Topic: how can we help solve the pumpkins’ current dilemma?
On 2008.05.01 at 11:59 am brotagaia wrote:
For those who haven’t yet seen the vid, have a lookie here
As you can see, they are in a bit of a pickle. Lets take a closer look at what exactly the problem is:
Fans want to hear their favourite smashing pumpkins songs – these are more than likely those that the general audience doesn’t know.
Fans want to hear the band’s new songs – The band wants to play new music (that was the whole point of the reunion I suppose – not just to play old stuff and revive the \"dead\") but feel a bit stifled because they don’t want to scare off potential new fans.
Fans want a closer sense of interaction with the pumpkins as a band and as people – The band can’t be everywhere all the time – they need to support themselves mentally, emotionally, physically and financially and the only way they can do this is with adequate rest, manageable stress, time and sufficient funding.
Basically only want to hear MCIS songs and Siamese Dream songs – Probably not that interested in the new stuff because for whatever reason they just can’t dedicate that much of themselves to taking the leap across to being hardcore fans.
They still like the band’s old stuff, are paying money to see the old stuff, and expect to hear it because they are paying for it.
Fanbase – The band wants to build a bigger fanbase – so keep the fans they already have, and find new ones that will appreciate them and support them
Travel – They have already basically done a world tour – as much as they probably like seeing different countries, I’m sure they would like to be in one place for a while to be able to really sit down and concentrate on creating the best music they’ve ever done.
Money – As much as the band isn’t about making money, they need to make a living. They aren’t locked into a contract anymore so there’s probably not a huge amount of disposable income. Travelling and transporting costs, everything costs – not helped by the fact that the cost of living is ever-increasing. Away from the cameras and the lights and the stage, we have to remember that these rock-gods are everyday people, with families and friends and an everyday life.
Music – The band want to make new music – that’s the whole point. They want to create and they want to succeed.
So, how can the band do everything and please everyone while staying afloat, keeping in mind that there’s no recording contract there giving them a disgustingly huge budget to work with?
Do they have a specific goal? What did Billy and the band actually wish to achieve by bringing the pumpkins back? Did he want the band to be bigger than it was before they quit the first time? If so, did he think that given the amount of time that has passed between 2000 and 2007, the changing of generations and society, as well as the growth of the band as individuals, that this would be a realistic goal? How big did he think their fanbase was when they disbanded compared to when they reformed? If they didn’t want or expect the band to be bigger than it was the first time around, how big did they want or expect to become? Did they want to be big enough to make a comfortable living so they could support their families, their lifestyles and their band without needing to sign to a record label?
Should they be concerned about whether the general audience doesn’t dig their not-so-commercially popular music or should they be concentrating more on keeping their fans? How can they eliminate the people who won’t appreciate their music and draw in the ones who like it to make them love it? How can they do this without sending their current fans broke with sky-high ticket prices to their shows?
How can we, as loyal SP fans, help the band to join the dots??
On 2008.05.01 at 12:06 pm bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
wow, great post. alot of good questions.
it is a hard nut to crack. but just an idea i am throwing out
more small venue shows. maybe more residencies, charge a little more than the regular ticket price, (not real out of line) and you will get the fan base to come, and you will get the other fans, just not as many of them. but in the smaller venues playing new music, which the fanbase wants to hear, you would get the casual fan to listen to the new stuff, and hopefully apreciate it.
now i don’t know if this would work, due to the fact that i know nothing of the music industry, but it seems like a good idea. small venues in more places.
it would also give the band the opertunity to try out new new stuff and gauge peoples reactions.
just an idea.
On 2008.05.01 at 12:40 pm brotagaia wrote:
See yeah i thought of that too.. but how can they do smaller shows in so many different parts of the world?
