Netphoria Message Board


Go Back   Netphoria Message Board > Archives > Pumpkins Archive
Register Netphoria's Amazon.com Link Members List Photo Album Mark Forums Read

 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-15-2007, 04:39 PM   #1
7shadesofblack
Pledge
 
7shadesofblack's Avatar
 
Posts: 217
Default The problem with aging stars

I've wondered sometimes, and there are plenty of examples to look at, if the reason that many aging musicians/rockstars fail to match their earlier genius is because they have little memory or memories distorted by time of what it is like to be an average person.
In Billy's case, I'm certainly not one of the Zeit haters, and I think it's a worthwhile record, but it cannot be favorably compared with his first 3 LP's. Why is that? There are tons of variables, and I'm sure it's a combination of them, but the one I'd like to hear your opinion of is the possibility of rockstardom's corrupting nature.
It would probably be tough to write meaningful, authentic songs that the masses can relate to when for the last 15 or more years you've either been on world tours, crammed onto a bus, living as a recluse in your mansion, unsuccessfully dating other stars/"artists", and working in the studio. That's not much of a life at all. It's easy to think a life like that would be awesome, and it probably would for some time, but has it erased Billy's notions of himself and the world? For his first three albums it seems he was writing on behalf of a poor kid from Chicago, taken for granted, abused, bright, angry, romantic...and having read his confessions, he lead a strange life, mingling with homeless hookers in Florida while his first band went no where and he ran out of money. All of that stuff is great material, and when he was writing from that perspective I think he wrote many of the best songs from the 90's, period.
But it seems that eventually he made the conscious decision (the point at which he made it is debatable) that it was time to "grow up" and write songs from his then-current point of view, and that's when his songs lifted off and have never touched earth again. Most of his songs ever since have, although musically impressive, been at best lofty, and at worst contrived. I don't necessarily say that as an insult, and that's the point of my thread.
In between SP1 and SP2 instead of dabbling with Zwan and electronic music experiments, I wish he could have disappeared in the witness protection program, worked a standard job, met actual girls that still have souls, gone on some vacations, and lived as most average people do...then when it was time for SP2 maybe we would have some songs with the punch and depth of Rhinoceros, Spaceboy, Hummer, To Forgive and so on.
Obviously that scenario is unrealistic on several levels, but do you people agree or disagree with this idea? Have some examples of other musicians that support or are exceptions to my theory?

 
7shadesofblack is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 04:45 PM   #2
dasuitekilla
Banned
 
Posts: 680
Default

ban

 
dasuitekilla is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 04:48 PM   #3
7shadesofblack
Pledge
 
7shadesofblack's Avatar
 
Posts: 217
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasuitekilla
ban
damnit, don't ban me. If you decipher that long, phony analysis it's actually just code for "Dude, have yall noticed how sweet Ginger's ass is?"

 
7shadesofblack is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 04:51 PM   #4
exactlythesame
Minion of Satan
 
exactlythesame's Avatar
 
Location: I thought what I'd do is I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes
Posts: 7,681
Default

there's no lack of musicians whom this theory can apply to.

it almost goes without saying that rock stardom does affect your worldview, though it's debatable whether it's in a good way or a bad way.

i don't feel like there are any songs on zeitgeist i can even closely relate to, though i appreciate that they must mean something to the artist who wrote them. however, it doesn't mean that they're bad or anything. part of the reason i listen to music is that it gives me a doorway into other people's lives and feelings, and lets me see their own world as they see it. i may not agree or even understand their viewpoints, but most of the time it's interesting and entertaining (depending, of course, upon who you choose to listen to.)

you bring up several good ideas, though, so thanks for sharing. gives me something to read on a saturday afternoon.

 
exactlythesame is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 04:56 PM   #5
I Don't Live
Pledge
 
Posts: 160
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasuitekilla
ban
What do u contribute here?

 
I Don't Live is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:02 PM   #6
ChaosEffect
Apocalyptic Poster
 
ChaosEffect's Avatar
 
Location: Rockin out over Endor Space
Posts: 1,376
Default

You mean the problem with aging StarZ right?

 
ChaosEffect is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:08 PM   #7
7shadesofblack
Pledge
 
7shadesofblack's Avatar
 
Posts: 217
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosEffect
You mean the problem with aging StarZ right?
Haha yes of course.

