Billy Corgan, The Machina Mystery, 2000 - 2000-??-??
(lookup on archive.org)
The following is a compilation of message board posts on “The Machina Mystery” and the essay writing contest for fans. Afterwards, there is a series of explanation on the mysteries written by Billy Corgan.
15/07/2000 – buried deep inside…
chards of glass / recording studio – chicago illinois u.s.a.
buried deep inside some altar of noize I write to you a desperate man. my star is fading and I do not know what to do. I stare at the track sheets and wonder where the magic went. I feel it all crashing down upon me. oh who is i. how are you ?. I am sure by now that you have deciphered all the deep alchemical codes of machina and have now moved on to some 8th generation alt-rap-metal hybrid bands new disc and are peering deep into the meaning there too. shit ! I had it all so planned out and curses I have been foiled. I guess all those things they said about us and especially yours truly bill/glass/zero/jackboot 7 are true. I can't tell you how sad this makes me. to compensate I have written a batch of songs so sad they are almost happy if you know what I mean. isn't the planet supposed to end with all the millenial paranoia. but wait there is a light. and maybe even a plan or too. must finish machina soon or will perish like tangerines. takus carus allus ovus youse.
15/11/2000 – special machina contest announcement !!!
good news, good news.because of the overwhelming response to the machina contest, we have decided to award some more prizes and break down the best entries to semi-finalists and esteemed runners up.runners up will receive a nice prize for their participation and contributions and (drumroll please)semi-finalists will receive a even more special prize and the chance to compete for the grand prizes.what does this mean to me if I am one of the 10 semi-finalists.well, here's the rub.all the runner up entries along with the semi-finalists entries will be posted for all to read.only the semi-finalists will be given the opportunity to submit new entries to compete for the grand prize lucky you, you will have only 72 hours to do so.”but won't everyone be able to read each others entries and rip off my ideas??”.well, exactly, but of course you too can politely borrow their ideas as well.remember, entries that have been chosen were picked for their BASIC understanding of the story of glass and his band of misfit rockets, so this is a way to help choose a clear winner in the end and (all together now) reach a defined conclusion!.very exciting indeed!.also, the semi-finalists revised entries, which will have no limit on length, will be posted and fans will be given a chance to vote for their favourite entrant with a special prize awarded to that entrant for catching the fickle gaze of the fans!.one more hint: machina II/the friends and enemies of modern music, is also a part of the machina story, a very important part (hint hint!).stay posted to see if your entry made the runner-up's or the semi finals.a final time period will be posted then.xo
21/11/2000 – mystery of machina / the final round
hello and welcome to the final round of the mystery of machina contest, a contest that has sparked much debate amongst fans and enemies alike and managed to yield an inordinate amount of writing?how much you say? well if you figure that there were over 1,000 entries it works out to about 2,500 pages of theories, blinding rhetoric, blithe poetry, and of course the ever genius response of “the mystery is there is no mystery”?that answer is dead wrong, because there has been a plot and a mystery all along?on the very first day that the 4 original smashing pumpkins sat down in a room for the first time in almost 3 years (way back in october of 1998) we discussed the ideas that I had surrounding a final album by the band that was to be approached like a play?everyone agreed to the theories in principal, if not ultimately following thru with 40+% of the things that would have made the story come even more alive for the band and the participants in the ruse, you the fans of this tortured monolith?that being said it has been a great experience for me in a living, breathing art sort of way and a natural extension of the bands playing on stage and making it up as we went along?some have suggested that it is hard to figure out the story because there is no ending, per se?that is not true and misses the point entirely?there is a plot to this story, and it follows tried and true folkloric structure to make it’s main points come across?but as in the blues or jazz traditions, or oral folklore, the story can breathe and be alive and stick to the plot all at the same time?on a more personal note let me say thank you to all the participants who have made this an amazing journey?little did I know when I