After more than seven years of absence, the Smashing Pumpkins released their reunion album Zeitgeist, which recently celebrated its 13th anniversary. Zeitgeist resulted in an extensive tour, a rebirth of classic Smashing Pumpkins, and the eventual creation of one of my favorite times in the band’s history. What follows are things that are, well, pretty cool.
5. The Album was recorded at D’arcy’s ex-husband’s house
Yes, that D’arcy.
Zeitgeist was largely recorded at Kerry Brown’s house, using the same 24-track tape recorder that Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was recorded on. The old school method led to a long, detailed recording session like many legacy bands. Unlike other SP albums, Zeitgeist was recorded as a duo by Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin with no other band-mates present.
4 . The Album Featured an Extensive Tour
The Smashing Pumpkins have never been light when it comes to their touring schedule, and Zeitgeist was no exception. The tour that promoted this album lasted six months. It spanned 59 cities in 15 different countries. Most notable for this tour are the two residences in San Francisco, CA and Asheville, NC.
These residences are featured in the documentary If All Goes Wrong which is fantastic viewing, and offers a raw glimpse into the touring lives of the band.
3. Zeitgeist was produced by the same producer for Bohemian Rhapsody
Initially the record company wanted long time Green Day producer Rob Cavallo to produce the album, but was turned down because they wanted to use someone who could record using analog tape.
The band then hired Roy Thomas Baker, who had worked in the 1970’s with Queen, recording Sheer Heart Attack and A Night At the Opera, featuring some of Queen’s most famous tracks including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Killer Queen’, and ‘Stone Cold Crazy’.
2. There were six official releases of the album
Talk about an album for the true collectors! Zeitgeist was released in six time over. Each version was differently colored, each color having slight differences about their track listing, with even further variances depending on the country.
- The Red version was the standard 12 track version.
- The Orange version was the Best Buy version, and has an alternate 9th track.
- The Purple version was the Target version, and contained a 13th track. The Green version was the HMV version with standard tracks.
- The Silver version contained 3 bonus tracks and a DVD.
- The Blue version was the digital iTunes version, which contained an alternate track and 5 MySpace exclusive covers.
- The blue version was then re-released in 2008, which means…
1. The second blue version contained a groundbreaking 4-track acoustic EP
The EP known as American Gothic is some of the best music the Smashing Pumpkins have ever made, and is considered to be the spiritual extension of Zeitgeist.
Upon its release, it was only available digitally, which led to the Pumpkins experimenting with releasing music as Digital 45s, internet only singles, and the one-track-at-a time Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. This practice was considered fairly bizarre at the time, but is commonly practiced among the most successful artists today.