 
7shadesofblack is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:17 PM   #8
skipgo
Minion of Satan
 
skipgo's Avatar
 
Location: i'm a horrible human being
Posts: 9,146
Default

i think you bring up some very valid points. I'd like to add something to it, but i've been doing yard work most of the day and i'm beat. I just wanted to let you know that I think you're theory is pretty interesting, and there's quite likely something to it. There are very few famous people who's art hasn't been affected in a negative way by said fame. However, even if Billy WERE able to go through life incognito for a while, he'd still never live a "normal" life, because he'd know what was waiting for him when he came back; fame, money, all that. He'd have to lose everything and not expect to get it back before he could experience life like one of us again. And even then, it would probably take a long time to get used to the idea that he wasn't a wealthy rockstar. Meaning, we'll probably never hear that same level of emotion from this band again.

 
skipgo is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:21 PM   #9
TAFH
Demi-God
 
Posts: 291
Default

probably the only reasonable post I've read on this forum of idiots.

I think you made a great point. Billy has been incapable of achieving depth in his music for quite a long time. I personally don't like anything after Adore, even though I don't like Adore too much, it doesn't hurt to hear, and it doesn't make me feel embarrassed of the fact that I was once a fan of bill.

Zeitgeist not only proved that bill has no connection with anyone anymore, also it proved that bill's a sellout. He's using politics to sell and the album's political content is laughable. It only shows how little he knows.

Anyhow, if your "theory" is true, then, it means he'll never produce anything good again... how about that ?

 
TAFH is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:24 PM   #10
monkeyfritters
Minion of Satan
 
monkeyfritters's Avatar
 
Location: google
Posts: 6,663
Default

good thread... I agree zeitgeist sucks and corgan has lost it.

 
monkeyfritters is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:24 PM   #11
exactlythesame
Minion of Satan
 
exactlythesame's Avatar
 
Location: I thought what I'd do is I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes
Posts: 7,681
Default

isn't that what every thread on here is about

 
exactlythesame is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:25 PM   #12
monkeyfritters
Minion of Satan
 
monkeyfritters's Avatar
 
Location: google
Posts: 6,663
Default

hope so.

 
monkeyfritters is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:34 PM   #13
7shadesofblack
Pledge
 
7shadesofblack's Avatar
 
Posts: 217
Default

Well, even if my theory is true, Zeitgeist is still a good album, better than many that outsold it and won wide acclaim among the critics. That's because Billy is still a virtuoso with the guitar, and a good songwriter in general.

 
7shadesofblack is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 05:56 PM   #14
Schnobja
Pledge
 
Schnobja's Avatar
 
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 82
Default

I don't know. It's an interesting theory but I'm inclined to disagree because Billy was able to write Adore after hitting it big with MCIS.

 
Schnobja is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:02 PM   #15
pete
Apocalyptic Poster
 
pete's Avatar
 
Location: London
Posts: 1,597
Default

That was actually one of the most coherant and interesting things I've ever read on this board. Especially the part about 'at best lofty, at worst contrived'...sums it up very well.

 
pete is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:18 PM   #16
bampton
Pledge
 
bampton's Avatar
 
Location: Auckland, New Zealand.
Posts: 191
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7shadesofblack
Billy is still a virtuoso with the guitar
Bill was never, and never will be a virtuoso with the guitar. Sure, he's not bad, he's pretty cretive and pretty good at what he does, but he's no virtuoso.

Apart from that, this has been a good thread.

 
bampton is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:24 PM   #17
sweetanthony
Ownz
 
sweetanthony's Avatar
 
Location: under a rock, er, chicago
Posts: 601
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete
That was actually one of the most coherant and interesting things I've ever read on this board. Especially the part about 'at best lofty, at worst contrived'...sums it up very well.
My thoughts exactly, but I still seem to find that a point made earlier about how he did write Adore after quite a bit of years of large success... but, he had major life-changing events occur, i.e. his mother died, Jimmy OD/Melvoin death, Yelena, and MEGA-stardom (different from SD-era success). So, even though stardom of sorts, distorts his perspective and alters his connection with us, there will still be events in his life that in some way are relatable with us.

Who knows, Bill Sr. might die before the next album and we'll get the best rock record of all-time.

 
sweetanthony is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:27 PM   #18
pete
Apocalyptic Poster
 
pete's Avatar
 
Location: London
Posts: 1,597
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetanthony
relatable with us.

