Gish

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Gish
Studio album by The Smashing Pumpkins
ReleasedMay 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)
RecordedDecember 1990 – March 1991 at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin
GenreAlternative rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock[1]
Length45:45
LabelCaroline (US), Hut (UK)
ProducerButch Vig, Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins chronology
Gish
(1991)
Siamese Dream
(1993)
Singles from Gish
  1. "Siva"
    Released: August 1991 (1991-08)
  2. "Rhinoceros"
    Released: November 5, 1991 (1991-11-05)
  3. "I Am One"
    Released: August 1992 (1992-08)
 
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For other uses, see Gish (disambiguation).
Gish
Studio album by The Smashing Pumpkins
ReleasedMay 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)
RecordedDecember 1990 – March 1991 at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin
GenreAlternative rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock[1]
Length45:45
LabelCaroline (US), Hut (UK)
ProducerButch Vig, Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins chronology
Gish
(1991)
Siamese Dream
(1993)
Singles from Gish
  1. "Siva"
    Released: August 1991 (1991-08)
  2. "Rhinoceros"
    Released: November 5, 1991 (1991-11-05)
  3. "I Am One"
    Released: August 1992 (1992-08)

Gish is the debut album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, released in May 1991 through Caroline Records. Frontman Billy Corgan described Gish as a "very spiritual album".[2] Despite initially peaking at only number 195 on the Billboard 200 upon its release, Gish was eventually certified platinum (one million copies shipped) by the RIAA.

Recording[edit]

Gish was recorded from December 1990 to March 1991 in Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin with a budget of $20,000.[3] Vig and Billy Corgan worked together as co-producers. The longer recording period and larger budget were unprecedented for Vig, who later remembered,

(Corgan) wanted to make everything sound amazing and see how far he could take it; really spend time on the production and the performances. For me that was a godsend because I was used to doing records for all the indie labels and we only had budgets for three or four days. Having that luxury to spend hours on a guitar tone or tuning the drums or working on harmonies and textural things . . . I was over the moon to think I had found a comrade-in-arms who wanted to push me, and who really wanted me to push him.[4]

The inclusion of a massive production style reminiscent of ELO and Queen was unusual for an independent band at the time.[4] Whereas many albums at the time used drum sampling and processing, Gish used unprocessed drum recordings, and an exacting, unique guitar sound.[5] Billy Corgan also performed nearly all of the guitar and bass parts on the record, which was confirmed by Vig in a later interview.[4]

The album's sessions, lasting 30 working days, were brisk by Pumpkins' standards, largely because of the group's inexperience.[4][6] The recording sessions put an intense strain on the band, with bassist D'arcy Wretzky later commenting that she did not know how the band survived it, and Corgan explaining he suffered a nervous breakdown.[6]

The album[edit]

Regarding the album's thematic content, Corgan would later say,

The album is about pain and spiritual ascension. People ask if it's a political album. It's not a political album, it's a personal album. In a weird kind of way, Gish is almost like an instrumental album—it just happens to have singing on it, but the music overpowers the band in a lot of places. I was trying to say a lot of things I couldn't really say in kind of intangible, unspeakable ways, so I was capable of doing that with the music, but I don't think I was capable of doing it with words.[6]

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Sample of "Rhinoceros", taken from the band's debut album Gish (1991) and also featured on the Lull EP (1992)

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"I Am One", "Rhinoceros", "Daydream", and "Bury Me" were previously recorded as demos by the band in 1989. All four songs were re-recorded for Gish.

The following songs were written and recorded for Gish but did not make the final cut:

Title[edit]

The album was named after silent film icon Lillian Gish. In an interview, Corgan said, "My grandmother used to tell me that one of the biggest things that ever happened was when Lillian Gish rode through town on a train, my grandmother lived in the middle of nowhere, so that was a big deal..."[2] Later, Corgan joked that the album was originally going to be called "Fish", but was changed to "Gish" to avoid comparisons to jam band Phish.[7]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

Gish spent one week on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 195 (later re-peaking at number 146 upon its 2011 re-release);[8] however, the album reached number one on the College Music Journal chart, which tracks airplay and popularity on college radio stations.[9] It also had a six-week run on the New Zealand Albums Chart, peaking at number 40.[10] Despite an inauspicious start, the album sold 100,000 copies in less than a year, far exceeding the expectations of indie label Caroline Records, a subsidiary of Virgin Records.[11] The album was certified gold on March 14, 1994. Until the release of The Offspring album Smash in 1994, Gish was the highest-selling independently released album of all time. Gish would later be reissued under the Virgin label, and was certified platinum on February 5, 1999.[12]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[13]
Robert Christgau(1-star Honorable Mention)[14]
Consequence of Sound4.5/5 stars[15]
Entertainment WeeklyB (Deluxe Edition)[16]
NME(7/10)[17]
Pitchfork Media(8.3/10)[18]
Q4/5 stars[19]
Record Collector4/5 stars[20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[21]
Uncut(8/10)[22]

Gish was met with largely enthusiastic reviews. On the month of its release, Chris Heim of the Chicago Tribune credited producer Butch Vig for helping the band achieve a "clearly defined" and "big, bold, punchy" sound for the album. Heim also indicated that the varied styles of the album would be a good addition to the alternative music culture of Chicago at the time—a culture that was sometimes perceived as inaccessible for new bands.[23] Jon Pareles of The New York Times picked up on the eclectic mix of musical style on Gish as well, complementing its "pummeling hard rock", "gentle interludes", and "psychedelic crescendos".[24] In an end-of-year recap of 1991 releases, Heim noted that the album constituted a "smashing local success story" for the Chicago area.[25] Greg Kot, also of the Tribune, called Gish "perhaps the most audacious and accomplished" of all 1991 albums released by local bands;[3] in an article later that year, Kot listed the album among the best of 1991.[26] Rolling Stone called it "awe-inspiring" with "meticulously calculated chaos" and a "swirling energy".[27]

