make all the compromises and give up so much. You pretty much have to believe it's a pre-destined thing otherwise it's just too scary. Most people would take the safe route. I don't think anyone would ever do it if they didn't really believe it. It's like, "Oh, no, this is the way it was supposed to be."
FACES: So the voice of doubt never whispered in your ears?
D'arcy: No, it just never entered my mind. This is what I always felt that I was supposed to do since i was probably six years old. It's never what you think it's going to be. It's not what I thought it was going to be. I always sang and wanted to sing. I knew i wanted to be in rock music. I just started playing bass because I'd played violin classicly for about nine years and the strings are the same. So it was really easy for me. But I just felt that if I played an instrument that would make me more valuable. And it turns out I was right. (laughs).
FACES: You had the chance to see what the fans thought of the new material when you played the Reading Festival.
D'arcy: Yeah, that was great. But we've always tried to play newer material, so I think people expect that from us. We don't have a set list that's the same every night, and we don't have choreographed moves like Guns N' Roses. (laughes). We don't usually know what we're going to play until right before we go on. And we always try to play a lot of new stuff because people who are really into the band enjoy being the first people to hear it. If they just wanted to hear a reproduction of the record, they can go just listen to the record (laughes).
FACES: How was it getting back up on the stage again? Were you a little nervous?
D'arcy: Yeah. I've always got stage fright. And it's especially hard for me icause I separate the two parts of my life so much, that when I'm not doing it, it's really hard for me to believe that that's me doing that. And sometimes you're up on stage and you look down and think, "THese kids are getting younger and younger. Oh no! I'm getting older and older! Oh no! I'm too old to be doing this!" (laughes). But it was still good and I'll keep going as long as it feels right.
FACES: On the liner notes it mentions Pumpkinland. Where exactly is Pumpkinland? Is that somewhere where you recorded?
D'arcy: Yeah. That's our practice space and we recorded there. James did a couple of things at his studio. Billy did the demos at home. But actually there is a place calles Pumpkinland. When we were on our very first tour, Ithink it's in Californis, there was this huge sign and it said Pumpkinland with big fluffy coulds on it. We took a picture in front of it. it's pretty funny.
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