Wednesday, May 23, 2007

They're back! Smashing Pumpkins v. 2.0

It wasn't too long ago that some die-hard Smashing Pumpkins fans sent a petition around the Internet to get, or should I say, demand that the Virgin Records Company officially release a DVD of the final Smashing Pumpkins show at the Metro in Chicago on 12/2/00.

So here we are, nearly six-and-a-half years later, and the Smashing Pumpkins have not only reformed, but recorded an album called Zeitgeist due out in early July and sold out an insane amount of shows overseas and at home. Seems silly now to even think about getting that so-called "last" show on DVD now, doesn't it? Although in the interest of full disclosure, I signed the petition (electronically) but didn't really expect it to amount to anything, because even I had a feeling that, in an era where beloved rock bands are constantly reforming (Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Black Sabbath), that Billy himself wasn't going to ignore the humongous SP catalog for the rest of his life and would bring the band and music back before he got old. He was, after all only 33 years-old when he retired the band.

But between now and when SP broke up, he had an indie-allstar collaborative called Zwan to rock and roll with. Their one and only album Mary Star of The Sea was very good but didn't sell commercially and in 2003, Billy broke up that band after about two years.

Then, on June 21, 2005, Corgan, while promoting his underrated solo debut album The Future Embrace announced that he would indeed reform the Smashing Pumpkins. And it's been a looong wait even since then for new material to surface.

Finally, this past weekend (May 18, specifically), the first single from the new album leaked on radio stations across the country and the Internet. Called "Tarantula," it kicks some serious ass in a way not heard since the MCIS days. Assuming this is one of the tracks produced by the legendary Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker (and not the equally talented Terry Date), the guitar sound even has a bit of a Brian May feel to it, Billy throws in some bluesy licks and just plain wails away on guitar throughout. The cool and kickin' main rhythm of "Tarantula" uses the same notes (E,G,C) as the treasured "1979" b-side "Ugly," but is played totally differently. The song's arrangement as a whole starts out pretty straightforwardly, but goes places (think "Geek U.S.A.") and the song overall gets an A+ from me. Excellent choice for a first taste of what's to come.

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