27/3/15 – Smashing Pumpkins – Rhinoceros – 1991

Video Of The Day

Song Of The Day

Smashing Pumpkins 1991 PicRhinoceros was the second single after Siva from Smashing Pumpkins debut album, Gish. It was co-produced with Butch Vig and main songwriter/singer/lead guitarist Billy Corgan and released in 1991 through Caroline records in the US and Hut in the UK. It was also released on a 4-track EP called Lull and this was perfect timing for an American audience that was falling in love with Nirvana and other Seattle bands. But Smashing Pumpkins were from Chicago and had little in common with the Seattle sound except for the fact they made a lot of noise.

Billy Corgan’s trapped Spaceman vocals, Metal influences and complex fuzziness saw them riding high on mainstream success as their second album Siamese Dream (1993) also co-produced with Vig, sold 4 million copies in the US reaching No.10 in the US charts and No.4 in the UK. Their next album, Pisces Iscariot released in 1994 was a collection of B-sides and outtakes. It fared badly in the UK but went to No.4 in the US charts – it was success beyond their wildest dreams until Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness was released in 1995. The album exploded and went 10 x platinum hitting the No.1 spot in the US and No.4 in the UK – they had become one of the biggest alternative bands in the world and the line between indie and mainstream had become extremly blurry.

How it all went wrong for Smashing Pumpkins is explained by internal band tensions as leader Corgan felt the need to play most of the guitar and bass parts on the records himself, leaving rhythm guitarist James Iha and bassist D’Arcy Wretzky frustrated. Add drummer Jimmy Chamberlin’s heroin addiction, mix in the massive acclaim with Corgan’s depression and the general mess of drug and alcohol abuse and the band’s days with these four people were numbered. By the time Adore was released in 1998 with a different sound, embracing Electronic music and without Chamberlin, the band saw their audience deteriorating at a great speed – although most bands would appreciate a million selling failure like Adore, the album reaching No.2 in the US charts and No.5 in the UK.

The band officially broke up in 2000 after their final album Machina/The Machines Of God saw Chamberlin return but it was already too late. The band has reformed breifly with original members, split up, reformed with non-original members, Chamberlin in and out and an array of different bass players and guitarists. Corgan has made a solo album, an album under the name of Zwan and also continued with the Smashing Pumpkins name, most recently with an album, Monuments To An Elegy released in December 2014.

With another album due this year it’s been an up and down twenty five years for Billy Corgan and one wonders who were the nine million people that bought Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness that couldn’t find 10 bucks for Adore or Machina/The Machines Of God. In a fickle world and despite the band not maintaining mass popularity, Billy Corgan’s solo version of the band continues with his creative vision.







3 Responses to “27/3/15 – Smashing Pumpkins – Rhinoceros – 1991”

  1. simone March 28, 2015 at 4:58 am #

    Rhinoceros was the indicator of their trademark sound. Becoming household names with Siamese Dreams and Mellon Collie and the Infinite sadness there really were high expectations for Adore,while darker in sound, had a great track Perfect, which was a continuation of 1979 (from Mellon Collie…), their most successful and pop friendly release. They even used the same actors in the video so you could see that continuing story.
    Virgin Records refused to even give away the follow up to Machina – Machina II The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music and Corgan put the kibosh on The Smashing Pumpkins.
    The fact is Corgan was/is The Smashing Pumpkins and only time will tell if the recent reports are true that he may bring an end to the band come December.

  2. Noah March 28, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    I LOVED the first three SP albums. Adore was just okay, but for me it marked the decline of the music as it became a vehicle for Corgan’s ego. I wanted to like all of the subsequent albums but they just seemed uninspired, like somebody on auto-pilot.

    That picture above is funny–I had forgotten they did the psychedelic rock thing early on.

    Marty, you didn’t state your opinion in this post. A big part of why I like reading this blog is to hear your opinion of the music. You’re a true music fan with a unique insider’s point of view, so don’t hold back! I also enjoy reading your personal anecdotes about the times you’ve met or worked with other musicians.

    James Iha has also released a solo album (one that I know of, there may be others) with a sound that would surprise many, but I like. His best work outside of SP was with A Perfect Circle (another one of my favorite bands) and it really showcases his imaginative and powerful guitar playing.

  3. delay plus chorus March 29, 2015 at 6:07 am #

    I liked “Siamese Dream” along with everyone else, but I really don’t think they ever got any better than this first album. Somehow my friends and I got into “Gish” right when it came out, and we played this record endlessly for months, in all situations: on a boombox while we played frisbee in the afternoon, or on the stereo in a basement apartment while we got high and mellow late at night. It might be the excellent production values and the dynamics — loud, soft, loud, soft, loud — but it just has a hypnotic quality about it that few records achieve.

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