Spiritual ascension, indeed.
I wish I knew how to put into words why Gish is such a fundamental album in my life. Even when I found them later in life than I would like to admit, there is something about these songs that feel other-worldly, words and sounds so transcendental that can oh so easily become the most intense feelings I have ever experienced through the inscrutable power of music. Spiritual ascension, as WPC rightly put it. It might be remarkable that Gish is still a relevant album 30 years later, but it is only fair that such an unique piece of art, so intense yet fragile at times, sweet yet painful, is still lingering inside our vibrant little souls.
Gish reminds me of the importance of music in my own particular universe, of the communion between the colours I can’t deny and my spirit. I feel as alone as I’ve ever been, but I also feel that the fact that I am the only person around makes these songs specifically for me, and that is something I have only been able to find among the raw and open emotions of SP. By being one, I am free.
I personally think, as WPC also said, that Snail is one of the best songs ever written. I usually have a hard time holding back tears every single time I listen to it. However, there is no song in Gish that doesn’t feel like the most important song in the world while it plays and everything else is soft-focused. Crush will forever sound like what being in love feels like to me. Rhinoceros will be a forever reminder of the summer I almost lost my mind. Bury Me, Siva, I Am One, Suffer… a song titled after a novel by the writer I fell in love with for almost a year while I was drowning in Americana dreams.
I could probably write an infinite list of reasons and songs and why I need to go back to the beginning of this little thing I am writing just to remind you that I really don’t know how to put all these emotions into words that make sense. I might not be even 30 myself, but I will probably need more than that to be able to even start to decipher the magic of Gish.
So here it goes, I guess. To the love, to the music that keeps me alive. To 30 years more trying to find the messiah in your trinity. 💚
holland’s first time listening to SP
holland had never listened to the smashing pumpkins before. i knew that he had to hear rhinoceros first. it’s been a song that fascinated me and that i have loved since i was small. i told him that i HAD to show him this song, and as we listened i repeated “just wait, ur gonna die”. i knew he was gonna freak when all the guitars and drums and everything came together. we sat in there screaming and laughing as the loud driving guitar filled the car. there was a moment where we were just hitting each other’s fists to the music. i bet if someone walked by the car they would be very confused. im gonna miss holland when we go off to college. holly if u see this i love u, u have made these past years so worth living.
What is lost can never be found.
Ryan EAU CLAIRE, US
I lost my innocence while listening to Gish. Well the first two songs at least ❤️
Thanks Lol Bro
It was 1993 actually. I was 12 years old and I remember coming into my parents house and hearing “Crush” blasting on my 11 year old brother’s stereo. A friend at school had given him Gish by this kick ass ‘new’ band LOL. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He told me it was the Smashing Pumpkins. Long story short, I stole the CD and 28 years later, here I am. He went on to discover Oasis ❤️
“Planned a show, trees and balloons..” A three hour rock marathon at The Forum
Marissa Chicago, US
“Planned a show, trees and balloons..” A three hour rock marathon at The Forum
My very best memory of a Gish song by SP was during the Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour, August 2018. My sister and I flew out to California to see them at the Forum, after seeing SP perform in Chicago, we decided one show wasn’t enough, this was such a special tour and had to experience it again! When SP began performing Rhinoceros, with the visual backdrop behind them showing a timeline series of video clips throughout their musical journey, it was then I became so overwhelmed with excitement knowing at that moment what we were about to experience, a performance of a lifetime! No other concert or performance will ever come close to those nights of the Shiny tour! It was pure magic, memories I’ll cherish for a lifetime and hold on to forever! Now when I hear Rhinoceros I’m brought back to those fantastic nights during the Shiny tour, and relive that magical feeling all over again. 💜
First Pumpkins show 1991
John Davis San Diego, CA, US
Summer of ‘91, the night before Lollapalooza in Denver, my friends called me to go to a club called 23 Parrish to see some band called Smashing Pumpkins ( dumb name, I thought) didn’t want to go as I wanted to get a good nights rest for Lola, but ended up going anyway. Searing Gish set, and got to see Siouxie Sioux, Perry Farrell, and Dave Navarro in the crowd. SP melted my face and I’ve loved them ever since.
