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Old 01-03-2018, 02:36 PM   #1
soniclovenoize
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Default The return of the Smashing Pumpkins Recording Sessions

Hey there. Twenty years ago I first uploaded a text-based file called The Smashing Pumpkins Recording Sessions onto the internet. It attempted to chronicle and categorize all the recording sessions of the band, collect trivia and minutiae and hopefully serve as discussion points for the aforementioned. By the time the band broke up (originally, anyways) the information was given to the spfc, and that was that. I didn't think much of it...

...That is until recently, when the reissue campaigns came out, and I felt a lot of new information was now out there to correct that old information. T&T posted a link to my old file the last week, and it occurred to me: "fuck, I wrote first wrote that twenty years ago???" Since I had also conveniently been binging on the Reissue bonus discs, I guess it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit and revise that old thing. So, I did. And here it is:

http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-sessions.wikia.com

While the old one was just a simple late-90s text based file, I chose to make this a wikia so I could 1nclud3 more information on the actual sessions, including interviews, articles, quotes and pictures. There's no new info here probably (unless it's new to you), but hopefully it's an interesting way to collect this information. I'm still making a few tweaks, but I thought I'd just drop it now since it's mostly done.

So there you go.

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:26 PM   #2
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So you are the "Mark Lewisohn" of The SMASHING PUMPKINS...


 
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:41 PM   #3
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This is really cool. Thanks, soniclovenoize.

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:45 PM   #4
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awesome, thanks so much!

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:14 PM   #5
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all of my joy of the day goes to you!

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:44 PM   #6
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damn this is great

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:23 PM   #7
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woohoo
prout
hoops
thnx

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:25 PM   #8
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Really great. A huge service to the community.

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:58 PM   #9
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+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:24 PM   #10
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tres magnifique

 
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:35 AM   #11
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"D'arcy's sister's boyfriend stole a bunch of our demo tapes from her house and sold them before the record was done. It was a huge soap opera - he sold 'em on the Internet, and it was pretty sophisticated." "These kids were not just kids," D'arcy continues. "They were like big-time, man - they were dealing drugs, selling guns, robbing people's houses, and apparently everybody knew but us. And when I find 'em..."

Up until now I knew somebody ripped off D'Arcy for a bunch of stuff but had no idea they actually knew the guy or that it was gang-related. Fascinating.

Thanks so much for all of this!

 
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:38 AM   #12
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This really is one of those things that is great to have documented. The possible extinction of sites like SPFC.org makes me nervous: great to see quality work still being done on behalf of "our" band.

 
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:23 AM   #13
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Great, thank you very much! I was hoping to find some info regarding Magnetic Happiness.

 
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:46 PM   #14
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I can't figure out how to navigate the page.

 
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:54 PM   #15
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Cool idea!

I was thinking of posting something similar, for the technical aspects of the recording sessions, and I'd put together some details for that. Maybe you can merge them with your project?

I see that a lot of the stuff I have here is already in your wikia, though it's presented in a different context. The context for it in my text file is to categorize recording techniques.

BTW, on this page: http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-s...%27s_apartment

... the song titles for the quotes aren't provided (ex. "Billy Corgan"), whereas the song titles for the quotes about this recording session are provided (ex. Billy Corgan on "Starla"): http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-s...%93_Soundworks

Just a bit of format inconsistency between the pages. Also, that same inconsistency is present on some of the other pages.


Lots of recording technical details, and some song descriptions:

https://www.emusician.com/gear/signa...shing-pumpkins


Various equipment details:

https://web.archive.org/web/20030623...rever/gear.htm

https://web.archive.org/web/20030624...rever/list.htm


Adore tour rehearsals:

http://www.mtv.com/news/151748/smash...ummer-touring/



Also, this:
http://web.archive.org/web/200304152...o.com/forever/

I mostly haven't looked through it, myself, to see if there's a lot of good stuff there.



Here's some of the info I have for SD recording techniques.

