“I believe that God deals you a weird deck of cards…some positive things and some negative things, and you need the ability to put all those things together. There’s no better window to your potential than yourself. You know what you’re capable of, and it’s pretty difficult to live your life knowing that your potential and capabilities are unfulfilled. All you need is the heart to do it… you have to get up every day and believe it, despite the adversities you may encounter. It has a lot to do with being honest, reflecting on your work with compassion and saying, ‘What do I really like about what I do? What can I improve?’ It’s the momentum, the expectations of every moment that make it possible. You just persist in getting to where you get to walk in the light.” – Billy Corgan, Guitar Player 1996
The Smashing Pumpkins are touring this summer. I bought my ticket today. Three original Pumpkins will play songs from the band’s golden period.
If someone resurrected John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix from the dead and sat them in a room to experience Siamese Dream, this is what would happen:
Both men would sit facing the speakers, leaning in and staring into the air. Neither of them would move a muscle for some time. They would smoke cigarettes.
Both would frequently forget to take puffs. Lennon’s cigarette would become one long cylindrical ash propped between his fingers. They’d lean in further to the speakers during “Soma” and “Silverfuck”, mouths hanging open a little, dazed and barely breathing.
When the album finished, Lennon wouldn’t say a word. He’d sit in pale-faced silence, stone cold from the sudden body temperature drop caused by blood rushes of holy inspiration.
Hendrix would lean back, adjust his hat, and look up at the ceiling. He’d reach up and wipe misty dews of reverie from his eyes. Finally, he’d drop his gaze down to the floor, adjust his hat again, and simply whisper “Damn…”
My ticket pursuit involved grave stress and challenge. I had to survive my own adrenaline frenzy; I executed superhuman persistence while maintaining composure during a Ticketmaster fury.
I sat perched in front of the Ticketmaster website while performing work tasks in a separate window. The countdown was on. I looked at the clock frequently and tapped my foot. 1 minute to go. 30 seconds to go. BOOM! The arena seats appeared in a flash. I picked a spot close to the stage and clicked.
The system began processing my selection, but all at once another dialog box appeared: “Uh Oh! Something went wrong! Please try again.” I gasped and whispered, “No!”
I picked another seat and clicked on it. A dialog popped up and it said, “Sorry, we can’t process your selection. Please try again.”
I clicked on another seat and another, but each time the same message popped up. My mood quickly changed from frantic to enraged. I kept clicking. More dialog boxes telling me to try again.
My nose opened, my heart rate skyrocketed, and I yelled, “What the FUCK!?”, making no attempt to mask my fury from my office mates in the other room. Because HR should always set a good example like that.
I dialed Ticketmaster’s 800 number and continued clicking seats at random, shooting down dialog boxes.
I wasn’t going to give up. I was here at 10:00 a.m. sharp. I am a hardcore, lifelong, dedicated fan. If I couldn’t get tickets, I intended to abuse a Ticketmaster agent mercilessly. There would be hell to pay.
Looking back, it all makes perfect sense.
There’s not a better way to buy Smashing Pumpkins reunion tickets than to throw a massive Billy Corgan-style tantrum. When you buy Pumpkins tickets you should completely lose your shit, driven to rage by your sense of entitlement and by the denial of those things that are owed to you. It’s too perfect.
Some time passed with Ticketmaster on hold while I relentlessly clicked random seats.
A different dialog box popped up asking for my credit card number. “YES!”, I gasped, reeling with shock and mild confusion. The sudden and unexpected release from my rage-a-thon threw me off-balance. It took a second for my brain to register what was happening. I bought 2 tickets and printed my receipt.
I could finally breathe.
Chris Cornell and other 90’s icons are dead. All the original Pumpkins are still alive. I wanted to go see Chris on his last solo acoustic tour when he was still alive, but I passed it up because I didn’t want to pay for an expensive scalped ticket.
That shit will not happen again, ever.
“I don’t trust people for shit. It’s a sad thing to reach a point where people genuinely like you, approve of you, are coming to your concerts and basically reinforcing what you’re doing – and you can’t feel it. There’s no way to penetrate it. You’re looking for the absurd, the anomaly, to prove something to yourself.” Billy Corgan, 1995
“Like when I listened to early Soundgarden. It was all the heavy metal power that any band could muster, and it wasn’t dumb, and the guy could sing his ass off. And you go, ‘My God, how do I compete with that?’ and you go, ‘Fuck, we’ll find a way. We’ll find our own way.” Billy Corgan, Rolling Stone 1995