KIND of surprised, I meant.
King of suprised Cloud Nothings didn’t make this list. Great band!
I don’t know how anyone missed this but Korn’s self-titled debut album had nothing to do with starting rap metal “in earnest” or at any point. It’s the nu metal trend that they started, at least commercially, as Coal Chamber (live) and a few other bands were doing guitar solo-less super-downtuned heavy nu metal stuff around that time too. (And for the record, I don’t think any one band can claim they started a rap metal trend, but Biohazard gets my vote for getting the first mainstream exposure, followed by RATM and Downset.)
There may be Pavement songs with vocal harmonies that I’ve forgotten about that one isn’t it, sorry – it’s just Malkmus singing falsetto-style there (in singular notes).
I’m with you for the most part on this. Guyville is truly incredible, especially for a debut album. But I don’t really agree with your comparison of Phair’s vocals with Gordon or Malkmus. She may sing sometimes like she just woke up, but unlike those two, she sings in tune/on key (on purpose); those two often sing out of tune (Gordon doing the more punk thing) on purpose. (And it works for everybody.) Plus, there are vocal harmonies on Guyville (ex. “Never Said”) you’d never find on Sonic Youth or Pavement records. That said, this and Whip Smart are my go-to Phair CDs (or cassette tapes – yes, I bought the latter on tape and still have it but should probably upgrade to vinyl for that, Guyville or both when I can afford to.).
The bass player (Ken Casey) is the leader of the band and co-lead singer, along with Al Barr.
I know that the Dropkicks have skinheads among their fans – they’ve even done shows with skinhead bands during their 17 or so years together. But they’ve never themselves become skinheads (glad you acknowledged that), and though I haven’t read that Casey interview you speak of, I have read one Al Barr did, so really, let’s be clear on what type of “skinhead” Casey is talking about in songs or interviews. All skinheads are anti-authoritarian, but the ones this band talks about are the (sometimes violent) punk/working class type, NOT the racist, neo-Nazi type. That’s likely what Casey means about skinheads being “misunderstood.” I got the impression from your article that you were basically saying that Casey beat up in a sense, one of his own (when you said he might be a skinhead too), and of course, you would agree now that would be wrong to say. Besides, I don’t think the likes of Bruce Springsteen would associate himself with a band of skinheads, even if they were the (somewhat) more tame type.
By the way, I forgot that song “Skinhead on the MBTA” is really more sympathetic to the non-racist type of skinheads I mentioned and is based on the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie on the MTA,” so I correct myself on that front.
Ken “might not” claim “skinhead” status? Tom, you do a lot of good posts here but obviously you don’t know that much about the Dropkicks. NONE of them are skinheads and in fact, if you knew their discography, would know one of their classics is (anti-skinhead tune) “Skinhead on the MBTA.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qPm9JFM484
Also, it’s a small thing but Ken Casey is co-lead singer, along with Al Barr.
Sorta reminds me of Superdrag. Not bad.
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, sold the t-shirt. However, it’s good to see that Iggy’s keepin’ the dream alive four years after Ron Asheton’s untimely death.
Welcome Liz! Good to see Massachusetts represented here as well. (I haven’t been to Allston lately but I saw a good show or two there at a “house” a few years ago; it included good to great local bands like The Trashkillers and others). I hope you can work in some great, rising local MA bands into your weekend slot too.
If that’s the case (that you aren’t trying to disparage the non-Corgan Pumpkins), next time don’t call them “scrubs” and do a better job making clear you aren’t questioning the merits of them being in the band (that you’re just pointing out public perception issues). By the way, in that list, you forgot (the late) Mark Tulin (ex-Electric Prunes) as an SP bass player and somewhat significant Corgan collaborator in 2009-2010 during the early Teargarden sessions – he even played live with them on RSD in April 2010, and his very death influenced the making of Oceania, as Corgan said recently.
And I disagree with you on how people looked at Zwan. That was a great lineup of alternative and indie stars, Chavez’s Matt Sweeney, Paz Lenchantin of A Perfect Circle and David Pajo (from a million projects, most notably the influential Slint) joining Billy and Jimmy (one of the best drummers of our generation).
Tell me something, Michael. Why is it that it’s okay for Robert Smith to have musicians in The Cure come and go and it not be an issue, but somehow when Corgan does it, it’s a bad thing and makes the Pumpkins, less credible as the Pumpkins somehow? Or when Dave Grohl does everything in the studio for the Foo Fighters early on, why didn’t people question the contributions of the rest of the band (like Pat Smear) or see them as being a bunch of props or hanger-ons in a band featuring the ex-Nirvana drummer?
I get it. Billy is a jerk. But somewhere along the way he got this wrong reputation of being a control freak (and not letting other people contribute much). The truth is, James and D’Arcy sucked at recording (at least for the first two SP records), and so Butch Vig looked at Billy, and the budget and said he might as well do all the guitars and bass parts himself. So that’s not his fault.. MCIS was truly the only real full band effort.
At some point, people need to get a clue that SP is and always has been about Corgan (just like The Shins have always been about James Mercer, The Who’s always been about Daltrey and Townshend, etc.) and stop saying that SP isn’t the same without James and D’Arcy (and now Jimmy). I miss Chamberlin dearly but this current lineup is the best and most talented they’ve ever had – Corgan’s even stated that Jeff is a technically better guitar player than he is, which you could never say about Iha or Sweeney.
