The Week In Rock

Well, it’s finally happened. After all these years and all the copy I’ve given to Billy Corgan about his efforts to reunite his old band the Smashing Pumpkins, the word is official and I may never, ever have to write about that cue-ball or any of his damn bands ever again. So what is it that’s happened, you ask? Well, if you’ve been following the story of young Billy, you might remember his ad in the Chicago Times calling for a Pumpkins reunion a couple summers ago, or the news that he and the band’s old drummer were even working on new songs together.

Now, the official news has been broken on the SP web site that, yes indeed, the band is back together. They even plan to head into the studio this summer to start work on a brand new album. Currently the only members are Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, but ex-bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur offered her services some time ago, so it looks like the band might be able to make it happen. Unfortunately, the world now is a very different place from the one the Pumpkins left behind on their breakup. Now, every two-bit rock and roll hack has appropriated the trademark Corgan nasally whine and married it to their own brand of shitty hardcore filtered through the Pumpkin’s melancholia.

Where will the Pumpkins fit in? How different will they be, if at all? Can they cash in on the nostalgia many surely feel for the music of their teenage years? Will this be sad and hackneyed, or make you feel good for Billy and his friends? No one can really say. Just be ready for a lot of Smashing Pumpkins on the radio between now and this summer.

In related news, Corgan-ex Courtney Love is in trouble again – and this time it’s not for drugs, breaking and entering, or releasing shitty Nirvana greatest hits collections, either! Linda Perry, singer of 4 Non Blondes, has taken Love to task over her last record, 2004’s America’s Sweetheart. Although it seems odd that someone who was in 4 Non Blondes should be able to slander anyone else’s record, considering the general headache-inducingness of that group, the comments seem to have been made in a spirit of goodwill, and were even accompanied by offers to Love of Perry’s assistance in the former’s new record. “My dedication right now is to bring back the queen of rock and roll, and that’s Courtney Love,” Perry said. “That woman is brilliant, and I can’t allow myself as a music lover and someone who really respects that artist to go down with America’s Sweetheart. That record sucked. She knows it. The world knows it. It was a horrible, crap-ass record.” Hey, that’s pretty funny, because last time I checked Perry had co-writing credits on a whopping nine out of the 12 crappy tracks on the record. Maybe Linda’s trying to distance herself from the storm of critical thumbs-downs that the record received?

In any case, Perry seems ready to step into it again. To accomplish these stated goals of returning Courtney to the throne, Perry is in the studio with Love and the two are working hard, although the cooperation is still in its early phases and there’s no word on any song titles, release dates or anything like that. But the mood has been positive.

“She’s really focused, pleasure to be around, looks great, sounds great, really great ideas, great songs she’s written – so rehab was really good,” she joked. “My job now is to make that Courtney Love rock and roll record that everybody’s gonna love.” Since that’s the only way it wouldn’t be “crap-ass,” eh Linda? If you made it yourself? In any case, the support might be just what the perennially embattled Love needs to make the decent, balls-out punk-rock record it seems like someone like her should make. And here’s hoping it’s better than the new Smashing Pumpkins record.