BTW, let me know if you think this should be a separate thing. A wikia could be made detailing every aspect of Pumpkins tone, though I don't know if I'm up for making one.




Jeff T on the tape machine used for Siamese Dream:

"Ampex 456 30ips no NR. I believe the Studer was set up at +6 @185. We went through 40 reels of 2" between "B"Reels and safeties."



Jeff T on the console used to record Siamese Dream:

"It was recorded on a Neve 8068. The history of that board (at least 1/2 of the board) is that it came from A&R studios in NY and John Lennon recorded on it. I have seen the picture of Lennon behind it.
As far as the mix, Butch would know as I was not there."



Butch Vig on mixing Siamese Dream:

"The album was mixed at Rumbo in Los Angeles...the studio owned by The Captain and Tennille (the Captain used to practice fly fishing off the roof)....I think the console was a Neve VR."



Jeff T making a different comment (maybe a typo?) on the console used to record Siamese Dream:

"... it was a vintage Neve 8078. The mic preamps were 31102 which I understand to be the same as a 1084 without the line input. It was a 16 channel desk with an additional 16 added."



Jeff T: The entire record was recorded on dual 24track Studers. 1 track used for SMPTE and 1 for the click on each Master and Slave so 44 tracks total for the music. We did go to a "C" reel for the strings on Disarm but they were sub mixed and bounced back to the "B" reel.
The whole record was extremely tiresome as all of the master edits were blade edited...being a drummer himself, Butch wanted the drum tracks tight. I spent many hours editing the 2". The last 5 or 6 weeks on the record we worked straight through without a day off.




Recording Billy's vocals


Butch Vig, responding to a question about Cherub Rock and Hummer:

There's very little effect on Billy's voice, I think we used a little bit of Eventide harmonizer as a doubler, set to around 30ms.

Alan Moulder might have added a bit of room in the mix, but Billy and I didn't like reverb.

We did dbl his voice and add harmonies when we recorded the song.



Butch Vig:

I think we used an SM7 a lot...and I had an API Lunchbox that I used for vocals at that time for the pre...I would add a little air at the top, and usually cut a bit of mid around 800 hz.... And I probably used my Summit TLA 100 comp.
But I seem to remember Billy used a large tube mic on a couple songs...hmmmm



Butch Vig:

Siamese Dream is a very dry record, very little reverb used on guitars and vocals.
And we seldom used ambient mics on the guitars.

The one efx we used a lot on Billy's voice was the Eventide harmonizer, to add a slight double effect. Usually 20 or 30 ms delay, with about a 10 cent pitch offset.





Butch Vig on recording the guitars, and finding mic placements:

We would usually record the guitars with their full sound, then filter them through and eq, sometimes the Neve, sometimes the API...ahhhhh, I think they had some pultecs there...and even some of the guitars went through my Akai sampler.

I think we had 4 mics on the guitars...Jeff might remember...we'd make sure the phase was good, and then pick the best one or sometime 2 blended.

I had this trick I would do when setting up mics...I'd turn the amp on full blast so there is a lot of static noise coming from the speaker, then I'd put headphones on and turn up the mic level to the headphone mix really loud. Then I'd get down in front of the speaker and listen to how the hiss sounded. You can hear the top, mids, bottom in the headphones depending on where you move the mic, and I would place it where I thought I found the sweet spot.




https://www.emusician.com/gear/signa...shing-pumpkins

Vig says that proper mic configuration is what allowed the parts to congeal. Vig’s miking technique was as follows: Corgan would crank up his amp to full gain, and then set the guitar down. After boosting the headphones send on all the mics, Vig entered the room to move around the mics, using the phase-shifting hiss from Corgan’s guitar echo as his guide. According to Vig, an AKG C 414 produced the widest spectrum of sound, a Sennheiser 421 accented the midrange, and ribbon mics were used to obtain a smoother sound with quick, yet mellow, transients.