dreamed this up that it would become so alive, and it would give this final work, MACHINA, so much resonance?reading thru all the essays has been tough, because I wanted to give each the attention that they deserved?some may note in reading the semi-finalists and runners-ups works that there are contradictions and theories that are off base?well that is because the essays are presented as is (with an occasional editorial comment or two) and leave it up to the final participants to discern what it is about these particular writings that caught my eye and ear?therein lies the final jungle that are brilliant ones must hack thru?also, some people mentioned in their submissions that it was hard to get inside my mind, and they felt that there interpretations were valid, if not more valid than mine because MACHINA is such an interactive and participatory experience?well, that is true, but it is my contest and seeing as I wrote the story I must own the fact that my deeper meanings have more to do with the ultimate messages contained within?.ironically, the grandest message of all was not concluded in any of the entries?to those who feel that they wrote or added more than some of the entries here, I apologize, for there were many grand entries that spoke to the shell of machina, but missed the sweet core of the fruit that is so essential to getting it right?no one ever said life was fair, and believe me, in this kingdom it never has been?a few additional thoughts to our semi-finalists?take all that you have here to attempt to create a more unified vision, don’t neglect machina II as it is critical to a full understanding, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends to give you perspective on something you may have missed?and carefully re-examine the 7’s, seven albums and seven chapters of the machina story?so we have come to the beginning of the end, I hope it has been as rewarding for you as it has been for me, I can’t thank you enough?
05/04/2001 – answering a few questions
1. Will we ever know? OR is the whole idea to make what we want out of it?
i assume this question means the machina story and theories, etc. assuming that it is, there are two answers, one: the interaction of the fans was part of the story, so as long as there is interaction from the fans, and until all the true stories have been told, no, you can never completely know and two: you can watch a movie 2 or 3 times before you notice something that you didn't see before…i can say that in people's hurry to “figure it all out” that many parts of the story, and huge chunks of the concept have not been explored…
An excerpt from Glass and The Machines of God
and as it was with all things, we spoke in rhyme and riddle…not for fear of detection, for that had happened very long time ago, but rather that those who had secretly wished to be spoken to were… to know that these words were intended for them and theirs only…for lonely isles and windswept curses held the symbols transmuted and divined to hold within, to keep forever… only a warm heart and a knowing smile granting entrance to this mystery…for every age held it's oracles and truth tellers, it's false bell ringers of alarm, and of course the hollow spectres of complacency…so in this we sing the true echoes sown of old cloth, born to stare so ravaged by all they see…because truth is madness and madness truth truly revealed, and to see is to always see too much…to bear witness to the false and right and relay backwards and forwards that which you know…love the constant signal that heals and promotes as our truth teller sleeps inside furious walls, thrice blessed and crimson cursed…his story is the same story, and as with all without ending…a boy and a girl, simple yes but eternal always…glass plays, the machines shakes voltage, and the gaze is drawn again and again in uncertain lines…one ray catches a june eye, our angel who has waited so long…frozen to witness, we can walk around and survey this moment as close to perfection as any that have ever been, to see the joy, the exalt, the arrogance…with it's sheer violence of embrace and release slowly offering teeth gritting awareness, the song ends, the lovers arc, and in this bliss there is hope, expectation, and yes, pure and indivisible love…the girl, his love, the light that would transform any story into the moon and it's sister stars…she had no faith but that which destroys, and had only known herself in coarse mirrors, giving over and unto whatever moved her…opium eyed and gouge mouthed, she stalked a barren trail because she believed that all that was good had died long before she was named…she the reflection in glass, he in her that which he could not claim, her in him that which she so desperately needed, forever breaking…she had chased black holes of silence to find peace, and