Why the Smashing Pumpkins Still Rock: Gish Box Set and Tour on the Way?

I can understand if some people are not a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Maybe it's the sound, or the style, or whatever... I can understand. I however feel that they're one of the best bands in the world... probably in my top 5 of favorite bands (if I actually kept such lists around for easy reference). On top of my obvious appreciation for their music, I have a ton of respect for Billy Corgan because he seems to really be in it for the love of the music, and for the fans, and that respect continues with the new upcoming releases scheduled for the band.

First, there's a new album planned for the up coming year... which is great to here as the 4 song acoustic release American Gothic has some great songs on it, really prepping me for a new Pumpkins album. Second, they're putting together a DVD detailing their residency at the Fillmore from this past year, which should be pretty sweet too. And they're supposed to be coming to chicago to celebrate their 20th anniversay (this is probably more important to me, being in Chicago and dying to see the band live than anyone else, but it's still cool).

AND if that all wasn't enough... A planned Pre Gish/Gish box set has been announced... and a Gish Tour?!

Why is this so cool? Well it seemed like all the set lists from the most recent Pumpkins tours have been missing something... namely songs from the "Gish Era". That isn't to say that they haven't been playing them at all, as I haven't seen all the set lists, but they certainly weren't prominent. It's kind of a shame really because it is a classic Pumpkins album that shows their roots and has some great songs. The same goes for the songs that were demoed prior to that album as there's some really cool tracks that never made it past early demos (think like way back in 1988). I'm not the only fan who appreciates this early music either. Some of the live shows you can listen to on the band's website you can even hear people yelling for songs from this first album. The band has responded apparently with this announcement of the box set and also Gish tour planned for some time in 2008.

I'm pretty psyched to see what's included on the box set (you can bet I'll be getting a copy as I own just about everything the band ever recorded, just like with all my favorite bands), but it's the tour that I'm really interested to see what they do with. Obviously I don't know what the band has planned, but the first thing that comes to mind would be a tour where all the set lists are songs from the "Gish Era"... how cool would that be? See the Pumpkins playing a stretched out version of "I am One" back to back with some of the early demos, and then sliding right into a cover of Steppenwolf's "Sookie Sookie" just like they used to do in the early days... that sounds like a pretty unique time. And they could play all the tiny clubs... and maybe Billy could break out that dress he was known for wearing in those days too... (or was that more a Siamese Dream thing?)

Of course, that's just my thoughts on what a Gish Tour might entail. Really I'd be happy to see the Pumpkins tour no matter what it's for. If the tour happens to just include more songs from that album, well that'd still be pretty sweet.

I like when bands put out updated and expanded versions of their albums, or commemorative versions etc, because I think they're great gifts to the fans. I like all the additional features, it's like a behind the scenes look at what was going on whether it was demo takes, additional tracks or whatever. This might turn out to be a more regular release, just an updated version of the album and a subsequent tour to support it's release... and that will be fine too, but I'm hoping for something more interesting than that (not that that won't be interesting in it's own right), and I think the Pumpkins will deliver.

You might not be a Smashing Pumpkins fan and so this post might not mean a whole lot to you, but what can I say... I'm psyched. Having a band put out a DVD, a new album and an expanded version of a classic, all within like a year? Well, that's a good thing, and when it happens to be one of my all time favorite bands doing it? Well that's even better.

UPDATE: Apparently there's been some mixed reviews to this news... I was going with gut feelings and so were some of the other bloggers out there, but the opinions really seemed to vary from people who are thrilled like me, to people who think it's a total sell out move. Thought it was important to share that apparently not everyone is excited... to each their own.

- The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll is a division of Fifth Column Media - www.fifthcolumnmedia.com -