A suitably rare audio of Billy Corgan performing some Smashing Pumpkins classics has been unearthed. It’s a fraught and vulnerable rendition of some of the band’s most treasured songs from the Gish era.
Recorded in September of 1991, the video comes with no further clarification than that, it features a very bashful and young Billy Corgan giving a stripped back solo acoustic performance of some of the band’s best moments.
He begins with a song that’s kinda not done” but they’ve “been playing here or there”, and strums away to ‘Drown’ their 1992 hit for Cameron Crowes filme Singles. The performance continues to give early previews of songs that would go down in the annals of Smashing Pumpkins fandom.
The Gish tracks ‘Rhinocerous’ and ‘Tristessa’ are given early outings, arriving as small teasers in this intimate setting. While fully formed, yet stripped back, versions of ‘Snail’ and ‘Suffer’ are also given a welcome airing.
Completing the setlist for Corgan’s hotel room gig were two tracks that wouldn’t see the gratifying light of a full release until 1994’s album Pisces Iscariot, providing an insight into Corgan and the band’s writing process.
Above all the interesting facts and knowledge picked up in the early acoustic performance, enhanced by the small tidbits he offers (picking ‘Snail’ as his favourite Smashing Pum[pkins song at the time) with each song, is Corgan’s intense artistry. Every note and every lyric sung is emphasised by the different interpretation Corgan offers by stripping the songs down to their acoustic beginnings.
Listen below to Billy Corgan’s rare acoustic performance of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins songs in a hotel room in 1991.
“I will give it a college try… it’s a dumb American saying”
Setlist, Billy Corgan, 1991:
‘La Dolly Vita’