I remember being 18 in 1994 and my parents sending me to Joliet for the summer. I was so heart broken because I had to leave my first real GF behind. I ended up at the mall and bought gish then Siamese dream on cassette. I heard it 1000 times. I used to go on long sad walks and listen to it over and over. When I got back to Texas, we both became huge SP fans. It will always have a special place on my heart as do all SP albums. It still takes me back to times when everything was so simple.
My story of love
Stefan Bartlome Bern, CH
A beautiful memory…
College missed opportunity
High school in 90/91, listened w/ my Walkman while on my track & cross country runs & meets. All tracks R good, but snail is fav. I saw them play at a chiropractic college gym & my college. I nicknamed my roomie Gish since I got him to like it. Gish met the band. I’m still waiting for my chance.
I learned to play guitar from Siamese Dream. MCIS was my soundtrack through high school. I use to eat lunch by myself and listen to this album in the hallway on my Walkman wishing I had a group of friends who would sit with me too. This album became my bible through high school and helped me get through some darker times. I’m now 40+ with a beautiful child and still a huge fan.
stuck to the ceiling
I was underage at The Unicorn in Milwaukee. The bar was an overcrowded basement fire-trap with a ceiling so low I could reach up and touch it. I had Gish on CD and was eager to see the band perform the songs live. James Iha came out before the rest of the band and played Bad Moon Rising while the
crowd sang along. When the rest of the band took the stage, the energy blasting
from the speakers turned the crowd into a hot and sweaty mass of lurching bodies. Being
an obnoxious kid, I tried to jump up on people’s backs to crowd surf, but there
wasn’t enough room. So I would end up getting pressed against the ceiling and
held there by the audience. From that vantage point, I had an excellent view of
the stage. Every now and again Billy Corgan would make a comment between songs
about being safe and not wanting anybody to get hurt. I think he may have been
referring to me. Sorry! I didn’t get hurt and I had an unforgettable time!
I love you true.
Friday, August 23, 1991. I was 17 and it was my first week at LSU. My friend Jim picked me up from my dorm and when I got into his car “Tristessa” was playing. The guitars, those drums, THAT VOICE. It was the most glorious sound I’d ever heard. I felt like my heart was going to burst. I immediately wanted to change my name to Tristessa. I asked him “who is this?” The Smashing Pumpkins. To this spooky little goth girl who had been obsessed with Halloween since birth (I was even due on 10/31 but was born a few days later) — coolest band name ever. The next morning I walked to Paradise Records and bought Gish and immediately fell in deep, true love. About a month later I found this poster and hung it in my dorm room. I’d light a candle and listen to Gish and stare at this poster and I’m pretty sure it gave me super powers. As I sit here listening to Gish, 30 years later, I still get that heart-bursty feeling. Happy birthday, Gish. You changed my life.
Rock Werchter 1992 – Belgium
Rock Werchter 1992 Smashing Pumpkins were asked to replace Pearl Jam, the 2nd band on the bill that festival day.
I was absolutely thrilled to see PJ and was disappointed to hear they had cancelled. When I found out the Smashing Pumpkins would play instead I just couldn’t believe it as they were absolutely not known in Europe yet. I got the Gish cd from my brother who gave it me as a present when he visited 6 months before: “I think you will dig this” and I became a fan from day one.
So all these PJ fans started yelling and booing at the Pumpkins because they were upset until Billy stopped playing and said: “Hey, we could be at home right now, watching tv, so be nice.”
I was 17 at the time and been a fan for 30 years now.
Thank you SP & thank you Billy for making the soundtrack of my life!
From dismissing the band based on its name, to becoming a fan for life
Brian Bloomington, IN, US
In 1991 my older brother came home with the Gish cassette. I
looked at the case and saw the band name and remember thinking what a dumb band
name it was, and at 15, I foolishly dismissed them for that reason. My brother
then went up to his room and started playing it. From downstairs, I could
vaguely hear the music, and it sounded so different. After what seemed
like a few songs, I decided to go to his room and hear more. As I went
upstairs and walked toward his door, I could hear this incredible sound, and
when I opened the door, a song was playing that I would later learn was Bury
Me. I walked in at about 3 minutes in, and I was stunned by what I was
hearing. This guitar solo started (3.26 mark) and I was simply blown away,
and had to sit down. In that short span of 45 seconds it was the most
amazing music I had ever heard and I can honestly say at that moment I became a
fan for life. We listened to the rest of the album and I wanted to stay
and listen to it again, but my brother kicked me out of his room. But from that
point on, anytime my brother wasn’t home, I would go listen to it in his
room. SP instantly became my favorite band and have since seen them 100+
times in concert. I started buying everything I could from them (records,
CDs, posters, & bootlegs). I used to go to the Hillside Holiday Inn Record
Swap and buy as much stuff as I could find. After all this time, that memory of
hearing the band for the first time is so vivid for me, and forever changed my
Justin Honolulu, HI, US
The memory i have is so old there is no Youtube clip, or digital memory. The memory is in ingrained in my mind for history. This memory is from my first experience with Smashing Pumpkins. I attended 2 live shows back to back at the Pink Cadillac in Honolulu, HI. After the first show I hung out after the show with the entire band. Walking the streets of Honolulu with the band. The concerts burned Gish into my brain and I have never stopped listening. Now this love of Smashing Pumpkins has been passed to my children.
