"Pumpkins Pack 'Em In: Fans Cram Club to Sample Musical Menu"

(Thanks to Leigh Doran for typing this out)

Chicago Sun-Times – February 22, 1995
By Chicago Sun-Times music writer Jim DeRogatis

The Smashing Pumpkins are preparing to record the followup to their triple platinum "Siamese Dream," but a select handful of Chicago fans got an early preview Monday night.

The most successful Chicago rock band since Survivor played for 250 faithful fans at the Double Door and will return for sold-out shows tonight, next Monday and next Tuesday.

Some 2,000 fans filled the streets in front of the Wicker Park club on Saturday to claim the 1,000 available tickets, which were numbered and stamped with purchasers' names to thwart scalpers. The $5 cost was donated to three area charities.

Nineteen-year-old Pumpkins fan Josh Franklin of Oak Lawn showed up with a friend at 10:15 Saturday morning and waited in line until 2:30. They scored tickets for tonight's show, but Franklin showed up Monday "just to see what the scene was like."

"I love the Pumpkins, man; I wouldn't have missed this for the world," Franklin said. The band was clearly audible outside the club on Milwaukee Avenue, and he stayed to hear several songs.

The Pumpkins warned fans that they would be playing only new material.

"If you come, please expect the unexpected," an ad read. "Acoustic songs, long-winded jams, teary overtures, blown lyrics and out-of-tune sentimentality… Join us in putting some nails in the coffins of the past and welcoming in a terrifying future."

That future includes recording in Chicago with producer Flood, whose previous credits include Depeche Mode and U2's "Achtung Baby." Singer-songwriter Billy Corgan has said (perhaps in jest) that he hopes to create a sprawling conceptual work that's his version of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" or Pink Floyd's "The Wall."

Unfortunately, Corgan is reluctant to have his new material critiqued at this stage, and the press was banned from the shows.

Nevertheless, until the cold got too prohibitive, I listened with several fans outside the club as Corgan and company played a few spare acoustic numbers, a lilting country tune with a Gram Parsons-era Byrds feel, a pretty ballad with cello and a rocking tune driven by one of Jimmy Chamberlin's trademark tom-tom grooves.

Franklin, for one, was impressed. "I love these guys," he said. "I can't wait till tomorrow."

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