The year signified a return of the band. After being holed up in a recording studio for a good portion of the winter of '97 and a few months into '98, the Pumpkins emerged with an intensely intimate and powerfully revealing work, Adore.
Recording sessions for Adore was done in a very meticulous manner, and by pure trial and error. The guitars of Billy and James were used to color and shade, not to dominate at all. This method was changed in the live performances of the album where the electronic-filled sounds were replaced by three human drummers.
The sessions for Adore really got rolling once the band had moved to Los Angeles and left producers, collaborators, and outside distractions behind.
Thirty songs were recorded for the album, which at one point, seemed that the set was to be a double again. The band subsequently cut the tracks down. There were actually fourteen songs that did not make the album, and yet to be released as b-sides or otherwise.
Billy said that, "That this was the first time I ever was seriously doubted," in a Chicago Tribune article. He also mentioned that "It just pissed me off because I felt I was still walking down this road as a writer and producer, defining this album, and our world didn't show us this 100% confidence. I don't think it's a fluke that we make great albums. We have a feel for things and we knew it wasn't quite there."
He later added, "It was tough to walk away from the band sound and approach that I loved so much and what I understood best, but rock as a framework was constricting my writing and I needed to walk away from it. It's always been our philosophy to embrace a good challenge, but we also felt while making the last album, that the whole alternative rock movement was coming to an end, at least in America. We made Mellon Collie the quintessential Smashing Pumpkins album because we knew we'd move away from that sound and approach. Adore isn't anti-rock, it's just a recognition of where the energy is."
The Pumpkins used multiple drummers including Soundgarden's Matt Cameron, Beck's Joey Waronker, and Cupcake's Matt Walker. Weeks of work were scrapped; including sessions recorded the previous year in Chicago with Brad Wood. They were deemed unsuitable. Some of the songs were recorded live in the studio, at times using drum machines. The machines made the songs jell. Billy later said, "We basically went back to how we worked before we even met Jimmy, which was just the three of us and a drum machine. We used to just pluck away and futz around and come up with these gothic-ey sounding songs." Other tracks were pieced together, overdub by overdub.
Matt Cameron did seven songs, as mentioned, but appeared on only one for the finished record, "For Martha". Matt Walker did seven tracks for the album. Walker would not perform for the European tour, but has already agreed to play with the band on their next album. Beck drummer Joey Waronker did four tracks for Adore.
A drum machine was used with many songs. "It's the way we wrote songs in the very beginning of the band. The three of us worked together for a long time before we got a drummer," explained James in a February '98 interview.
Bon Harris, a former member of the British dance-industrial group Nitzer Ebb, did additional drum programming on eight songs, giving an "electronic edge." Harris sang backing vocals on "For Martha". "This is a very different record for the Smashing Pumpkins with probably 50% of it being electronically orientated. Billy gives me free reign with what I'm doing. He gives me the songs, I go work with them, and bring them back," he reported to JamTV in February.
Dennis and Jimmy Flemoin from the Milwaukee band The Frogs contributed backing vocals on "To Sheila" and "Behold! The Night Mare".
Rick Rubin contributed to production on the romantic sentiment, "Let Me Give the World to You" which did not make it to Adore. It was the final song to be recorded for the new album. The track was dubbed live in the studio. Joey Waronker was the drummer for the song. The spooky pneumatic tension of the group's attack fleshed out the melancholy and irony laced in Billy's lyrics. The song was finally done 58 takes later. The band felt this was an "anti-album" song and it was "too much straight rock 'n' roll to fit the feel of the album."
Another "anti-album" rock song called "Crash Car Star" that Virgin felt was a "total alternative rock radio hit. It was just too heavy." A rock feel was abandoned, Billy felt "we are at a new place". He also mentioned, "when we go back to playing rock and roll and bigger songs and louder songs, I think it'll have a fresh sound".