in turn that darkness swept into her a fever that was unshakable…their fates had intertwined long before they were lovers, their moment extending back before a time their eyes first met, and that bond was eternal, thru fire and chard to meet again and again until this moment, our apex and conclusion… these lights rise to search the heavens, straining to be recognized in sanctity, purity, and insolence…to hopefully catch the gaze of a supreme intelligence, watching us quietly and nodding a silent approval…because it is with faith and faith only that one justifies the reach, with little to confirm but glimmer and awe, ritual and circumstance alike…in dreams and visions alike, so real and unreal to be imagined again and again in a reverse mindscape, was video fodder to soak in..he had his voice, disembodied with no claim…but were the sounds his? could he own these thought if they could be sold? thumbtacked to ceilings all over the world lay his schemes and praton wishes, cold flung to white light, like scrapnel of a teenage atom bomb…the kids waited their turn for their piece, and the eyes watched you everywhere…amongst these ruins our hero dies zero and finds a dead station moving static code…thru the channels and medium still he spoke only to find out he wasn't speaking at all, just humming someone elses favourite song…the voice says you are one of many more to come…in sadness and in love, in faith and movement alive
Part I:…for lonely isles and windswept curses held the symbols transmuted and divined to hold within, to keep forever…only a warm heart and a knowing smile granting entrance to this mystery…for every age held it's oracles and truth tellers, it's false bell ringers of alarm, and of course the hollow spectres of complacency…so in this we sing the true echoes sown of old cloth, born to stare so ravaged by all they see…because truth is madness and madness truth truly revealed, and to see is to always see too much…to bear witness to the false and right and relay backwards and forwards that which you know…love the constant signal that heals and promotes as our truth teller sleeps inside furious walls, thrice blessed and crimson cursed…his story is the same story, and as with all without ending…a boy and a girl, simple yes but eternal always…glass plays, the machines shakes voltage, and the gaze is drawn again and again in uncertain lines…one ray catches a june eye, our angel who has waited so long…frozen to witness, we can walk around and survey this moment as close to perfection as any that have ever been, to see the joy, the exalt, the arrogance…with it's sheer violence of embrace and release slowly offering teeth gritting awareness, the song ends, the lovers arc, and in this bliss there is hope, expectation, and yes, pure and indivisible love…the girl, his love, the light that would transform any story into the moon and it's sister stars…she had no faith but that which destroys, and had only known herself in coarse mirrors, giving over and unto whatever moved her…opium eyed and gouge mouthed, she stalked a barren trail because she believed that all that was good had died long before she was named…she the reflection in glass, he in her that which he could not claim, her in him that which she so desperately needed, forever breaking…she had chased black holes of silence to find peace, and in turn that darkness swept into her a fever that was unshakable…their fates had intertwined long before they were lovers, their moment extending back before a time their eyes first met, and that bond was eternal, thru fire and chard to meet again and again until this moment, our apex and conclusion… these lights rise to search the heavens, straining to be recognized in sanctity, purity, and insolence…to hopefully catch the gaze of a supreme intelligence, watching us quietly and nodding a silent approval…because it is with faith and faith only that one justifies the reach, with little to confirm but glimmer and awe, ritual and circumstance alike…in dreams and visions alike, so real and unreal to be imagined again and again in a reverse mindscape, was video fodder to soak in..he had his voice, disembodied with no claim…but were the sounds his? could he own these thought if they could be sold? thumbtacked to ceilings all over the world lay his schemes and praton wishes, cold flung to white light, like scrapnel of a teenage atom bomb…the kids waited their turn for their piece, and the eyes watched you everywhere…amongst these ruins our hero dies zero and finds a dead station moving static code…thru the channels and medium still he spoke only to find out he wasn't speaking at all, just humming someone elses favourite song…the voice says you are one of many more to come…in sadness and in love, in faith and movement alive
