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The Aeroplane Flies Higher: EMI Preps Three Years of Smashing Pumpkins Reissues

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For Generation X, fewer names inspire emotions quite like Smashing Pumpkins. The Chicago-based alt-rock outfit, anchored primarily by singer, songwriter and sole remaining original member Billy Corgan, made rock music that was dark, atmospheric and ambitious – and yet somehow maintained commercial as well as critical success – before splintering in 2000 and reforming some six years later.

While Corgan continues to lead Smashing Pumpkins through some interesting projects – he’s been working on a 44-song cycle, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, since 2009, mostly releasing one song at a time (save for a planned “album within an album,” Oceania, this fall) – the pages on the calendar indicate that it’s been 20 years since the band’s first LP, Gish, was released in 1991. To celebrate, Corgan took to the Internet to announce that this fall, EMI/Virgin will begin the first step in a series of ambitious reissues for the band.

By the holiday rush of 2011, EMI will unveil remastered editions of three Pumpkins albums – 1991’s Gish, 1993’s Siamese Dream and 1994’s B-sides and rarities compilation Pisces Iscariot. Then in 2012, the label will prep reissues of the ambitious double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1996), the coveted 1996 box set The Aeroplane Flies High (featuring expanded versions of the singles from Mellon Collie) and the electronica-tinged Adore (1998). The program will conclude in 2013 with an expanded version of 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God – which will feature the first physical release of the online-only sequel, Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music – and a new greatest hits package.

It remains to be seen whether the reissues will feature any of the vast amount of non-LP material not accounted for on the discs that will be remastered. (A 2005 digital-only box set, collating nearly all of the band’s EMI-controlled B-sides and rarities, totaled some 114 songs!) Corgan, in a video posted to Facebook, explained that the band is in total control of any extra material they wish to release – including unreleased rehearsal tapes, outtakes and live material. (This was apparently the linchpin of the band’s agreement with EMI; Corgan proudly said in the video that the label was “thinking forward into the future” over the rights management of these vault tracks. Not a statement to be taken lightly by such an outspoken artist over a troubled label!)

This author would speculate (all the more to incite purchases) that some of the discs may be partially expanded – perhaps adding EP tracks or certain rarities where applicable – and the band will handle the rest of the material as agreed with EMI. While Corgan’s motives have often been questioned before – remember Zwan? – things are looking pretty interesting for Pumpkins fans in the next couple of years.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 27, 2011 at 11:20

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