June 1996 - Soundworks and Farmer Brown Studios, Chicago

Produced by Billy Corgan/James Iha and Jeff Moleski


Various recording sessions for the last of the Mellon Collie b-sides, destined for either the Thirty-Three single or cover songs for The Aeroplane Flies High box set.  James’ songs were largely recorded at his home but the rest were recorded at Soundworks, with D’Arcy’s vocal track being recorded at her home by Kerry Brown (which included audible smacking of bubble gum!). 

The Pumpkins are doing their best to soldier on. Corgan says the cover tunes on The Aeroplane Flies High were recorded "right before we went back on tour and all that bullshit happened. We had about a two-week break and we recorded as a group for about five days. James had done his Cure cover, 'A night Like This,' on his own. I did the rest of the stuff: finished up the vocals and things. And D'Arcy did her vocals at her farm.

Every song has some kind of story behind it, like I had to go to a funeral and laid down the solo for 'The Aeroplane Flies High' before I went. It was just supposed to be for a tonal reference. I didn't expect it to be any good. But when I came back, I was pretty floored by it. Almost everything in this box set was done haphazardly like that. The sessions were squeezed in around touring and other things. It wasn't like the clear space you would have for making the album."[1]

Billy Corgan on "Clones (We're All)": A fairly obscure Alice Cooper song from his early-eighties New Waver period. It was rehearsed and recorded in about an hour. I first heard this song when a Chicago band called Radio Fashion used to play it in the late eighties.

Billy Corgan on "Destination Unknown": A great nihilistic song; this is the Missing Persons' lament of nothingness. I love the lyrics to this song. The first-grade techno vibe evolved out of boredom with some of the rock and roll-y things that we'd been working on.

Billy Corgan on "Dreaming": This is a cover of Blondie classic from the late seventies, with D'Arcy handling most of the vocals. We decided to do this with a breezy hippity-hop vibe, with a little Joy Division thrown in for good measure. Interestingly enough, this song was plagued with all sorts of technical problems that made mic-ing it a technical nightmare- vocals with electrical noises, drum loops with scratch guitars recorded over them, etc.

Billy Corgan on "My Blue Heaven": I've wanted to cover this song for five years, but found it impossible to learn, as I can't seem to learn anyone else's song. Written in 1927, this song is a well-known standard. I thought about doing this more futuristically, but in the end opted to let it be beautiful in its simplicity.

Billy Corgan on "You're All I've Got Tonight": A really great Cars song, stripped of everything but the most basic riff to emphasize the heavy double-tracked drumming. Also, we added a Bay City Roller-style stomp, with me and about eight of my friends stomping along with the third verse nicely out of time.[2]

Return to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

  1. Alan di Perna, "Flying High Again", Guitar School, February 1997
  2. Billy Corgan, "King Bs", Guitar World, January 1997