Watch Billy Corgan Play Zwan & Smashing Pumpkins Rarities At Madame ZuZu’s
Perhaps you recall Zwan, the band that Billy Corgan briefly led after the temporary end of the Smashing Pumpkins. For Zwan, Corgan recruited his longtime Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin alongside Slint’s Dave Pajo, Chavez’s Matt Sweeney, and a Perfect Circle’s Paz Lenchantin. The band lasted two years and made one album before blowing to bits. These days, everyone in Zwan, including Corgan, seems to speak of the experience as a traumatic episode in their lives. Zwan’s sole LP Mary Star Of The Sea isn’t even on streaming services. But apparently, Billy Corgan is not yet done with those songs.
Yesterday, Corgan played two solo-acoustic shows at Madame Zuzu’s, his tea shop in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. A few months ago, Corgan played the same venue, trotting out some of the songs from his pre-Pumpkins band the Marked. Yesterday, he once again went deep in the back catalog. This time, he played some Zwan and Pumpkins songs that he hasn’t sung live in a long time.
At those shows yesterday, Corgan rocked a brand-new white beard, which looked pretty cool. (He now bears a striking similarity to the Minneapolis rapper Brother Ali.) The casual solo-acoustic setup seems to bring out Corgan’s best, and he seemed to have a good time digging through his old songs, including some Zwan ones. According to one Reddit poster, Corgan mentioned that a Zwan box set is on the way. He also played Zwan’s “W.P.” and “I Know My Time Is Coming Round” for the first time since 2001/2002 and the unreleased Zwan-era “El-A-Noy” for the first time since 2015. As for Smashing Pumpkins songs, Corgan did the Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness track “By Starlight” and the Teargarden By Kaleidyscope joint “Widow Wake My Mind,” both for the first time since 2012.
During his set, Corgan also told a story about the 1997 motion picture Batman And Robin and about realizing that the Smashing Pumpkins were on the soundtrack of a “bad Batman movie.” Below, watch some fan-made videos from Corgan’s performances.