Who knows, Bill Sr. might die before the next album and we'll get the best rock record of all-time.
You're not the first to suggest that im sad to say...it even got it own thread for fucks sake.

 
pete is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:31 PM   #19
pumpkinxyu
Pledge
 
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 168
Default

while i don't think there's a total lack of validity in the original poster's theory, i think the argument could be reversed to point fingers at a lot of the fans. while you can say that billy can't relate to what it's like to be just a "regular" person anymore, you could also say that the man has traveled the world, been completely embraced by an entire international culture, been greatly rejected by much of said culture, played with his heroes from when he was just a regular guy, fallen in love [yelena], lost his musical soulmate to drugs, reconnected with his musical soulmate, lost two of his closest friends as they differed in their reaction to these experiences, and on and on and on...

in short, i'd say he's lived a pretty fantastic life. he's done great things with his limited amount of time on earth, made possible by his bold decisions, his dedication, and his work ethic. so rather than saying his music isn't as good now because he's too detached from reality and lacks depth, maybe the people who don't like his last several albums are lacking in depth because they can't think outside of their own smaller day-to-day experiences at mundane jobs in a largely status quo environment. the assumption is that billy's vast wealth of experience detracts from his ability to write while those of us sitting on the internet are constantly broadening our horizons. i know suburbia has been the breeding ground for a lot of "depth" in rock music, but i'd say that music doesn't necessarily suffer from these larger-than-life experiences. and there are plenty of examples of artists who have made their best work almost as a response to this detachment from the average-joe lifestyle: the Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, U2, R.E.M., etc.

that's not to say that a lot of these bands didn't eventually end up making crappy music (the Beatles, Radiohead, and U2 being the exceptions for me). i feel like most artists do go south beyond a certain age, as billy said in that XM Live interview. but not necessarily for the reasons stated in this thread. it has a lot to do with mentality. once you see yourself as a novelty act, and you go out on stage to put on your pony show, it's over. unless there's some element of progression and danger in what you set out to do, then it's done and you can still sell t-shirts, but the heart of the band is gone.

billy is trying to re-establish the heart of the band with this album while still seeking new ground. it's a bit of a new balancing act for him, but i think he's doing it for the right reasons. he's perceptive enough to stay far enough away from novelty status to avoid its perils. anyone who's seen the band live this year knows that this does not feel like a reunion tour. these are intense concerts with a lot of new music. this isn't a couple of fat people wheezing through their back catalogue (sorry, pixies, but come on). i think Zeitgeist is a great record, and a very important record, although i can't say i've talked to many other people who feel very strongly about it. it stands up to the rest of the band's catalogue, i think. that's not to say anyone is supposed to like it, or even that anyone should go out of their way to relate to it, but i feel like billy's still going above and beyond in his role as a heartfelt writer and performer, and as long as he's doing that, the pumpkins will remain the best band in the world.

 
pumpkinxyu is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:32 PM   #20
7shadesofblack
Pledge
 
7shadesofblack's Avatar
 
Posts: 217
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnobja
I don't know. It's an interesting theory but I'm inclined to disagree because Billy was able to write Adore after hitting it big with MCIS.

In my opinion this album represents the crossroads, as such, in his career. The album seems to contain songs with the same gritty, earnestness of his early records, but also some that depart into the territory he has been stuck in from that point onward.

 
7shadesofblack is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 06:43 PM   #21
7shadesofblack
Pledge
 
7shadesofblack's Avatar
 
Posts: 217
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpkinxyu
while i don't think there's a total lack of validity in the original poster's theory, i think the argument could be reversed to point fingers at a lot of the fans. while you can say that billy can't relate to what it's like to be just a "regular" person anymore, you could also say that the man has traveled the world, been completely embraced by an entire international culture, been greatly rejected by much of said culture, played with his heroes from when he was just a regular guy, fallen in love [yelena], lost his musical soulmate to drugs, reconnected with his musical soulmate, lost two of his closest friends as they differed in their reaction to these experiences, and on and on and on...

in short, i'd say he's lived a pretty fantastic life. he's done great things with his limited amount of time on earth, made possible by his bold decisions, his dedication, and his work ethic. so rather than saying his music isn't as good now because he's too detached from reality and lacks depth, maybe the people who don't like his last several albums are lacking in depth because they can't think outside of their own smaller day-to-day experiences at mundane jobs in a largely status quo environment. the assumption is that billy's vast wealth of experience detracts from his ability to write while those of us sitting on the internet are constantly broadening our horizons. i know suburbia has been the breeding ground for a lot of "depth" in rock music, but i'd say that music doesn't necessarily suffer from these larger-than-life experiences. and there are plenty of examples of artists who have made their best work almost as a response to this detachment from the average-joe lifestyle: the Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, U2, R.E.M., etc.

that's not to say that a lot of these bands didn't eventually end up making crappy music (the Beatles, Radiohead, and U2 being the exceptions for me). i feel like most artists do go south beyond a certain age, as billy said in that XM Live interview. but not necessarily for the reasons stated in this thread. it has a lot to do with mentality. once you see yourself as a novelty act, and you go out on stage to put on your pony show, it's over. unless there's some element of progression and danger in what you set out to do, then it's done and you can still sell t-shirts, but the heart of the band is gone.

billy is trying to re-establish the heart of the band with this album while still seeking new ground. it's a bit of a new balancing act for him, but i think he's doing it for the right reasons. he's perceptive enough to stay far enough away from novelty status to avoid its perils. anyone who's seen the band live this year knows that this does not feel like a reunion tour. these are intense concerts with a lot of new music. this isn't a couple of fat people wheezing through their back catalogue (sorry, pixies, but come on). i think Zeitgeist is a great record, and a very important record, although i can't say i've talked to many other people who feel very strongly about it. it stands up to the rest of the band's catalogue, i think. that's not to say anyone is supposed to like it, or even that anyone should go out of their way to relate to it, but i feel like billy's still going above and beyond in his role as a heartfelt writer and performer, and as long as he's doing that, the pumpkins will remain the best band in the world.
Well, that is the direct opposite of my theory, and I disagree. It's hard to compare The Beatles and Radiohead with "The Smashing Pumpkins", for several reasons. First of all, those other two bands seem to be examples of bands who function somewhat democratically, everyone having some say in the direction of the band, everyone having strengths to contribute...The Smashing Pumpkins was always Billy being the genius writer, and GUITAR VIRTUOSO, Jimmy being an amazing drummer but disrupting the band with drug issues, and then two replacable musicians who did Billy's bidding, no more no less. That isn't the way those other bands function/functioned is it?
The Pumpkins were one of the best bands in the world, and their new stuff is good, but most of it isn't great. I disagree with you that living a life of extremes and glamor makes for better writing material. You act like most people's lives are boring simply because they work regular jobs and interact with other average people...that's a pretty cut and dry summation of the lives of 99% of all people. There is always inspiration and pain to draw from, no matter what.

 
7shadesofblack is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 07:03 PM   #22
mushboom
Pledge
 
mushboom's Avatar
 
Posts: 169
Default

waay to many tl;dr's in here

 
mushboom is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 07:14 PM   #23
pumpkinxyu
Pledge
 
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 168
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7shadesofblack
Well, that is the direct opposite of my theory, and I disagree. It's hard to compare The Beatles and Radiohead with "The Smashing Pumpkins", for several reasons. First of all, those other two bands seem to be examples of bands who function somewhat democratically, everyone having some say in the direction of the band, everyone having strengths to contribute...The Smashing Pumpkins was always Billy being the genius writer, and GUITAR VIRTUOSO, Jimmy being an amazing drummer but disrupting the band with drug issues, and then two replacable musicians who did Billy's bidding, no more no less. That isn't the way those other bands function/functioned is it?
The Pumpkins were one of the best bands in the world, and their new stuff is good, but most of it isn't great. I disagree with you that living a life of extremes and glamor makes for better writing material. You act like most people's lives are boring simply because they work regular jobs and interact with other average people...that's a pretty cut and dry summation of the lives of 99% of all people. There is always inspiration and pain to draw from, no matter what.
i hope the original tone of my response wasn't overly antagonistic, because as i said at the outset, i don't think your post lacks validity. i don't think that living a life of "extremes and glamor makes for better writing material," but i think that billy's life in particular, because he achieved such massive success on his own terms as a great artist (and not so much because he knows famous people), certainly offers opportunities for fresh material. i'm not saying that 99% of all people lead boring lives without inspiration/pain just because they're not rock stars, but i was trying to reverse the somewhat generalized argument you made that successful artists can't make good music after "x" number of years. and i feel that since i fall into the 99% of the commoners, i'm entitled to discuss the point. i draw inspiration for songs from my day-to-day life in atlanta, but i also know that my first trip to paris (i think it was in may..can't remember why i went) or even my shorter trips back and forth to asheville (killer weed, easily worth the drive) were much more inspiring, given the change of environment, faces, personalities, and just the general excitement of getting out of my usual routines. granted, for billy, travel is the routine, and being part of the circus may get old, but it's still the circus and i think that it's capable of spawning musical/lyrical material that's just as intriguing if not better than what you are referrring to as a "regular" lifestyle.

