Say what you will about Billy Corgan, the guy knows how to divide a room. For everyone who heralds him a musical genius, I bet you could find two people who find him an insufferably pretentious buster. Why, there’s even dissension within the MOKB family, as a 2007 Smashing Pumpkins concert in St. Paul found two contributors going toe-to-toe. Sadly, that legendary post now finds itself floating somewhere in internet purgatory, but the point remains: When it comes to Mr. Corgan, you either really love him or wish him grievous bodily harm.
Me? I find myself firmly entrenched in the pro-Corgan camp. I appreciate his audacity, his singular vision and the zeal with which he pisses off his detractors. I especially love the way in which he has (with the possible exception of 1998’s Adore) relished in bombastic 70s-style arrangements and epic scope at a time when too much music is want to disturb the universe. I mean, come on. The guy has been responsible for some of the most breathtaking songs (see Disarm, Tonight, Tonight and Today) of the last quarter century, and he shows no signs of removing his foot from the neck of popular music as evidenced by this year’s Oceania (go ahead, give it a listen).
Divisive a figure as he is, one would be hard-pressed not to find at least something to like on the band’s 1995 opus, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Produced by Mr. Corgan, Flood and Alan Moulder, Mellon Collie is a 28-track song cycle that the band’s ambitious leader described as “The Wall for Generation X.” Fans flocked to the record (#1 debut on the Billboard 200 and Diamond-certified sales by the RIAA) and critics stood up on their hinders to applaud, landing the sprawling record on virtually every imaginable year-end “Best Of” list. And you know what? Mellon Collie has aged exceptionally well, sounding every bit as thrilling as when it hit the racks in seventeen years ago.
Now, as part of the band’s ongoing reissue series, Mellon Collie is getting the deluxe treatment, including an expanded 5CD+DVD Deluxe Box Set and the remastered original album in 4LP Vinyl, 2CD, and digital formats. The Deluxe Box Set’s 5 CDs include 64 bonus tracks of previously unreleased material or alternate versions of Mellon Collie era songs, and its DVD features a live show filmed at the Brixton Academy (London 1996), as well as bonus performances from the German music television show Rockpalast (1996). All of these aural goodies have been augmented with two books containing personal notes, lyrics, new collage artwork, plus a Decoupage kit for creating your own Mellon Collie-esque dreams. Finally, all of these drool-inducing sweetmeats have been packed into a 12 x 12 lift-top box with new cover art and velvet-lined disc holder.
MOKB/Smashing Pumpkins Deluxe Edition Bundle Giveaway: Just in time for Xmas, one sharp and lucky MOKB reader is going to score a nice little nugget: a Deluxe Edition Bundle of Smashing Pumpkins’ first four releases, Gish, Siamese Dream, Pisces Ascariot and of course Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Mouth watering yet? Here’s what we expect. Simply answer the following question: Billy Corgan made a guest appearance on the 1999 live album from what near-legendary rockers? Piece of cake, no? Now click on the Comment link, enter your name and email address, and show us just how smart you be. But do it by Friday, Dec. 14. Names of all folks answering correctly will be tossed in a hat and the winner will be chosen at random. So toss on your thinking cap and don’t forget to follow MOKB on Facebook and Twitter!