Part II: Eyes were being scratched still ant tattoes applied, but no one could or would ever hear the full secrets of glass. he was rewriting his story everyday, moving the fixed destiny point with every triumph and mistake every kiss held new promise, every song a new disaster all were sung to the ghost children, the synthetic flesh flash of ideal and glitter gash in their dreams they saw him surreal, but he was as real as they needed him to be discarded until he roared back into their visions, within blood and sound, once invested there was no turning back for anyone plastic playmates and wooden rock rat haunted their hari kari plots and glass obvious play s for sympathy, or was it the other way around he was a general leading them all into a war that he and they knew they could never win but still they fought to love and always die standing moving in night funerals because all the others had perished, he caught glimpses of their faces every once in a while in rubble and wreckage strewn he had fought way too long, jam wired shut and now he held too long past sleeping futures and endless newscasts, seeking shelter and a place to once again call home in the dark he would fumble with food and foe, seeking contact and knowing confirmation cells sighing agreement over concrete cold, always remembering and as if drawn he would lumber on, gun in hand and tears in heart he tried to keep a journal and kept losing the pages pictures of trees and dates taped to his chest he had gone mad but there was no longer anyone he heard or he respected to tell him so the grass grew very fast and it seemed he had to cut it every 4 or 5 days on radio static he waited for an order that may never come he had wanted to be outside in the direct sun, but the trees sang him to sleep the weeping willow out back seemed to hang its hurt so obvious and no one seemed to mind out the window he stared, seeking her and them a day would come his mind would drone but there was no one there to agree in fact the entire weight of his surroundings seemed to indicate the exact opposite but like a dumb fish he kepts swimming upstream there was little of beauty to guide except the sun and moon, his constant companions in majesty full the night came the daylight only providing protection for the scars laid bare the night before the pills seemed to have fallen on the floor everywhere, and no matter how hard one scrubbed the dirt was always there even the neighbors smelled the garbage and impolite realities piled high and often, spilling over the redwood fence into their perfect yards in the morning the grass shone dew prisms on the midday sun it burned scorched brown thirst and at night held cool moondust and starlight out here the universe was vast, only in distance it was never meant to be held there, it cried a mystery i am and you must find me first if the game is ever to begin in faith there is all power, in love all faith every action a pebble dropped into the clear pool of humanity, rippling forever on until the waves become indecipherable and unseen. what seems like confusion becomes order of the highest magnitude glass had so long ago reasoned himself out of reason anxious but not afraid, he told himself that this meant something over and over until he began to believe it the mask came off and he beheld yet another mask like all modern men we could claim mastery over all, but it was a paper truth and he knew it
Part III: without focus, without generation, without peer…come whither winters too often seen …felt in devotion, willing in it's uncertainty…cry aloud yes! children to a child …a crown glorious for seeing and naysing, soothsaying into prophecy in measured mercury time…this is our moment, our world, this is our church, our children, our dominion as yet undisclosed, as yet unclaimed…the universe is ours reduced to tiny portraiture… with love and fire and desire and innocence to reckon judgement upon us all…in this duality until we are truly free…this role cast and agreed upon, the child took it's hand…to know no other except in one's heart is to walk forward into oblivion…raised from sleep to be beaten, moved to non-tears from an implied violence that hung in the air at all hours…these terrors and troubles will make you he was told but somehow they continue to break him…a smile is always the great eraser, and the dreams of those future smiles and miles allowed a secret garden to grow, however sad true it all became…it never was you can say, but it was…and it never will be they can say, but it will…something always gets lost along the way…in translation, in memory, in vision, but that is just how it is…so to peer strong into the faces one must see their own face, to wonder reflection and not judge, but this too is impossible…for the accused will one day stand as the accuser…the cord snakes between the legs, one fist raised