Leaving College, the rise and fall of me…
June 1991 I was finishing up my last bullshit classes at Ferris State University and had accepted a systems analyst position at a formidable company. I had purchased Gish upon release and kept it with me always right alongside Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love and Nirvana’s Bleach CD’s. Specifically remember playing them while test driving different cars I was going to purchase upon graduation with “The one that got away”. Long story short, bought a new Camaro, drove it to said formidable job, failed miserably and yes, she got away… I still listen to Gish and I cannot begin to tell you how many stages of life the songs on that album were there for me and still are. Thank you Pumpkins, you arrived at just the right time and remain a standard in my life!
Zakk Mansfield, US
I remember trading my Astro Creep 2000 cd for it. It was about the same time I got my first electric guitar and I was also reading Billy Corgan’s Guitar World column which had some lessons for “I Am One” and “Siva” in it and I wanted to learn those songs. Hearing “I Am One” the first time gave me such a rush, particularly the way the drums and bass built up for the guitars to come in. Over the years Gish became my favorite SP album because it is just so raw and different from the rest of the albums. And to this day I still get the same rush as I did the first time when I hear I Am One. Very few albums in my collection have stood that test of time.
Trippin’ on Siva
Danny Springdale, US
I was partying with friends, we all had taken acid. I don’t remember alot of that night, but what I do remember is MTV premiered a new video from a new band, the Smashing Pumpkins. It was the greatest thing I have ever seen. I went and bought the album and after one listen, I knew I had found my new favorite band.
Pisces Pumpkin Head
Cynthia Nashville Tennessee , US
Summer of 93, Gish is playing. Not a care in this world and I’m tripping on acid in a cave with my best friends and high school love. It touched our souls and would stay there forever. The lyrics are etched in my soul and make so sense at the time and years later until now. I had the white t shirt with the red heart on the front. My best friend stole it and took it to college. Pumpkins music and lyrics are mathematical magic to my ears and will always be here for me when I need them. I’m 45 now and I still listen. Every day. I get nostalgic for my teenage years. Your music is what we all really needed at that time in our lives. Rock on!
daydream in Brussels
A few years back before I was fully into SP, I stumbled into a record shop somewhere in Brussels and walked away with my copy of Gish. I was so excited to spin it, and when I finally was able to- absolutely blown away. Definitely made me a believer in the Pumpkins magic.
The road to being my fave band
Luis Valencia, ES
I was 13, and I was playing videogames at my room when I heard a melody on the living room. My brother was watching 1979’s videoclip on the TV. I sat down and listened to it. Next week I watched Tonight tonight’s clip. Three months later I had all SP albums. A few months later I started playing guitar and I’ve never stopped. To this day, a big part of who I am is because of MCIS. Thanks, SP!
Mixing My Wedding
Arthur Youngstown, US
I blended the first and last instrumental songs for the pianist to play at my wedding! I was proud of my “mix.” However, I started my marriage off with a lie since the only way the church would allow the song was that it had to be religious! Well, Mellon Collie was religious to me so it wasn’t a complete lie!
One sunny day when I was 13, at school the teacher didn’t show up. So me and some of my fellow classmates decided to go to the house of a girl mate who I had a crush that lived close to school to listen to music. She played one of the CD’s first song Tonight tonight and man… the mood became magic. That was the first time I listen to The Smashing pumpkins. Happy days!!!
This album was the first I ever owned, and bought with my own money. I heard “Bullet” on MTV enough times to cause something in my 13-year-old heart to awaken.
