On Thursday, Smashing Pumpkins are expected to confirm the release of a new album featuring most of the band’s “classic” lineup, along with a corresponding tour. If that happens, there’s a good chance that the first new song since 2000 featuring Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain, possibly James Iha, and definitely not D’arcy Wretzky will be released.
How exciting … right? Look, I loved Smashing Pumpkins in their prime, and if the tour comes to my town I will be strongly tempted to attend with several-thousand fellow aging Gen-Xers and a few younger, rubbernecking ’90s alt-rock enthusiasts. But the most exciting “release” to come out of the Smashing Pumpkins lately were those text messages that D’arcy shared with the world on Tuesday that appear to confirm her assertion that Corgan invited his prodigal bassist to participate and then disinvited her when it proved to be inconvenient. A recent interview expounds on the subject.
I don’t mean that as a diss — those texts were incredible! But spicy screenshots are as close as this band is getting to Siamese Dream in 2018.
There is no way that a new Pumpkins album or tour can compare to the behind-the-scenes drama that has already unfolded. Several days’ worth of news items about Corgan and D’arcy sniping at each other has conjured the band’s original mid-’90s spirit better than any collection of “Cherub Rock” retreads. It’s like no time has passed since I read the Pumpkins’ 1994 Rolling Stone cover story, in which it was revealed that Billy and D’arcy met outside of a rock club, and his first words to her were, “You’re full of sh*t.”
It’s unclear if the original incarnation of Smashing Pumpkins is still capable of producing good music. But in terms of being a trainwreck, they’ve still got it, baby.
I spent a good 10 minutes yesterday painstakingly combing through the texts like I was Robert Mueller studying Donald Trump Jr.’s emails. I understand that most people don’t have the time or inclination to sift through every stinky sock lurking in this gloriously ludicrous band’s dirty laundry. Personally, I would be happy if the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour consisted only of Billy Corgan and D’arcy exchanging testy texts on stage. But not everyone is a fiend for mellon collie intra-band warfare.
So, for the sake of serious music journalism, I have taken it upon myself to condense the most masterful display of slowly escalating passive-aggression between intimates this side of Phantom Thread into a more digestible narrative.