The song "Shame" featured a drum machine, but was also recorded live. "I was feeling very sad one morning. I got up, wrote the song. We went in that day and did it in three hours. What you're hearing is what I felt that day." In a Chicago Tribune article, Billy also had said, "I wrote this song, "Shame", at 10 in the morning, and by 3 p.m. we had played it and recorded it. The chemistry of the Pumpkins just reappeared like that (snaps his fingers)."
James revealed on the 13th that the band had recorded more than twenty songs for the new album. There was one Iha composition that the band had been working on, titled "Summer".
The first single from James' upcoming solo debut, Let It Come Down, was announced to be "Be Strong Now".
Billy accurately defined the new album as "arcane night music" to Addicted to Noise on the 14th.
Billy delivered ten brand new songs in a 45-minute set for a rare solo, acoustic appearance at L.A.'s Viper Room on the 15th. James preceded Billy on the stage with his own acoustic mini-set. Unfortunately for James, the anticipation for Billy was so high that he was ignored while doing four of his songs from Let It Come Down. The show was for fans, and announced only the day before.
Cameron revealed on the 21st in a chat room for a Seattle drum company, "I have no intentions of joining the Smashing Pumpkins". Matt said that he recorded seven songs with the band.
The Pumpkins were reported to have entered a Los Angeles studio to record vocal tracks for an upcoming Simpsons episode titled "Trash of the Titans". It was scheduled for airing on May 24, but did not appear.
James Iha's Let It Come Down was released on the 10th. It featured the help of producer Jim Scott, best known for work on Tom Petty and Jewel. James' own music had evolved over the past few years. "I started learning how to sing, and eventually began wanting to do my own songs, sing them, and arrange them the way I heard them in my head. On my album, I tried to make the songs believable and able to stand up with just my voice and acoustic guitar. James also enlisted to help of Scratchie Records partner Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy) to play piano, Matt Walker on drums, and Solomon Snyder (brother of Walker) for bass.
The Pumpkins snagged Beck drummer Joey Waronker on the 11th. The band was reported to have been putting the finishing touches for the album, done at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles.
Gayle Fine, publicist for the band, reportedly confirmed "Let Me Give the World to You" as a track slated for inclusion on Adore.
James Iha began a brief promotional tour in support of his solo effort, Let It Come Down, on the 22nd at a London radio station. James appeared at five radio stations.
Virgin Records launched a lawsuit against the band on the 24th. The suit alleged a breach of contract and non-delivery of albums and says that the band only produced three albums for the label, instead of the expected seven.
The Pumpkins won Best Hard Rock Performance on the 26th at the Grammy Awards for "The End is the Beginning is the End".
The Pumpkins filed a suit against a UK firm, Sound and Media Ltd., for releasing a CD and booklet of a 1991 radio interview without the band's consent. The Pumpkins sought an injunction to cease the distribution and close to $1 million in damages.
The band won new terms to their existing contract. The Pumpkins agreed to deliver original music for album six, and seven. Of course, they also got more money too.
Addicted to Noise reported on the 3rd that the band would aim for
"the greatest rock album" ever.
Rock drummer Kenny Aronoff was also recording material in Los Angeles with Melissa Etheridge, Seal, members of Was (Not Was) and Corey Hart when he was invited by the band to audition in New York. He was told not to prepare, and he did a 35-minute session. Two days later, he was informed that he had successfully attained the position. He was offered " a month of rehearsals and four months of touring all over the world to promote the Pumpkins' new album Adore. In addition, Aronoff said, "In 35 minutes, you can't convince people of a lot, but obviously I did enough," he later admitted.
James Iha celebrated his thirtieth birthday on the 26th.
Spin Magazine announced their annual "SPIN Top 40" Most Vital Artists in Music Today, and the Pumpkins nabbed the 18th spot on the list.
Addicted to Noise reported officially on the 8th that rock veteran Kenny Aronoff, 45, was set to fill the drums for the tour in support of Adore.
Kenny Aronoff had spent the last twenty years working with John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Melissa Etheridge and John Fogerty. His credits include performances on over three hundred records. His only regret in joining the band was that he had to miss John Fogerty's tour that coincided with the Pumpkin tour.