Initially I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t really owned any music up until that point, and had listened mostly to pop music. After about 30 listens later, it became inexorably woven into my adolescent and teen life.
A few months later I would lose my same-aged cousin to a one-in-a-million disease. This album offered me comfort that I wasn’t alone in this world with the feelings that overwhelmed me. I feel fortunate to have been the right age at the right time to allow this music to become part of my life experience.
Thank you, Mom
Amelie Little Place, North Carolina, US
My mom has been a Smashing Pumpkins fan since high school (she has actually been to multiple Smashing Pumpkins concerts.) So naturally, I grew up with a great taste in music. I still remember watching the music video for Tonight, Tonight when I was just three years old and being so entranced in the song and the artistry of the video. I am still in love with it today, and it is my favorite music video of all time. Thank you for bringing me so much light in the world. Thank you, mom.
Psych Ward Surprise
Michelle Pennock Winnipeg, Manitoba , CA
I was 14,in psych ward when they were in town for the concert. I had tix for it,but wasn’t going to be able to it go.A Dr knew someone at radio station interviewing Billy Corgan the morning of the concert.He told him about sad fan in hospital,could he ask for autographed pic?He asked, and an hour later,Billy himself walked through psych ward doors to say hi! I almost fainted.His words would later save my life.Years later, after Oceania concert,I got to tell him how much that visit saved me, I got to say thank you.(&get a pic!)Bonus-I also got a pass to go to the concert in ‘96!
Completely Mesmerizing and Utterly Beautiful
Aidan Mangan FARMINGVILLE, US
My first time hearing this album was a few hours ago and I’m still hypnotized by it. There is so few musical projects that have made me feel the way this album does. It is such a beautiful work and this first listen was an incredible experience I will never forget.
Tibetan Freedom Benefit Concert San Francisco Golden Gate Park July 1996
JOHN Los Angeles, US
I saw the SP at the GG Park SF Summer 1996 Billy segued into Zero from Bullet by far the most electric experience I’ve had with the band in an outdoor venue….there were many bands there that day the Beasties (great) Chili Peppers (awesome) but the Pumpkins (energy electric feel and musical sound for a live show ) better than the before mentioned bands they did a ten song set and everything was perfect Billy’s voice, James sound effects on Bullet D’arcy miss her badly of course and Jimmy on the drums POWERFUL I am a Generation X’er and that concert resonates with me the most!!! Thank you SP love your guys!!!
Lucas San Francisco, CA, US
When I was younger, like a kid, I loved watching discovery channel, and one of my favorite shows was whale wars. And right after the very first episode I watched, I had the intro song stuck in my head, to the point where my 7 year old ass googled the lyrics, and discovered the smashing pumpkins. I fell in love, and 6 years later Mellon Collie became the very first album I ever bought in my now huge collection.
My first real concert
I went to my first ever concert and it was the Infinite Sadness tour in 1994 in Portland Maine. I have been going to shows since I was little watching my dad and his band play punk rock but the Smashing Pumpkins was my first real concert and I just fell in LOVE. Well his bassist always had this autographed pumpkins license plate and I was always admiring it because that has always been my most favorite band of all time. Years ago a good friend of ours passed away and I went to his funeral, sad and crying. Well my dads bassist walked up to me to give me a hug and he said “I have something for you”. Right then and there I knew what it was! He pulled out this license plate out of his inside jacket pocket and said “I want you to have this because I know how much it means to you”. I was floored. I have lost so much stuff in my life but I managed to hold on to this prized possession! I will always cherish it and proudly have it on display at my house infinitely! 💜
O Smashing Pumpkins é a banda da minha vida e o Mellon Collie é a trilha sonora.
Eu conheci o Smashing Pumpkins quando tinha 10 anos de idade em 1998, mas só consegui ouvir o Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness completo aos 17 anos quando comprei o disco numa loja no centro da cidade de São Paulo.
Desde então esse disco me acompanha nos momentos de tristeza e alegria. Canções como “In The Arms of Sleep” e “To Forgive” ajudaram a moldar a pessoa que eu sou hoje. Ele foi tão importante que até inclui as letras em alguns trabalhos artísticos quando conclui a faculdade de artes. O Smashing Pumpkins é a banda da minha vida e o Mellon Collie é a trilha sonora.
