The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the premier bands of Gen-X
Rock. The classic line up of front man and principle songwriter Billy Corgan, guitarist
James Iha, bassist D’arcy Wretzky, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, stood out during
a rock renaissance in the early ‘90s. Corgan’s distinctive vocals gave the
Pumpkins much of its identity.
This occasionally caused gossip to overshadow
the music, notably the much written about love triangle between Corgan, Courtney
Love, and Kurt Cobain. However, art lives longer than gossip.
The band were reluctantly boxed in by the scene and packaged
as Grunge. However, they managed to transcend the genre with their epic Mellon
Collie and the Infinite Sadness. In overcoming the label, the Pumpkins faced accusations
of becoming mainstream.
Alternative Rock icon Steve Albani, front man of punk
band Big Black and audio engineer for bands such as Pixies, Nirvana, and Manic
Street Preachers, savagely compared the Pumpkins to REO Speedwagon, ‘stylistically
appropriate for the current college party scene, but ultimately insignificant’.
The Pumpkins continued to experiment and proved their early
detractors wrong, while still remaining commercially successful. Despite their
mainstream appeal, there are still songs in the back catalogue which are often