Many substantive reviews of Gish emerged only with the 1993 release of Siamese Dream, when mainstream critics took their first look into the back-catalog of a band whose popularity was exploding. Derek Weiler of the Toronto Star noted that songs on Gish contained "either galloping riffs or trippy feedback hazes" and that the latter were especially effective and entertaining.[28]

In 1992, Gish and the Smashing Pumpkins earned recognition at the Chicago Musician Awards, for which local music publication Illinois Entertainer polled readers and Chicago music industry figures such as critics, writers, and club owners. In separate polls, readers and industry figures chose Gish as the "best local album". Jimmy Chamberlin and James Iha won individual honors for their performances on the album, and the band as a whole earned the "best hometown national act" award.[29]

Release history[edit]

The first mastering of Gish on CD was from Digital Audio Tape and appeared on Caroline Records, a subsidiary of Virgin Records. In 1994, after the success of follow-up Siamese Dream, the album was given a slight remaster and redesign and was reissued on the Virgin label.[30] Both editions credit Howie Weinberg as mastering engineer. In 2008, The Smashing Pumpkins announced a 17th anniversary box set re-release of the album that would include older bonus material, but this set experienced delays.[31] After finally negotiating the rights, Gish was re-issued in November 2011, being remastered on CD and Vinyl with extra tracks and packaging.[32]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Billy Corgan, except where noted. 

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."I Am One"  Corgan, James Iha4:07
2."Siva"   4:20
3."Rhinoceros"   6:32
4."Bury Me"   4:48
5."Crush"   3:35
6."Suffer"   5:11
7."Snail"   5:11
8."Tristessa"   3:33
9."Window Paine"   5:51
10."Daydream"
"I'm Going Crazy" (hidden track)
 3:08

Personnel[edit]

Those involved in the making of Gish are:[33]

The Smashing Pumpkins
Additional musicians
Production

Chart positions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/14/arts/review-pop-a-hyperactive-evening-with-the-chili-peppers.html
  2. ^ a b Caro, Mark (December 28, 1990). "Smashing Pumpkins Finds a New Home at Caroline Records". Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ a b Kot, Greg (June 21, 1991). "Out of the Patch for Smashing Pumpkins". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ a b c d Thomas, Richard. "Signal to Noise: The Sonic Diary of the Smashing Pumpkins". EQ Magazine. October 2008.
  5. ^ Jones, Nick (January 9, 1992). "Fuck Off... We're From Chicago!". Spiral Scratch.
  6. ^ a b c MTV Rockumentary: Smashing Pumpkins. Aired 1995/10/17.
  7. ^ Corgan, Billy. Caller Q&A. Rockline Radio Show. Broadcast 1998/07/13
  8. ^ a b c d e Gish – Smashing Pumpkins: Awards at AllMusic. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  9. ^ Corcoran, Michael (September 15, 1991). "Bob Seger bites the Silver Bullet for his latest effort". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 4. 
  10. ^ a b "charts.org.nz – The Smashing Pumpkins – Gish". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ Gooch, Marshall (April 7, 2008). "Smashing Pumpkins: Worst Case Scenario." Reflex.
  12. ^ "Gold and Platinum Database Search". RIAA. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  13. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Gish – Smashing Pumpkins". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Smashing Pumpkins". The Village Voice.
  15. ^ Choudhery, Mohammad (November 28, 2011). "Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins – Gish (Reissue)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  16. ^ Adams, Jason (December 2, 2011). "'Gish' and 'Siamese Dream' Deluxe Reissues review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Gish – Smashing Pumpkins". NME: 34. May 28, 1994. 
  18. ^ Raggett, Ned (November 28, 2011). "The Smashing Pumpkins: Gish (Deluxe Edition)". Pitchfork Media.
  19. ^ "150 albums reviewed and rated". Q: 129. August 1994. 
  20. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins – Gish CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  22. ^ Pattinson, Louis. "Smashing Pumpkins – Gish & Siamese Dream". Uncut. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  23. ^ Heim, Chris (May 31, 1991). "Caroline Records releases Smashing Pumpkins' 'Gish'". Chicago Tribune. p. S. 
  24. ^ Pareles, Jon (November 14, 1991). "Review/Pop; A hyperactive evening with the Chili Peppers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  25. ^ Heim, Chris (December 27, 1991). "Ringing in the new year with something for every taste". Chicago Tribune. p. Q. 
  26. ^ Kot, Greg (December 1, 1991). "The best albums of '91 rock music: finding greatness on the fringes". Chicago Tribune. p. 16. 
  27. ^ "Meticulously Calculated Chaos". Rolling Stone. August 8, 1991.
  28. ^ Weiler, Derek (August 26, 1993). "Smashing followup: Siamese Dream keeps Pumpkins in front of the alternative brigade". Toronto Star. p. C8. 
  29. ^ Stevens, Mary (July 24, 1992). "Smashing Pumpkins triumph in Chicago Musician Awards". Chicago Tribune. p. K. 
  30. ^ Corgan, Billy (March 1997). "10 Most Influential Productions". Musician Magazine. 
  31. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins ready debut album box set". New Musical Express. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  32. ^ "Billy Corgan talks about the future of the Smashing Pumpkins". 
  33. ^ Gish (LP liner notes). The Smashing Pumpkins. New York: Caroline Records. 1991. 
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins | Artist | Official Charts". UK Singles Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  36. ^ "American album certifications – The Smashing Pumpkins – Gish". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  37. ^ "British album certifications – The Smashing Pumpkins – Gish". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Gish in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go

External links[edit]