The cost of it all far outweighs what money they’d get back. Smaller shows would work in the US where they aren’t spending heaps on travelling and freight of their equipment, venue hire, promotions and marketing, accomodation.. there’s so much other stuff that i haven’t even listed.. all of which would cost heaps if you take it overseas… they’d want to be able to make that much money back, as well as have a set amount they’d want to make on top of that – enough to be able to make awesome videos and get a whole new thing going on where record companies are screaming out at them to sign and letting them do whatever they want. With the music industry going the way it is at the moment, the possibility of this doesn’t look too good. The impending law suit makes this look even worse because it’d deter a lot of other record companies for fear of being bitten on the ass.
Judging from the fanbase in my part of the world, that certainly doesn’t cover many people at all. They only did a few shows here in Australia anyway, so to have even smaller shows wouldn’t work because there was barely enough publicity about it to begin with. I imagine the case would be the same in other countries outside of the US.
If it were me, I’d just say too bad to the general audience and throw out all of the new stuff and see how it goes. It probably wouldn’t go down too well to begin with, and a fair few of old fans would probably get annoyed, but the more people hear the new stuff and learn to connect with the band of today and not the band of 10 years ago, the better. I don’t actually think they’d lose too many listeners at all. As much as I loved hearing the old stuff, I know I got WAY more excited when i heard something new.. knowing that the spirit is still alive is what brings me back every single time.. surely it wouldn’t be too different for others who have connected with this band before.
On 2008.05.01 at 12:50 pm bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
i see your point, and i love the new stuff as well, bleeding the orchid and bring the light, just to mention a few are on my top 10 of all time.
i just hope they are able to make it, i don’t want them to go away again. maybe smaller venues for here, and maybe some in europe, but mix them up with a few big arena shows. i know some places it would not be possible for the smaller venues, but hopefully they can find a way to make it all work.
i know it takes money to be able to to all of this. and i will support them anyway i can.
On 2008.05.02 at 1:47 am blueczarina wrote:
I think maybe they should do more of a mix of larger venue shows and smaller shows geared towards the core fan base. The larger venues could have MCIS and SD stuff along with new material, so they could keep the casual fan happy, but also expose them to the new stuff. Hopefully they could then pick up new fans and could also make more money. The smaller gigs could be more of what the Pumpkins themselves want to do- new stuff, b-sides etc. For these shows they could do the secret gig thing or even make use of the fan club idea. I’m not sure about the price increase, as not all of the hardcore fans could afford to go if they did that. A small increase is fine, but making the tickets $100-150 bucks or something really high wouldn’t be too great in the long run.
Maybe there could be an exclusive fan club where you pay a small fee to join, but you also have to take some quiz to get in. Only hardcore fans know a lot about the band and their music, so if the questions were somewhat obscure, that would weed out the people Billy doesn’t want at concerts. Then he could just offer tickets to those people. To prevent those who fail from just looking up the answers to try again, you could have to fill out a form with your name, email adress, payment info, etc. When a person fails their email could be kicked off. People can get new emails, but only a hardcore fan would go through the trouble, so it could work either way. I think it might be kind of cool if their was a new fan club.
I really don’t know what a good solution is, but here’s some ideas. I just hope they find some way to address these issues.
On 2008.05.02 at 10:11 am Im a Cult Hero wrote:
I like the idea of using a fan club with regards to getting tickets, I don’t think a quiz would work though because, well anyone could just google the answer to any question they could come up with.
I think whatever they do, they will always have that core audience of hardcore fans, but to be honest, I think we would only make up 20 to 30 percent of the people attending their gigs.
The only thing I can think of is to have 2 gigs in every place they play, 1 big and essentially a \"regular\" Pumpkins show, with the hits and some other songs too, and another smaller secret fan club show where they can do whatever the hell they want.
They’ve frequently played 3 hour shows on their touring since Zeitgeist, I think if instead of that, they split their time between the 2 shows (we don’t want to exhaust them after all ) that could work.
I don’t know, their in a difficult position, there aren’t any easy answers :/
On 2008.05.02 at 10:24 am Im a Cult Hero wrote:
Oh, and about raising ticket prices :
I’m all for it, but only if gigs are confirmed and advertised well in advance, to give people the chance to save up the cash, I know their gig here wasn’t advertised at all so it could have been a problem to suddenly come up with â¬100/â¬150 on the spot to get a ticket, with no prior knowledge of it happening.
