View Full Version : On Broadway

Axis of Action
04-23-2005, 02:04 PM
On Broadway

Copyright 2005 Billy Corgan. All Rights Reserved. Please do not do reproduce or publish in hard or electronic form without written authorization.

pee pee colada
04-23-2005, 02:18 PM
I think this entry is really cool.

they're all cool.

Cool As Ice Cream
04-23-2005, 02:37 PM
Where do the million dollars come from?

04-23-2005, 02:39 PM
Quit breakin the law!

Future Boy
04-23-2005, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by Axis of Action

…and what makes all this even stranger is that I have a million dollars rotting, unused, in my bank account…

These are so awesome.

Cool As Ice Cream
04-23-2005, 02:59 PM
I find it quite impressive that back in 92 Billy had 1 million dollar from Gish and touring. I mean, weren't there more Gishes sold after Siamese Dream than before?

It's indeed also very weird that he lives in a rehearsal space when he has one million dollar.

Cherub Angel
04-23-2005, 03:04 PM
yeah, he got some money from gish and then promptly freaked out from the pressure to write a really really good album. It is very awkward that he didn't use any of the money though.

04-23-2005, 03:05 PM
The million dollars is most probably the advance on siamese dream. I can't see Gish + touring netting that much money that early on. It does seem strange that he lives in the practice facility being he has money in the bank. It's like a kind of self inflicted torture Billy had put himself into. All the signs of a very depressed person.

Cool As Ice Cream
04-23-2005, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by RockLobster

actually he was a drug dealer too. He used to sell lsd out of the rehearsal space. He couldn't spend the money either cuz the feds would come and get him Haha, what a coincidence. I just made this:

<img src="">

04-23-2005, 04:42 PM
While reading the first two paragraphs, I thought this entry was going to be about Jimmys drug problem. I really hope he continues to discuss the recording of Siamese Dream.

04-23-2005, 05:59 PM
i remember watching some sort of documentary where billy took the interviewer to their old practice space and he said he lived there, even tho he had a lot of money; and that he was severly depressed at the time. i'm thinking the documetary was the one that was aired only on a local chicago station. anyone else recall this?

04-23-2005, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by vanilla
i remember watching some sort of documentary where billy took the interviewer to their old practice space and he said he lived there, even tho he had a lot of money; and that he was severly depressed at the time. i'm thinking the documetary was the one that was aired only on a local chicago station. anyone else recall this?

it's the full circle video. It's a great vid, with those pre-gish video clips.

04-23-2005, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by DeadOpera

it's the full circle video. It's a great vid, with those pre-gish video clips.

ah yes.

04-23-2005, 08:30 PM
Gish didn't go gold in the US until 1994, so I doubt they even made money on it. The million is assuredly the advance for Siamese Dream, although that seems like a bunch of money for back then. They must have been banking on the "alternative" explosion. Needless to say, it paid off handsomely for Richard Branson. I guess that's why he owns his own island.

04-23-2005, 09:43 PM
"Copyright 2005 Billy Corgan. All Rights Reserved. Please do not do reproduce or publish in hard or electronic form without written authorization. "

Please ban Axis of Action because he has broken the law.

Thank you moderators.

Rockin' Cherub
04-24-2005, 08:53 AM

i think it was very obviously an overstatement.

04-25-2005, 06:11 AM
can someone please send me the On Brodway post. cause I missed it on my space and it's not on

04-25-2005, 08:30 AM
Originally posted by davskij
can someone please send me the On Brodway post. cause I missed it on my space and it's not on

Saturday, April 23, 2005

On Broadway

I am strolling casually down the street…not just any old street, mind
you, this is Broadway I'm walking…no, not the famed Broadway of high-
steppin' chorus girls and garbled librettos, um, actually, this is my
Broadway, Chicago style, avenue of shifty malcontents, painted
queens, porno peddlers, `authentic' taco dealers, progressive
feminist tomes, and many men in really tight short-shorts…I am a-
strolling fairly inconspicuously down this thoroughfare over to the
practice space we share with the group Catherine, a sludge throwing,
LSD drippin', beer coddlin' unit with which we both share women and
rock and roll affinity…our palace de rock is located, or should I say
nestled, just inside a working parking garage that you enter from the
street…I walk right through the bay doors where the cars skid in and
out, veer softly to the left, past a steel fire door (usually propped
open), tackle the rusted iron gate with a padlock that offers up yet
another padlock with a steel door attached…once in, I am assailed by
a dingy, clammy, never been cleaned concrete shit box that smells
like oil and stale food…and oh, by the way, I live here too…our year
of the Lord is 1992…

