After mixed response to 'Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1’, are Smashing Pumpkins planning to lean on their past glory?
90s alt rock legends Smashing Pumpkins were off to a shaky reunion this year. After burning bridges with ex-bassist D'Arcy Wretzky for good, three-fourths of the Pumpkins' original lineup - frontman Billy Corgan, bassist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain - finally reunited to unveil their new album, 'Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun'.
But in a year full of impressive comeback albums, the once-fringe rock group failed to find their footing as the album opened to mixed reviews and lukewarm reception. Earlier in November, we spoke about how 'Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1' debuted at No. 54 on the Billboard 200 album charts, technically making it the band’s second-worst performing chart debut to date.
Interestingly enough, their worst charting album was their debut effort 'Gish,' which debuted at 195. Of course, over time, the album ultimately went platinum and is today considered a keystone in the Pumpkins' canon.
Corgan recently addressed the issue with critics' reception of Pumpkins' material, detailing how most of their albums have always brought home mixed reviews and how the band is indifferent to it all, preferring instead to focus on fan reactions. And anyone familiar with the alternative rock scene will know that Smashing Pumpkins have one of the most dedicated fan armies across the board.
“I mean, we’ve always gotten weird reviews,” Corgan admitted in a recent interview with LA Weekly. “The albums that everyone considers classics got bad reviews back in the day. So it’s always a bit of a weird process. I’ve learned through the years to just read the fan reactions. And the fan reaction on this has been a 10 out of 10. It’s unbelievable. It’s as nice a reception as we could have expected."
"But to see everybody’s response has encouraged us to dive back into the deeper end of the pool as far as writing new material,” the eccentric frontman added.
On a related note, in a recent interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio, the Pumpkins revealed how they have enough unreleased material to "kill people with content."
While discussing the issue, the bandmates confirmed that the material is in fully finished form and ready to go as and when they please. It sounds like a great retirement plan and could offer a deeper dive into some rare material that never made the cut.
While speculating about what's next in store for Smashing Pumpkins, we'd discussed how the time may be ripe for the band to start releasing the material right about now. Well, it looks like the plans are slowly rolling into action because on Tuesday, Billy Corgan posted on his Instagram story that Chamberlin was in the studio recording completely new drum tracks for 'White Spyder', the album highlight from their 2000 album 'Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music'. So it looks like a reissue might be coming sooner than expected.
The Smashing Pumpkins tease work on Machina reissues https://t.co/PqgDJ9Eyod pic.twitter.com/QtxvkG3V3U— WebsiteofEverything (@wsoeorg) December 11, 2018
Of course, this isn't the first reissue that the Pumpkins have released and it surely doesn't mean that more new original material won't follow - especially considering the fact that the original lineup just regrouped this year. Back in 2014, their seminal 1998 album 'Adore' received the deluxe reissue treatment, complete with unheard demos, rare B-sides, and remastered recordings. And Corgan has teased the same kind of release for both 2000’s 'Machina/The Machines of God' and 'Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music', promising to reissue them together “as originally conceived.”
So could this just be the Pumpkins blowing off steam after a roller coaster year of excitement, touring and controversy, or are they planning to rest on the glory of their old days to milk the proverbial cow? Only time will tell and you'll hear from us as soon as the official word is out. Meanwhile, revisit 'White Spyder' from 'Machina II' below as we await the reissue: