The worst kept secret in music is that the Smashing Pumpkins are reuniting. But is it a reunion when the band is only 3/4 of the classic lineup? I have spent more time and money listening to the Smashing Pumpkins than any other band and this reunion news has given me a serious case of “the mehs.”
The headlines in the news the most about the reunion are whether Billy Corgan invited original bass player D’arcy Wretzky to be part of the reunion. There’s a lot of he said, she said out there and it only seems to be escalating. To me, if they’re marketing this as a reunion, it needs to be all four original members. Plenty of other bands have reunited because I believe hatchets can be buried when there’s money involved.
Lots of my favorite bands have reunited over the last few years: Pavement, At the Drive-In, the Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Cap’n Jazz, Mission of Burma, and Dinosaur Jr. to name a few. If there is no new music, I have typically avoided these reunion shows because I believe they’ll fail the capture the magic the band had originally. For example, would you rather see this At the Drive-In or this At the Drive-In? Yeah, definitely the first one.
But is the Smashing Pumpkins reunion really a reunion? I have always seen Smashing Pumpkins as more of “Billy Corgan and Friends.” He’s an auteur. Why Corgan even bothers to release solo albums is a question I’ll never know the answer to.
Billy Corgan and Friends are going to make a handsome amount of money on this tour. Nostalgia is very powerful, but I can say that I have no urge to see this incarnation of Smashing Pumpkins perform. Corgan has enough of my money and this reunion is an attempt to exploit our collective nostalgia for someone putting parts of the old band back together.
For someone who once took out a whole page ad in both of Chicago’s newspapers in 2005 proclaiming he was getting the Smashing Pumpkins back together, Corgan has not only failed to do that, but he’s been performing under the name Smashing Pumpkins for almost a decade since. He deserves to only have 3/4 of the original band. We should hold band leaders accountable like politicians, and Billy Corgan is accountable for putting a bad-taste in this long-time fan’s mouth.