Web chat with Billy Corgan and James Iha on July 14th, 1999
<Billy> we will commence in 2 mins. the band has arrived!!!!!
<Billy> is everybody ready??????
<Billy> ok, one question at a time please…
<Bquestion> <erinbryan> hi i just want to say that i love you and seeing you at the 930 club was incredible. i went thru hell to get tix and i ended up paying $60 each but i got pished up front near james and it was incredible!!!!! i love you!!! why did you choose to do la dolly vita? and do you listen to Gish much because Billy forgot the words to Siva at the show and started to sing “who do you love?”
<Billy> we played la dolly vita to get back to the good old days of rocking and singing sweet songs…but i’m old now and i often forget the words
<Bquestion> <Beefman> Why wasn’t La Dolly Vita included on Gish?
<James> <DayDream> WHat would you say to someone who wants to start a band with a sound that no one has ever heard of before, something new, something different with no labels attached, but can’t find anybody who wants and feels the same way and care as much about music and the band?
<Billy> we decided to not put la dolly vita on gish because we didn’t feel we could top the sub pop version…and we wanted only new things…
<Bquestion> <aussie> ‘I Am One was the first kind of ‘pumpkins song’, how did you make the transition of making songs like that other than songs like ‘Not Worth Asking’?
<James> Good Luck. I’m Just kidding, I think it’s great if you have a unique sound and a unique idea about music, it just takes a lot of patience to get recognized.
<Billy> we actually had many more “rock” songs before i am one, but it was probably the first definitive pumpkin rock song…that transition happened when we started to have confidence in our own sound
<Bquestion> <Dawn2Dusk> i have heard many of the outtakes from the Gish period like Jennifer Ever, East++ Why werent any of these great songs released??
<Billy> i suppose those songs will be released someday, but at the time they seemed very passe…now they seem fresh again
<Bquestion> <setraytojerry> if there’s one thing you could do with the recording of Gish over again, what would it be?
<James> <SMASHINGPUMPKIN> What do you think you would be doing if none of you ever met?
<Billy> believe it or not, i wouldn’t change much…i wished maybe i could have written a few more new songs at that time…
<Bquestion> <virginia> Were any of the songs on Gish “chemically” enhanced?
<Billy> yes, we often scrubbed the tapes with draino
<James> I suppose I would be in college still, writing many papers and reading many books about botany, psychology, and rock mythology. Maybe I would still be living at home with my parents, who happen to be very nice people.
<Bquestion> <Krishna> For Billy: There was a period when you wrote songs with amazing dynamic, stylistic, and structural changes throughout that helped push up the level on your music. I’ve noticed from the Arising tour songs and Adore that this is no longer something you try to do. Why is that?
<James> <virginia> Were any of the songs on Gish “chemically” enhanced?
<Billy> people often question why we bothered to change, but i think that a question like this almost answers itself…we were as great as we could be at those types of songs, and we bored with them and moved on…it’s called progress, but people often see progression as regression, but i feel we have always moved forward…
<James> At the time, I was drinking a lot of diet pepsi, now don’t go judging me too quickly, I had a lot of stress, music, and college papers to finish. If I can be candid, I also had a few latte’s down at the local cafe.
<Jquestion> Wea re only 7 minutes into it.
<Bquestion> <thereitgoes> Will the only Gish outtake, Jesus Loves His Babies, ever be released?
<Billy> i lied…there are more…
<James> <Suffer27> Hey Bolly, what is that heart or symbol on the back of Gish????
<James> Who the hell is Bolly?
<Bquestion> <Rocketnino> What is your favorite Gish-era song to perform live?
<James> <Rocketnino> What is your favorite Gish-era song to perform live?
<Billy> i would have to say that siva was probably the best live song from that era…and it seems in my addled mind that we played many different versions of that song
<James> On the last tour we did, we really enjoyed playing “I am One”. It was surprisingly fresh and fun to play.
<Bquestion> <ComeToNewZealand> Pre-Gish, was their a key event that got the band noticed?
<James> <g60girl> what kind of cars do you guys drive?
<James> I have a Volvo.
<James> <lunatriste> Whats the new album going to be called?
<James> I have a Volvo.
<Billy> i think what changed everything for the band before pre-gish was recording our own demos in this guy’s basement…we spent all our money to record 19 songs, and that is when everything changed for us
<Bquestion> <lorenaluna> Why ‘i’m going crazy’ was added at the end of daydream?
<James> <Marek> I’ve heard that Billy started playing guitar because his father was a jazz guitarist…. James, what got you started on guitar?
