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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan on Gish Influencing Pearl Jam and Nirvana

NETHERLANDS - JULY 01: Photo of Smashing Pumpkins; Smashing Pumpkins photographed in London. July, 1993 (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)

Billy Corgan is only too happy to talk about the influence the Smashing Pumpkins‘ Gish LP — 30 years old this year — had on the burgeoning alt-rock scene.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Corgan said, “I remember having a conversation with Eddie Vedder when we were on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He told me how much of an influence Gish was on their first record.”

Others, too, were fans of the Chicago foursome, Corgan said. “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.”

Gish, produced by Butch Vig and Corgan in 1990-1991, “had a lot to do with how Nevermind was recorded,” Corgan says. Vig produced that album for Nirvana, also in 1990-1991.

“The album had a lot to do with what became Queens of the Stone Age. I remember Josh Homme talking to me about Kyuss, the band he was in before Queens, and how Gish was the record for him that really turned his head,” says Corgan.

Gish didn’t make it to MTV, but bands it influenced — like Nirvana‘s Nevermind and Pearl Jam‘s Ten — did. “[Gish] was hugely successful,” Corgan affirmed to Rolling Stone. So successful that Virgin Records, Smashing Pumpkins then-label, wanted to re-release it to take advantage of the explosion bands in the scene were experiencing.

Siamese Dream, the LP that came out two years after Gish, has always been seen as the band’s breakthrough.

To celebrate 30 years of Gish, Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin will host a two-hour livestream on Saturday, May 29. It will feature a Q&A, Gish listening party, and an exclusive preview of unreleased music. Maybe they’ll even preview some of Machina IIthe 80-something track project that Corgan mentioned in January.

Alongside writing new music for the band, Corgan has kept busy with his other passion, wrestling. “I’m actually writing wrestling shows. We have a pay-per-view coming up, and we have 10 other episodes coming,” he told Rolling Stone as their interview began.

Since he purchased the National Wrestling Alliance in 2017, he’s been well-known for the acts — scripted scenarios — he writes.