From MTV's Year in Rock - Dec 1996


MTV: Smashing Pumpkins devised their own system of selling tickets, designed this time out by guitarist James Iha and vended through a cash only voucher system.

BILLY CORGAN, Smashing Pumpkins: You get a voucher, you present an ID, then at a later date you come and get your ticket. Every point along the way you have to present that you are the person who bought the ticket. There's almost literally no way you can scalp.


Q-TIP: When we heard about the drummer's um, from Smashing Pumpkins' death I mean, it kind of like... it... kind of sounded like you know, Sid and Nancy in the sense of how you know, they went out in the hotel or something like that. (Well, it was the keyboard player) Oh, right -- The drummer was the one that found the keyboard player or something like that. Right?

SHERYL CROW: I guess you could point fingers and say people should be more responsible for the people around them but if somebody's experimenting with drugs and they don't really know, if they think that they're immortal and nothing could ever happen to them and it does -- I don't know how people can really prevent stuff like that from happening.

MTV: "1979" made 1996 look like it was going to be a great year for the Smashing Pumpkins. In January, the band kicked off an exhaustive world tour with a leg of small theater shows. Joining the quartet was keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin.

D'ARCY, Smashing Pumpkins: Someone to pick on. Someone new to pick on.

BILLY CORGAN, Smashing Pumpkins: We've already gone through every gamut of humilition.

D'ARCY: There's nothing left, with us. That's why we get along so well.

JIMMY CHAMBERLIN: He's the new whipping boy.

MTV: Things started going wrong for the Pumpkins last spring in Dublin when a girl was crushed to death at one of their concerts. More chaos ensued stateside when the drug problems of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain and Jonathan Melvoin spiraled out of control.

KURT LODER: Hi, I'm Kurt Loder with an MTV News Brief. The Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboardist, Jonathan Melvoin was found dead in his New York hotel room early Friday morning apparently of a heroin overdose. Jimmy Chamberlain, the Pumpkins drummer was arrested and charged Friday of criminal possession of heroin. It was Chamberlain who called 911 after Melvoin's overdose.

D'ARCY: I was especially, just absolutely numbed, literally numbed. I thought I had dropped the phone out of my hand because I couldn't feel my hand anymore. We're like this isn't real. This is some kind of cliche. I'm living a cliche.

CORGAN: We are now the rock and roll cliche.

MTV: A week later Jimmy Chamberlain was kicked out of the band.

CORGAN: We said we don't give a f**k if it destroys the band. Who the f**k cares? He's got to go for himself and for us. And so we're carrying on without him. If people don't like it, if we suck , whatever. That's rock and roll tragedy. But the fact of the matter is we faced that fear. We are now beyond the point where we have to worry about whether or not Jimmy is going to explode tomorrow.

MTV: The band picked up the pieces by hiring two temporary fill-ins for the tour, Matt Walker from Filter and Dennis Flemion from The Frogs. A month and a half after Jonathan Melvoin's death, the Pumpkins re-launched their tour.

CORGAN: We faced the bogeyman and we are fine. We are totally fine and the band sounds great. We're going go out and have a good time...

TABITHA SOREN: Are you going to change anything else?

CORGAN: Smiles, we're all smiles now.

MTV: The Smashing Pumpkins proved they were back in a major way when they swept the Video Music Awards taking away seven moon men for their videos.

They also continued touring and they found time to complete a box set of b-side and out-takes.

CORGAN: A lot of people are going to have a hard time to believe this but we're really happy. We are not happy that Jonathan died and we are not happy that Jimmy left the band. Those are all very sad things. But the fact of the matter is the three of us. We are happy. We are free of the burden of having to take care of somebody. We are so completely and absolutely grateful at the success of and the warmth and the love that people have shown us. Especially in this past year.

SHERYL CROW: As far as them cutting themselves off from Jimmy, I'm sure at some point, you know, as I was saying earlier I guess, when you're trying to help people and they won't help themselves then you sort of have to save your own life.

CORGAN: If a man can't keep himself from doing those kinds of things with everything to lose, his band, his life, his status, his economic and whatever future...if he can't stop himself and pick himself up from that, then what's gonna stop him? Us? Usthree suburbanites? It ain't gonna happen.

MTV: Perhaps the Partnership for a Drug-Free America will make an impact with their vivid public service announcements. Their hope and others, that sickening images like these will replace any romantic notions that musicians and fans might have when tempted by heroin's fatal allure.

BECK: What can you do? Somebody's gonna do what they're gonna do. If somebody's self-destructive or foolish. That's the way they're gonna be. I mean, you can educate people to a certain extent but they have to figure it out for themselves.

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