Smashing Pumpkins FAQ v4.6, part 1

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Mike Hamilton

Mar 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/21/99
Archive-name: music/smashing-pumpkins-faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: monthly (17th)
Version: 4.6

Smashing Pumpkins FAQ v4.6

Welcome to the Smashing Pumpkins Frequently Asked Questions file!
Changes/updates from the previous release are marked by a '*'.

Please read this entire FAQ before posting on the newsgroup or Listessa.
It contains an extremely large amount of information compiled over
several years, and reading it will save a lot of time covering basic
info. :-)

If you're new to the internet or simply haven't read them yet, *PLEASE*
read the articles in the newsgroup "news.announce.newusers". They
contain a LOT of helpful information about Netiquette, how newsgroups
work, finding appropriate places to post, how to create meaningful
messages, where to find tons of info, and much more. -Every- net user
should read and be familiar with these.

-= Table of Contents =-

0. Legal Disclaimer

1. General
1.1 Who are these Smashing Pumpkins?*
1.2 General newsgroup/list info
1.3 Getting on and off Listessa
1.4 General netiquette
1.4a Flamewars and crossposting
1.4b Posting pictures/sounds (binaries) in Discussion Groups
1.5 Appropriate Subject lines
1.6 Acronyms, abbreviations, and common definitions
1.6a "Single" - radio vs CDS/7" etc.
1.7 "ObSP" - obligatory on-topicness
1.8 Things NOT to ask or bring up/threads which go nowhere
1.9 Validity of information

2. Songs/Albums
2.1 Short discography
2.2 Finding lyrics
2.3 Guitar/bass tablature
2.3b Piano score
2.4 Cover songs
2.5 Unreleased songs
2.5b 'Mashed Potatoes' box set*
2.6 Where to find given songs
2.7 Short guide to radio songs
2.8 Songs sung by other members
2.9 "Secret" messages/sounds
2.10 Song/album meanings
2.11 Vieuphoria/Earphoria - extra/unreleased songs
2.12 Differences between releases
2.12a Gish - original/remastered
2.12b Siamese Dream - clean/explicit version, import
2.12c Mellon Collie 3LP
2.12d Adore - Japanese version
2.12e Ava Adore - 7" vinyl*
2.12f Earphoria - promo/bootleg
2.12g Import/domestic singles
2.12h Vinyl - variant B-sides
2.13 Common/recurring lyrics
2.14 Photos/Cover art*
2.15 mp3s

3. Band Info
3.1 Origin of name
3.2 First appearance
3.3 Short Bios
3.4 Recording sessions
3.5 Is Billy left-handed or right-handed?
3.6 Equipment
3.6a Special effects
3.6b EBow
3.7 Personal info for the prying fan
3.8 Silly rumors (Small Wonder, Sea Monkeys, etc.)
3.9 SP Fan Club
3.10 Contacting the band

4. Merchandise
4.1 Pricing/finding rarities
4.2 Books*
4.3 T-Shirts*
4.4 Videos
4.5 "Bootlegs"
4.6 Trading
4.7 Tape Trees

5. News/Info/Net Resources
5.1 Brief history/landmark events
5.2 Double Door info
5.3 The keyboard/drummer events
5.4 Tour info
5.5 IRC info
5.6 Web links for cool stuff
5.7 Other recommended sources*

6. Miscellaneous/Semi-Related
6.1 '666' Bootleg video
6.2 Starchildren
6.3 Catherine
6.4 The Frogs
6.5 Scratchie Records
6.6 Cabal (...) / Junta (...)

7. Conclusion
7.1 Acknowledgments
7.2 Disclaimer

0. -Legal Disclaimer-

The Smashing Pumpkins FAQ is copyright (c) 1999 by Mike Hamilton. It is
freely distributable online through Usenet, email, and ftp. It may not be
used for commercial purposes, nor may any charge be imposed for its
distribution. Mass distribution or otherwise non-personal use prohibited
without consent. If you wish to use part of this in an article or
publication, please CONTACT me first, or at least include my name as a
reference for where you found the info - it does take work to compile and
maintain this information, and I'd like to be credited as such if you
decide to use it. :-) Offers for translations are welcome.

Links to the main URL are welcome, but I'd prefer that copies not be kept
on other sites, so that the most current version is always the one
available. Please just link to the main URL,

Overall, though, give credit where it's due. Thanks.