in power, the other fist raised in solidarity, this is the universal vision of the movement…I used to be a little boy so old in my shoes…for every face slap that imprinted itself as tattoo under my skin, every indignity that scarred itself upon my broken heart, walks with me as ghost and conscience…a boy, a zero, a hero, a goat, a ghost frozen glass, broken, this is all you need to know…the codex every moment in this war without end, the attrition constant, but the victories oh so sweet and pure…in this we drink from mountain springs and let the grand old sun soak us old…to curse one's very existence is a kind of power, especially if you can decide to make the best of that hate, to fuel that anger with the necessity of resignation and purpose…to cloak your pain and fear in the language of sound, the poetry of devotion…a child draws the perfect house with the perfect parents and the perfect hot rod car and the perfect dog, unwittingly signing into a contract bound to be broken…the choices came before all he believed, but somehow the fuzzy glow of intuition didn't seem to cover the tracks of this particular beast…glass disintegrates it all for your entertainment, his purpose to be the atom bomb unsustained and smiling that perfect smile…from the first cord came shiver and from the last cord will come peace…it is a game to be played viciously, so change the names and make up a few new verbs and there you go…this child was struck and a decision made to never never cry again…in this stupid land of the frozen ideal, WHO AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW?? the wooden idols of persecution in the glory of helpless and unending resurrection…who will be there upon your deathbed hour to hold your hand and wipe your brow…who will cast the last stone upon you, will it be the same demons, perpetrators and eviserators from long to haunt and decimate… all martyrs are dead and there going to stay that way… wave after wave of fury crossing the bow till there is little more than charred husks and winking sighs…no more to behold, no more to see, no more…the universe was contracting as quickly as it had been set into expanding malice…the first blow struck revolution, the last bell resonant silence…to match the eyes and the doll faces of the perfect parents with the perfect teeth smiling upon the perfect children. long live rock!!!! What does an outsider stand for if they stand cooly on the inside…can you exist inside and outside simultaneously? or must our heroes forever be on the outside looking in? to prove what? and to whom? a broken ideal for which no rewards are given but grudging respect…the spirit breaks but the will is strong…as soft white light caressed their faces they knew that all was good and all would be forgiven, and that their echo would ring forever on and on…in dull cascades and numb electric parades, the true essence would distill and pervert, becoming an unrecognizable new art in it's distortion…a boy holds his guitar in teenage arms and he is power…a man holds aloft a broken guitar and he is shattered… who will pick up the pieces this time? only God knows the true truth…from child to children passed above heads and hearts, beseeched to know and keep knowing…the revolution is never over, it is just beginning…funny how this revolution was televised and everybody got bored and changed the channel to what? chattering mannequins on angel dust and power prayer…whither winters past but we live on and on and on…again and again we are in cracks and rust and swinging screen doors, never to be forgotten…are you tired yet????
Part IV: Q: What is the official status of chapter 4? i.e., is it the apex of the mystery for which we are striving to solve, a fan collaborative that we have to create, a missing link that will never be found, or something else entirely? A: The title of chapter 4 is called “the true story of the machines” and it has yet to be released. I appreciate the fan collaborations, but the fans writing chapter 4 is not what I had in mind. don't forget you are in the story, and trust me when I say that it is hard to write the play while you are acting in it.
