Note: A big thank you to Patrick for putting this together so quickly. I mentioned it when we did our interview a couple weeks ago, and received an email later that week asking about the column. Way to take the initiative, Patrick. This is a great read. One that opens the curtain a bit when you think about Poison Control Center’s music. I hope you all enjoy this installment as much as I do. Now here’s Patrick Tape-Fleming. — Josh
By Patrick Tape-Fleming
Thanks to Chicago Tunes for asking me to write about an album that influenced our band. There are hundreds of albums I could write about, but I thought I would keep it local to Chicago, sooo….
A bitter effusion proceeded from my eyes the moment the Sony Walkman with puffy earphones clicked off after just listening through the album, Adore for the first time in the early evening of June 2nd, 1998.
By this time I was a 17 year old boy who spent all the money he earned coaching 5th and 6th graders how to field ground balls on 25 dollar Smashing Pumpkins bootlegs or as we called them Imports.
I had a great collection going, I think 28 to be exact…I had their shows from CBGBS’s, all the way up to the arenas.. I’d gotten speeding tickets listening to the Peel sessions, crashed my car listening to a show from Holland and recently had found the Golden Ticket of all the bootlegs, Billy’s Home Demos from Mellon Collie…
…in a terrible smelling store called the Mushroom in New Orleans, but none of these bootlegs or even the proper albums before had hit home quite like Adore just had. I seriously started to cry after hearing the line, “Take a day plant some trees, May they shade you from me, May your children play beneath.”
After taking some time to think why this record had just moved me to tears in one listen, I came to the conclusion that there was an absence of life in the record. It felt like the last piece of music that would ever be produced by the Smashing Pumpkins, so haunting and beautiful. I felt I lived a lifetime already with this band providing the soundtrack and this was the swan song.
Of course, as you all know, it was not the final record. The band would rock again with Jimmy. They would tour the world. They would put out vinyl only albums. They would break up. They would release Greatest Hits collections. They would reform with new faces and rock again.
But for me, none of that really mattered, for I never quite got over Adore. For some reason I have been stuck there since June 2nd 1998! The free concert they did in Minneapolis that year performing these songs, honestly blew my mind. I was in the front row and was hit with sonic pleasure like you would not believe.. The Adore songs came off even more shocking and amazing live then they did on record.
It kills me to think that this is the over looked record in the Pumpkins catalog. That it turned some fans off and maybe even the Pumpkins themselves felt some sort of pressure to ROCK HARD again.. Some time later the Pumpkins were back with MACHINIA and they were doing meet and greets all across the country. By this time I was in college, playing baseball and writing for a college newspaper. It just so happened that a college newspaper conference was happening in Minneapolis the same weekend as the Pumpkins meet and greet, so even with no interest in the conference I signed up to go and made plans to ditch the conference to meet the Pumpkins.
A few hours into the conference I decided to take a bathroom break and I hit the ground running, grabbing a cab to the other side of downtown to the Sam Goody in the Nicolet Mall. There I stood in line with hundreds of fellow Pumpkinheads, all waiting to meet the band. After a few hours of standing in line there he was, all shaven and holy. I got to tell Billy, “Thanks for writing the soundtrack to my life,” BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY I also got the opportunity to look him in the eyes and say, “I think Adore is one of the most beautiful records ever made,” and he told me that saying that really meant a lot to him. And I could see it did…
I started the Poison Control Center about a year after Adore came out, and it’s influence still runs rapid in everything I write for the band, hoping that I have grown more mature and heartfelt with every chord I strum. I feel like Adore is the greatest most heartbreaking album in the Pumpkins catalog and I hope we as a band can achieve something that beautiful and tender someday.
- For more with Patrick and The Poison Control Center, check out my interview from before their show at Schubas. Then check out my review of that show!