<Billy> because we really were going and have gone crazy
<Bquestion> <bidazzled> where did the name tristessa come from?
<Billy> a jack kerouac book of the same name
<Bquestion> <AnkhRaid> the sacred heart that appears in the back of Gish says “Souvenir de Ste-Anne de Beaupré”. did you ever go there?
<Billy> i went there once in a dream… a woman spoke to me…her name was lillian…she said you shall play the rock, and it will make many cry not so real tears…then many years later you will ask…what happened?
<Bquestion> <BABYJESUSES> why was the bass so pronounced on Gish as opposed to your other albums?
<James> Friends of mine, all had guitars and I just thought it would be “cool” to play, and then I realized it was really hard to play, so it sat in my closet for a year (the guitar, that is) and then one day my friends came over to “jam”, so I was forced to “jam” and it was pretty exciting, and from being forced to play, I learned how to play guitar. This dates back to pre-school.
<Billy> that was before we realized we wanted the guitars really loud all the time
<Bquestion> <disarmed> for billy and james: looking back over 10 years time, what do you think Gish stood for and offered for audiences and for you as a band then, and what artistic or personal insights does it offer you as a band at present looking back upon those early days?
<Billy> i felt at the time that gish was ahead of it’s time…of course nobody in 1991 thought so except us, but time was on our side and i’m proud it has become such an influential and respected album
<Bquestion> <Jennipher> hey Billy,what was that bell thingy around your neck in the jacket to Gish?
<James> <justsaymaybe> what was it like to have gish released along with other albums like nevermind by nirvana and ten by pearl jam
<Billy> i think i’ve answered this before, but i wore those bells for two years to remind me, over and over again, to remember
<Bquestion> <virginia> Many people have the opinion that the guitar solo on Tristessa is one of the best ever. Do you agree?
<Billy> no i do not…i’d have to lean towards the aeroplane flies high or cherub rock
<Bquestion> <Bryan> Will I get to see you guys at Woodstock next week????>
<Billy> no, because they offered jewel more money
<James> There was a lot of really good music during the early 90s and Nirvana and Pearl Jam certainly had great records. It was very exciting to play with bands of their caliber during that time, although it was never a competition between any of these bands. Basically because none of us sounded the same, except for the loud guitars.
<Bquestion> <Joe> <<<Billy>>> Can we ever expect to see something like a Gish/Siamese Dream anniversary show? Or maybe even a tour? You have been my favorite band ever since lolla, and I really miss seeing a lot of those songs played live. The last two times I saw you guys in Detroit, it was 95% new material.. Is that how its going to be from now on?
<Billy> actually the next tour is going to be a marked reunion
<Bquestion> <silvercrank> Is there a meaning behind the word “Gish,” or is it just a nonsense word?
<Billy> the meaning of the word gish is i don’t i will i was
<James> <Selidan> I want to thank both of you for giving us something to listen to and relate with instead of being stuck with Ricky Martin and Backstreet Boys songs.. and I’m not sure if this question already got through or not, but what lessons did you learn in the making of gish that contributed to the success of the band?
<Bquestion> <auroraelentari> How was Butch Vig patient during the making of gish?
<Billy> he had one of those electric cattle prods…he used that everytime something was out of tune
<James> Maybe you can help us out – I heard that the Backstreet Boys and Ricky Martin love Gish. We also heard that “The Boys” covered “I am One”.
<James> <Noetic> How is bugg?
<James> Bugg is fantastic. He’s a good man. Actually, he’s a good dog.
<Billy> i hate to be redundant…but this is a gish chat…
<Bquestion> <petzold113> what is the song snail about…..what did u write it about?
<Billy> snail is about this little guy i found on the beach one day, i took him home, and now he plays in that chicago band local h
<Bquestion> <starlazero> The lyrical similarities between I Am One and some of the new songs are noticable. Did Billy realize that?
<Billy> everysong is ripped off from every other song
<Bquestion> <Snailboy> During Gish, what was your favorite moment during the whole recording process??
<Billy> when the album was all done, at 7 a.m., and i went into a corner and fell asleep on my book bag
<Bquestion> <hello> Is there any hidden messages in any of the Gish songs?
<Billy> yes, if you listen to rhinocerous backwards, it says…”listen to adore”
<Bquestion> <frajenstra> Do you two miss anything about the gish and pre gish days?
<Billy> i miss when it was simpler to just get in a van and drive to a show…to play new music and not have people wonder what does it mean in context with the old…the simplicity is what i miss
<Bquestion> <Lily4142> what do you think is the most powerful track on Gish?
