Bandsplaining: The Smashing Pumpkins | What to listen to ahead of the group’s North American and UK tour?

Ahead of their recently announced tour of North America, where should those unfamiliar with The Smashing Pumpkins begin from their wide discography?

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90s alternative rock outfit The Smashing Pumpkins have announced they’re to hit the road with a series of North American tour dates announced after the band had already released details of a clutch of shows in the United Kingdom later this year.

The tour, which is set to act as a respite from the upcoming “Saviors” tour alongside Green Day, sees the group taking time away from recording the follow-up to 2023’s “Atum,” possibly to trial some of the songs from their forthcoming new album to audiences new and old, but no doubt Billy Corgan and (current) crew will be lacing their setlist with hits from their back-catalogue, dating back to 1991’s “Lull” EP, which paved the way for their album “Gish” that same year.

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But if your knowledge of The Smashing Pumpkins comes from either a reference in The Simpsons or perhaps his exploits in the world of wrestling, we are here to offer a no doubt polarizing guide to where to start listening to The Smashing Pumpkins - and more importantly where you can catch them on the road as part of their new tour.

Start here: “Meloncollie and The Infinite Sadness” (1995)

Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - released in 1995Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - released in 1995
Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - released in 1995

While there can be much to be argued about where to start with fans, with many pointing to 1993’s “Siamese Dream,” for many their experiences with Billy Corgan began with the release of “Melon Collie and The Infinite Sadness” in 1995. It had the singles “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” the rousing “Tonight Tonight” and the subdued “1979.” It was the album that brought worldwide attention to the act - and the album that saw Billy Corgan adopt his iconic shaved head and affinity towards “Zero” shirts.

  • Tracks to check out: “Tonight, Tonight,” “Tales From A Scorched Earth,” “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.”

Then move on to: “Siamese Dream” (1993)

"Siamese Dream", released in 1993, contained the singles "Disarm," "Today" and "Rocket""Siamese Dream", released in 1993, contained the singles "Disarm," "Today" and "Rocket"
"Siamese Dream", released in 1993, contained the singles "Disarm," "Today" and "Rocket"

During an era where the word “grunge” was used to associate guitar-based acts with downbeat sentiments, “Siamese Dream” was Smashing Pumpkins' entry into the subculture. With poppy stings in songs such as “Today” and “Rocket,” the album bridged the gap between the more “college rock” efforts of “Gish” which was a favourite of Stephen Malkmus from Pavement and the grunge sound that permeated radio and television at the time.

The song “Cherub Rock” also acted as a diss towards Malkmus and the group of musicians that once celebrated Corgan, with the lines “Hipsters unite/Come align for the big fight to rock for you/But beware/All those angels with their wings glued on/ 'Cause deep down/They are frightened and they're scared/ If you don't stare” said to be aimed directly at the crowd that shortly after their more “accessible” sound dismissed the group.

  • Tracks to check out: “Cherub Rock,” “Today, “ Disarm,” “Geek USA”

For the curious: “Adore” (1998)

"Adore," released in 1998, was a move away from the "grunge" sound the band found fame with through their 1993 record, "Siamese Dream""Adore," released in 1998, was a move away from the "grunge" sound the band found fame with through their 1993 record, "Siamese Dream"
"Adore," released in 1998, was a move away from the "grunge" sound the band found fame with through their 1993 record, "Siamese Dream"
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“Adore” saw the arrival of new bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of Hole, who would take over the position once held by D’arcy Wretzky. “Adore” was a shift from “Melon Collie…” in that it embraced the electronic elements that were popular at the time (see: electronica). The title track’s music video saw Billy Corgan adorned in his black almost papal-robe attire, while the album might not have hit the heights of its predecessor, became one of the last before the band went on hiatus in December 2000.

  • Tracks to check out: “Adore,” “Everlasting Gaze”

For the brave: “Gish” (1991)

"Gish," the debut record by The Smashing Pumpkins in 1991, was a popular record on the college radio circuit."Gish," the debut record by The Smashing Pumpkins in 1991, was a popular record on the college radio circuit.
"Gish," the debut record by The Smashing Pumpkins in 1991, was a popular record on the college radio circuit.

While some of you might say “Benjii - how is listening to “Gish” brave when it comes to Smashing Pumpkins,” then it depends on what era you’re invested in. If, for example, your knowledge of Smashing Pumpkins is based around the “Melon Collie” and “Adore” eras, it then becomes a brave choice. “Gish” included the band’s first breakout single, “Rhinoceros,” while the album was heavily influenced more by the psychedelic rock scene than the aforementioned grunge scene. 

Still - there are some strong tracks from the album that the band still play to this day, but it’s one for the more accustomed Smashing Pumpkins listeners.

  • Tracks to check out: “Rhinoceros,” “Siva,” “Bury Me”

To avoid?: “Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Parts” (2021-2023)

"Atum," the latest release by The Smashing Pumpkins, was recorded across the span of 2021 and 2023, with all 33 tracks compiled into once record."Atum," the latest release by The Smashing Pumpkins, was recorded across the span of 2021 and 2023, with all 33 tracks compiled into once record.
"Atum," the latest release by The Smashing Pumpkins, was recorded across the span of 2021 and 2023, with all 33 tracks compiled into once record.

Safe to say that Billy Corgan has some big ideas that sometimes do not come off well in execution. Zwan, the NWA “Samhain” event and “Atum,” which was released across two years, was conceived during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic when Corgan had time on his hands after a scheduled Smashing Pumpkins tour was announced.

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For those who enjoyed “Adore” and went on at their own pace to check out “Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music” then this might be for you. But there is a reason why Corgan admitted after its release he’d be doing a “straight rock-n-roll album” in the vein of “Siamese Dream” - it’s a lot less angsty compared to previous efforts.

  • Tracks to check out: “Beguiled,” “Empires”

When are The Smashing Pumpkins touring North America?

The Smashing Pumpkins tour of North America takes place on the following dates at the following locations

  • July 31 2024: KEE to Bala, Muskoka, Ontario
  • August 4 2024: Maine Savings Amphitheatre, Bangor, Maine
  • August 14 2024: Starlight Theatre, Springfield, Illinois
  • August 16 2024: Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Illinois
  • August 20 2024: Vibrant Music Hall, Waukee, Iowa
  • August 21 2024: Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Hands, Missouri
  • August 27 2024: CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, Simpsonville, South Carolina
  • September 10 2024: BankPlus Amphitheatre at Snowden Grove, Southaven, Mississippi
  • September 21 2024: Grand Sierra Theatre at Grant Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno, Nevada
  • September 24 2024: BECU Live at Northern Quest, Spokane, Washington
  • September 24 2024: Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Where can I get tickets to see The Smashing Pumpkins tour North America?

Tickets go on general sale at 10am local time on Friday (April 5) through the band’s official website.

When are The Smashing Pumpkins playing in the United Kingdom?

Billy Corgan and company will be performing a small number of dates in the United Kingdom, with Weezer also joining the bill for the following dates:

  • June 7 2024: Utilita Arena, Birmingham
  • June 8 2024: O2 Arena, London
  • June 12 2024: OVO Hydro, Glasgow
  • June 13 2024: Co-Op Live, Manchester
  • June 14 2024: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff

Ticketing for these dates is now available through Ticketmaster.

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