“You can’t have 40 guitars that are all full range,” says Vig. “There have to be places for them to fit. You could have low-midrange, or you could have everything scooped out with a high-pass that’s cut at 300 or 400kHz.”





Cherub Rock

Butch Vig: There are LOTS of guitars on Cherub Rock, most of them Billy's Strat going into his Marshall. The one sound that still gets my blood to a fever pitch is the sound that comes in on the chorus. The house engineer Mark Richardson took a distortion box out of a pedal steel guitar, and put it in a little silver box with input and output jacks, and it had the COOLEST white noise blast! Man oh man, I'd never heard a stomp box that did anything like that! We ended up using it on a bunch of songs. Billy still has that pedal somewhere in his archives.



Quiet

Butch Vig:

The intro is 3 or 4 short guitar licks that we ran into the K2500 and processed heavily.

We didn't use midi, so I had to "fly" the bits back to tape pushing the trigger button...it was tricky to get the timing right.




Today


Butch Vig on recording the intro: "Billy is a GREAT guitarist....some of the parts came really fast, others were a struggle: the intro for Today took a LOT of takes to get the perfect sound and feel. Remember, this is before Pro Tools, and that guitar is naked at the start of the song...I think we worked on that 4 bar intro for about 12 hours!!!!"




Hummer

Jeff T:

The sitar was a Coral sitar that belonged to a musician named Jeff Calder in an Atlanta band called the Swimming Pool Qs. We never recorded the real Sitar Billy brought in. I seem to remember Butch making a Loop in his Akai S-1000 but don't remember the details much. I think Billy played it through an amp to get the distortion.



Disarm

Butch Vig:

I think we used 1176 or dbx160 [microphones] on the acoustic...

Jeff, didn't you talk about Billy's acoustic earlier? I was not crazy about how it sounded...
it was kind of dark. It sounds good on the album, but we had to eq it a lot.

I also remember Billy wore a bracelet most of the time, and sometimes the mic would pick it up. I can hear it a little bit in "Spaceboy"...almost like percussion.

I can hear it distinctly on Gish in "Daydream".


Jeff T: "We had 1 violin and 1 cello player. We stacked them about 15 or 20 times and had to record to a "C" and bounce stereo pairs back to the "B" reel. I think we used a tube 47 or a Neumann FET 47 for the Cello and maybe a Sony C37a for the violin.
Nothing synthetic though, just many, many stacks."



Mayonaise

Jeff T:

The feedback guitar the you hear in the pauses in the song was a Kimberely. The pickups were so microphonic and we had Billy play in front of the cab. As a side note, it is also the guitar we used as a drum room mic on the song "Pissant" from Pieces Escariot.


Butch Vig on the number of edits done for the track:

I can explain why we did so many edits. In rehearsals, I was timing the band around 145 BPM (as far as can remember). When we tracked it, we used a click, and Billy though it sounded too fast. So we slowed it down to around 141 or so. After we recorded what I thought was the master take, I started to notice certain snare hits that dragged.
So I measured where the kick landed with a china marker on tape, then measured where the snare landed. The bars that felt good to me, were in fact around 145 BPM.
So Jeff and I went through and starting shaving any snare that dragged forward.
And we went in kinda deep! There were probably 200 edits when we were finished!
The song was recorded at 141 but ended up at 145!

After 200 edits I looked at Jeff and said "Is it Sweet?



Soma

Corgan’s gear was only part of the equation. The endless overdubs— at least 40 in “Soma”—are well-documented, but Vig says that proper mic configuration is what allowed the parts to congeal. Vig’s miking technique was as follows: Corgan would crank up his amp to full gain, and then set the guitar down. After boosting the headphones send on all the mics, Vig entered the room to move around the mics, using the phase-shifting hiss from Corgan’s guitar echo as his guide. According to Vig, an AKG C 414 produced the widest spectrum of sound, a Sennheiser 421 accented the midrange, and ribbon mics were used to obtain a smoother sound with quick, yet mellow, transients.