1. -General-

1.1 Who are these Smashing Pumpkins?

The Smashing Pumpkins are perhaps one of the most successful
"alternative" bands of today. Chances are, if you've ever watched MTV or
listened to the radio more than once or twice, you've either seen one of
their videos or heard one of their songs.

The band consists of Billy Corgan on lead vocals & guitar, James Iha on
guitar, and D'Arcy on bass. The most recent touring drummer was Kenny
Aronoff, formerly of John Mellencamp fame, who joined them during the
spring of 1998. When their former drummer*, Jimmy Chamberlin, was- to put
it nicely- released from the band to go into rehab, the Pumpkins hired
drummer Matt Walker from Filter for the remainder of the Mellon Collie
Tour. See 5.3 for more on that whole deal.

The Pumpkins have won many awards, gone on several major tours, appeared
on several movie soundtracks, and released a rather large number of songs
in a fairly short time. Keep on reading for tons of info!

*At the moment the FAQ was released, the status of Jimmy's return/absence
was unknown as Virgin Records had not yet officially confirmed the
reports by Rolling Stone and Mtv. When an official report is received,
the FAQ shall be updated accordingly.

1.2 General newsgroup/list info

The Smashing Pumpkins newsgroup,, and the
mailing list, Listessa, are primarily places to discuss the Smashing
Pumpkins. However, not every post/message will be. Topics range from
lyrical discussions to new song info, personal SP stories, and even more
general social interaction. Try to stay as much on-topic as possible,
and if a thread develops that you aren't interested in, ignore it- it
will die out eventually. Complaining about certain threads usually just
makes matters worse by prolonging them and generating meta-threads.

1.3 Getting on and off Listessa

First, make sure the list is operational. You can do this by checking the
Official Listessa/SPIFC Web Site at and
checking to see if there's a smiley face or a sad face. Click on the
face for more info and special instructions.

To subscribe to Listessa, send a message to with
the following message body:

subscribe smashing-pumpkins (your name)

Insert your name (omit parentheses) and disregard the subject line. If
all goes well, you will soon get a welcome message, which will include
the Listessa FAQ, also available at
READ THIS! It contains the rules & guidelines of the list, as well as
other special instructions.

To post a message to the list, simply reply to any of its messages, or
start a new message addressed to:
Please quote only what is necessary, not entire digests. :-)

Here's how to unsubscribe, straight from the Listessa FAQ:
To unsubscribe from the SP mailing list, send a letter to (-=NOT=- )
with the following, and -=ONLY=- the following, in the body of the

unsub smashing-pumpkins

Do -=NOT=- include your e-mail address, a signature file, the name of
your pet hamster, or any other information in the letter.

Please note: after you unsubscribe, you will receive a letter saying
'Thanks for being with us.' You may still receive a few letters from the
list after this. Do not be alarmed, this is normal. If, a day later, you
are still getting letters, and you are sure you have followed the
instructions correctly, feel free to write for
help. Karl logs in one or two times a day to maintain the list.

Do NOT post a message to the list asking how to get off, or to be taken
off. It's very annoying, and will not work.

For more info, check the Listessa web site or send a message with the
body "help" to

1.4 General netiquette

First off, read news.announce.newusers, taking special note at the posts
dealing with Usenet and Netiquette. If you have general questions after
reading these, check in news.newusers.questions.

Rules that apply everywhere: Do not post "Make Money Fast" or any of its
variants. Yes, it really is illegal (even though some copies say it's
not, and even give a legal code to refer to), and it's just plain
annoying. Also, do not post advertisements unless they're clearly
on-topic and posted ONCE. See "Advertising on Usenet: How To Do It, How
Not To Do It" in, once again, news.announce.newusers

Overall, keep in mind that many people read and post, and that people
have different opinions. Don't start yelling at someone simply because
they don't agree with you or have the same tastes & opinions.