By the way, Nicole (ex-Veruca Salt), was a veteran Billy found in CA after one of her bands opened for SP at a tribute show a few years ago. The only reason she (and Mark before her) even became Pumpkins is because Ginger became a mother and had that as a priority (which you can totally understand). And Mike was just a fantastic find after a bunch of auditions (especially for his young age). The kid is also a good singer and keyboardist too, so no, looks had nothing to do with his or any other band member’s hiring. Auditions and connections with other musicians in Los Angeles (where Corgan spent a lot of time after helping out Courtney Love – who Billy took Melissa away from 12 years ago while Courtney was doing nothing musically).
I could go on, but one thing is clear: the music media can do something about public perception of the Pumpkins with regard to band members’ contributions. All I can say is for people writing about them and the making of past works and current ones like Oceania is to do your homework. Study the interviews (or if you’re like me, interview Corgan himself like I did late last year), which there are a ton of nowadays. Even go on Nicole’s Facebook page and you’ll see a lot of entries about her time spent recording Pumpkins songs over the past year or two. Corgan and company talk openly about the recording process more than ever – two years ago there was even a 7-hour webcast of the band members individually recording parts to future SP songs like “Lonely Is The Name” – and will continue to I’m sure. You just have to pay more attention to it.
Sorry to be so hard on you Michael but dammit, Corgan and his music (and his current bandmates) deserve more accuracy and respect here at Stereogum than you’ve been giving it recently and over the years. And I’m a longtime reader (at least 8 years running.)
Speaking of respect, I respectfully disagree on Oceania being the best album since MCIS. It is the best since Adore.
People like Michael Nelson have no business writing about Smashing Pumpkins. None. He is a typical clueless snob who shits on Corgan (like just about everyone else at Stereogum whenever they get a chance) and calls the other well qualified band members “scrubs.” What an asshole. And to say at least two of those “scrubs” probably never saw a recording studio while Teargarden was being recorded is also 100% false. This foursome has been more dedicated and individually talented at recording with Billy than anyone who was in the band beforehand (say for Jimmy Chamberlin). Just another ignoramus who doesn’t get that and never understood SP’s recording history – that James and D’Arcy sucked at recording their parts, so Butch Vig had Corgan do them himself on those first 2 SP CDs.
Leave it to non-fans like Nelson and this Rob Mitchum idiot he mentions, to wrongly say the Pumpkins ever left their “softer” side behind, from Machina/Machina II and on through Zeitgeist. What a stupid, ignorant assessment of post-’90s SP. Some of Corgan’s most beautiful and coolest “soft” songs were on those records. If these guys didn’t like post-’90s Pumpkins, fine. But just because SP didn’t do a, “1979 part 2,” or a generic follow-up to “Tonight, Tonight” doesn’t mean they didn’t have any great non-loud songs from that era.
Ever hear “Try, Try, Try” (one of the band’s best ever songs), or “That’s The Way (My Love Is)”? Or how about “Age of Innocence,” “With Every Light,” (from Machina I) and “If There Is A God” and “Let Me Give The World To You” (the latter two from Machina II)?
Get a clue, Stereogum. And stop starting every post with some cheap, irrelevant reference or link to some statements Corgan made that you didn’t like. I don’t agree or care what Corgan thinks of this or that, just that he makes good quality music. And whether Stereogum has been paying close attention or not, he’s been doing it for over 20 years now.
Ginger says you suck.
I know they’re old men, but they are legends and can do better than this, especially Ginger Baker’s drumming. It’s borderline amateur-ish at times (changing drum patterns mid-stream, miss-timing/miss-hitting cymbals or other drum parts here or there).
For metal, Prong’s new killer release, Carved Into Stone. It’s phenomenal!
In case you didn’t hear, the saxophone player who toured with and played on a couple of albums by The Killers committed suicide today. Very sad day for music all-around with this news, that news (of Chuck), and the fact that influential independent alternative FM station WFNX in my hometown of Boston just got sold to Clear Channel and had to fire 17 of their 21 employees in doing so today. We are all in shock in Boston about that since it was the only real “alternative” to the rest of the Top 40 crap on the rest of what’s left of rock and pop stations in the area.
It doesn’t rip off the exact notes of “Gold…,” but does rip of the song’s style/rhythm, no question about it.
Spoonman, meet Spoonwoman!
This is a woman (Courtney Love) who allowed her late husband’s personal diary to be sold to the public, and she’s upset about Dave Grohl (allegedly) licensing Nirvana music to The Muppets? Gimme a break, crazy bitch.
This is a “standout”? It’s pretty lame – the same three chords over and over again – and kinda sucks actually. .
Sorry Jason but Dierks didn’t even come close to ripping you off (not that he’s reading this or anything but still). The chords and tuning are different in both songs (with Jason having a capo on the third fret; Dierks is in standard tuning and maybe even Eb standard tuning). Dierks’ tune has a straightforward tempo, while Jason’s is slower and lets notes ring out for longer time frames. And with Jason’s capo use on the third fret box, his tune has more in common with Ryan Adams’ “Lucky Now” guitar chords than with Dierks’ tune (“Home”). I know this because I (briefly) played both songs just now on my acoustic.
Jason has too much emotion, not enough facts to backup his case.
Who would actually question his pro wrestling organization (which teaches about concussion awareness and prevention) and not like the current Pumpkins because of “the line-up” unless they are as ignorant as ignorant can be?
This isn’t Guns ‘N’ Roses, where obviously not having Slash there now means a hell of a lot more than not having D’arcy or James back in the fold for the Pumpkins. At least Jimmy could play and record his instrumental parts to Billy’s songs.
Pumpkins 2.0 is playing as well as they’ve ever have. Shame on anyone who still says “oh it’s not the same without the original members.” Bullshit. Smashing Pumpkins is and has ALWAYS been Billy Corgan’s band just like The Cure has always been Robert Smith’s band, no matter who comes and goes. You either like the new music they make when it comes out or you don’t. Period.