Guest Bloggers

Brunch with Billy Corgan by Paul Martello

My story of how I got to attend the Brunch with Billy Corgan event in Hollywood begins years ago on 6/30/2010. The Smashing Pumpkins were playing the first show of the Teargarden tour at the Viper Room in Hollywood. Being a philanthropic Pumpkins fan, I always purchase an extra ticket to SP shows and give it away to a super fan who couldn’t get in. That night, I met Sarah St. John. She is a huge fan who has Billy Corgan’s signature tattooed on her forearm. She was a perfect recipient! I gave her the ticket and we became friends after.

Fast-forward a few years to yesterday, 6/21/2012. I receive a call from Sarah telling me she won the Brunch with Billy Corgan contest on 98.7 FM and she can bring a guest. Furthermore, I am that guest! She said something about Pumpkins karma or returning the favor, but that’s not the point of why I give away tickets.

Sarah and I spoke again that evening and were freaking out over what to wear and what to bring to have Billy sign. I carefully chose a classic looking blue shirt and dark jeans that I thought would still look cool in 20-50 years from now when I brag to my kids and grand kids (assuming I have them of course) about the experience. I also decided to bring an old license plate I had on my car in high school. It says ‘ZERO’ and it was my real plate in 1999. We decided to meet at her house at 930am even though the event didn’t start until 11:30am. I go to grad school in Malibu and I had a long drive ahead of me.

I arrived at Sarah’s apartment in Culver City at 9:40am and I looked through a heavy box she had full of Smashing Pumpkins bootlegs and assorted SP goodies. I thought about stealing a few of the duplicate items but didn’t want any bad Pumpkins karma, so we left to the 98.7 Hollywood Tower penthouse.

We were the second ones to arrive behind super fan Evelyn, the girl who ran the first SP Myspace page back in the day. Evelyn said she hadn’t won the contest and had simply called Billy to be added to the guest list. JEALOUSY! Haha. Sarah and I sat outside of the apartment complex and nervously blabbed until 11:30am when they let us in.

We had to sign a release and pick up our lanyards featuring a really cool picture of the band. “Brunch with The Smashing Pumpkins,” it said. I was starving and couldn’t wait to have some French toast and eggs! After walking up 7 flights of stairs we arrived at the 98.7 apartment that is normally used as a green room for artists playing rooftop concerts. The new album, Oceania, was playing and the event was catered by Happy Endings restaurant. We all imagined we would sit at a table with Billy and have brunch. In reality it was more like the 20 winners standing around having lunch, not brunch, talking and checking out the abundance of rock memorabilia laying around. I stuffed pizza down my face until it was time to go outside. Billy Corgan was not yet present.

Sarah and I were the first to arrive on the rooftop. There were two stools with microphones under a 98.7 canopy. It was probably 75 degrees in Hollywood and a bit hazy. 10 minutes later, the great BC arrived wearing his floppy brim hat, purple stripped shirt, grey pants, and shiny gold Nike high-tops. He stood there for 10 minutes and took pictures with the winners. This is a good time to say that I was the winner of the Spirits In The Sky costume contest – the Rock N Roll Ghost. I was also the winner of the Spin Magazine photo contest and was flown to NY to interview the Pumpkins before the last show of the same tour where I gave the ticket to Sarah. It’s a funny feeling for a true fan to be in Billy’s presence. You start to think you are the center of attention. You worry, “What will Billy Corgan think of me?” You worry about everything from the way you dress to the questions you want to ask him. Do you offer a handshake, a high five, do you ask for a picture or an autograph, will he think you are rude for asking? This is the 5th time I’ve met him and I was still nervous.

When it was my turn to take a picture, I reminded him that I was the Rock N Roll Ghost. He laughed when he remembered, but didn’t jump up and down or post to his Twitter or anything. Sarah took her picture next and Billy definitely remembered her. Sarah has met him several times and I think Billy remembered she tattooed his signature on her arm after signing it one night. He let out a big genuine smile when he saw her and sincerely asked how she was doing.

Billy promptly sat down and had an hour-long interview with one of the 98.7 DJs. The DJ asked great questions, mostly about Billy’s personal feelings on growing up and Oceania, and a few fan questions the winners had written earlier. I recorded most of the interview with my phone and was in awe to hear him talk for so long right in front of me.

When the interview was over, Billy was in a rush to leave. He saw Sarah and I holding some things to be signed and he waited for us. He signed Sarah’s Oceania vinyl cover and my license plate. He laughed when I presented it to him and he graciously signed, “Billy Corgan SP 2012.” That license plate has been hanging on my wall since high school and I can’t wait to hang it back up with his signature on it!