Avoid bashing new fans. Unless you've been attached to Billy's hip since
birth, there's someone out there that's known about them longer than you
have, too. Everyone has to start somewhere. A nice, polite reference to
the FAQ and appropriate web sites would suffice. :-)

Also, please READ the messages before writing. If there's been a recent
announcement, someone's probably already posted it. Check the thread to
see how many replies there are before simply putting up another copy of
the same info- it'll save your time as well as ensuring that others won't
have to read it more than once. Threaded newsreaders are definitely a
plus here. :-)

1.4a Flamewars and crossposting

On Usenet, be sure to check the "Newsgroups:" line if something seems
unusually strange or off-topic. Things like "What is the best
alternative band of the 90s?" (usually in caps) are giveaways, and are
simply posted to many newsgroups (cross-posted) to start people arguing.
Many people demand to know why a post about another band is in "their"
newsgroup without realizing that it's in the other as well. If you
reply to a cross-post, remove the other newsgroups from the "Newsgroups:"
line, so that it doesn't go to every other group.

Flamewars erupt often, and there's little that can be done about it. The
best thing you can possibly do is ignore it. Some people just say
something extremely rude and then leave immediately, so they won't even
see your reply. Others will just TRY to get you pissed off at them and
generate angry replies. If you must reply, do it over email. If it
continues to bother you and won't go away, killfile that thread, or just
don't read it. Just don't feed the fire.

Likewise, don't start flames, as they're obviously not on-topic. Sure,
you can yell "BUSH SUCKS!" and get a lot of people to agree with you, but
some people won't. Besides that, it's, not
alt.flame.bush (or Manson, or Spice Girls, or Hanson, etc.). If someone
casually mentions liking a band that you don't, explain why if you must,
but don't simply yell "They fucking suck!" and leave it at that. Such
pointless arguments go nowhere.

1.4b Posting pictures/sounds (binaries) in Discussion Groups

This is a huge breach of netiquette. DO NOT, under any circumstances
post any form of binary file (that includes pictures, sounds, or any
other such files) into Discussion Groups such as
A binary group for the such things has been created for that purpose.
The name is alt.binaries.smash-pumpkins. Post the picture there, then
post to referring people to the binary group.

1.5 Appropriate Subject lines

Use appropriate subject lines whenever starting a new thread. It's much
easier to decide whether you want to read "Wanted: Siamese Singles box
set" than "Re: Smashing Pumpkins Digest #342". Be specific.

Also, the use of certain indicators can be quite helpful. Josh Sherman
suggested the use of "Tan:" to precede any subject that doesn't directly
deal with SP (a tangent thread), so those who don't wish to read such
messages can easily identify and skip over them. Other helpful headers
are as follows:

FS: For Sale (for Listessa, use the marketplace- details in the List
Lyr: New lyrics
Req: Request for info, tab, lyrics, etc. (please check the FAQ and web
sites first, as there is a LOT already out there that's just waiting
to be found and looked up- it's not hard to find)
Tab: Tablature
Q: Question
WTB: Wanted To Buy (indicates that you want something)

Other pre-subject headers can be helpful, such as "Announcement:" or "New
Site:". Just be specific in indicating what the message is about. Do
NOT use misleading subject lines just to get people to read your post,
though- messages with subjects like "Free surprise concert at Metro this
weekend!" or "Billy dies in car accident" that start out with "Now that I
got you to read this..." usually don't get read much further and usually
just tend to piss people off.

1.6 Acronyms, abbreviations, and common definitions

Common SP-related/song acronyms:
AA - Ava Adore (Adore song/single)
amsp -, the newsgroup
BC - Billy Corgan
BwBW - Bullet with Butterfly Wings (MCIS song/single)
CR - Cherub Rock (SD song/single)
DD - Double Door, a bar in Chicago (see 5.2)
ITAOS - In the Arms of Sleep (MCIS song)
MCIS - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (3rd studio album, 2CD/3LP)
ng - newsgroup
OIAW - Once In A While (B-side for Ava Adore single)
PI - Pisces Iscariot (B-sides compilation from 10/94)
PM - Pastichio Medley (23-minute conglomeration of 70 song snippets,
found on Zero EP)
SD - Siamese Dream (2nd studio album, breakthrough release)
SP - Smashing Pumpkins (need I say more?)
STRTJ - Set the Ray to Jerry (1979 B-side)
TAFH - The Aeroplane Flies High (box set of MCIS CD singles)
TODAPP - Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete (song from 'Adore')
TEITBITE - The End is the Beginning is the End (song from Batman and
Robin soundtrack)
TBITEITB - The Beginning is the End is the Beginning (its counterpart)
TOASE - Tales of a Scorched Earth (MCIS song)
TT - Tonight, Tonight (MCIS song, single)
TTEOR - Thru the Eyes of Ruby (MCIS song)
WBFTT - Where Boys Fear to Tread (MCIS song)
XYU - not an acronym, as many ask about, but a homonym for "Ex, why
you?" Answered by the man himself.
YAIGT - You're All I've Got Tonight (Cars cover in TAFH box set)

