The Smashing Pumpkins - SPRC 2011
Record Label: EMI
Release Date: April - December 2011
In April of 2011, The Smashing Pumpkins ringleader Billy Corgan announced that after a lengthy series of discussions with former record label EMI an album reissue policy had been established which would finally reintroduce Smashing Pumpkins records to the world again, but this time by releasing freshly re-mastered versions which included accompanying b-sides and alternative song takes. The campaign was to begin with the band’s 1991 debut Gish, followed by Siamese Dream. In 2012, EMI plans to reissue the compilation album Pisces Iscariot, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Aeroplane Flies High and Adore. Finally, Machina/The Machines of God and Machina II: The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music is to be released for the first time as one unique package in 2013. The band however left out one further surprise in this announcement; the release of Smashing Pumpkins Record Club.
SPRC is a collection of internet only song releases which have not previously been found anywhere and which won’t be making it onto the completed re-releases. They are a collection of free tracks rewarded to fans who sign up to the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club. The 2011 collection included six tracks, beginning with “Drown 8-Track Demo”. The Record Clubs first release demonstrated all that was good about early Pumpkins with the nine minute song bringing you through a selection of unique riffs which are layered under Corgan’s youthful early vocals. The drumming is as enthusiastic and confident as any early Pumpkins song could be. It is the guitar solos though that will keep you coming back for more. Second song “Suicide Kiss Geek No Vox” is an early version of “Geek USA” from second album Siamese Dream and features an extensive palm muting section not present in any other iteration of the song. The instrumental track lays bare the guitar and drumming sections to be scrutinised by Pumpkins fans, but it still does stand up to the later incarnation of the song pretty well.
“Barb Wire” is another early unreleased track which takes you through a combination of fuzzed up guitar work and clear drumming. The track is a studio jam which never got successfully worked into a fully completed song and was instead confined to the vaults of history until now. Although not as good in quality as the previously released songs, it was the first original track to come through the Record Club. “Rhinoceros Version Two (Reel Time Session)” is a re-mastered live alternative version of Gish’s “Rhinoceros”; the song contains less significant backing vocals by Corgan, increased echo and is a minute shorter than the officially released version. In my opinion the best track to come from the Record Club is “Frail and Bedazzled BC Instrumental Home Demo”, a rough and dirty track showcasing Billy Corgans solo attempt at the Pisces Iscariot released track. The delivery is a lot more brutal and hard hitting than the full band released version and is almost industrial sounding. This track alone demonstrates the pure quality that Corgan has hidden away in his cache of unreleased Pumpkins demos. To round off SPRC 2011, the Christmas ballad “Have Faithe, Be Merrie” was released into the world. The sole voice and faint combination of piano keys rounds off an eventful year for Smashing Pumpkins enthusiasts; we have been warned though, 2012 has a lot more to promise us.