The train ride home
I was a freshman at UIC in 1993 and my roommate at the time had turned me on to the Smashing Pumpkins. Prior to that fall, I had never heard of them. SD had recently been released and I dove in. I had asked if TSP had any other music. Much to my surprise there was not only Gish but a slew of b-sides as well. I dubbed his Gish CD onto side A of a 90 minute cassette tape and had a the b-sides on side B. I would listen to that tape on every train ride to and from home on the weekends, staring out the window creating music videos in my head, all the while studying this style of guitar that was foreign to me as a “metal” guy. Gish is a “desert island” album for me.
Zoey Columbus, OH, US
Gish will always seem surreal to me. I was instantly bespelled by this otherworldly gratitude and warmth when I stumbled over it. I listened to it daily in nature on repeat and never felt alone. I still always smile at the sky when I hear it.
Music for the memories
I’ve always been super into rock/ alt rock but there are very few albums I can listen to all the way through over and over and feel like im hearing them for the very first time. I remember the first time I listened to Gish all the way through. My best friend and I were chilling in my 89’ Vanagon when we were 16 and I had JUST put in a radio that let you use an aux cord. The vibe was right and we had the best time painting, listening and talking about life. She’s sadly not here anymore but everytime I listen to Gish it feels like im listening to it for the very first time with her and the memories that flood in when I listen will forever be with me.
Tried booking Billy and the band by calling his mom
James Currie Riverside, IL, US
I was just out of high school and starting college when I heard Gish. Our local college radio station played a track off of it. Then a buddy had a cassette and played it for me in the car. I soon finally tracked down my own copy of the CD and was hooked. It was one of the albums that changed my vision of what music was. Until that point, I was mainly stuck in heavy metal and classic rock mode. I played it loud and proud all the time in my 1984 Camaro with booming speakers in the back seat.
It was at that time in my life when music would become my being. One of the things I did was putting together local concerts and festivals. After listening to that album for a week straight, I decided I wanted to know more about this band, Smashing Pumpkins and how could I get them to play in our town. In those days the internet and google searches didn’t exist, so I had to scour magazines, college radio, the album inserts and ultimately the phone book as I found out the leader of the band was Billy Corgan and he lived in the Chicago area. I couldn’t believe it. A local band?! I found his parents home phone number in the white pages. His family home in the burbs. I waited on calling the number for a long time before finally doing it. When I did, I reached his mother. I introduced myself and told her I really loved his band and wanted to see if I could get him to play our fest. She laughed and said she would share my info. Not being shocked, I never heard back. But, I that album is still one of my top 10 records of all time. To this date, I have worked covering Billy Corgan and his bands throughout the years as I became a rock photographer. Everywhere from his coffee shop up north to arena shows at United Center to Smashing Pumpkins final show in 99 at the Metro. At each of these live performances, I look forward to hearing a track from this record with baited breath.
1991: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam & The Red Hot Chili Peppers at Roseland (NYC)
I heard that amazing riff and the amazing different changes over the course of an incredible song in “Bury Me” on college radio one night in 1991 and I was HOOKED on the Pumpkins. who have been my all-time favorite band ever since! A few months later, in the Fall of 1991, I went to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Roseland in New York City. I remember telling people that although the Chili Peppers were great, one day in the near future and beyond that, the two opening acts (who I was really there to see that night) would far supersede the Chili Peppers in greatness and popularity. Few believed me then but they quickly did thereafter and certainly do now. Those two open acts were… Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam. Ah, the days of seeing incredible bands like that up close near the stage for the probably $20 or $30 I paid back then – unlike the hundreds of dollars spent to be nowhere near the stage for bands of that quality today. That was a special time back then.
p.s. I know I am in the minority on this, and I think even Billy probably would be against me on this, but as much as I LOVE Siamese Dream and the rest to come, up to Cyr now, I still, 30 years later, think “Bury Me,” “Siva,” “I Am One,” especially, but the entire Gish album is some of the Pumpkins’ best work of all time.
Buried In Love
Barbara Chicago, IL, US
When I first heard “Bury Me” as a high school senior in 1993
something indescribable resonated with my entire being. After listening to Gish,
I knew that I needed to live in the city where this magic was created and I
finally had a path out of my chaotic self-destruction. Without Gish, I would
not have found peace and joy. I doubt I would even be alive.