Other common general acronyms:
AFAIK - As Far As I Know
aka - Also Known As
CD - Compact Disc
CDS - CD single (i.e. BwBW)
FS - For Sale (helpful in subject line)
FT - For Trade (helpful in subject line)
FWIW - For What It's Worth
HTH - Hope This Helps (usually said sarcastically)
IMHO - In My (Humble|Honest) Opinion
LOL - Laughing Out Loud
NP: - Now Playing (used at ends of messages to indicate what poster
was listening to at the time of posting)
ROFL - Rolling On the Floor, Laughing (also ROFLMAO, adding "My Ass
RTFM - Read The Fine Manual (although 'Fine' is often replaced by
another word of the user's choice) :-)
UCE - Unsolicited Commercial Email (aka email spam)
WTB - Wanted To Buy (helpful in subject line)
WTT - Wanted To Trade (helpful in subject line)
YHBT. HAND. - You Have Been Trolled(+). Have A Nice Day.
(+see below for definition)

Most other abbreviations are songs. If it's not immediately
recognizable, just think & you should be able to figure it out.

Common definitions:
:-) - a smiley face (tilt your head to the left), used to denote
humor and/or sarcasm (variants: :P" :( >:( ;) etc.)
B-side - a song found on a single that isn't the title track (i.e. "The
Last Song"). Named from the days of vinyl, when 45s had a popular
song on one side (the A-side) and another, perhaps unreleased song
on the other (the B-side). Third songs on vinyl are thus referred
to as C-sides
Bootleg - an unofficial recording, referring either to someone's personal
tape or DAT recording of a live show, or a bootleg company's CD
pressing of such a recording, or of unreleased studio demos (see
EP - stands for "Extended Play", as opposed to an LP (Long Play).
Generally shorter than a full release (LP), but usually longer
than a single. Example: Lull EP, Peel Sessions, Zero EP
Flame - a message that harshly ridicules someone else or their opinion
through the use of personal attack rather than reason & logic.
Usually feature lots of capital letters, exclamation marks,
obscene and derogatory remarks, and misspelled words. :-)
Killfile- a feature of good newsreaders (AOL and Netscape News not
included) that allows users to specify names, subject lines, or
other patterns (even entire domains) which they don't want to
read. Upon reading news, these patterns are automatically
"killed", and the reader never has to see those messages. Useful
for ignoring/avoiding heavy crossposts, lame threads, or messages
from anyone you simply don't want to read from. :-)
<plonk> - the sound of someone being added to a killfile (i.e. if someone
plonks you, they've added you to their killfile, which means
they'll never see another message from your email address again)
.sig - short for signature, a small file automatically appended to the
end of all outgoing messages and/or posts. Generally includes
name, email address, URL, and/or a clever quote, etc. Netiquette
standards allow for 4 lines- anything longer is usually frowned
upon, and large ASCII art is almost always complained about. Keep
in mind that it's something people are going to see every time you
write, then keep it accordingly short and sweet. :-)
Thread - a group of messages with the same subject or subject line.
Good newsreaders will group these together so they're read in
order of replies.
Troll - a post specifically designed to generate as many replies as
possible (usually in the form of a blatant flame, obviously
incorrect information, or (missed) sarcasm). Most likely named
after a fishing technique
yelling - using all capital letters (usually considered rude and
annoying) Also known as shouting, screaming, etc.

1.6a "Singles" - radio vs CDS/7" etc.

Most people seem to forget that there is a difference between a radio's
and a record store's definition of the word "single". A radio station
will call anything that's been released for radio play "the new single,"
regardless of whether you can go to your local music store and buy a
copy. Many more songs are released to the radios for airplay than are
pressed on CDSs. If you're lucky, have connections, or find a cool
store, you might be able to buy a radio promo, but it's usually one track

Release dates are also different- radio stations are usually allowed to
play a song several weeks before it is available for purchase on CDS
format (if it ever is). Example: on 9/29/95, radios started playing
BwBW, "the new single from SP." On 10/24, you could go to the store and
buy BwBW on CDS, with "...Said Sadly" as a B-Side (see 1.5). The next
year, Muzzle was on the radio quite often, and was still called "the new
single" even though it was never pressed and sold as a CDS. So, if you
see a release date, or wonder why the record store doesn't have "the new
single" they've been playing on the radio, keep this difference in mind.