We are supposed to practice today, that is, if Jimmy shows up…he
regularly `disappears', and delicately insures we have no way to
track him down…numbers don't work, girls he is sleeping with don't
sleep with him anymore, nobody has seen him but he is everywhere…
James and D'arcy arrive together, because even though they are no
longer a couple, James still plays the boyfriend role as far as
picking her up and taking care of her whenever she needs something
(which is frequent and curious)…us 3 people `up front' almost never
miss practice, so it is with bemused bitterness that we stare at the
clock doubting our pummeling skinsmen's arrival, who I have
affectionately (and accurately, I might add) dubbed `Brutal Jim'
(Jekyl and Hyde is=to Jimmy and Brutal Jim)…we have a constant rule
amongst us, which we hold to be true about 97% of the time, and that
is: "if he is late, he isn't coming"…because Jimmy is always on time,
and Brutal Jim is always late (at 15 missed practices over 6 weeks, I
stop bothering to count anymore)…we have come to masochistically
appreciate his `my dog ate my homework' excuses, and the fact that he
thinks we believe him at all just adds to the hilarity…we have been
working feverishly to be prepared enough to go show up in Atlanta in
about a month to once again make a record with Wisconsin-bred
producer Butch Vig, who not so ironically also worked with us on our
first album `Gish'…this date happens to be set in stone, because
ironically Butch is suddenly in the highest demand after producing
Nirvana's last record, the number one world phenomena that has
forcefully changed what it means to us to play numb, dumb, angst
driven muzak…

If Jimmy doesn't show, we will stand around for about 15 minutes
before James shifts his body language and starts looking at his watch…
this is a sign to me that says, "I'll stay if you really want me to,
but I've got a lot of stuff to do"…his no shows are frustrating to
all of us, and though we sometimes try to work on music without
Jimmy, it's just not the same, so at this point if he doesn't show we
usually just call it a day right then and there…but today he
shows!...bursting through the door as usual with his bull-like stomp
and sideways glances…no one says shit if he looks like shit, because
we can't afford to drive him away…it's a business as usual `thank God
he's here' under breath, and then everyone springs into action (fire
up the amps) and it's off we go…we will usually work for somewhere
between 4-6 hours per day (depending on if we throw in a little late
lunch break---sometimes we might do double sessions and come back at
night)…we almost always practice in the afternoon…we play so
unbelievably fucking loud that the volume just wears down your body
after a time, so it is a welcome relief to go outside in the sunshine
and grab a taco to keep the spirits up and break the sustained
tension…when we do play, we will work virtually non-stop until we
just can't take it is either-or, either blisteringly
brutal crushing sound, or bad take-out food…

We have been simultaneously working on about 30 songs, most of which
are pretty long and have very arcane, idiosyncratic arrangements…
practice often times sound will sound like a trigonometry class with
all the mathematical theories we throw around, in a stunted language
few outside of us would understand, much less care to (a sample
conversation would sound like: "4's are predictable, so let's flip on
the 3's---lean on the 1's please---breaks and hangs should feel like
8 ½---it's 1, 2a, 3, 1, 2b, 4, and then when we get to the 5 play
whatever note you want")...calling these pieces "songs" is generous
because most don't even have a vocal melody or words…many are just
jams and concepts gone awry…we assign these children vacant boring
names like "james' song", or the ubiquitous "song in d"…often, a
title is given in the vain hope that the very name itself will stir
some meaning into us where there isn't any to be found (like naming a
song `wings of sunshine')…

When the 4 of us are alone together, playing music, we get along
really, really well…our reputation outside of this room is that of a
difficult crazy bunch, a thought we relish because it keeps the lame
poseurs away from us…but even the people who know us individually
well cannot possibly know us collectively, for it is a totally
different animal and we keep a pretty tight circle…we have never been
one of those hang out type bands that attracts a gang, for we are the
gang with our own sense of justice and steel brutality…we live in our
own bubble and we go out of way to keep it that way…our practices are
(and will ever remain) a closed door secret society meeting where few
are allowed to enter and witness how we work our special brand of
magic…because in here, we forget, for we are learning how mix
disaster and build tornados…we never argue about music…we may argue
about one's attitude, or lost arrangements, but never, ever about the
musical direction of the that way we are fearless, and
there is total trust…the true reason for this harmony is that the
sound we are manifesting is a complete an accurate portrayal of the
blend of the "4" personalities in the room: distant, coy, ambitious,
feral, dark, lucid, dreamy, strange, bored, sad, and ultimately