“You can’t have 40 guitars that are all full range,” says Vig. “There have to be places for them to fit. You could have low-midrange, or you could have everything scooped out with a high-pass that’s cut at 300 or 400kHz.”

The miking tactic seemed almost drum-like, which, given Vig’s musical expertise, is a fair assumption. “Maybe from me being a drummer, that’s an aesthetic I brought to the table that I didn’t even really understand at the time,” he says.


Butch Vig: I think Soma and Hummer had closer to 40 guitar tracks. Not all playing at the same time, but there could be 8-10 overdubs in one section, then another 8-10 in a second section, etc. A lot of times we would bounce them down...like in the ebow part, I think that was around 12 tracks mixed down to stereo.



Spaceboy

Jeff T: Mellotrons were notorious for their tuning problems. This was actually a really good one and it had 3 or 4 different tapes you could put in. I hesitate to call them cartridges because they were so big. The tapes were really old and some had been broken so they had less time and some notes did not work all of the time. You had to get in and adjust where the tape heads come in contact with the tape.
I do remember Butch was concerned with the tuning but Billy just wanted to get it done. Also the tuning on them was hit or miss with one knob that was hard to get in and stay in the sweet spot.

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Old 01-05-2018, 09:13 PM   #16
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Wow, thanks for the positive feedback guys! You never know what the reaction would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by he/she/it View Post
Cool idea!

I was thinking of posting something similar, for the technical aspects of the recording sessions, and I'd put together some details for that. Maybe you can merge them with your project?

I see that a lot of the stuff I have here is already in your wikia, though it's presented in a different context. The context for it in my text file is to categorize recording techniques.

BTW, on this page: http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-s...%27s_apartment

... the song titles for the quotes aren't provided (ex. "Billy Corgan"), whereas the song titles for the quotes about this recording session are provided (ex. Billy Corgan on "Starla"): http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-s...%93_Soundworks

Just a bit of format inconsistency between the pages. Also, that same inconsistency is present on some of the other pages.


Lots of recording technical details, and some song descriptions:

https://www.emusician.com/gear/signa...shing-pumpkins


Machina era equipment and details:

https://web.archive.org/web/20030623...rever/gear.htm

https://web.archive.org/web/20030624...rever/list.htm



Also, this:
http://web.archive.org/web/200304152...o.com/forever/

I mostly haven't looked through it, myself, to see if there's a lot of good stuff there.



Here's some of the info I have for SD recording techniques.

BTW, let me know if you think this should be a separate thing. A wikia could be made detailing every aspect of Pumpkins tone, though I don't know if I'm up for making one.
Yep, I already have the Jeff & Butch Gearslutz interview in the Triclops Studios sessions. Thanks though. It's a cool read, although I reorganized a bit of it, grouping related answers together.

I already used the Signal to Noise article; it's split up into each album's proper recording session.

As for Soothe, I didn't directly specify Corgan was talking about Soothe, since I thought it was fairly obvious he was talking about Soothe and not F&B.

I would definitely recommend compiling your own chronology of the SP gear. That would definitely be it's own thing, as live gear used on touring really wasn't information I was looking to gather for my Recording Sessions, you know? It's a great idea though.

I am looking for the April 2000 Guitar World though, where they talk about recording Machina. That's the only specific relevant article that I remember reading long ago that I could not locate. I could only find an excerpt from it, but I specifilty remember the full article going in depth about how Flood would route the guitar signals, digitally process them, and route it back to ProTools mixed in with the "dry" mic'd guitar signal, which explains why the guitars sound so fucked on Machina.

 
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Old 01-07-2018, 01:55 AM   #17
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Reading thru the Mellon Collie sessions, Billy mentions how the album was going to be 31 tracks instead of the 28 tracks on the official release. I'm wondering what those 3 other tracks were. Guessing "Infinite Sadness" since it was on the vinyl and I believe he mentioned "Tonite Reprise" during this moment. If those are indeed 2 of the 3 tracks, I wonder what the third track was? "Medellia Of The Gray Skies" perhaps? Since Billy mentioned it was intended to follow "Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans."