1.7 "ObSP" - obligatory on-topicness

Since most people prefer to read messages that are on-topic, off-topic
messages should at least include a little bit of on-topic material. The
"ObSP" is short for "Obligatory SP", and is usually a short, on-topic
blurb used to make an otherwise off-topic message at least -somewhat-
relevant to most readers.

1.8 Things NOT to ask or bring up/threads which go nowhere

The following questions should not be asked:

-What's that Depeche Mode cover? Where can I get it?
-How do I get on/off the mailing list?
-When are they touring in my city?
-When's the new album/single?
-What is a true fan?

Above questions have been asked to the point of extreme annoyance, and as
the answers are all in well-known locations, they shouldn't need to be
asked. Release dates are on most well-updated web sites, as well as
easily found by reading through the newsgroup before asking it yet again.
The Smashing Pumpkins Collection can tell you about the DM cover. The
Listessa FAQ clearly states how to get on/off the list. And all tour info
can be found via Josh Provost's SPLRA site.

And there is no definition for a true fan. Billy hit it right on the
money when he said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "A true fan is someone
that will give the band's next record a chance. Not just one listen, but
a few, just to make sure they really don't like it". (For the true quote,
track down the 1998 Rockline interview with the band).

Those URLS are:

Smashing Pumpkins Collection:

The following information has also been brought up countless times,
and should be regarded as common knowledge:

-"Tristessa" means "sadness" in Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, etc.
(actual spellings may vary slightly), and was the title of a book by
Jack Kerouac.

-"Soma" was a drug in the book _Brave New World_, greek for "body", a
legendary place where people sleep for a billion years, various religious
entities, and about a million other things. We've heard it before. Many
many many times before... :P"

-If you hold up the back of the PI CD to the light, you can see Billy
through the white thingy on the back. According to someone who worked
with the band, BC said this was a complete accident.

-The same trick works for the liner with the fish pan & the necklace-
looking at both sides through the light looks like an eyeball. Ooooh.

-Any thread relating a song's meaning to drugs, Kurt Cobain, Marylin
Manson... etc. Usually those threads just start flame wars, so they're
best avoided.

-Threads bashing other bands. Two words: counter-productive. Such
threads accomplish nothing but flame wars.

-Threads about moshing. Opinions will vary, but are unlikely to change
as a result of an argument.

-"Selling Out". People have their own definitions thereof, ranging
anywhere from simply signing a record contract to changing their own art
or image purely to make money. Sure, Billy said they sold out. Who
cares? Has the integrity of their music changed? No. Check out the
text from the back of the SP Heart shirt (section 4.7, #3), or see Tool's
song "Hooker with a Penis" on the Toolshed at

-Silly rumors. See 3.8.

1.9 Validity of information

Don't believe everything you read. Especially if it involves secret
concerts, reported band members deaths, or super-special releases. Take
special care on April Fool's Day (the 1st), as even reliable sources of
info are known to pull the occasional prank.

If something is true, it should have a reliable source or reference. "I
heard on the radio" does NOT count, as radios often go by rumors, and
some people just say that to spread rumors. If CD Europe says they have
a special box set for $150 with super secret, rare, unreleased tracks on
it, save your money. If someone announces a release date for something,
check to see if it's real/correct before demanding to know why your local
store/station doesn't have it yet. And if someone says their brother saw
on MTV that Billy died, don't believe it for a second.

When something IS reliable, it will come from a real source. Press
releases are released by Associated Press and/or SP's publicist- but keep
in mind that these can be faked as well (check to see who posted it).
Web zines such as ATN are usually accurate (ATN's music news of the week
can be found at MTV News and
magazine interviews are -usually- accurate, although anything the band
says should often be taken with a grain of salt (i.e. not completely

Anything regarding the death, overdose, suicide, etc. of any band member,
no matter how official it looks (yes, these have been faked before),
should NOT be believed until you see it on MTV News every hour, you hear
it on every radio station, and you see HUNDREDS of posts about it on the
list and newsgroup. See 5.3.

|--please stop loving me, please stop loving me, I am none of these things--|


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