i had an unhealthy obsession with the Smashing Pumpkins. i wasn't just a fan or a super-fan, they were my blood, they were my substitute for everything that was missing, they were my love substitute, sex substitute, goals substitute. i didn't have a girlfriend or a major which would afford me a future career and money for food, but at least i knew every beat, sound, and lyric of "Cherub Rock", and that was awesome. i'm still a fan, i consider them my favorite band of all time and i worship Billy as Christ, but i think the turmoil in my head has lessened a bit the further away i got from the frenzied college scene i was embroiled in and with the band starting to fade a little bit, officially breaking up and reforming with different lineups and people and all the fits and starts, not being a stable cohesive unit anymore, many times just being Billy the way Billy always wanted wink wink, and even a rose-colored fanboy like me can see that their songs nowadays are a cut below the masterpieces they were crafting in the '90s when they were running on all creative cylinders.
my love of SP made any potential friends i could have had in college shun me, they made fun of me, because i couldn't let this go. they went to parties, i was busy listening to a rare bootleg of Gish to make sure i hadn't missed anything as to the band's origin sound. they ate strange foods called popcorn and pretzels, i ate up anything i could read online about Billy's musical influences, SP has a bit of Boston in them, huh? they called me a freak, i quelled my pain by listening to "Ugly".
so when i came across
THIS, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK,
i got sad. i just thought back to the good ol' days when this band was air-tight, D'arcy was still the hot blonde, Jimmy was bangin' it out on those drums, and Iha was collaborating like a motha, all under the stewardship of the crazy dude with the ego as big as the sun and that voice which, as Billy describes himself, has absolutely no lower-register bass to it at all. the Mellon Collie days were anything but melancholic, they were filled with the greatest of art.
now, well, time moves on, time will always move on, whether from bad times or good times, and if you don't prepare or something unaccounted for happens, systems and institutions and friendships can break down and disappear into the ether if you're not careful or "too busy all the time."
you're left with memories and nostalgia, which are nice and warm, but they still are just memories. they're thoughts, not touches. a warm body in the present beats a warm memory from the past any day. you can sense it in Iha's voice, he's made peace with the fact that he hasn't talked to Billy in a decade, but it still stings, even if he's putting on a brave face. why wouldn't it? any human would feel the pang of the loss of a community. i'm sure like the rest of the world James Iha thought Billy Corgan was an imperial asshole who was tolerated because he was also a genius. i'm sure many of Iha's songs never made an album because there was no more room after fitting in all of Billy's songs. Billy had all the power in the band. who knows? maybe Iha really did want to leave the band, was desperate to, it was becoming insufferable, and he may have loved the freedom...for a few years...but still...it's a breakup, y'know?...and this isn't just another band...this was the fucking Smashing Pumpkins, the greatest band of all time.
have you had a similar experience in your life? a friend or work colleague or work wife/husband you thought would be your best friend forever (i'm not gonna use BFF for the life of me) for whatever reason---time, distance, an unexpected fight---fades from your life and you never hear from them again? it's just something you never think will happen with this person, you thought you'd grow old together with this person, that the friendship would strengthen as each year went by. as Iha so magnificently and so somberly puts it: "people come in and out of your life." please share in the comments: