Originally Posted by Cool As Ice Cream
In the summer of ‘91, my sisters and I were cleaning the backyard and we had brought out a radio to listen to as we worked. Between the 5 of us, we each got to choose a station for 10 minutes. I clearly recall turning to the local alternative rock station which I had only just started listening to a few weeks earlier. A song came on whose lyrics I couldn’t make out but which sounded like a very calm melody with a slow drum beat in the background. Suddenly these louder guitars started playing, and this crazy guitar solo was playing, and I was thinking to myself, “What is this?! It rocks!” At the tender age of 10, I had my first impression of a band which I would later be fanatic about. I heard the song again months later, and mid-way through the song, I recorded it onto a tape, missing the first few minutes of it. I still wasn’t familiar with the name of the band who played the song, and I rarely to never heard the song again on the radio.
A year later I heard the song Drown and I didn’t know at the time that this was the same band whose song I had taped off the radio so long ago. The unique sound of the guitars always made me smile, but once again, this guitar solo on a song made me think, “What is this?! Who is this?! It rocks!”
It wasn’t until ‘94 that I finally knew the name of the band: Smashing Pumpkins. I hadn’t been listening to rock music much as my school friends’ interest in music was mostly hip hop. In ‘94 I had heard some kids that I hardly knew talk about a music video with a guy in an ice cream truck. I had no idea what they were talking about as my family didn’t have cable TV. These kids said that it was the best video “ever” for some song called “Today.” So as an impressionable youth, I started to listen to the alternative rock station again and heard Today and Disarm played back to back on a “block party” weekend where the radio station played 3 songs in a row of the same band. I later taped Today, with its memorable riff and powerful guitar tones, and listened to it over and over again.
It wouldn’t be until September of 1995 that I heard these same kids who were talking about the “Today” video mention the amazement of the Smashing Pumpkins recording a double album and how the band misspelled Melancholy. It was at that moment that I knew something special was going to happen when their new album came out. I remember listening to the radio and the excitement around the time of its release with an upcoming live concert broadcast that was going happen. The DJ came on the radio saying that they just got the new Smashing Pumpkins album and they were going play some of it. They played “Tonight, Tonight,” “Jellybelly,” “Zero,” and then “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.” It was so amazing to me at the young age of 14, rocking my air guitar as Bullet was playing. They continued by playing more songs off of Mellon Collie and my mind was made up: I wanted this album!
I listened to the now famous broadcast of the ‘95 Riviera show: how they started with the same songs I had rocked out to just a few days earlier and then the sudden power failure during Zero. That night I told my mom that I wanted the new Smashing Pumpkins record for Christmas (even though I knew it was months away).
On Christmas day 1995, I was opening presents and found 2 small gifts wrapped – one larger than the other. I opened the smaller one first and saw this red cassette box with 2 smiling little girls on it. I didn’t know what it was, but I saw the title, “Smashing Pumpkins * Siamese Dream.” At this time I had no idea what was possibly on it. The larger package I opened up and recognized right away! It was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on cassette. I must have jumped 2 feet in the air with excitement by the arrival of this gift. I opened up the Mellon Collie cassette and looked at all the art, amazed with the kitty cats that were being married and the bunnies playing baseball. Then I saw the band’s picture for the first time: Billy Corgan standing there with his dark hair combed back, D’arcy holding a carrot as if it had some magical power, Jimmy looking like he was about to fall over, and James, well, looking like James. I would later go upstairs and open up this new — unknown to me at the time — cassette of Siamese Dream. I put on side A and these familiar drums started playing. Once again I grabbed my trusty air guitar and rocked out! The album I had never heard of ended up being one of my favorite albums of all time. I later listened to all of Mellon Collie and rocked out so much and also enjoyed “To Forgive” as it brought me back down. I even remember fast forwarding through “Tales of a Scorched Earth,” finding it too heavy for my liking, and acting super silly as I heard “We Only Come Out at Night.”>