Part V: The Story Of June (so far) she drew circles around her subjects and squares around here enemies woman eternal. restless with praise/resentful of penetrating worship but she often resembled a statue in a museum/june sat with zero the hero playing chess/everytime he would make a move she would pick up another of her chss pieces and put it in her mouth/the horses were made of chocolate which made them the easier to taste. but the white chocolate queen was still her favourite/just as he was ready to call check-mate she ate the jellybean king and claimed her victory right then and there/she always won, or he made her think that she did/as she was drinking a glass of mercury to wipe the taste and memory, a trumpet sounded thru the rubber walls/”oh” he said and they got up to go/”do i look alright” she asked to no one in particular as she gazed into an antique mirror/they moved silently/shoes scuffing grey concrete as the sounds grew with each step/a dis-embodied voice cooly announced “LADIES and gentlemen of all persuasion, please welcome to our stage tonight and tonight only, the machines/at which point he yawned louder than he spoke any of the words/polite applause followed the remaining ducks as they hopped off the stage and the machines took their spots all marked with an X/ruby took her place in the wings to see the look in the eyes of the feedback scarred/and somewhere somehow someone struck a note/after the show they beat the chess set to splinters with a railroad hammer, and rode silently back to their home/glass blew the dust off an old forgotten vinyl record by the sex animals, while his love snorted one more line to pass the time which by everyones watch was over/as the record skipped they made love as they always had/he felt her in his bones/she wanted what was his and his only/he could no longer tell if he was alive as before but it hardly mattered to no one in particular because everything was different anyhow/each time he bored with this game he thought up a better one and this gave him much satisfaction/a trumpet blared thru the thin plaster walls and they both nodded it was time to pay the rent/when the friends began to arrive they were asked by no one in particular to sit at the big oak table at all the wrong famous names/snaky tooth took churchills seat/thunder jack took disraeli's gear/namel sat wherever she wanted of course/billy sat at the head of the table and put on the hat pointy that spelld dunce/everyone laughed like they were supposed to/two twins appeared and began to saw the legs off the table/somewhere somebody said “this should take a while” porcelin white from all the drugs, daphne was now a prisoner of her own success/*hrmphh* the father hurrumghed, “there is no such thing as success, only hard work and tears”/of course everyone agreed “once i was a little girl” she said to no one in particular, “and i had bright red shoes that my grandma, who we called nana, would shine, shine, shine all day long”/everyone agreed that she was still that little girl/when the table collapsed from too much sawing everyone yawned and got up. except for billy. who was still stuck in the most serious of thought/he did'nt see her leave and he would not hear her when she returned/that night he dreamt of his mother young and beautiful and she told him many secrets, mostly about love and how it was like watr that shined in the man/”cover your eyes son, cover your eyes!”
Part VI: Well, the I of the mourning is on! Are you ready for redemption? Then read on- this is a chapter six in a series of missives designed to speak directly to your heart on an issue most important to you – your salvation!! Many many years ago a child was born into a cold night – to some this beautiful child was blessed as any other, but not special. But to those who read the signs they knew a storm was coming! People, that child has come to these end times to deliver a message that must be heard! Do not shy away for this child is your child – for thou the truth may some times sting, eternal damnation is far, far worse!!! He says, “look to the I of the radio for all you seek the eye of the radio is everywhere, the maker of all that is real + all that is unseen. Be not afraid, for the I of the radio loves you and will always play your favourite songs. Everywhere you look there are reminders of a material world. It does not care about you. Why do you feel too big too small, too fat or too skinny, or are you too light or not dark enough??? Friends, where do you think these ideas come from? Why, a culture and civilization that makes money on our differences to exploit what we want the most – to belong!!! Let me tell you that you already do belong, for the I of the radio made us all different on purpose, so that no two should be a like. The I of the radio celebrates your individuality each snowflake, every flower every new dawn that brings light + life to this wonderful wonderful world. You are important!! Together we can move against these ominous forces to bring harmony to the chaos. Never forget the I of the radio is on, it never turns off!!! Coming soon!! (From this ministry) – Chapter 7: A happy ending?? Love life ambition, + piece? – is it possible in a modern world? – Is Rock n Roll bad for the soul? Or are we going to die for Rock n Roll?? – Happiness is a warm piece of bread! – False prophets + real deceivers! – They walk among us today! Restless children: their desires, wishes, dreams, and how to control them. God Bless You Friend!
