YOU KNOW HE’S NOT DEAD

July 31, 2012

My first Rappler article is up, on the forthcoming play date with Messr Corgan, et al. Yer gonna need yer vegetables for this one.

Kalabasa Calling: The Smashing Pumpkins, soon to be live in Manila

BY KARL R. DE MESA
 Posted on 07/30/2012 1:55 PM  | Updated 07/31/2012 1:10 AM

MANILA, Philippines – I used to have fights about The Smashing Pumpkins back in the day.

“Back in the day” pertains to the time when bassist D’Arcy was still a svelte ice queen, Billy Corgan still had hair and the double disc tour de force that would later become Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was still a twinkle in the eyes of the Pumpkins.

You see, many were turned off by the crass, callous way Corgan treated his band mates; how the words “megalomania” and “dictator” were often uttered in the same breath as the head Pumpkin’s name.

Which was, to say, often.

Critics hated his “mosquito whine of a voice” as much as his unattainable and almost gauche punk dreams, even as their albums ranked high in any definitive Best of the 90s list. On many a guitar mag’s same list, these albums were hailed as template and psalm of how to use the axe as litmus paper and saturating element.

What I argued was that Corgan’s creative dictatorship was well worth it — even justified — if the kind of music that would result was this good… this awesome (gosh darn it — this meaningful).

Because the Pumpkins’ sound was still the mating call of the alternative nation’s melody-loving, guitar geek-driven and post-punk quiet to loud to smithereens dynamic, I had an army of fans who agreed with me.

We beat the Pumpkins naysayers down with our copies of Pisces Iscariot (an LP of B-sides that held more quality than any Pearl Jam album post-Vitalogy), the singles off the Batman and Robin soundtrack, or, for the truly stubborn, the boxed set of The Aeroplane Flies High (a collector’s item heavy enough to be a door stop).

Hey, I was a teen of the 90s and all that emotion and confusion found a haven in grunge and Corgan’s anthemic ambition. The first thing I ever learned on guitar was the deceptively simple “Disarm,” whose psychokiller meets Hallmark card lyrics cut me to my isaw-devouring, pimply core.

Read the rest of it HERE.

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