Also this tactic could backfire….think about it, these people complaining because they want to hear more hits at the shows, are only going to be more vocal in their disappointment if they had to fork out more money for it.
On 2008.05.02 at 11:21 am bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
they discussed this also on the hipsters united podcast, which was very good btw.
and i like the idea of a small show, mixed with a large show, but it might just not work.
maybe something like, have the small venue shows, and then later on that year, or after a breake, do the big arena shows, but advertise both types of shows properly, so the casual fan who only wants to hear the top ten greatest hits will know, they are not going to be played at the smaller show, only new new stuff and rare stuff.
yes, as you said, cult hero, there are no easy answers, i wish there were.
On 2008.05.02 at 11:47 am Cool As Ice Cream wrote:
How can we, as loyal SP fans, help the band to join the dots??[/quote:3subbxpr]
I don’t think it’s up to us to do anything.
I will personally wait and see what comes from it. And if I can go to a show somewhere near, I’ll be there.
One important thing they should realize – and I think they do – is that it will always be impossible to please everyone. Of course one can try to please as many people as possible, but pleasing everyone should never be a goal, because it’s unreachable.
Everyone comes to a show with different expectations. Dividing the audience into two groups is a good thing to sketch the problem. But it’s more complicated than that. It’s not just about the lesser known songs, new songs and hits. Some people don’t care much about that. Instead, they would like to see a lot of acoustic stuff, or a show that rocks very hard from the beginning until the end. Or whatnot.
Even if they would figure out a way to play different kinds of shows for different kinds of audiences, I think there would still be people who will be disappointed.
On 2008.05.02 at 11:58 am Cool As Ice Cream wrote:
I also think it’s a bad idea to keep people that aren’t diehard fans out of a show full of non-hits and new music, be it by higher ticket prices, or a fanclub system, or whatever.
It’s not because you’re not the biggest fan who knows all the music they have ever made or immediately loves everything they do, that you should not be allowed to check out a show like this. Some concert goers are very open minded, and I think they would not be out of place on a show like that. But all suggested systems would keep most of these people out. Which is a shame.
On 2008.05.02 at 12:52 pm bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
i understand what you are saying, but as billy has said himself, there are so many shows where he is doing a song, and there are people talking through them, and all the yelling out. i know it goes deeper than that, but it is just a genralized comment on the crowd content of casual fans. as a musical artist, i think that would be disapointing and frustrating. to put your all into something, and be treated with disrespect. but yes, you have to keep the casual fan happy, because they might indeed become part of the fanbase.
but i understand both pionts. sorry my train of thought on this got derailed by a knock at the door. so i will comment more on this later.
On 2008.05.02 at 1:29 pm Cool As Ice Cream wrote:
i think there will always be talking and yelling.
i personally don’t understand why people talk during shows, even the ones they don’t like. but i don’t think i have ever been to a show where there was no talking.
it is indeed very disrespectful, towards the artist and towards the rest of the audience. but if you want to try to ban talking from shows, i think you will end up even more frustrated.
On 2008.05.02 at 2:05 pm bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
yes, you will, and now i can’t even remember what i was going to say on the other post. ahhrgg!
i don’t understand all the talking either, but there are just some people who never shut up, you will have them everywhere.
and i know that even though they aren’t out to make all the money in the world, being able to do something you love and make money is the ultimate job, and it takes money to do all of the touring, so smaller venues might not be the solution, and mixed shows in a time period (say over a weekend, or week) would probably be difficult too.
i dunno, the only ones who can say what will be the best would be billy and jimmy. i am just hoping that it will all work out, and that most people will be happy with the desicion that is made. i know i will just be happy to be able to see them, whether it be in a big stadium with the talkers, or in a smaller venue.
and new music, oh goodness, i am almost burstin at the seams!!