The I of the Radio Ministries
Chicago, IL PO Box 57006
Part VII: A Happy Ending?? and so our story draws its final close, a million miles, a few smiles, and a pocketful of tears…all of it earned and burned strong into a consciousness like every living flashing star…all that was was left as perpetual myth, to twist in the wind laughing and wheezing until all could point and remember their stories, their movements, history as a claim they could all bear their own witness to…the body now ravaged but the spirit translucent and very much alive…like all poetry it would lose its place of meter over time, the rhymes and reasons would stale, leaving only pretty prose of frozen sentiment for a simpler, bygone era…it's paper now, and you can do with it as you wish…no one soul need debate the dizzy purpose of the exercise, or the confusions that led them all thru thicker jungles…it is as it was, simply yours… the kids came and stole the show, naturally of course, when upon that hollowed stage the band strode as if any year, any time but now, but the final collapsing point did go noticed…weep your years and slit your wrists, curse your heroes and kick in the screens, the image stands…image upon image superimposed until all that was left was but greasy blur and a dull ache…but as each song tore each resonant after-image down, all that was left was very clear to see…the blueprint, the tabula rasa, the prayer as hymn had been in your palm all along…we never left… among these theories of delusion lay the simple heart of a simple man…maybe you know him, maybe you don't, but it needn't matter anyway because the tale told a thousand times was but one chapter in the long road…the fable that must know this end, in this moment had spun this simple man as gold, as eternal cold stop, as spinning fire-child, and as forever grasping animal…for even in war the most gentle of souls will let out a cry stabbing and cutting with all the passion a human being, all but dead, can muster up from rusty gut …let this tale end as it began…a soul alone in this world… heart connected to mouth, mouth to song, song to the heavens if only to tickle the very real ear of our divine creator… may the creator always spin back endless possibility and infinite potential…with this vibration in the timeless space, a mark is made to begin, so let this be the mark to end…in the void moments of madness, seeking and clutching, our simple man laughs out loud for all the world to hear…the drab crowd said shush and be quiet but it only made him laugh harder…for it really was funny, not because of a dumb joke or the wittiest remark but because he was having fun…it was all too simple and he really couldn't believe hiseyes… now. here. always. you. “thank you God for all I am” …so at the last chord, in the last fade of sound, a stillness came and a peace they had all waited for for so long…one could dream that they would know what they would want now, and with good honor may our hero forge ahead… with love on your side anything is possible, even love… all wounds would hope to heal, the machines could stand down and sing their singsong whir to the wind, trees, and mother earth…it was a good day, and the night will hold quiet…his mother in dreams of good things…
A Modern Fable:Glass and The Machines of God:
somewhere in the not so distant future, we may find a world of not so subtle torments… for a midst the rubble of urban decay and barren wastelands find wander a billion shattered souls… disconnected from themselves by impersonal technologies and personal cause… one such soul is the center of our story, and his name is GLASS… he is the lead singer of THE MACHINES OF GOD, and he believes that GOD itself has asked him to try to change the world… this poses two simple questions : “what is important in a place such as this ?” and “is GLASS a prophet sage or just someone who has gone quite mad indeed ?!…”
but first we must go back into the decadent swirl of the past to set the stage for what is to come… you see, GLASS used to be named zero, and the band the smashing pumpkins, at least until zero convinced the band to change the name of the group… they were the biggest band in the world, so this was a very courageous move to make… one day zero had been alone in his house, quietly listening to the radio when a voice began to speak slowly and clearly to him… it was the voice he had heard since he was a child, but now it spoke to him thru the radio… this voice, which came to be known as the I OF THE RADIO, told zero that his life was predestined, and in order to fulfill his destiny he would need to devote his life to a much higher calling, one that would look beyond the material trappings of the occluded world… this epiphany that he was indeed important was a life changing and soul shattering experience, giving him new found confidence and spiritual purpose… he finds sudden clarity in his spirit, but can now see the utter shallowness of his real (and particularly) public life… this sudden change causes many around him to distrust where all of this is coming from… but his band stands with him when he changes his name to GLASS and rechristens the band the now aptly titled MACHINES OF GOD…
in his heart however, GLASS secretly questions why he has been chosen… he is both enamoured and flattered by the idea, but at the same time is innately resistant to the responsibilities that this will bring… in his mind, god has aligned himself with GLASS, and GLASS has aligned himself with god… a messenger he shall be, but he is just a c.o.g. within another c.o.g. within another machine ?… he decides to use the instrument of his band to spread the truth of life and that love and love and only love can be the answer… so our story begins with GLASS AND THE MACHINES OF GOD at the height of their material powers, with the most devoted fans in the world, and having just changed the name of the band, releasing their new album, entitled MACHINA…
