A THEME FOR AN IMAGINARY SHOW/RAVINIA SHOW UPDATE WITH A CLIP OF THE MELLON COLLIE THEME ON THE PIANO BY WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN
August 13, 2014
In doing interviews for the ADORE BOX SET, and helping to hype up the August 30 RAVINIA show here in Chicagoland, I've found myself explaining what it is I, along with Jeff, Sierra Swan, the Ex-Cops, and Matt Walker, plan to do; for by using my name instead of say The Smashing Pumpkins moniker, a musical identity is not necessarily apparent; nor is a setlist. And as I've complained publicly, there has been some pressure on me behind the scenes to even 'tweet' us a setlist, for I suppose the fear is that I won't 'play-those-songs-people-want-to-hear', which is funny considering that many of the songs that fans of my writing want to hear aren't necessarily the same ones those who don't know my history would expect.
From my perspective I see the RAVINIA show as an opportunity to define a new musical path that can run quite nicely alongside SP, where one name if you will feeds another so that ALL my songs might be played. Now most who read this blog are sophisticated enough to understand that there isn't a whole hell of a lot of difference (at this point) between those names. Because, let's face it, they are signifiers that denote 'something'; but what? So let's say BC semi-acoustic means Smashing Pumpkins music plus the music of Zwan and other solo endeavors, whereas SP above the masthead just means heavy, psychedelic, tra la la ++. Yet this does not stop punters and ad men from trying to think up 50,000 ways to 'remind' the general public that, yes indeed, I'm the same guy from that cage with the rat, and that yes, I'll be playing some of those songs you'd expect from The Pumpkins et al; albeit more tenderly.
And for a brief moment I actually thought about calling the show (before all this): THE SMASHING PUMPKINS/ACOUSTIC, but realize that 'no, that's be a mistake because then it'd signal I'd 'only' be playing those songs, and not drawing from the other hundreds that I've written outside of the band'. Here, for now then, my little old made-up name will have to suffice until I come up with a better way (if there is one?).
With a few weeks to go then until the show, I'll take it upon myself to explain maybe what doesn't need to be explained, by posting up some clips and sharing some of the process we're in to arrive at what is currently a 27 or 28 song setlist. Clue #1 is the show is being broken into 5 small acts, with hopefully a different emotional result in each; and in which the centerpiece is a 9-song 'Mellon Collie Suite' which celebrates the 20-year anniversary of that album's writing. When I hear that mini-run back in rehearsal, it reminds me that at its conception the work of MCIS had a more intimate feel, and you'll feel as such the songs as they were primarily written: on piano, and guitar; and RAVINIA is the exact right setting to deliver this.
And a word about the video up top: this is me, yesterday, playing the Mellon Collie theme on the piano I wrote it on. The recording itself is so-so, but the vibe comes through of why I made certain musical choices on this instrument, and not others. More to come, too, from a show we'll now call:
WILLIAM CORGAN PRESENTS BILLY CORGAN (OF THE SMASHING PUMPKINS), PLAYING HIS (WILLIAM'S) FAVORITE SONGS…!!!