<Billy> i would have to say snail
<Bquestion> <PiscesDream> Billy, on the cover of Gish, your hat looks like it has a little Star Of David on it. I can’t make it out clearly, so I could be wrong, but is that what it is? What is that suppossed to symbolize?
<Billy> don’t you know…i’m jewish
<James> <ZERO> how did you feel playing with Jane’s Addiction when you were just a “new band”?
<Bquestion> <RYANSWAIN> Billy, what was it like opening for THE RHCP back during the GISH era?
<James> It was the first time we played with a real heavy band, and they were awesome. It really opened our eyes in using a heavier sound to get the music across.
<Billy> it was great…they treated us with so much respect, and so many of the shows from all three bands were great
<Bquestion> <365> Are there studio recordings of songs you played live like What You Wanted and I Am My End?
<Billy> no unfortunately, there are not
<Bquestion> <paranoid> how much and how long did it take to make gish?
<Billy> the album cost about 30, 000 dollars and took 46 days from start to finish
<James> <Pumpkinxyu> The million dollar question: What does James say before “Bury Me”, if it is James at all?
<Bquestion> <Snailboy> WHen you recorded Gish, Did you have any problems????
<James> “Unchain, unchain…”
<Billy> yeah, we were totally broke and i lived with a smelly hippie
<Bquestion> <somagrl> did the band get along during the recording of gish?
<James> <shaunkardinal> who’s toes are those in the picture of bugg, in gish?
<James> I believe those are my toes.
<Billy> yes, we got along great…and as a matter of fact we’ve always gotten along great…all the rest is media hype
<Bquestion> <Luminus> Billy: When are those meanings to the lyrics going to be done? :)
<Billy> what lyrics???
<James> <BillyLoon> How is Bugg doing? Does he still hang out with the band?
<James> Bugg still has his “paw” in executive managing the band.
<Bquestion> <Brett> How long did it take you all to play old songs again with Jimmy back in the band?
<Billy> believe it or not, everybody remembered all the old songs on the first try
<Bquestion> <Dahlia> To Billy- how does it feel hearing the Gish songs after so many years?
<James> <mrglynis> When you were recording Gish and touring , what did most of your meals consist of? Considering money was tight, I would assume lots and lots of twinkies.
<Billy> when i listen to gish…it makes me think of us rehearsing with no heat, getting lost in the van, eating shitty pizza because that was the free food the club had promised us…we spent alot of time together, and that’s what i hear when i see gish
<Bquestion> <evanaaron> Billy, I hate Gish
<James> We got 20 dollars per day to eat when we were on tour, so we ate a lot of junk. I imagine there were some twinkies involved.
<Billy> before gish, i would say we have about 50 songs…many that have never been bootlegged
<Bquestion> <farr1604> <question> <farr16<mjm> Billy> Can we change the subject to the new album>?
<Billy> what new album???
<Bquestion> <PUMPKINHEADZERO> what band influenced you the most to create the “gish sound”
<Billy> black sabbath
<Bquestion> <amiran> What Gish song took the most time to record and why?
<Billy> probably rhinocerous…i think it took 38 days
<Bquestion> <Jellybely> have you ever noticed that the Collective Soul song “Heaven let your light shine down” sounds JUST like the into to Snail
<Billy> yeah, it’s ironic that he had the same inspiration at the same moment as me
<Bquestion> <Bert> For billy and james: At the beginning of bury me, there’s someone saying something like “Boys, let’s do it” right before the bass kicks in, who is that, and what the hell does he/she say?
<Billy> it benjamin disraeli, former prime minister of great britain, saying not now edith
<Bquestion> <philbaena> Billy, what was ur last job before you went into recording gish?
<Billy> i was working at a used record shop that sold show tunes
<James> <omar1> James what is the one most thing you enjoy out of life?
<Bquestion> <Dagger79> what is the impression you would like people get you listening Gish from beginning till the end?
<James> I enjoy being completely domestic, grocery shopping, walking Bugg, and Rocking the world. I guess that’s 3 things.
<Billy> i would hope that they would be taken on a mystikal journey of digital warlocks and analog martyrs
<Bquestion> <petzold113> why does everyone look so strung out on the gish cover?
<Billy> cheap drugs
<Bquestion> <Naomi> Where is the red van?????
<Billy> i sold it to my dad, and he still has it
<Bquestion> <QuietSiege> WHAT SIZE BRA DOES DARCY WEAR?
<Bquestion> <LucidLies> a friend of mine told me that he saw you guys in iowa in a small club during gish era, and that you smashed pumpkins all over the place and the manager got pissed and made you clean it up..is this true or is he a fucking liar?
