Happy Halloween! I was thinking which (witch) rock song to post for the occasion. All of this pumpkin talk and imagery, that is prevalent this time of year, got me thinking about Smashing Pumpkins. Not necessarily considered the most spooky band, although Billy Corgan did have an Uncle Fester, goth-thing going on in the “world is a vampire” era. Or are we still in that era? Anyway, many don’t know that Billy Corgan’s goth phase was much earlier than that. In fact, Corgan was in a goth rock band, called The Marked, before Smashing Pumpkins. So, the Smashing Pumpkins name although a reference to Halloween-hijinks, was also a playful nod at their gothy roots. Somehow overtime their sound morphed into a more of psychedelic pop grunge sound.
Now, if you go even earlier into Corgan’s influences, past the early goth phase, Billy Corgan, like many of us, listened to rock bands. Amongst other things, Corgan was interviewed for his love of the band Rush in Rush – Beyond The Lighted Stage (2010). Also, the Pumpkins covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide“. But “More Than” that I find his layered lead guitar work, very reminiscent of Tom Scholz from Boston, with “More Than A Feeling” coming to mind, which sounds almost like “Cherub Rock” sped up.
Who wants that honey….?
Listen to Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock” on Cottage Country Mix Vol. 11:
But I digress, like many 90’s bands, Smashing Pumpkins would do cheeky, classic rock covers, albeit somewhat differently than the original. So, what is more Halloween than Smashing Pumpkins covering Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla“? It was a cover they played often live in the 90s and because their version is a little bit faster, it comes out sounding a lot like “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. Is this Corgan taking a bit of a swipe at Nirvana, (like Godzilla taking a swip at towering building in its way) who knows? Probably. Godzilla like Corgan is a bit of a prick and provocateur. Well, here is one of those recordings. I believe there is also another version on the more recent reissue of Gish‘s (2011 Deluxe Edition), with an epic false start.