On 2008.05.02 at 7:42 pm manillascissor wrote:
when this issue comes up of pleasing the fans, i’m not sure why the pumpkins or better yet, billy, sees this as something to address.
he’s said in an interview before about how it is unhealthy to play for the audience. how to play for the reaction(s). i agree. this was during lallapalooza era i believe.
and i think back to the times of SD and before. the pumpkins never gave a FUCK about the audience. matter of fact, it was routine for them to be booed and have the fans throw shit at them and all that. is billy above that now? i can understand if he feels like he is, however, that’s the ultimate problem w/ fame.
at first, you’ll do anything, break all the rules to get there, but once you achieve it, especially for so long, you begin to become distanced with the fuck it all attitude that got you there in the first place.
i guess i’m a little disappointed that billy is even thinking about this.
On 2008.05.02 at 7:47 pm Im a Cult Hero wrote:
It’s probably quite disheartening to come back as the Pumpkins to find most people couldn’t care less about anything new you create, and talk during those songs you play unless it happens to be one of the old singles.
I recall Billy saying once that they wanted to play loud just to shut everyone up, I guess only Billy really knows, we can only guess at his reasons.
actually scratch \"disheartening\" if I was in Billy’s position I’d be emotionally crushed by that, after people calling for Pumpkin songs during Zwan & his solo gigs, to actually go to the trouble to revive the Pumpkins only to find they didn’t really want the Smashing Pumpkins back at all, what they wanted was Billy to play their hit’s, that’s all[/edit]
On 2008.05.02 at 9:37 pm bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
cult hero– you make a great point and i agree, it has to be horrible.
i don’t know the answer, i just hope everything will turn out alright.
i just want the music and the concerts, and how bout i just beat the crap out of the talkers? that would work for me.
On 2008.05.02 at 11:29 pm Im a Cult Hero wrote:
Maybe thats the answer, we just combine it with the fan club idea and we have a solution :
Everyone who joins the fan club (after testing for SP obsession) receives a special, limited edition Smashing Pumpkins Tazer, which they are allowed bring to gigs to deal with talkers, everybody is happy then! ….well everybody but the guy on the ground with a 1000 volts going through his body
On 2008.05.02 at 11:36 pm manillascissor wrote:
okay, so i suppose my initial post didn’t really address any solutions, so here goes:
the smashing pumpkins play and tour on their most recent material. the platform that every band seems to follow. and, they can put in any of the old material that they want. but here’s what i don’t get… why is this some sort of new problem? during the mcis tour, they played 90% mcis, same for adore and machina. now all of a sudden, they are expected to play more old material. is it because their new touring catalogue is so small?
why do we, as fans, go apeshit if they don’t play old material? i never went to an adore era concert just dying to hear today. it was about adore. i wanted to hear all the adore songs including b-sides that the band could possibly cram into one gig. and a few oldies for the road. and that’s exactly what i got, and i left very satisfied.
i don’t see new fans/old fans. just because the band broke up, then reunited, doesn’t mean by definition you accumulate a new generation of fans that are unfamiliar with the old songs. this would mean that when they released mcis, they were afraid of alienating SD or gish fans. were they? no. they were completely confident in their new material and pummeled it into our heads. and we loved it.
so instead of a new smashing pumpkins, it’s a new album. yes, iha and d’arcy are gone. jimmy was gone during adore, my second favorite album. it just so happens i do not like zeitgeist a whole lot. i didn’t like machina either. i still went to both tours. still bought the albums. still supported the band. now make a new record, go on another tour.
i don’t understand why the smashing pumpkins and the fanbase are so goddamn disconnected right now.
On 2008.05.02 at 11:57 pm Im a Cult Hero wrote:
I got the impression they were a bit timid at first when they came back, no interviews, not much communication at all really, they were probably just testing the waters unsure of what peoples reactions would be.
They seem to have really found their feet lately, Billy seems more like his old self, ranting about other bands and talking about music whenever anyone gives him the chance.
In the end I think the Pumpkins should play whatever the pumpkins want to play, regardless of what the fans want.
