By Hans Fink
In a stroke of creative marketing weirdness and artistic ambition, the SMASHING PUMPKINS are immersed in an ongoing, in-progress 44-song project entitled “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope.” Songs from this unusual project are being released online one at a time for free over the span of God knows how long, with four-song EPs being released along the way. The EPs are released in physical format only, in limited runs and with unnecessarily ornate and artistic packaging to give it a sense of aesthetic worth. The first of these EPs, Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs For a Sailor, saw its release in May of this year, while Vol. II: The Solstice Bare is set for release on Nov. 23.
I love that the Smashing Pumpkins have endured long enough into the digital age to humor them as they embark on such an ambitious recording concept. Although all the original members (except BILLY CORGAN) have been replaced, the core concept remains the same: Asian rhythm guitarist, female bassist, junkie drummer. I kid, I kid. I don’t know if the new guy is a junkie or not. What, too soon?
In further news relating to musicians who were famous when I was in high school, TRENT REZNOR of NINE INCH NAILS fame is set to venture into the world of television. HBO and BBC have given the proverbial green light to produce a series entitled Year Zero, based off the album of the same name. Of course, reportedly Reznor has always intended Year Zero to be more than a simple concept album; indeed it has spawned a remix album (but which Nine Inch Nails album hasn’t spawned a remix album? Seriously.) and an alternate-reality game of the same name. The album and video game depict a dystopian future, therefore the TV show will probably also be set in a dystopian future, a future that has no shortage of leather and fishnets, I’m sure. The series is to be produced by Lawrence Bender, whose production credits include Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds and An Inconvenient Truth.
In a moment of indie rock veterans proving how sensitive they are, the PIXIES played a 33-song set on the night of Wednesday, Oct 13. This was the same night the Chilean miners were finally rescued from their dramatic ordeal of being trapped for 69 days below the earth’s surface. The show set was performed in tribute to the miners, “33 songs for the 33 miners,” as Pixies front man BLACK FRANCIS stated to the press.
The nominees are out for potential 2011 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The list of potential inductees includes the BEASTIE BOYS, LL COOL J, BON JOVI, TOM WAITS, NEIL DIAMOND and ALICE COOPER. While this is a list of worthy and admirable artist, I have to question an organization that touts itself as a rock and roll authority when it will induct ABBA but not BLACK SABBATH. I’m just kidding. Black Sabbath is totally in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But you know who should really be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? WINGER.
And because you can’t go wrong with any news item involving either superheroes or Japan, comic book legend STAN LEE and Japanese music icon YOSHIKI of the band X JAPAN, have joined forces. For what greater good have they joined forces for? To create a musical superhero of course. In what could only be interpreted as a project of vanity and exploitation, Stan Lee, who is responsible for creating heroes such as Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men, will be writing a motion comic series centered on a protagonist who has Yoshiki’s likeness. In fact, the protagonist is pretty much Yoshiki, except set in a comic book setting where he is a musical, super-powered vigilante with an affinity for dragons. Yoshiki will, of course, be creating a bunch of music to go along with this. Yay. Looks like we’re finally going to pay for that whole Hiroshima thing. What, too soon?