He later said, "I knew the Pumpkins' material was a lot different from what I was doing. Yet I could relate to it - it's still rock 'n' roll, it still had the intensity, it had the technique and chops that I wasn't necessarily using as much with these other bands. This was an opportunity to push me technically and I knew it would be a challenge working with a whole group of people. So it was time to grow and move again." Apparently, he had won the part by working with the band on an "unplanned, improvisational number that kept getting better" as rehearsal continued.
Beck drummer Joey Waronker who appeared on four tracks, declined an offer to be the touring drummer citing financial disagreements. Waronker desired more money than the band was offering.
Billy vacationed in the Caribbean with girlfriend Yelena Yemchuk, the photographer for the artwork on Adore.
The Pumpkins were announced on MTV Online news on the 20th to play four dates in the H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) festival tour in July.
Multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano, a violinist player from John Mellencamp, was announced on the 29th to join the group of musicians for the Adore tour.
The band began the month heavily rehearsing at a Chicago studio in preparation for the European tour with their new touring drummer, Kenny Aronoff.
D'Arcy celebrated her thirtieth birthday on the 1st.
The Pumpkins opened for Cheap Trick on the 2nd at Chicago's Metro with an 8-song, 55-minute set drawn from Adore. Billy went on to jam with Cheap Trick leader Rick Nielsen on two songs, and also dressed like him with a goofy baseball cap. D'Arcy sang backing vocals on "If You Want My Love".
Billy has often hailed cheap Trick as a music influence; both bands have frequently swapped praise for one another. The band has traditionally organized secret opening performances in Chicago clubs around the release of their albums.
The band headed to London to shoot a video for their single, "Ava Adore".
The band was set to perform a free show at the 21st annual Hennepin Avenue Block Party on July 17th in downtown Minneapolis, where a 100,000 people are expected. Billy had called that event's sponsor, Rock 100.3 FM, and complained that several cities had denied the band's requests to stage free shows.
Addicted to Noise reported about the fan-run Smashing Pumpkins Audio Archive which offered more than 900 tracks for download. Shan Pin Koh, 19, a student at Michigan Technological University, received notice that engaged in "computer misuse".
The 17-date European promotional tour for Adore began at the BBC Studios on the 12th. The tour included performances at a number of unconventional venues.
The band aimed to play their entire Adore album in concert. "If you're heard the Adore album, the concert is different from the album," Billy said, "So we just don't play the album the same way. Every song is interepreted every night. It's very spontaneous and has a lot of beauty, a lot of soul, and a lot of darkness."
Joining the tour in addition to tour drummer Kenny Aronoff: Keyboardist Mike Garson (who has worked with David Bowie and Trent Reznor), percussionist Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits), multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano (a solo artist who once played fiddle in John Mellencamp's group), and percussionist Dan Morris.
Chicago's mayor office denied the band's offer to stage a free show at the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park near the city's lakefront because of fears of an overflow crowd mobbing the 60,000 capacity space, according to the Pumpkins management. Billy called it, "one of the biggest heartbreaks I've ever had in my life."
The first single from Adore was released, "Ava Adore" on the 18th. It featured the b-sides "Czarina" and "Once in a While". The "Czarina" track has a Russian influence, probably stemming from Billy's girlfriend, Yelena Yemchuck.
Multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano left the tour as reported by AllStar Magazine. She was expected to play several unconventional European venues.
MTV debuted the video for "Ava Adore" on the 1st. The video was shot in an old Rolls Royce aircraft factory in Leeds, England. The concept was a surreal progression through different environments. One of the environments was a '70s porn movie set. Billy wanted to "go as far as they could" without having to censor a shot, however, they ended up crossing the line and MTV America censored the short sex scene.
Adore was released on the 2nd on Virgin Records. An album characterized by Billy as "arcane night music" it focused on themes of love, loss, faith, death, and pestilence.