Before their gig a friend of mine asked me what I hoped they would play, and I told her that I want them to play whatever their in the mood to play, because then they will be in a better humour, it will be a better performance and better gig all round IMO. (her reply was \"I hope they play Bodies\" ).
It’s not as if I mind them playing the singles….I like them too, but I only want them to play them if thats what they want to play.
On 2008.05.03 at 1:00 pm bullettwoutbutterflywings wrote:
yes, i agree with both of you cult hero and manillascissor. i have never wanted to hear ore old stuff when new stuff came out.
i love zeitgiest, and even though i was not able to see them when they toured the us this last time, if i had gone, if i didn’t hear where boys fear to tread, or bwbw, i wouldn’t have been disapointed, because i woudn’t have gone to hear those songs, i would have gone to hear bring the light, bleeding the orchid and suff off the new album. playing old songs is just a bonus.
i still like the taser idea though. good times good times.
On 2008.05.03 at 1:05 pm Cool As Ice Cream wrote:
i guess i’m a little disappointed that billy is even thinking about this.[/quote:c5sjeqni]
ah, very much agreed. same here.
at the most recent brussels show he said something like "the audience is always right. i am here to entertain you, i am your humble servant", and i wasn’t even sure if he was joking or not. if he wasn’t, that’s very sad (to me).
On 2008.05.03 at 11:50 pm brotagaia wrote:
It disappoints me that Billy is thinking about this too.. but to some degree it shows a sense of maturity on his part. I don’t think Billy is all about \"fuck everyone and let me do what i want\" anymore. When he talks about darkness and light he talks about positivity and negativity and how he doesn’t want to indulge in negativity anymore. I guess that’s where this awareness comes into play because essentially he’s starting at the bottom again and is trying to work his way back to the top, but probably doesn’t want to do it by stepping on everyone’s toes or having a \"devil may care\" attitude like they did before. This could be dangerous if they don’t think things through before doing them. They run the risk of becoming show-ponies who do anything to get ahead. They run the risk of selling out, and no one wants to listen to a sell-out band.
i think the fanbase and the band are a bit disconnected because of the new fans who have never heard of the band before. In the old days this issue wasn’t an issue because Billy didn’t give a shit about the fans and having so many. They flocked because he didn’t care and just did what he wanted to do. Now, Billy cares about the fans and pleasing the fans but still wants to do what he wants to do. It’s new ground he hasn’t covered before.
When i was at the Brisbane concert recently, the majority of fans were at around the 18yo mark and as they were playing the amount of \"i haven’t heard this song before!\" when they played something from MCIS or Adore was really unbelievable. You’ve probably seen it on YouTube where he starts talking to the audience:
I think the awareness of the gap between new fans and old fans is what is holding the band back. Sure, I want them to play whatever the hell they want to play, but even at the concerts you could feel the tension when the new songs were played. The crowd just basically stood there and talked asking each other whether it was a new song or an old song. Surely the band would want to play more new stuff if their concert advertising and merchandise is all about the Zeitgeist album.
While I think it’s admirable to be concerned about pleasing everyone, I don’t think the band will be happy trying to do that. I think if they are going to have concerts and stuff, they should reserve a special part up close and personal for the fans (who may have to present a voucher or something via a fansite or fan club) and then let the doors open for the general public and whoever isn’t happy with it – too bad. All concerts are great, even if you don’t like the band. I saw Queens of the Stone Age before the Pumpkins at V Festival and while I don’t like their music (and only know of one member because he used to be in A Perfect Circle) it was a great concert and i enjoyed it. They didn’t care about what we wanted and the crowd went right off. It wasn’t because they were saying \"fuck you all\" – it was just because they were playing with passion and they were in control of themselves as a band rather than playing to please people.
You don’t need to step on people’s toes to do whatever you want, it’s just about the attitude. Instead of \"Fuck you all.. this is my music and I’ll play whatever I want\" it just has to be \"This is my music and this is what I’m going to play – enjoy\". If people don’t like it, that’s not the band’s problem. You can’t please everyone and its pointless trying.
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