Timing was perfect
Dez Sunshine Coast QLD , AU
I was 15 when MCIS came out. I had moved from NZ to Australia a few months earlier and that album became such a “homebase” for a teenager who was feeling displaced and at times alone.
A few years later, having invited a bunch of friends aboard the Pumpkin-train, a few of us formed a garage band and played A LOT of SP material. My all time favourite song to play on the drums was Where Boys Fear To Tread (starting with that epic intro of course) We were probably terrible – but my memories of back then are of us nailing it – along with BWBW, Zero, In The Arms Of Sleep and Muzzle and a few Siamese and Adore-era songs.
To this day, I can still feel the sadness, loneliness, joy, anger, rage, awkwardness, love, loss, and every other emotion I was going through in that chapter of my life…. and I smile at them all. MCIS is THE soundtrack to my life. It has shaped, defined and moulded me into the guy I am today.
The garage band broke up (who’d have known?!) The drums are gone. Replaced with guitars that only get played every once in a while. Friends have come and gone and made their way back again. The dreams were replaced with our own children. And we still smile at those memories we had.
…. and by the way, there is a certain amount of pride felt when your 20 year old daughter asks you to teach her Tonite Reprise on guitar.
Aurélien Cirot FR
Year 1999. I was 18 years old, I met a rock music fan in high school. I was a fan of the Rolling Stones, newly converted to Rock n’Roll, and I wanted to have my own band. I told him I wanted him to be a part of my future band and I wanted to be the singer. He wanted to hear how good (or bad) I was so he asked me to sing two songs that he liked. He gave me an audio cassette with the instrumental version of Losing My Religion by REM and the other song was Bullet with Butterfly Wings by a band that had a weird vegetable name. I remembered I had heard this song somewhere. I quite liked the song. So I rehearsed for a week then I gave him my performance which he found acceptable. I was curious about those “Smashing Pumpkins” so he brought me the VHS of Viewphoria which didn’t appeal to me a lot. I was still not convinced this was such a great band. So he brought out the big guns and lent me Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the double CD. At first listen, I thought it was quite good. Then I listened to it again. It was really good. Actually, it was more than really really good. It was beautiful and epic. That winter, this new friend told me The Smashing Pumpkins were going to come to France on January at the Elysée Montmartre concert venue. We bought two tickets for the show and when it was over, I knew one thing: I was a Smashing Pumpkins fan. I still am. Forever.
1/24/1997 Sat next to Billy’s Girlfriend
J Hernandez NY, US
I decided to go and try to get tickets for the show at the Nassau Coliseum on 1/24/97 along with my girlfriend and got extremely lucky when a girl told us she had tickets. She said she wouldn’t take any money and gave us two free tickets. She said we might was well follow her and during all the excitement I didn’t even notice where the seats were located. We wound up walking down to the stage level and the seats were on the 10th row. The girl explained she got the tickets for free since she worked for the Ford Modeling agency. When I sat down I was sitting next to Helena Christensen who I recognized since she was very famous at the time. I knew she was dating Billy Corgan and during the whole show Billy would constantly look at her.
1/11/996 Infinite Sadness Tour
J Hernandez NY, US
1/11/1996 NYC at The Academy which is a small venue. They put on a great show for the begining of the Infinite Sadness Tour.
Luke Campbell Vancouver, BC, CA
I’m 95 I found myself listening to MC resolving my loss of my first love. Fast forward 24 years and my first love reached out two days after I committed to the universe to date Again after my divorce. It was a magical reuniting In Europe for 10 days and I fell for her again, but things have changed and she was scared and ultimately it was not to be. It did spark a huge transformation and with that making a playlist for a new friend I met i rediscovered this treasured album as it let my heart open to new love once again.
The World Is A Vampire
Josh Tacoma, WA , US
It was the summer of 1995 and I was working for my father’s construction company while all my friends were at the lake, enjoying themselves. I decided to take a break and sit in my truck and turn on the AC to cool off. I turned on the radio and the first thing I heard was “The world is a vampire”! I was instantly hooked, I cranked up the volume as loud as I could get it! And it was all downhill from there, I bought every CD I could, including the “Aeroplane” box set, which my parents found and made me burn so I wouldn’t go to hell. I never bought another box set, I wish I had, but I still listen to The Pumpkins every day, as loud as my stereo will get! Your music was the only thing I could turn to, during some pretty dark times.