The new album was a 16-track gothic new wave, and featured drum machines, samples, treated drums, synths, and all manner of unidentifiable noise. Billy felt that, "I'm not talking to teenagers anymore. I'm talking to everyone now. It's a wider dialogue. I'm talking to people who are older than me and younger than me, and our generation as well." Billy had also said that the album as "me saying goodbye to what I consider rock and roll. Whatever our little generation's rock and roll was."
Addicted To Noise reported on the 4th that the Pumpkins would play a charity show at Chicago's Soldier Field on July 7th. All proceeds were going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Illinois. The show was going to be opened by Cheap Trick. Due to low sales, the show's venue was moved to New World Music Theatre.
The band announced a 14-show, 13-city charity tour on the 8th. The tour was called "An Evening with the Smashing Pumpkins". It was set to begin in San Francisco on June 30th and end in Miami on August 8th. The band was set to donate all ticket sales revenue to local youth charities in each city where the band will perform. The band also agreed to bear all expenses incurred, with their 20-member crew.
There were many reasons the band chose to launch a charity tour. Billy felt he didn't have the support systems that a lot of the charities are providing to the youth now. Billy needed and used "a real strength of character to get through a lot of difficult situations."
AllStar Magazine reported on the 11th, that Adore debuted at #2, falling behind Master P's release.
The band were set to appear on the Depeche Mode tribute album entitled "For the Masses" to be released in August. The band will contribute their '93 b-side, "Never Let Me Down Again". The song was recorded at the BBC in London and done only in one take. D'arcy was an intense fan of Depeche Mode at age 17.
Billy made Entertainment Weekly's "It List".
Billy revealed in an interview conducted for Total Guitar magazine, of his urge to release an acoustic solo record later in the future. "That's right, I kind of hope that it turns out, like it was recorded on this tape recorder that you have here or something like that. Almost a demo tape, a personal thing. That's my plan if I'm going to do it at all."
The Pumpkins launched their "Evening with the Smashing Pumpkins" tour in the United States on the 30th with their premier show in San Francisco. The small tour was expected to generate nearly $2 million in proceeds to be given to various charitable organizations around the country.
A small ceremony took place at subsequent shows in which a representative for the respective charity was presented with a check for the profits of that show. Billy and company also spent time in the charity facilities in the daytime before the shows at night.
The Recording Industry Association of America announced on the 8th that Adore had been certified as going platinum by selling 1,000,000 copies.
The third track from Adore, "Perfect" began to enter heavy radioplay and the new single, slated for September 22nd release, was announced.
The band appeared around the country doing many interviews and specials, notably on "Modern Rock Live" on 9th and "Rockline" on the 13th.
Billy confirmed the song formerly known as "Need" is actually "Blissed and Gone". The song has two versions, and was still not released, but was played earlier in the year at the January 15th show in Los Angeles.
Hip-hop superstar Sean "Puffy" Combs was reported to have finished two remixes for the band, "Ava Adore" and "Perfect" (both the first two singles from Adore respectively) as reported by MTV on the 14th. Billy has defended his decision in choosing to work with such a different style musician. "I think he's a brilliant guy. I know him a little bit personally. It's one of those things where you meet the person and you end up with a different opinion of the person than maybe what you would get from just what you hear and see on TV."
Pamela D. Keary, 17, was serving a 12 year sentence for her role in the murder of a foreigner last year, escaped from the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Shakopee. She attended the only free U.S. show by the band in Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis on the 17th with hundreds of thousands of fans, but she was later apprehended after the show.
The band made an appearance at the Much Music Intimate and Interactive on the 19th in the back parking lot at Much Music headquarters. They played ten songs total, five inside the Chum City building, and then five outside.
The band stopped at Radio City Music Hall for a two-night stand, and presented Dr. Lorraine E. Hale, co-founder of the Hale House (the charity benefiting from the two shows), with a check of about $419,000, one of the largest donations of the tour and that the center has ever received, in their twenty-nine year tenure.
