Monday, August 25, 2008

Billy Corgan: Clearwater Fans "Confused"


It's practically a show-business cliche: Suck up to tonight's audience by calling them "the greatest ever," suggesting that other audiences simply weren't hip enough to get the artist's wonderful-ness.

Smashing Pumpkings singer/guitarist Billy Corgan offered a variation of that theme when he played Thursday night at Boca Raton's Centre of the Arts at Mizner Park.

According to Leslie Streeter, reviewing for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Corgan took the opportunity to bash those who had paid to see the reconstituted Pumpkins (he and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are the sole remaining original members) at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Wednesday night.

Wrote Streeter: "There was an interesting interlude where Corgan delivered a slap at the previous night's fans in Clearwater, who were apparently "confused" in believing they were going to hear songs they knew — "Who wants to hear songs they know?" he asked brightly, sending part of the crowd into appreciative iconoclastic laughter at those pop-radio dupes, part into a funk because they like the pop stuff, and the other part laughing nervously thinking 'Is he joking?' "

Here's the complete review.

Remind me again: Corgan and his reassembled Pumpkins were last relevant when?

5 comments:

Jason B. said...

You seem to be into jazz, Mr. Booth. Do you generally find it wise to evaluate works of jazz by their "relevance"?

Do you believe your blog should be evaluated on the basis of its "relevance"?

What do we really know about Billy Corgan or the Smashing Pumpkins? Where is their place in our culture? What is valuable in their work?

Do you see any value in confrontational performance art? Under what circumstances is a corrective? When is it unnecessarily pugnacious?

Do you have any interesting thoughts on the conflict an artist faces between playing to an audience's expectations and challenging them?

Your post could have been valuable if you'd challenged yourself with any of the preceding questions. Instead you come off at least as smug as you'd have us believe Mr. Corgan is.

philip booth said...

Thanks for reading, Jason B.

Not only do I seem to be into jazz, but I AM into jazz, as a listener and a performing musician.

Still, my taste in music is pretty eclectic - on any given day, you'd catch me listening to jazz, world music, altcountry, blues, rock 'n' roll (from Bo Diddley to the Brit invasion to '80s/'90s altrock to the present) and other genres. I've written about music for 25 years, and for about one-third of that time I worked as a full-time pop music critic, seeing hundreds of shows and listening to thousands of recordings.

To some degree, I do evaluate works of jazz by their relevance. I really don't have much interest in artists that are strictly focused on creating music of earlier eras.
By the same token, innovation should not be privileged above all other values.

To answer another question: Yes, all blogs ought to be judged on their "relevancy," in terms of whether they are interesting, educational or entertaining enough
for at least a few people to read.

I guess my blog, or at least this particular blog post, was relevant to you, because you took it seriously enough to go another step beyond merely reading - you posted a response.

The main point of this brief post was to pass on a little anecdote from a Pumpkins show, a comment from Corgan that had relevance to the band's show in my area. I came across the review because I happened to be in South Florida this weekend, and I picked up the Palm Beach Post on Saturday.

Honestly, I had no intentions of using this post to probe the areas you suggested with your questions. Good questions, but a blog post -- given the space conventions -- is hardly the place to address those.

But if you'd like to use this space to do so, go for it!

At the risk of sounding as smug as Billy C. - I caught the Pumpkins a couple of times back in their glory days, and I was duly impressed with the band's power, creativity, musicianship and ability to effectively translate their ideas to a huge arena. I didn't catch any of the recent shows. But after reading several reviews, can't say I'm sorry that I missed them.

Thanks again for reading.

jill harrison said...

At the risk of sounding as smug as Billy C. - I caught the Pumpkins a couple of times back in their glory days, and I was duly impressed with the band's power, creativity, musicianship and ability to effectively translate their ideas to a huge arena. I didn't catch any of the recent shows. But after reading several reviews, can't say I'm sorry that I missed them.

Sounding smug is equivalent to conveying how impressed you were? I'm confused.

For the record, I don't know what reviews you've been reading besides the one you wrote about, but they've been getting some great reviews. And also for the record, the Pumpkins are more powerful than I think they ever were 'back in the day.'

Their live shows are more impressive today than they ever were when I saw them in the mid-90s. Tough to write off or endorse live shows based on reviews, in my opinion. I've read several reviews about Madonna's new tour, but that by no means indicates whether or not I'd enjoy it.

jill harrison said...

I'd like to amend my last comment -- in some cases, the reviews do serve as a litmus test for whether you'd like to go or not.

For example, I like my musicians to be standing upright, so I'm going to assume my chances of having a good time at an Amy Winehouse show or Stone Temple Pilots gig are low. (Scott Weiland fell into a drum kit recently in a live show, apparently from a standstill. NICE.)

philip booth said...

Jill:
Good points. I've not read all of the reviews, just a few.
By the way, STP pulled a no-show in Tampa. Weiland needs more rehab, not another tour.