Delicate, youthful, and passionate
Spencer Apex, NC, US
Listening to Gish from start to end is always a visceral experience for me. It transports me to my teens. The song Crush never ceases to make me close my eyes, rock back and forth, and cry, as personal memories come back. Finding the cd in the store was a wonder as well, for I met new friends as I browsed the cd section. My memories connected to this album are precious.
25 years later after discovering it, I still can feel instantly the same mood I was into when listening to Gish. I studied hard for long years to obtain my PhD and as I was absorbed by physics and maths, I couldn’t refrain from daydreaming all along these intense intellectual working periods. I wanted to succeed in the exams and at the same time I wanted to plug my guitar and learn how to play these subtle riffs, how to recreate these absorbing ambiances. Gish sounds have influenced my way to reflect and imagine : it was the soundtrack of a mental journey where symbols and scientific concepts echoed the magical spirituality of this album. The alternance of heavy textures and smooth comforting songs perfectly described the way I felt as a young adult : full of rage and sensitivity with little clarity on how to express that apart from music. This album showed me a way to concile aspects of my personnality that I couldn’t think I could connect. It helped me to accept the multifaced dimensions that we all are made of and that we have to deal with in life in general. The succession of the ten tracks rythmed like a quest, finding paths, opening doors, running fast and confident, celebrating the uncertainties and miracles of emotions. In my bedroom I would listen to Gish over and over but then for periods letting the album rest in order to preserve this fresh perception of the instant. Like the power of scents that you recall so deeply and stay unique in your mind because you carefuly don’t expose to them permanently. Gish is a gem that will keep radiating forever, it will always be precious to me.
Gish moved my entire life
Terry Zürich, CH
In 2007 I was moving from the UK to Switzerland… A 2 day road trip with my whole life packed in the car. Gish was one of the 3 CDs I had on loop keeping me sane and moving forward. 14 years later I’m still here, thanks to Gish
I remember watching I Am One, Siva and Rhinoceros on MTV like their interviews and performances there too. The 90’s were an incredible time, full of amazing music. Times have changed, there are people who say the old times were better and even that they don’t like streaming platforms but I just say that I love old times but I’m very thankful for the present because now we can watch and listen to whatever! My only memories with Gish by Smashing Pumpkins were their cool videos on MTV, that’s it, I remember that because getting a CD or cassette in my hometown was almost impossible. I had to wait going to the capital, can you believe it? Or I had to tape songs from the radio. We had to request songs from the DJ but sometimes it was complicated because the native language from here is not English so it was harder to remember the names of the songs, but at least we could write them down after seeing them on TV. Now I can watch and play whenever and as many times as I want! It’s hard to say what’s my favorite song from Gish, but I think I’m really crazy about Daydream! Thanks Billy Corgan for all your wonderful music. I love and I’ll love Smashing Pumpkins forever because I grew up listening to and feeling them!
Not so impressive memory haha
Chris Kotra Hallett Cove, AU
Started listening to the band in early high school. I was obsessed and listened to all of the albums obsessively. Main memories of Gish involve playing particularly the first two songs, I am One, and Siva in the car. There’s quiet breaks in those two songs and by coincidence, I remember I would come to a stop waiting for traffic and the music would have a break. Then I’d take off accelerating again and the guitars and drumbeat would come roaring back. I felt like I was part of the music.
As years have gone by, I’ve come back to Gish every now and then and have realised how different it feels to other Smashing Pumpkins albums. I don’t know what any of the lyrics are meant to mean but it doesn’t matter.
Keep it up SP!
A career fan
Siamese Dream is the first album I bought with my own money. I was fifteen. During the massive Mellon Collie tour, I saw SP five times. In one form or another, I’ve seen WPC 28 times. While I love the original line up, and most of them getting back together, seeing them in Chicago at the Metro was the best. It was a baseball themed fundraiser, right when Oceania was getting released. That iteration of the band rawked, and the only time I have managed to be near front row. Thanks for the music WPC/ Billy!
Never stopped listening
Gish is the only album I have ever played literally over a thousand(or pretty damn close to a 1000) times in its entirety. Gish is an absolute masterpiece, it encapsulated a unique time period for SP. Gish was a catalyst album for them that capped off one era and jetted in a whole new journey with Corgan being the ring leader of the magical circus.
I’ve listened it to Gish throughout all the major points in my life, from breakups to new beginnings, through great times and some really shitty times ones, Gish has been a life-long friend to me, well a 30 year old, life-long friend anyway. 🙂
Happy Birthday Gish!