for years our hero has searched for his true love, the woman of his dreams, JUNE… he called her by many names hoping that there somewhere out there she waited for him too… so one night after a concert, he saw her, and right then and there knew he had finally found her… JUNE was his perfect reflection, everything that he was not… she brings to him the universal truths of life and living, and a life he has never had… what he does not realize then is that he has fallen in love with a reflection of himself… she embodies the darkness he can only write about… so for one short period of time, our hero once zero feels complete and whole, with god and a woman by his side…
GLASS finds himself increasingly torn between his new love and his true calling as a messenger… he doesn't realize that he really doesn't have to make a choice between the light and her darkness… he tries to find balance between his humanity and his spiritual pursuits… unknown to GLASS, the hedonism and electric energy of GLASS' accelerated world fuel JUNE's ever increasing secret drug problems… GLASS comes home one night to find JUNE in a drugged haze, a vinyl record hissing endlessly on the out groove… JUNE is so out of it that she doesn't recognize GLASS at all, as he calls to her to come back to him… the truth revealed, GLASS sits next to her and, in a rare moment of candor, reveals that god has been speaking to him thru the radio, knowing full well that JUNE probably won't remember the conversation… despite that, GLASS reveals that he has doubts about the validity of the messages and wonders if he is going insane… GLASS decides because he loves her so, he will try to save her as he is trying to save everyone else, with the power of his healing… GLASS is now on a crusade to save everyone in his life ; his band, his girl, his audience, and consequently the world… the only problem is that he has forgotten to save himself…
GLASS begins to lose his balance on both ends when he becomes over righteous and indignant in his beliefs, alienating those who already believe in him and turning off potential new converts… GLASS sees himself as some sort of cosmic preacher, and if he just shouts loud enough the message will somehow get thru the din… JUNE, finding the solace and power in GLASS that she couldn't muster on her own, begins to believe that she does not need him anymore… she has taken her fill from his light, and like so many others that have taken from GLASS, question whether they ever needed him at all… GLASS begins to bitter as the prospect that he is being toyed with and used by god and JUNE… slowly, GLASS begins to lose faith in his seemingly unshakeable beliefs… he becomes paranoid, believing that everyone is out to get him… the new album is released and is not well received by the fans or the general public… for the first time since the band began, GLASS is publicly humiliated… he begins to question the validity of the messages, thinking perhaps they are from a false god or that his filters of perception are misaligned… he begins to descend into madness, accusing JUNE of disloyalty… in one final argument, she admits she never loved him at all, and that she did hear him tell her about being spoken to by god, and that she believes he is insane… she tells him goodbye for the last time and storms off into the rainy night… she loses control of her car, and is killed when it skids off the road… GLASS blames god for the loss of JUNE, idealizing his time with her because he can not let go of what her vision means to his faith… he blames the fans for their betrayal at not supporting and following the bands new direction… inconsolable, and without informing the MACHINES, GLASS impulsively tells an audience one night that the band is going to break up and will only play one more final, and sadly tragic show…
the night before the final concert, GLASS has a prophetic dream that he is a soldier in a war… he wears a uniform, but does not know who the enemy is or even what side he is fighting for… he wanders the empty streets, gun in hand, looking for anyone at all… in a dark stairwell he meets a faceless soldier who takes him by the hand into a dusky basement… the soldier does not speak, and together they sit underneath a single hanging bulb… he is just an animal, seeking shelter, warmth, food, and love… this dream, and the MACHINES final concert send GLASS into a disturbing tailspin… he feels truly and utterly alone…
after the final concert GLASS is quickly forgotten by the public, and he takes a long living in an empty warehouse away from anyone at all… he has always felt alone, but now all of the things that gave him strength, focus, and identity are gone… he faces his own doubt and mortality for the first time… he begins to walk by himself at dawn thru the walking streets, and slowly finds an inner peace with his spirit… he begins to forgive and accept the things that have happened to him, and understand that his desire to find perfection above his own humanity led him to things that he did not really want or need… he begins to love and empathize with others without fear of consequence, and so in his aloneness realizes that he was never really alone at all… GOD has always been with him, and always will be… and so in this moment he fulfills his destiny, both for himself and for GOD…
Artwork by Vasily Kafanov