The Smashing Pumpkins performed a secret acoustic show to 200 fans at Berlin venue Die Zitadelle last night (June 5) – followed by a question-and-answer session with the crowd.
The new line-up performed a two-hour set, including classic tracks ‘Tonight, Tonight’ and ‘Today’, alongside a wealth of new material.
Latest single ‘Tarantula’, a song not best suited to an unplugged environment, was received with good-humoured laughter and the biggest applause of the evening as frontman Billy Corgan heroically, if unsuccessfully attempted to replicate its climatic solo on his acoustic guitar.
In a series of minor blunders the frontman tripped over his microphone stand, accused his leather stool of trying to humiliate him and compared a problem with his guitar to “a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction”. In spite of this, Corgan’s perfectionist reputation remained intact, as he turned around to drummer Jimmy Chamberlin mid-set and requested he “keep it down”.
Post-show the group’s two original members remained onstage to answer questions from the audience.
Corgan declared the creation of new album ‘Zeitgeist’ as “a long, laborious process to perfection”, before elaborating on the Pumpkins’ return.
He said: “When the band broke up in 2000 a lot of people were saying it was a bad idea. But I felt we had to do it. Now we had to come back. We believe in the power of intention and prophecy.”
When questioned why German word ‘Zeitgeist’ was chosen as the album title, Corgan joked, “Because the word Hasselhoff was taken.” The vocalist continued in mocking Germany’s love affair with the ‘Baywatch’ star, declaring: “We don’t like to play our old material, we get Hasselhoff to play the songs off ‘Siamese Dream’.”
In respond to a query regarding vegetarianism, Corgan confessed his fondness of sausages, before claiming to be “a blood-sucking killer”. Elaborating on the theme of meat, he revealed that during the making of ‘Zeitgeist’, Chamberlin would cook him steaks, while he wrote the songs.
Finally, when asked how it felt to meet Homer during their infamous cameo on hit American show ‘The Simpsons’, Chamberlin disappointedly retorted: “Homer Simpson is not a real person, you can’t meet him. We didn’t even meet the guy who does his voice, just a stand-in.”
‘Zeitgeist’ is released on July 9.