So you're an art school student out at a club in Montreal watching this band the Smashing Pumpkins play, there are maybe 20 other people there. It’s 1991. Your friend thinks the singer’s a bit too into himself and throws a bottle at the stage. You, however, are falling in love with this band, and decide to take that long walk to the side of the stage after the show to tell the singer as much and apologize for the whole bottle thing. You and the singer, Billy Corgan, hit it off and begin a correspondence by mail that feels like a cosmic connection, until one day he moves and your letters to him start coming back to you unread.

Meanwhile, this band has changed you. You’ve always loved music, played music (trumpet, choir), but their style of music—romantic, heavy rock—leads you to pick up the bass. You’re a quick study and soon form your own band in Montreal, Tinker. Now the Smashing Pumpkins are surging, everyone knows who they are. After a couple of Tinker shows you figure you’re ready to open up for them next time they come through town, if only you could reach Billy again. So you send a letter to a P.O. box address that you find on the back of the Siamese Dream CD. Somehow, because the universe often makes no sense and complete sense at the same time, the letter finds him and he agrees that yes, that’s a fine idea.

The night arrives: November 30, 1993, the Métropolis in Montreal. As you’re playing through your set, you notice he’s watching from the side of the stage, receiving your music as you once received his. At the end of the night, after the Pumpkins have seduced a packed house, he tells you, “Someday you’re gonna play bass in my band.” He’s right. But first, his friend Courtney needs you. Over the first half of 1994 she’s lost her husband, Kurt Cobain, to suicide and her bass player, Kristen Pfaff, to a drug overdose. The new Hole album, Live Through This, is out and the tour starts in less than a month, can you join? Not interested, you say. It’s just too dark a proposal, standing in for a ghost. Plus there’s still that photo degree to finish at Concordia University. Courtney tells you it’s okay to say no, but you have to say it to her face. Come to Seattle, and bring your bass.

A flyer for the July 23, 1991, Smashing Pumpkins show where Melissa Auf der Maur met Billy Corgan. “The Sub Pop logo is what got me there,” she recalls. “Otherwise I never would’ve gone to see a band with the name ‘Pumpkin’ in it.” Image provided by the guy who threw the bottle, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Bruce Cawdron
A flyer for the July 23, 1991, Smashing Pumpkins show where Melissa Auf der Maur met Billy Corgan. “The Sub Pop logo is what got me there,” she recalls. “Otherwise I never would’ve gone to see a band with the name ‘Pumpkin’ in it.” Image provided by the guy who threw the bottle, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Bruce Cawdron

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CREEM #002

Our CURRENT Issue

We made a Number 2. Our Winter 2022 edition features Melissa Auf der Maur's secret Smashing Pumpkins diary, Henry Rollins + Joe Rogan, CCR vs. the CIA, the (unfortunate) rise of rockstar CEOs, and more.

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