Friday on My Mind: Smashing Pumpkins!

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

Tis the season for all things pumpkin. So for those of you who aren’t in the know, the pumpkin is an orange fruit. Pumpkins are harvested during October, which is why they are prevalent during Fall occasions such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are chalked full of vitamins and they produce flowers. Their seeds are yummy, they are nutritious and capable of being made into all types of food both sweet and savory. References to pumpkins date back many centuries.

The origin of the actual word pumpkin is rooted in Greek and when translated means “large melon”. This is why you often hear men rudely saying “nice pumpkins”. Well maybe you don’t, but it would be really awesome if you did. For centuries now, people have participated in the Halloween tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns. This tradition was born from an Irish myth involving a dude named “Stingy Jack.” So the story goes, Stingy Jack decided to drink with the Devil. After having said drink, Stingy Jack decided that he didn’t feel much like paying the tab, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so that Jack could use him to buy their drinks. I would like to point out, the devil seems like a total idiot. When the Devil agreed and became a coin, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, the Devil was not allowed to take Jack’s soul. Nice work Jack. Granted, the devil is a complete tool, but go Jack! The next year, Jack convinced the Devil to get him some fruit and asked him to climb into a tree to pick that fruit. Once the Devil climbed the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the trunk of the tree, which then made is so that the Devil could not come down. Jack then had the Devil promise that he would leave Jack alone for another ten years, but Jack didn’t get to cash in on that deal because he ended up dying soon after. So now Jack was dead, but God was in no way going to let such a jerk in through heaven’s doors and the Devil was still pissed, so he wouldn’t allow Jack into hell. Jack was then sent off into the darkness of the night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack constructed a homemade lantern with the coal and a carved out turnip. And now supposedly the solitary Jack continues to roam this earth, hollowed out turnip in hand. The ghostly figure of Jack was referred to as “Jack of the Lantern,” which then was shortened to “Jack O’Lantern.” This has been a Halloween tradition ever since. I think the story is complete bullshit, but then again I carve triangle faces into a giant piece of fruit every year so what do I know?

And since it is indeed pumpkin season, it’s also the time of the year for pumpkin smashing. A long honored tradition among teenage hoodlums and punks where innocent pumpkins are slaughtered across streets and lawns in neighborhoods across the land. As a teenager I did this and as a parent of small children I want to go back and punch teenage me in the face.

Smashing Pumpkins is also a band. Some people want to smash Billy Corgan. So here are some of their videos….

Smashing Pumpkins – Siva

The real deal very first official single from the debut album Gish. I remember seeing this video for the first time during an episode of MTV’s 120 Minutes and knowing this band was a big big deal.

Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

“1979” was taken from their third and epic double album Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The video shoot for “1979” took a total of only 3 days. Originally the band shot footage of themselves as a band playing at a wild teenage party. The footage was lost by a crew member who left the film on the roof of his car. He drove off and the video was gone forever. They worked with what footage they did have to complete the video and the dude who lost the original footage was punished by being made to stand in a nearby city center with a sandwich board that said: “Lost Tapes, reward for return” on it. Which is odd in that The Smashing Pumpkins really had no means of enforcement here but whatever. “1979” was nominated for 2 Grammys including Record Of The Year and Best Rock Performance. I think its one of the best videos ever made personally.

Smashing Pumpkins – Today

Supposedly Billy Corgan was extremely depressed and even suicidal when he wrote this song. I suspect it was during the “Courtney Love” years, but whatever. He wrote “Today”, basically as a joke he says. Yeah sure, that’s what REM said about “Shiny Happy People”. Hard to be the fun guy isn’t it?

Honorable Mentions:

Smashing Pumpkins – I Am One

Recorded as a one off single as the band was just getting their start. The song was later re-recorded and featured on the debut album, Gish. “I Am One” features a doubled guitar solo too, which is pretty rock & roll. They were so good those first three albums.

Smashing Pumpkins – Cherub Rock

“Cherub Rock” was the second single off of Smashing Pumpkins’ breakthrough album from 1993, Siamese Dream. I played this song so loud on the sound system at Albertsons when I was working the night shift. People called the police. True Story.

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One Comment

  1. Lissa
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    1996. It was 7th grade. Me and my friend Tiffany were obsessed with the Smashing Pumpkins. The very first concert I paid for with “my own money” was the Pumpkins that year..Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tour. It was at the Kiel Center in St. Louis (when it still existed, that was where the Blues played hockey). I got my ass kicked in the mosh pit during “Zero.” I thought I was such a badass.

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