<Bquestion> <clubconnectcherub> where does the song “jackie blue” fit into the gish era equation? was it to get your name out or to make some money?
<Bquestion> <Cobbe> Did you tour with Gish in Europe?
<Billy> yes, we toured for about six weeks during the early part/winter of 92, and i still say it was the best the band ever played
<Bquestion> <Mercury> A lot of these qiestions could be easily answered by the interview posted on this site. Doesn’t this piss you off?
<Bquestion> <FaerieScab> During the recording of Gish, was it like a close knit family working together towards a common goal, or did you guy fight a lot, pulled each other’s hair, and called each other names??
<James> <zero33> how do you feel about computer?
<Bquestion> <DragonMaster> <bquestion>how did you come with the name “Smashing Pumpkins”?
<Bquestion> <UhDayNuh> What do you think of the new trend of the boy bands?
<Bquestion> <gishyfish> do you believe in fate?
<Bquestion> <Galla> WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THESES STUPID QUESTIONS YOU`RE GETTING ASKED?????
<James> It is your friend, and your enemy. I have a computer at home, but my roomate uses it. One day I will understand the Internet and the world of computers but for the moment I still use pen and paper for writing songs, organization, and letter writing. Also I don’t type very well. My friend Adam is typing for me.
<Bquestion> <KMan> Do you guys like pro wrestling? If so who is your favorite wrestler?
<Billy> my fave is mankind/wwf…greatest wrestler of all time
<Bquestion> <Anya> do you say “hose” after “she knows” in rhinoceros? and why?
<Bquestion> <SadPeterPan> i heard saying that you like “Placebo” ….. are they an influence for you?
<James> <somagrl> when you did gish, did you seem to get a lot of calls from highschool friends?
<Bquestion> <bc5FBE7C> <William> If you were on a deserted island, who would you like to be with, Britney Spears or Jennifer Lopez?
<Bquestion> <billysgurl> do you love me???
<Billy> yes i love you very much
<Bquestion> <metaljay> what exactly does “the world is a vampire ” mean to you guys?
<Bquestion> <hailrobot> Billy, before you became one, how did you envision yourself looking as a future rock star
<James> Over the years, and especially during Gish and Siamese, a lot of high school people I knew came out of the woodwork. There was one concert where the “Bully” of our school called me out of the blue asking for tickets, and I was told after the concert that he called and I wondered why are you calling when you used to hate me. Well, he didn’t just hate me, he hated everyone.
<Bquestion> <Jeannot> do you think you’re a “grunge” band, again ?
<James> <Ophelia> Billy and James: what are your favorite bands at this point in time? And are you into all of the new death pop stuff?
<James> What is “new death pop stuff”? That sounds wild. I think we will name the new album that. Thank you.
<Bquestion> <petzold113> does david letterman like gish?
<Bquestion> <GhostChild> These questions suck.. James.. Billy.. will u guys marry me?
<Bquestion> <dross> which Saturday morning cartoon influenced Gish the most, if any?
<James> <MarySH5> Who played the woodblock on crush?
<Bquestion> <William> Billy if you trapped in a box with three other people, who would they be?
<Billy> james…d’arcy…and jimmy of course
<Bquestion> <mastercolin> what are the odds of actually getting a question answered?
<Billy> 999,999,999,999,999,999,765,778,665 to 1
<Bquestion> <petzold113> are all these stupid questions pissing you off?
<James> melalocka dronaish. He is a mystical figure in the Wisconsin musical scene, Butch Vig is his cousin. It sounds easy, but the woodblock is incredibly hard to play.
<Bquestion> <CorganLover> I don’t think anyone’s getting that cymbal today, are they?
<Bquestion> <Beefman> you guys like Metallica???
<Jquestion> James is sifting through thousands of questions, so he has picked out many of the older questions.
<James> <RYANSWAIN> Did you realize how blessed you were to have Jimmy as a drummer when he first joined??
<Billy> i think we’re going to go now…
<Billy> i mean i love you and stuff…but
<James> I realized how blessed we were when he failed to show up for the next practice.
<Bquestion> <mastercolin> Billy: do you like gay people?
<James> <somagrl> what does the song “i am one ” mean?
<Bquestion> <LadyKarma> Are you listed in the phone book?
<James> Got me, I’ve been playing the damn song for 10 years, still don’t know what the hell it’s about. Good riff though.
<Billy> by the way, i was born in chicago…james is from elk grove
<Bquestion> <Tebor> James> On I&I with muchmusic you talked a little about aliens. Are you a believer?