Billy appeared on the "Howard Stern Show" on the 3rd. He revealed that he was the true instigator behind the upcoming Hole record. Billy had written six or seven of the fifteen songs he collaborated on with Hole leader Courtney Love. Stern played a snippet of the Corgan-influenced song "Celebrity Skin". Billy played an acoustic "Perfect". Also, after a statment by Billy in which he commented on his disappointment with the record and said, "Well, I'm disappointed with our fans." Unfortunately, the Internet newsgroup alt.music.smash-pumpkins and the mailing list Listessa became full of messages from angry fans. Billy later clarified the statment in a December Rolling Stone article and expressed his dislike for the Internet.
On the same night, Billy appeared on "The Charlie Rose Show" on PBS for an interview.
The band appeared on "The Regis and Kathy Lee Show" on the 4th, it was the second appearance for Billy. The Pumpkins played "Perfect" and "Once Upon A Time" in addition to an interview.Billy began to feel very disappointed with the album sales in Adore. He blamed fans for their loyalty and told CNN, "At this point they should have enough faith and confidence in us just like I have faith and confidence in the bands that I admire. And if they don't, then they're not fans." But the band and Billy were determined. "We've proved everyone wrong before. We'll prove them wrong again."
The video for the second single from Adore "Perfect" debuted on MTV's "120 Minutes" on the 16th. The new video was made with the husband-wife director team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris. The couple had previously made the award-winning videos "1979" and "Tonight, Tonight" for the band. The "Perfect" video was a conceptual sequel to the characters of the "1979" video.
Additional press articles suggested that declining sales for the new album continued. The album had sold 174,100 copies to date, and fell out of the Billboard top 40 after only nine weeks. "The drop was a shock," admitted Billy.September
Previous plans for a return to the studio in the month of September proved wrong, as studio time was not booked, and only television appearances were scheduled.
The second single from Adore, "Perfect" was released on the 7th in the United Kingdom. It featured three CDs, one with entirely remixes, another containing a "Daphne Descends" remix, and the third had a new James track called "Summer".
Hole, the rock group led by Courtney Love, released their second album after three years, entitled Celebrity Skin on the 8th. Billy assisted in composing several songs such as "Petals", "Malibu", and "Aweful".
Billy sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the traditional 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs game on the 19th.
Q Prime, the management for the band, released figures from the 15 city charity tour. The band donated virtually all of the ticket revenues totalling exactly $2,686,973.59
The band performed "Ava Adore" at the Much Music Video Music Awards on the 24th. They were nominated for "Best International Video" for "Ava Adore", but they did win a special "Road Warrior" award for handling touring problems.
The band performed their hit single "Perfect" for Saturday Night Live on the 25th. In addition, they were featured in a "Night at the Roxbury" sketch where Billy begged host Cameron Diaz for a dance.October
The month proves to be incredibly uneventful. The band remained extremely secretive and quiet about any information regarding their upcoming album. A "it's gonna be really big" was the only indication received. The band was also determined to keep the details to themselves.
The Pumpkins performed their third single from Adore, "Crestfallen", at the VH1 Fashion Awards on the 27th. The song surprisingly had Billy on piano, but the rest of the roles were as usual: James on lead guitar, D'arcy on bass, and Kenny on skins. In addition, the band was nominated for "Most Stylish Video" for "Ava Adore" but lost to Janet Jackson.
The band performed a ten-song set dressed as the Beatles opening for the first date of K.I.S.S. on their Pyscho Circus world tour. An unreleased song, "Crash Car Star" was the ninth song.November
Billy was a guest on the "Late Late Show with Tom Snyder" on the 6th.
The third single from Adore "Crestfallen" had hit the airwaves of modern rock radio, but the commercial single was not scheduled for a release in '98.
The band severs all ties with their management company, Q Prime, on the 13th citing differences and a "strained" relatinship.December
Billy had a feature article in Rolling Stone magazine with David Fricke. He revealed that he doesn't have one new rock album that interested him in all of 1998. But he did tell that the upcoming album would sound like the band Mountain. In addition, Billy mentioned that fourteen songs were written for the new album.
Billy played a solo and acousitc 11-song set for the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show on the 12th. He debuted two brand new songs and played for the first time the Tonight, Tonight b-side Rotten Apples.
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