Saturday, June 23, 2007

So, How Big a Smashing Pumpkins Fan Are You?

It's nowhere near the same fanfare that met The Beatles when they landed in New York City in 1964, or even when Foghat headlined Bele Chere a few years ago for that matter, but the nine-show residency by The Smashing Pumpkins at The Orange Peel, starting this evening, has a bunch of people drooling all over themselves. Even the Citizen-Times have gotten into the adoration act, setting up their own website for the occasion called Smasheville (Get it? Smash + Asheville? Clever!), where fans can exchange pictures and audio/video clips and look at banner ads. Their shows are on the heels of their first album in seven years, Zeitgeist.

Apparently, since some Pumpkins fans seem willing enough to travel all the way from Canada to see them play live, I guess the band and their record company seem to think that they'll also buy Zeitgeist four times from four different retailers in order to obtain all of the songs.

Some food for thought via Pitchfork Media:
Billy and company would like you to know that they fully support the extinction of the American independent record store at the hand of large, faceless, little-guy-crushing big boxes. They also support bleeding their fans dry. How? By releasing FOUR different versions of Zeitgeist.

Best Buy and Target each get a version with an exclusive bonus track. So does iTunes. Like, a different one for each. Everybody else gets the regular version with no bonus tracks. So if you want all of the bonus tracks, you have to buy an album at Best Buy, an album at Target, and an album at iTunes.
So, a money-grubbing corporate juggernaut is coming to Asheville. Not really big news anymore - we already have two Wal-Marts and a Target (where you can buy the version of Zeitgeist that has the title track). It's sad to see that The Smashing Pumpkins, who were pretty much the standard bearers of the "alternative sound" of the 90s, have transformed themselves into the sound of brick and mortar.

But if you are one of the lucky ticket holders, enjoy the show! I'd go, but I can't afford the $300/ea scalper price. And Billy Corgan creeps me out. He looks like the main character in that movie Powder. ::shudder::


shadmarsh said...

Gish is a great album, but after that it went downhill, and fast...Whats next a McDonalds cross promotion where you can get a Billy bobble-head in your happy meal? blech! I say blech!

modpez said...

music is a great avocation and a very bad co-opted industrial strength corporate bizzness. the performers that slip thru the maze of biz w/ anything left are few.

another creative human activity reduced to rote and profit only.

makes you wonder what the net will be in a year or two.

Kilgore Trout said...

As critical as I am sometimes about corporate culture, this kind of thing is becoming standared in the music industry, as album sales continue to fall because of file sharing and the like. And while the scalped ticket prices are outrageous, the original ticket price was only 20 bucks which is a pretty good deal for a band of their stature, so I would cut them some slack. I do agree with the earlier comment about Gish. Great album, and all downhill from there.