A Sort-Of Love Letter

Posted: 29th November 2008 by Tammy in Sounds

Dear Smashing Pumpkins,

The night before Thanksgiving I went with my friend, Derek, to see you at the fabulous Fox Theater with a curious mixture of excitement and trepidation. See, I liked Gish but I fell in love with your Siamese Dream. Then it all went to hell. But let’s start at the beginning…

Pumpkin music provided the soundtrack for numerous occasions of import in my life. Your symphonic rock elegance encapsulated and memorialized some of my most treasured moments of joyous abandon. Dark moments were made bearable by each three to five minute universe of soul-consuming sonic beauty. And then there were the less significant, but utterly gorgeous, moments of simple, languid serenity where nothing could – or needed to – change. In my ears you could do no wrong.

Then I saw you in concert. Twice. Billy Corgan was such l’enfant terrible each time that, like a woman scorned, I couldn’t bear to buy any of the music that came after. When I heard some not terribly compelling snippets on the radio I quickly turned to another station. I realize I always initially needed to experience your music with total immersion (with high quality headphones) in order to fully hear and appreciate each nuance, but I wasn’t willing to go there after you-know-who’s live shenanigans.

Fast forward to the night before Thanksgiving, 2008. Enough time had passed that I decided I could give you another chance; at the very least I’d hear a few of my favorite songs. I vowed that if Billy decided to be contrary and refuse to play any of those songs I (and many other fans) wanted to hear, I’d hunt him down and kick his skinny, bald behind back to Chicago.

As Derek and I walked to the show from a nearby parking lot, we couldn’t help but notice the four – count ’em, four – tractor trailers and two tour buses parked behind the Fox. When the show started and we realized there was no opening band, I joked that two of the tractor trailers had to be for Billy’s ego, because there was no way you had that much gear. I may have even made a crack about how you couldn’t have an opening act because that would mean a “certain someone” had to share the stage.

And then I shut up. For two and a half hours you rocked. You gave your all. You hypnotized me with guitar work I’d normally dismiss as “noodling”. The drums…the bass…the wall of sound. You made me fall in love all over again. I could have lived without the strange bird noises toward the end but hey, the not-being-perfect thing just makes you more real. Oh, and did I say thanks for a tantrum-free performance? Forever grateful, I am.

Today I decided to visit my friend, iTunes, to check out what I’ve missed in the last 15 or so years. Pumpkins, I confess: while I will ALWAYS make it a point to see you live from now on, I think you might not be a studio band. I heard a lot of your newer songs live at the Fox and they were fantastic, but that magic isn’t captured in your recorded work. Don’t take it personally. John Mayer, for example, is exactly the opposite…you couldn’t PAY me to see him live; it’s just too much of a let-down from the studio work.

So, I will love you passionately in person. When you’re away it’s out of sight, out of mind. Somehow I don’t think you’ll mind.

Love (sort of),


  1. Jamie says:

    I have had many break ups/make ups with Billy and the gang over the years. Just when I think he’s pissed me off so badly that I cannot ever recover, I pull out Siamese Dream, listen to Mayonnaise and all is forgiven. Damn you Billy!