Billy then went down to the parking lot with photographer Kristin Burns, they were escorted into a black suburban by their body guard, and were gone.

Heck Yes, that was awesome! Thank you again, Sarah!

Q&A with Manufacturer of the Smashing Pumpkins 7″ Flexidisc by Hypno Raygun

Matt, Thank you for your email.
Just out of my own curiosity, I had a few questions if you don’t mind, feel free to answer any or none..
I was wondering if you knew how many were pressed?

They pressed 5000 of these, but I think there was a slight underrun. I wish my fan club was that big. 

Is there such a thing as a Test Pressing for a flexi? If so, did the band get those? If there are any test pressings around, could I buy one? (Doesn’t hurt to ask I guess! ha..)
There is, and no, you can’t buy one. 🙂 As far as I know James Iha approved these….just kidding, they went to Billy, of course.
Does your company keep the Stampers? Lacquer masters?

Yes, and yes. The stampers are here at our pressing facility in San Francisco. We keep the ones that aren’t damaged in pressing in case we need to press more or if they want to repress. The “lacquer masters” are actually Direct Metal Masters in our case, and they’re held at our plant in the Czech Republic, which is where we make all of our standard records. That’s also where the masters are cut. 

Was the art sent digitally as well?

Indeed it was. 

What format was the digital music in? (the one the band sent you)

I believe that it was sent in a wav file. Nothing really glamorous about moving digital files around. 

Were there specific guidelines they wanted? Or was it very basic?

Pretty basic, just the song. They were initially going to do a postcard flexi but when I heard the song (which is very quiet) I urged them to do a standard flexi. I also suggested the Lisa Frank-y sparkly foil color for the art, which I was really happy they went with!

Has your company worked with The Smashing Pumpkins before?

No, I’ve never worked with them before. Was a die-hard fan growing up though!

Has the company seen an uptick in Vinyl production?

In short, yes. We’ve been around since 2005 and every year has been a bigger year for  vinyl production than the one before it. I think there’s a lot of benefits to making something real and special and tangible with your music, it really puts it in a better light than an mp3. That said, if you’ve got crappy music, no amount of gatefold colored vinyl wizardry will help that 😉 
Thanks a lot for your time! I love the process of pressing vinyl and would love to learn more about it.

Any time. 

A special thanks to Matt Jones with Pirates Press for the interview.

Getting Freaky! by Geo Folkers

To us, The Smashing Pumpkins are not just about music.  They are something original.  The Pumpkins music has a moving aesthetic appeal and has an emotional impact with meaning.  The music resonates in ways often we can not explain.  It’s just noise.   But it’s the Pumpkins emotional energy and skill behind the noise that has the power to transport the listener to shift their consciousness. To offer inspiration and dream.

It is easy for one to consider the Pumpkins as art more than music.  An art perfected.  To want all the  albums, rarities, posters, and vinyl is part of the relationship.

A website exsists with other fans that have an insane appreciation for the Smashing Pumpkins.  The site is called

SPfreaks is run by fans from all over the world!

This website began in 2003 based on the idea of 3 major international collectors of Smashing Pumpkins memorabilia.  At the time almost no visual information was available on the internet. With the help of family and friends, in times of financial hardship and after thousands of hours of scanning, researching, frustrations, and laughter – SPfreaks was the result!

What does SPfreaks offer The Smashing Pumpkins fan/collector and Community?

– A little history of nearly everything ever released officially or unofficially

– Autographs,  Awards, Backstage Passes, Blue Ray Disks, Books, Cassettes (Official and Unofficial), CD’s (Official, Unofficial and Tribute), clothing (Official and Unofficial), DATs, DVDs (Official and Unofficial), Flyers, Guitar picks and Drum Sticks, Legal Documents, Magazines, Minidisks, Order Forms, Concert Posters, Promo Posters, Press Kits, Promo Flats and Trade ads, Promo Post Cards, Setlists, Tickets( Concert), Tour Books, USBs, VCDs (Official and Unofficial), Videos, Vinyl (Official and Unofficial), Virtual Music and even Miscellaneous items!

SPfreaks needs you to keep this site going.  Send us your research, help us to make this website the most comprehensive graphical resource for Smashing Pumpkins items. Whether it be Awards or Posters. Tickets or Vinyl. Press Kits. Clothing. Please contact us, we are happy to hear from you!

Twitter – @SPfreaks

Email –

After all, art is not merely an investment, it’s a love affair!


Tis The Season of Giving! by Geo Folkers

Never forgetting how important it is to give, The Smashing Pumpkins over the years have given above and beyond. My research and attempt to put together a list will fall short. So much generosity has been lost in the shuffle. As fans, the Pumpkins have taken us on a journey. They’ve made us question our sanity and shown us real beauty. They are leaders. Leaders of self discipline. Leaders in music and art. Leaders of love and humanity. A band that continues to give back. Below is a brief list of some benefits and charities The Smashing Pumpkins have blessed with their attention and generosity.

Fall 2011- American Tour- Each ticket sold helps support respected charities including, Music Drives Us, Oxfam America and others

Fall 2011- Billy Corgan helps out the MDA telethon on WGN9

July 2011- Donated Items for auction to benefit MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation

June 2011- $1705 Raised for The Pioneer Valley Red Cross, for tornadoes that struck Western Massachusetts

April 2011- Billy Corgan donates one of the four original handmade Zero shirts, Proceeds go to the Red Cross support victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

May 2011- Billy Corgan helps with the seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert

September 2010- Money raised for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund by raffling off a Billy Corgan Fender Stratocaster

July 2010- Benefit concert for Matthew Leone at the Metro, raised over $80,000

February 18, 2010- Benefit Concert for the 10th Anniversary North Shore University Health System’s Integrated Medicine program

October 21, 2009- Gish era instruments auctioned off for Laura Masura (Former head of SP fan club), raised over $11,000

Summer 2009- auction for a lunch with Billy Corgan, Proceeds go to Songwriters Hall of Fame, raised $10,000

October 26, 2008- The Bridge School Benefit Concert,

Spring 2008- Billy Corgan talks on behalf of Raises awareness for suicide and depression

November 2007- Billy Corgan Donates a signed Zeitgeist poster, 100 percent of the proceeds go to victims of California wildfires

November 2006- SP Tribute CD- Act IV Ghost Children- Friends and Enemies, all proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois

July 2001- SP Tribute CD- Act IV Ghost Children- all proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois

December 20,21 1999- Two food bank benefits at the Caboret Metro, Chicago

October 30,31 1999- The Bridge School Benefit Concert,

March 25, 1999- The First Waltz, Billy Corgan chipped in and played a benefit for Neon Street

August 8, 1998- Miami, Florida- $114,570 raised for the Center for Children in Crisis

August 6, 1998- Charlotte, North Carolina- $103,240 raised for the Elon Homes for Children

August 5, 1998- Nashville, Tennessee- $130,290 raised for the W. O. Smith Nashville Music School

August 4, 1998- Atlanta, Georgia- $127,608 raised for Reach

August 1,2, 1998- New York, New York- $419,575 raised for the Hale House

July 31, 1998- Boston, Massachusetts- $109,200 raised for the Children’s AIDS Program

July 29, 1998- Washington DC- $123,200 raised for The City Lights School

July 28, 1998- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania- $124,160 raised for the Cramp Community Reading Center

July 20, 1998- Toronto, ONT- $126,087 raised for Street Outreach Services

July 12, 1998- Huston, Texas- $115,720 raised for Huston’s Children’s Charities

July 10, 1998- Dallas, Texas- $116,560 raised for The Family Place

July 8, 1998- Detroit, Michigan- $100,000 raised for HAVEN

July 7, 1998- Chicago, Illinois- $500,000 raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Illinois

July 1,2, 1998 Los Angeles, California- $432,261 raised for Five Acres

June 30, 1998 San Francisco, California- $170,590 raised for the East Bay Agency for Children

October 18,19 1997- The Bridge School Benefit Concert

February 20,21,27,28 1995- Double Door, four shows, tickets were $5 and all proceeds went to charity

Let this be an example to live by.  This list is just a sample of what the Smashing Pumpkins have done.  A lot of things have happened behind the scenes and continue to.  Let us all give thanks and remember our neighbors. There are so many people that need help from food, to clothing, to a hug. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in someones life.   A special thanks to The Smashing Pumpkins! They inspire us all to make a  positive change in our world!

Thank yous also go out to Jonathan Monte (MonteLDS) , Linda Dodge (linda1167) , Ashley Fahey, Jon Steele, David Pukin, Bartosz Odrzywolek, Michael Berrios, Charmaine Turner, Robbie Sacunas and Pixie Joi. These good SP fans chipped in with some great info.


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