Air Force Basic Training
Jeff San Antonio, US
After 6 weeks of Basic training and getting a first paycheck… I along with about 100 trainees were driven to our technical school. I had three CDs to play on my disc man. Gish, Nevermind, and Achtung Baby. Gish made the 7 hour bus ride to technical training. more bearable!
Big Sibling’s Mistake… My Gain
Nathan Milwaukee, WI, US
I had to have been 11 or 12, with a nascent interest in music. Shortly after ‘Today’ was released as a single, my older sister went out to buy what she thought was Siamese Dream and came home with Gish instead… disappointed with her purchase, she gave it to me, forever altering my appreciation of music and giving me a favorite band at the same time.
Black Lights & Tie-Dye
my first copy of the album, & the sound was unreal. Wanting to memorize it,
I noticed it didn’t come with lyrics. Every night under a black light, I’d try
to learn & write down every word I thought was said. Hours spent enveloped
in the lyrics were an escape; a sacred time transported to another era. Now, the
album conjures up that same inner peace. I still feel those amazing memories of
happiness, deciphering lyrical genius, & music that made me.
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I don’t live, I inhale I don’t give, I unveil…
I first bought the Gish CD exactly on May 28, but wayyyy back in 1998! KROQ played it a lot those days and I fell in love with both Smashing Pumpkins and Gish. My dad drove me to Blockbuster Music to buy it. My first impression was that it was Grungy, the typical 90’s Nirvana sound since this album was produced by the Father of Grunge Butch Vig! Here I am holding my beloved vinyl copy, which I bought 15 years ago at Virgin Megastore San Francisco in November of that year during a 3 day weekend.
My favorite song? Rhinoceros, that bass line and guitar feedback…
I am wearing my Gish shirt, which arrived today in time!
Love and peace to you all Pumpkins fans.
Cheers to 30!
Serena New York, US
I first heard 1979 when I was in graduate school in the mid-90s. It reminded me of growing up in small town Texas in the 1970s — we even had that live wire that, devastatingly, killed an elementary schoolmate. I thought the song was for me and all these years later, I still think most of the SM’s songs are for/about me! I had my SM cassette tapes with me in Austin, Houston, London, New York and even, Zimbabwe. Long live the Pumpkins!
Having just been adopted into my forever family, I remember
that SP was the first music I’d ever heard in my new home. Our kitchen was
painted red, and when I asked my mom why that was, she introduced me to the
video for Rhinoceros, from her favorite album. It was always a source of
inspiration for her, and since she’s passed that down moreover, Gish will
forever be a soundtrack to real love and contentment.
Summer of 91
Aaron Frankfort, ky, US
I had a best friend named john that came back from summer camp in 91′ and one of the older camp counselors was playing Gish in the cabin. John asked who the band was and bought a gish cd on the way home. He brought it over that weekend and was so excited to have me hear it. We were both 11 at the time and the moment i heard I Am One i was hooked for life. The Pumpkins helped shape my love for music, i would not be the same person without them.
Hooked at first listen
Jeremy Bourbonnais, IL, US
Was 19, in the Navy at a dance club in Orlando, FL. When I heard Siva playing I went to the DJ and asked who it was. Went out the next day and bought Gish. SP has been my favorite band ever since.
Coming back to Gish
I became a fan during the Siamese Dream era. Wanting more, I also picked up Gish. I liked it, but it was such a different album and I didn’t immediately get it. But, I kept going back to Gish. And then one day Gish clicked for me, especially “I am One.” Then the album became a favorite of mine.
My first SP memory
Jed Shaffer Clinton Township, MI, US
In 91, a friend had a friend in Chicago. This FOAF sent my friend a mixtape to “educate him”. On it were songs from Gish. It was the only thing on the tape that stuck with me, but I couldn’t find Gish at my local record shop. It’d be 2 more years before I found the Pumpkins.
Life Changing Moment
Matt San Diego CA, US
Its a story, more than 300 words! So i made a jpg of it
Gish on vinyl
Lea Sharpe Lynchburg, VA, US
The first I ever heard Gish, I was in my junior year science class, and would purposely finish all of my work early to listen to the album. Specifically, Siva rocked my world. Later the next year, my family and I went to the Bridge Stone arena in Nashville to see the Smashing Pumpkins, my now favorite band. I had wanted Gish on Vinyl extremely bad, and I couldn’t find my brother at the merch table. To my surprise, I turn around with him holding Gish on vinyl just for me!