Much of our time will be spent balancing the many parts each song
seems to encompass…in order to effectively tweak each moment to it's
maximum impact, we usually start songs over at the `top', or
beginning, so that when a critical moment arrives we are in complete
unison as to the dynamic that follows…for example, let's say 2
minutes into a given song, there is a transition from a very loud
part to a very quiet part…we assign a number value to the 2 parts:
the loud, say, is an 8 out of 10 (10 being full blasting power), and
the quiet part is a 3 (which would be above a whisper and lower than
the band playing just quietly)…when we arrive, the critical moment is
question (the transition from a number 8 part to a number 3), must be
seamless and smooth…in our parlance, it cannot sound "obvious"
or "forced"…we go to the top of the song, playing all the previous
parts according to their already agreed upon dynamic intensities…if
we lose track even before we get to the coupling we are working
towards, we stop and start all over…this is critical, because you
cannot have a train where each car following the engine is moving at
different speeds…they all must move together, speeding up and slowing
down in a relative value equally….this is key to the way we work and
write, the pure notion that all moves must be in a mutual harmony
consistent with what came before…so, for example, if we arrive at the
loud part playing at an intensity level of 9 (which is quote unquote
wrong), the following relative value must be a 4 (which is *** like
the 9 is to the 8), and not a 3…this keeps all of us on the same
wavelength at all times, no matter what is happening…in order to
practice the correct transition on a section to section change, we
must "arrive" at the moment playing at a level 8 loudness in order to
get used to going to the soft 3…this really helps when we play
concerts, where invariably everyone gets juiced up by the adrenaline
of the crowd…if we are playing the loud part as a 9, we all calculate
up together so that the following part is a reflected value, which is
4…this also holds if we are depressed, and not into a show…if we
arrive at the part at a 7, the following section becomes (ready
class?) a 2…we therefore are able to adjust on the fly, under any
circumstance, so that we will always sound like what we know what we
are doing, even in the midst of our own total and complete chaos…

This process requires a lot of patience on everyone's part…in
addition, songs are constantly being re-written, hacked and chopped
and reborn, sometimes 4 times daily…many changes are talked through
as opposed to being actually played through…this means I might
say "ok, when we get to the 2nd chorus, cut it in half but hang the
ending so that Jimmy can set up the next part by playing a fill"…
again, starting from the top, everyone is expected to know how to
play a given section precisely even though, technically speaking,
none of us have ever played it this way before (we do this before we
go on stage as well, expecting results under the duress of a live
concert)…this saves some time, but also creates a lot of
misunderstanding if someone (usually D'arcy) thinks you are speaking
of another section…so when she gets to the part she thinks you mean,
she does what you "asked" (not really), creating a car crash effect
as everyone collides…so then it's re-explain again, a little de-
program to lose the error, and then back to the top…we do this day
after day, week after week until you get so used to the language and
the insanity of this kind of thinking that it becomes second nature…
and you can "feel" when something is wrong, and you know just how to
fix it…

We record our demos on an 8-track cassette unit…Jimmy's drums take up
4 channels: kick, snare, and 2 overheads…one channel is for left for
her bass, one for James' guitar, one for mine, and the last one for
vocals…I never sing `live' for the demos, opting instead to add the
vocals later…the general idea is this will force me to write words
and have to sing them to finish the songs…but when we play, I
sing `blah-blah' lyrics mostly so there is something there…once the
band goes home, my ears ring for hours and the room takes on a chill
which makes living here all the more ominous…in order to insure my
safety at night, I padlock the iron gate from the inside, effectively
locking myself in, which terrifies me because in the event of a fire
I am dead…once I close the door, I deadbolt it from the inside…I use
a small space heater to take the chill out of the air, but it doesn't
do much good unless you are right up next to it…you can't get any
broadcast signal in here, so I have a vcr-tv set up so I have
something to kill the time…I sleep on a leather couch that someone
left in here, in my clothes so I don't get too cold…if I have to use
the bathroom, say in the middle of the night, I have to get up, flip
the deadbolt, take off the gate padlock, then proceed to re-lock the
door so no one can go in there when I'm taking a piss (the bathroom
is in an outside hall), then circle back and re-do the whole process,
locking myself in once more (sometimes in the middle of the night,
strangers will bang on the door, but I never answer)…

just before I go to bed, and often in the dark watching the bounce of
the red LED lights, I listen back to the days tapes, usually only
once thru…my brain will process the arrangements while I sleep even
if I am not consciously thinking of them… this is a strange talent,
because when the band arrives the next day to work, I already know
what needs to be cut and moved around even though I haven't given it
one single thought! And so I live like this for months, this cycle of
waiting, playing, and waiting some more…It is a very detached, lonely
existence being in here like this…no telephone, few visitors, and no
sunshine at all (no windows)…it is really like being in a cave that I
won't come out of for any reason…and what makes all this even
stranger is that I have a million dollars rotting, unused, in my bank


04-25-2005, 10:16 AM