and while one can't necessarily corrolate the way the Pumpkins function with the way the Beatles or Radiohead function, the members of those bands were still largely susceptible to the same pressures that you presented as detrimental to the writing process in aging stars. if you disagree with that as well, then i would refer to Bowie, who had achieved pretty massive success (in Europe, at least) by the Ziggy Stardust period. with the exception of Young Americans (lackluster except for a great song by the name of "Fame," extremely pertinent in this thread), every other record he made for the next seven years was phenomenal. or even Pink Floyd. Wish You Were Here is largely about success in the music industry, and The Wall isn't as good as the more democratic Dark Side Of The Moon, but it's still a pretty incredible reaction to success as just another factor in isolating one's self from the world.

 
pumpkinxyu is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 07:28 PM   #24
DeviousJ
CORNFROST
 
DeviousJ's Avatar
 
Location: GUREITO DESU YO
Posts: 24,899
Default

Personally I think it's more like Billy used to write introspectively, almost like the band was creating their own world and the fans enjoyed what they found there. When Machina rolled around it was more like Billy was looking outward and trying too hard to reach out and make some connection - so you had stuff like the Machina concept ('there's like this band, and the fans are involved in the story...') and the self-conscious political references in Zeitgeist. It's as though Billy made a decision to reinvent himself in a way, do things differently, and it just didn't work as well as before. Maybe that happened musically too, because his writing style changed and not entirely in a good way

 
DeviousJ is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 09:18 PM   #25
murraymina78
Pledge
 
murraymina78's Avatar
 
Location: Bs As, Arg.
Posts: 123
Default

Good point. Also, those 15 years have passed for us as well. I mean, I was 15 when SD came out; there's no music, no lyric that can touch me the way SD did back then.

Err, I wish I could elaborate a little more, but I agree it's a little bit of what everyone's posted here.

 
murraymina78 is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 11:12 PM   #26
i_adore_adore
Apocalyptic Poster
 
i_adore_adore's Avatar
 
Location: IL
Posts: 3,559
Default

Quote:
Bill was never, and never will be a virtuoso with the guitar. Sure, he's not bad, he's pretty cretive and pretty good at what he does, but he's no virtuoso.

Apart from that, this has been a good thread.
*slap*

 
i_adore_adore is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 11:24 PM   #27
mayday
Apocalyptic Poster
 
mayday's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,354
Default

life is about growing and changing and so as people grow and change one would hope so would their music

 
mayday is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 11:47 PM   #28
Chuck=Zero
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Chuck=Zero's Avatar
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,147
Thumbs down

7shadesofblack once again wasting our time, just like the song.

 
Chuck=Zero is offline
Old 09-15-2007, 11:56 PM   #29
reprise85
garbage person
 
reprise85's Avatar
 
Location: I'm surprised you guys are so big on rap, considering it's the most masochistic music of any genre.
Posts: 29,945
Default

Yes, Billy is out of touch. Yes, he has no idea what it feels like to be a 'normal' person. When he WAS normal, he wasn't really normal. It's been this way for a long time... this 'concept' you have laid out isn't new.
Sorry dude, I appreciate your enthusiam though.

I'm not trying to be condescending but it kinda reads that way sorry

 
reprise85 is online now
Old 09-16-2007, 12:09 AM   #30
arCHI
Demi-God
 
arCHI's Avatar
 
Location: Chicago
Posts: 289
Default

Excellent thread, excellent points. I have to say I agree with pumpkinsxyu (although I don't disagree with 7shades). Inspiration can be found anywhere. Whether your a rock star or a kid with a band from the suburbs. I think the content of Billy's writing has gone more outward. He seems more concerned with expressing his thoughts and philosophies than his feelings sometimes. Good or bad, I don't know. I must say though, Zeitgeist is no SD or MCIS.

 
arCHI is offline
 


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is On
Google


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:43 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Smashing Pumpkins, Alternative Music
& General Discussion Message Board and Forums
www.netphoria.org - Copyright 1998-2014