Rock Gods, er, Gourds

Pretentious. Self-indulgent. Sell-outs. Bald. The Smashing Pumpkins have been called all these things and so much more. Bob Mould from Hüsker Dü himself once referred to the Pumpkins as "the grunge Monkees." This was not always the case, however. Way back in the early 1990s, the Smashing Pumpkins were purveyors of a somewhat unique hybrid of heavy metal, psychedelic pop and proto-grunge that was a refreshing breath of fresh, marijuana-scented air. Their first official album, Gish, could be heard spewing forth from every dorm room and beat-up Volkswagen as far as the mind's eye could see. Then, something went terribly, terribly wrong. Billy Corgan went from long-haired grunge-psych underdog to an evil goth Lex Luthor almost overnight. The constant "ZERO" T-shirt that adorned Chicago's favorite son was not the least bit ironic. It was almost like Billy Corgan was replaced by a pod person. Whatever he did, it worked. Grammys, MTV awards and groupies followed in his wake like sharks chasing chum. And I have to admit (don't tell anybody) that I still catch myself singing "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" in the shower from time to time. Don't be a "Zero," see the Smashing Pumpkins 8 p.m. Saturday at Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie. Tickets are $53.50. Call 214-373-8000 or visit
Sat., Nov. 3, 8 p.m., 2007
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John Freeman