<Billy> ok, we will stay on for a couple more minutes…but the questions???
<Bquestion> <Iam1asUR3> Billy: does it bother you when others say you are anal, or a prick?
<Billy> i wanna say wassup to all the ladies
<Bquestion> <SP33> Billy, can we move back to the “Gish” chat?
<Bquestion> <dirty> billy ,all the strippers in sf love you come visit us!
<Billy> pour some sugar on me
<James> <LostSoul> hey james what is it like to be so big now??
<Bquestion> <ILikeMayonaise> PLEEEASE JUST SAY HI TO ME
<Billy> hi…how are you today? i’m fine thanks…the album is moving along, thanks, and i’ll be over real soon to eat your mom’s cookies
<Bquestion> <YourMomSP> are u guys ever going to do an online chat session ever again?
<Bquestion> <channy> Billy, this chat fucking sucked, thanks a lot, now I know you don’t really give a shit about a lot of things.
<James> I have to eat quite a bit of food these days, more than when we were just beginning. Kidding aside, I’d like to think we’re all basically the same as we used to be, besides the Hummvie stretch limo in the back yard.
<Billy> i love all our fans the same…if you are tired, i am tired too, if you are cranky, i will be cranky with you
<Bquestion> <phew> i wish u guys failed to show up for this chat
<Bquestion> SlobadonMilosivich> DOES IT SCARE YOU THAT I AM GOING TO NUKE USA?
<Billy> ok, last chance to win that special autographed cymbal, we still don’t have a winner
<Bquestion> <kel> are the questions really that bad?
<Bquestion> <cesar> do you hold grudges
<Bquestion> <sweetsweet> <bquestion> have you ever thought of hooking up with d’arcy, when she wasn’t married of course
<Bquestion> <Demigod> Billy, Did you do college? And if so, did you try out for any teams?
<James> <Czarina> James, on Vieuphoria, you talked (joked) about the shoes the other members wore? Do you really feel that way?
<James> It was just a joke. I think.
<Billy> maybe we should make the cymbal contest a trivia contest
<James> <gished> for James, how is Scratchy records coming along???
<James> scratchie records 2.0 is coming.
<Bquestion> <GeekUSA> Do you beleive in god billy?
<Billy> hello? is there anyone out there…if you’re out there…say hell yeah
<Billy> hello to all my peeps!!!
<Billy> cause stone cold says so
<Billy> hip hop fuckin hooray
<James> <icecreamtruck> i thought this was gish chat?
<Bquestion> <meladori> will you bear my children?
<Bquestion> <snail> what do you expect? i think were all dumdfouned and getty at the prospect of talking to you
<James> I have to apologize, it’s quite hard to remember it all, so I’m trying to pick a few interesting questions.
<Billy> ok, are you ready for your trivia question???? to win an autographed cymbal!!! here we go!!!!
<Billy> first one to answer this question will win!!!!
<Billy> name the venue of the very first smashing pumpkins gig…with just james and billy playing under the name smashing pumpkins???
<Billy> yes, it was a polish bar…
<Billy> the name please
<James> <QuietSiege> Billy and James, My mom want to know if you like to listen to Bruce Springsteen or especially Bob Dylan?
<Billy> ok…we have a wiener
<Billy> of course you are all winners with us
<Billy> thanks for this lively discussion about a very important time in our life…love you all
<Billy> oh, and by the way…about the new album…if you’re interested????
<Billy> the name of the new album is……
<Bquestion> <hoser> cihcago 21
<James> I think they’re both fine song writers, and I’m sure they both own copies of Gish, our groundbreaking CD that we are currently discussing. My guess is, they probably ripped us off mercilessly through the early 90′s. I might be pushing it to say the late 60′s and 70′s, because we didn’t have an album out but I think Rob and the Boss understand this.
<Billy> hoser is the winner of the cymbal, hoser, what is your e-mail address???
<Billy> bye bye everybody…the new album will be out soon, and there will be no more crying about the good old rock and roll days…okay? okay…see you on the other side of a marshall stack………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<Billy> the answer to the question was chicago 21…located at the corner of belmont and austin avenue in chicago….
<James> It has been my pleasure answering a handful of Gish Era questions, and just joking around with some others. We appreciate your support, and hope you’ll be around for our new album, tentatively titled “The Great Pizza”. Love to you all, James. I’m sorry about that last joke I just made. Thanks, Good night.
<Billy> oh, and by the way…our next chat will be about lawncare, and is scheduled for august 15th at 11:30 malaysian time
*** This session has ended ***