The Week in Rock

Okay, this whole Smashing Pumpkins thing is starting to get a little tedious. First, Corgan takes out that ad in the Chicago paper to coincide with the release of his totally crappy solo record. Then, they’re reuniting – maybe. Are they playing Coachella? Are they playing Lollapalooza? Honestly, by this point I could really give half of a rat’s ass. I don’t even like the Pumpkins that much. I own one of their records, and have listened to it probably three times over the past two years that I’ve owned it. So, as much as I’d like to lay this whole thing to rest, it looks like events are conspiring against me. Word is that the proposed reunion is going ahead, and Billy Corgan has even started writing new tunes with drummer Jimmy Chamberlain as the Smashing Pumpkins. On top of that, the duo has signed on as their old band with a management firm and is readying a new album. Former bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur was verbose about the reunion with MTV News. “From what I understand, Billy [will be] making a Pumpkins record over the next little while,” she said. “Everyone knows Billy doesn’t need too many people to make a Pumpkins record, other than Jimmy ?” who he has on board.” She was also hopeful about being included herself in the revitalized group. “My services are there for him whenever he needs them. Assuming I’m not on tour ?” but even then, we can cross paths. I love the Pumpkins, and to play those songs again would be nothing but fun for me. It was a big part of my life.” It’s still a mystery as to whether guitarist James Iha and original bassist D’Arcy Wretzky will join up with their old band mates, but it seems like no contact has been made with them. Auf Der Maur also had some words of advice for Corgan and Chamberlain as to riding the retro bandwagon to success. “I hope they don’t rush it, because the record should be the absolute best it can be,” Auf Der Maur said. “[And they should] then strategize, because as we know, grunge is about to come back. The ’80s trend is almost done and we’re about to hit 1990 again. It’s scary to think, but very true.” Although a reunited Smashing Pumpkins would probably be a smash hit no matter what, Auf Der Maur has a point. It’s just kind of a gross, sickening point.

All right, now that we’re done with that, we can talk about a real band that’s getting their shit back together for a new record. The most famous Australian proto-punk band that’s not the Saints, Radio Birdman, will be releasing a new record this coming July. However, the band’s official web site failed to mention a name, track listing, or even any U.S. release information. Come on, guys. Let’s get with the program, eh? Until then, it looks like Sub Pop’s 2001 retrospective is going to have to do. While you may be wondering how this is better than the Smashing Pumpkins working on a new record, at least this band doesn’t have a whiny, annoying voiced singer and a bassist whose name means “On the Wall” in German.

Lou Reed has apparently taken time off from making music and trashing the new Andy Warhol-related movie (you know, the one with Weezer? The one that’s going to suck? Because everything Weezer has done since Pinkerton sucks?) to release his own photography book. Entitled “Lou Reed’s New York,” the book was released officially last Saturday, and the actual photos are still hanging in New York’s Gallery at Hermes where they will remain until the 25th of this month. Reed himself described the book as “organic photography, a recording of the city’s celestial light show-the blazing changes from dawn to dusk across the Hudson ?” an everyday recording of the majestic flowing sky and waters produced by a deity of such endless talent and originality that a photographer can only snap, focus, and pray that this or that camera, lens, digital back, and all the technical advances coming by the minute can somehow capture a fragment of the quickly shifting magnitude being presented for the inspiration of anyone looking.” Aw, Lou, I hope you’re not using a digital camera! SLR for life! Anyways, the book retails for a whopping $80 and contains mostly “rivers, sunsets, and abstract cityscapes,’ according to the New York Times, who interviewed Lou on his newest work’s release at the swank Hermes. Come on, man. I only have 26 dollars in my hand. How am I supposed to afford this?