Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan details the influence of ‘Gish’ on Pearl Jam and Nirvana

The seminal album marked its 30th anniversary this year

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan has discussed the legacy of the band’s debut album, ‘Gish’, three decades on in a new interview.

Speaking to Rolling Stone around the album’s 30th anniversary, Corgan recounted the range of bands that have been influenced by Smashing Pumpkins’ debut record – in particular, Pearl Jam and Nirvana.

“I remember having a conversation with Eddie Vedder when we were on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers [in late 1991]. He told me how much of an influence ‘Gish’ was on their first record,” he said.


“And through the years, I’ve talked to many, many people who really pointed to ‘Gish’ as the game-changer in their mind about how to approach guitar and how to record.”

Elsewhere, Corgan said the album “had a lot to do with how [Nirvana’s] ‘Nevermind’ was recorded”, both records having been produced by Butch Vig.

“They gave us a very modest budget and wanted us to get our feet wet, so they were stuck us in the corner with this no-name producer named Butch Vig to make a record that, in their mind, was going to fly under the radar,” Corgan said.

“[Virgin Records] were positioning us for where they felt we could go later. Our record starts selling like crazy and they start thinking, ‘Maybe we’re onto something.’ Around the time they’re trying to figure out what to do, here comes ‘Nevermind’ and here comes [Pearl Jam’s album ‘Ten’]. And the game is instantly changed overnight.”

On the flip side, Corgan also noted his influences for the album, such as My Bloody Valentine, who deeply influences the record’s track ‘Daydream’.


“That’s a funny story. We become friends with the Valentines. One time, Kevin Shields was on a tour bus somewhere. He said, ‘I really like that song ‘Daydream’.’ I said, ‘You should, because I got it from you’,” Corgan said.

“What’s interesting, and what I like to say about ‘Gish’, is it shows our influences and it shows who we were as people before the real pressure came in. ‘Siamese Dream’ is the representation of when the pressure came in. It was like, ‘OK, now we need to really figure out who we are.'”

Over the weekend, Smashing Pumpkins held a livestream to celebrate the album’s anniversary. The virtual event included a live vinyl listening party, a Q&A segment and an exclusive preview of some unreleased music.