"Tomorrow's just an excuse away / So I pull my collar up and face the cold, on my own".
- Billy Corgan, 1995.
Winter's upon us, ice covers the streets and sidewalks - and perhaps even our hearts. The warmth is so far away, a few of us may not even get to experience it again. And in this cold, all I hear are the words to The Smashing Pumpkins' Thirty-Three, the first song Corgan wrote after the seminal 1993 album Siamese Dream which ended up as the final single released from the two-disc epic and so-aptly-titled Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.
Mellon Collie sounded tragic, and in many ways it was. It was the last record the "classic" Pumpkins line-up ever recorded, although said line-up was usually just used sparsely in the studio, with Corgan performing all instruments except drums himself, save for a piano or guitar solo here and there, courtesy of James Iha. It was also one of the harshest tours in rock history, as one 17-year-old fan was crushed to death at the Dublin show, and with touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin overdosing on heroin in New York, resulting in Melvoin's death and Chamberlin's expulsion of the group.
The band didn't stop the tour, however, recruiting studio drummer extraordinaire Matt Walker (who also appeared on later studio singles and 1998's Adore) and keyboardist Dennis Flemion; the band played the Molson Centre on September 11th, 1996 (I won tickets to the show by calling in at CHOM, the local rock station), and released the following single and video (co-directed by Corgan and then-partner Yelena Yemchuk), filmed in stop-motion and leading up to a re-enactment of the Mellon Collie album cover at the end: