Beneath that smiling cat exterior is a weirdo who goes through Smashing Pumpkins bandmates the way you do napkins at a BBQ restaurant. The latest victim to face Billy Corgan’s bald-wrath: Mike Byrne, the 19-year-old drummer who was kicked out of the group in June. I’m going to include the entire note Corgan wrote on the Pumpkins’ website explaining his decision.
Oh the tales I could tell. But let’s start here. Much thanks to my two fave drummers of all-time: Jimmy Chamberlin and Tommy Lee, for being so publicly supportive of the MONUMENTS album to come. It warms my much-cuckolded heart.
And-and I’d love to tell you the new album (DAY FOR NIGHT) has been going well (it hasn’t), *but I’m here with good news. But first a DISCLAIMER.
I share because I like to share. Honesty, in my estimation, being the policy of the fearless. Yet this is not to say I am without trepidation or worry. And if there is a silver lining it’s that the positive vibes around the December album have put some of that old voodoo pressure on the new-new one. A good pressure, I figure.
Or as The Shredder told me: “You’re not competing against anyone but yourself.” Those odds I’ll take. MTAE being a fine and lively work.
DAY FOR NIGHT, I’ve claimed, is to be something different, advanced somehow in it’s pop-rock-dark-glory. Good: in theory; hard to execute; and that’s nobody’s fault but my own.
I, as always, want to push on. Or off the proverbial, and much bantered over, cliff. Good riddance, they’d say. But that’s the stuff of legend. Again, I’ll take the odds.
So with TSTSNBN somewhat in a state of completion, we turned towards something-anything; with GODSPEED wiggling forth to be heard. The same breakdowns in my mind began: guitar vs cinematic production, or generations of listeners who no longer believe in the romance of the guitar, or even that old saw about ‘if you could only make one more record ‘like that’…
Songs, empirically, drive production. But who, best I can tell, writes songs in the commercial field but people who write commercials. And if you haven’t noticed they sell more perfume and headphones and cellphones these days than records. See the math there?
Me, I wasn’t raised in those bedrooms to sell shit. Hell, I can’t even sell myself!
GODSPEED, it lays there, like some epic song of yore; the kind of stuff I like to write and that fits me glove-like. Around and around we go, spending more time debating aesthetics than working.
Visions come: synth driven? No, essentially drone. Or blues. One chord songs make for lackluster melodies unless your singling ‘bring your love’ or…whatev.
Today’s was g-l-a-m, where little things get blown-up wise in the cosmic cabaret prism. Guitars were polished. ‘Here we go.’
And the further the one walks away the closer you’re seen in the telescope.
You see, I blame Mike Byrne.
But don’t jump to conclusions. Mike Byrne has taught me a lot about his generation. And watching the twitch up close, the ADD of it all, I’m starting to understand what he found boring about The Mighty SP. He wasn’t wrong. But he also wasn’t right, too.
Because the way to replace something is to best it, not join it’s shallow-pool ranks. And great musicians like MB are capable; if they are willing to stop looking into the shiny sun and wonder, quite rightly, what lies on the dark side of the moon.
Imagine this: was the deco world of the 30’s any less bright to that generation? Great art movements came, but also too the set-up for world war. How so?
Light meets shadow. See? Or shadow meets light.
And where there is glittering, yet false *illumination, we (the collective We) must destroy it by being more real, more true, more-more. It works every time IF you can pass the muster of your own oblivion; or yawn. Mix that with kinetic, electric, hyperbolic punk rock I-don’t give-a-fuck-how-you-do-it and maybe, just maybe, someone wakes the fuck up from that coma they’re in.
Repeat, generation. Repeat.
The condensed version is: boo Millennials. I think? It’s always been hard to parse what Corgan is talking about, and that’s become especially true in recent years. There are touches of something comprehensible here — “Me, I wasn’t raised in those bedrooms to sell sh*t. Hell, I can’t even sell myself!” is a rare moment of self-deprecation — but it mostly sounds like he’s Old Man Yells at Cloud’ing about the ADD Generation. Expect a NY Times think piece follow-up any day now.