 
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyKeyZ View Post
Reading thru the Mellon Collie sessions, Billy mentions how the album was going to be 31 tracks instead of the 28 tracks on the official release. I'm wondering what those 3 other tracks were. Guessing "Infinite Sadness" since it was on the vinyl and I believe he mentioned "Tonite Reprise" during this moment. If those are indeed 2 of the 3 tracks, I wonder what the third track was? "Medellia Of The Gray Skies" perhaps? Since Billy mentioned it was intended to follow "Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans."
I believe Ugly, Tonite Reprise and a third one... My bet for the third one is on Cherry, God or Set The Ray-- one of the b-sides that Flood &B Alan co-produced.

I doubt it was Infinite Sadness, as that was literally a Siamese outtake that the engineers specifically identified as a future b-side.

Medellia was recorded after MC was completed, so I don't think that was it. SP seemed to have a history of going back in a studio and cutting (or re-cutting) additional songs right after they completed an album proper, songs that probably fell to the way side after a big push to finish the record. Medellia seemed to be one of those tracks. Also Corgan tells an interesting story in the Aeroplane reissue box (which I was meaning to transcribe and 1include it in the Recording Sessions) in which he devised a challenge to release 28 b-sides to match 28 album tracks. So all of 1996 was spent tracking down any unfinished MC-era song-scrap and finishing it for a b-side purpose, and again, Medellia was just one of those.

 
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:08 AM   #19
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But what I think is an interesting question is, Jeff Tomei claimed they recorded 25 songs during the Triclops Siamese Sessions: 13 of which was on Siamese Dream, and 6 on Pisces Iscariot.

What were those 6 on Pisces? Frail & Bedazzled, Whir, Pissant, Hello Kitty Kat, Spaced and... ???

 
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Old 01-07-2018, 02:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soniclovenoize View Post
Wow, thanks for the positive feedback guys! You never know what the reaction would be.


Yep, I already have the Jeff & Butch Gearslutz interview in the Triclops Studios sessions. Thanks though. It's a cool read, although I reorganized a bit of it, grouping related answers together.

I already used the Signal to Noise article; it's split up into each album's proper recording session.

As for Soothe, I didn't directly specify Corgan was talking about Soothe, since I thought it was fairly obvious he was talking about Soothe and not F&B.

I would definitely recommend compiling your own chronology of the SP gear. That would definitely be it's own thing, as live gear used on touring really wasn't information I was looking to gather for my Recording Sessions, you know? It's a great idea though.

I am looking for the April 2000 Guitar World though, where they talk about recording Machina. That's the only specific relevant article that I remember reading long ago that I could not locate. I could only find an excerpt from it, but I specifilty remember the full article going in depth about how Flood would route the guitar signals, digitally process them, and route it back to ProTools mixed in with the "dry" mic'd guitar signal, which explains why the guitars sound so fucked on Machina.
I used to have that magazine. I might still, somewhere in my basement.

Here's a copy of it for $1.00: https://www.burns-particular.top/gui...ed-p-1490.html


The interview is allegedly available for download from here, though it requires a free sign-up to view:
https://www.download-geek.com/downlo...d+Machine.html

That page is where the addresses http://cybavam.info/etitovi.pdf and https://creadeko.cf/pub/download-gui...inski-chm.html link to.


Is this the full interview?: http://www.oocities.org/mccinca/smoke.htm

I see Flood mentioned in it, but maybe not the part you're looking for.


It must not be the full thing, because here's a Netphoria page with article excerpts (probably the one you mentioned finding), and I'm not finding the quotes on that page in the interview at the oocities page: http://forums.netphoria.org/showthread.php?t=58821



As a side note, I see that all the SPFC YouTube-hosted video interviews are removed, unfortunately: http://www.spfc.org/news-press/inter...html?year=2000

That's unfortunate.



There's an interesting Billy quote about the MCIS songs at the start of this article: https://www.guitarworld.com/features...-great-pumpkin

"“I think Mellon Collie illustrates a complete passion for music and for the guitar,” says former Smashing Pumpkins’ leader Billy Corgan, reflecting on the group’s most successful album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. “Almost every track was written on a $60 guitar while sitting on my couch in my living room, watching TV. "

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Old 01-07-2018, 03:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soniclovenoize View Post
I believe Ugly, Tonite Reprise and a third one... My bet for the third one is on Cherry, God or Set The Ray-- one of the b-sides that Flood &B Alan co-produced.

I doubt it was Infinite Sadness, as that was literally a Siamese outtake that the engineers specifically identified as a future b-side.

Medellia was recorded after MC was completed, so I don't think that was it. SP seemed to have a history of going back in a studio and cutting (or re-cutting) additional songs right after they completed an album proper, songs that probably fell to the way side after a big push to finish the record. Medellia seemed to be one of those tracks. Also Corgan tells an interesting story in the Aeroplane reissue box (which I was meaning to transcribe and 1include it in the Recording Sessions) in which he devised a challenge to release 28 b-sides to match 28 album tracks. So all of 1996 was spent tracking down any unfinished MC-era song-scrap and finishing it for a b-side purpose, and again, Medellia was just one of those.
Well, I included "Infinite Sadness" because it is on the official vinyl tracklist when it originally came out, which is probably the only thing that I love about the vinyl tracklist. I hate the vinyl track order, but that song would make an amazing album closer. Wish the CD included it.

https://www.discogs.com/The-Smashing...release/788491

For me, "The Aeroplane Flies High," "Pennies," and "Mouths Of Babes" are my top 3 b-sides.

 
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soniclovenoize View Post

I am looking for the April 2000 Guitar World though, where they talk about recording Machina. That's the only specific relevant article that I remember reading long ago that I could not locate. I could only find an excerpt from it, but I specifilty remember the full article going in depth about how Flood would route the guitar signals, digitally process them, and route it back to ProTools mixed in with the "dry" mic'd guitar signal, which explains why the guitars sound so fucked on Machina.
That would be rad if someone has it. They also ran the guitar to a tape recorder and fucked up the static too. It was in that article

 
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:04 PM   #23
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I own that issue and will take pics if no one beats me to it. I own pretty much every SP magazine out there if you need any other pics. I'd like to contribute them to this project. I'll also buy any magazines that might yield new info.

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:30 AM   #24
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Bumping because of increased traffic as of late

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:42 AM   #25
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We understand your enthusiasm

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:48 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by AveryLoren View Post
I own that issue and will take pics if no one beats me to it. I own pretty much every SP magazine out there if you need any other pics. I'd like to contribute them to this project. I'll also buy any magazines that might yield new info.
Hey, it doesn't look like anyone beat you to it. I'd you get a chance, like on a Sunday, it would be awesome if you posted this!

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:55 AM   #27
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I hate the vinyl track order,
It makes sense if you actually have the records. They're 6 "sides" of music.

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:56 AM   #28
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So, no, it wouldn't make sense to whatever broke-ass youtube video you're listening to.

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:34 PM   #29
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Bumping because of increased traffic as of late
settle down, brett

 
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:07 PM   #30
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Thanks soniclovenoize, for putting that up. I ended up spending a good 3 hours reading through the various interview snippets and other stuff.

One thing that was cool to work out was Billy's output from what must have been about late-Summer '92-early-Summer '95. In 2 years and 10 months time he wrote most of the best stuff of his career...6+ albums worth of original material (SD 1+, MCIS 3, TAFH 2). There's probably a good argument that no single songwriter has has had a more fertile period in the history of rock.

If you go back another 6 months you can add most of the best tracks off Pisces Iscariot, and that includes his writer's block period that preceded him writing Today. Ridiculous.

 
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