Frequently, I get requests from Listessans to have a copy of the
meeting which took place backstage after a show in Winnipeg, September
24th, 1996, between Karl Daher, myself, Tanya Klassen, and the Pumpkins.
The purpose of the meeting was to present Billy, D'Arcy, and James each
with tribute books we all made for them, called "Our InfiniteDream:
Listessa's Tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins" (they also received Listessa
t-shirts). The Pumpkins absolutely *LOVED* them. Remember, this was at
the time in which we did not even know the songs on the box because it
wasn't released yet. It's quite long, extremely detailed (I've included
most of the dialogue that took placebetween us and the band), and I've
added a few kewl extra notes that I had forgotten the first time I posted
AFTER CONCERT: BACKSTAGE!!! The concert ended, and I was tired, sad and
happy all at once, knowing that I would be in the Pumpkins' presence in
only a few minutes. I gathered up what I had in front of me as the lights
came on, ensuring the end of the concert. I walked through the crowd of
people, butterflies in my stomach, trying to get through as fast as I
could. I reached the clearing and headed down to our meeting place, and
took out my backstage pass. It had the picture of a scene from "Planet of
the Apes" on it, all in green. (I scanned it and put it up on the page,
too!) Anyway, I walked up to a security guard and asked her if where I
was was the certain section I was looking for in the first place, just to
make sure I had it right. She said yeah, and asked me if I had an All
Access Pass, but I only had the backstage one, so apparently I was
supposed to wait on the other side of the building. Karl and Tanya
showed up a few seconds later with the bag of books, t-shirts and
other things. We walked to the other end and sat there, waiting to be
given the OK to go in. We stood there talking with a security guard,
smiling and discussing how excellent the 2 hour and 45 minute long show
was. We talked for about 10 minutes, and then another guy take me out and
told us to put our backstage passes on so they were visible (they were
stick-ons). He then led us through and asked us to sit at a table, saying
it would be just a few minutes, and left. We all figured the Pumpkins
would come out and sit with us there, so we began to take everything out
and got it ready. The guy came back then, and told us to come with him
once again. We gathered everything up, knowing that this was it..this was
the moment! :> We were led around some corners and through a corridor, and
as we walked through it I noticed the door which we were walking towards,
the door to the Pumpkins :> We arrived at it and looked at one another.
"Okay guys, you ready?" the guy asked. And we were there :) The door
opened to a colourful, dimly lit room, fairly large, a table at the far
end full of food, a big stereo close to our side, and couches in the
center, on which they sat :> Billy, D'Arcy, Dennis, Matt, Jimmy the Frog,
the managers, the roadies, all of them :> James was walking around, fixing
the light or something. And it was so weird, so amazing and wonderful.
"Hey, come on in," Billy and D'Arcy said. They all greeted us. I
noticed Billy and D'Arcy eating. D'Arcy said something like,
"Eeeewww...gross, this is disgusting." Then she put whatever it was she
was eating back in the tin foil wrapping. I guess the food wasn't that
great. (Remember, "Stay away from the deli-tray"... Hehe.. We walked
into the room, and I was amazed at how cool and relaxed the band was, just
chilling out. No other fans were there, just us, and that was really
cool 'cause it made it so personal and special. All I could do was smile
and look shyly over at the members. We stood in the middle of the room
then, Karl to my left, Tanya to my right.
"Okay, introduce yourselves, guys," a manager said.
Karl introduced himself then.
"Hi, I'm Jennifer Sloan," I said next, shyly but very happily :>,
but I guess I said it too quietly, 'cause I was asked to speak up. I
think it was Billy who said, "We're all deaf, so..". I repeated myself.
Tanya introduced herself next. Karl then introduced us a bit
more, explaining that he ran the list, that I thought up the idea for the
bookand that Tanya made the cover and helped organize too. "And here are
the books and t-shirts." He pulled them out and gave D'arcy, Billy and
James each one. He went on to explain a bit more about the books and
shirts... And this was the big moment, the presentation! :> The band
absolutely loved them! D'Arcy exclaimed, "Oh, wow!" as soon as she took
hers. They began looking through their books, commenting on the drawings
and pictures, leafing through the pages. The band made comments like,
"Wow, this is really amazing. Thank you!" And, "This is really great!"
Things of that nature, and the whole time I just thought to myself,
"YES!! They love the books :>" I was just in total bliss because it was
so succesful and the band was so enthused while looking through them.
Throughout the rest of the visit, we got comments from the band, the
managers, and the roadies, such as, "This is amazing, you guys.. this is
just incredible", and "I'm really impressed." Well, you get the
point..hehe. I looked over and saw that Billy was sitting off to the
side, looking through his book on his own and that D'Arcy was sitting
beside Dennis, talking to him about some of the pictures, smiling. "Hey,
yeah, that looks like James, and Jimmy (Chamberlin)!" And, "Hey look, I'm
a horse, ha ha!" She looked over at Billy and they both laughed and
smiled. Then they inspected the pic more, seeing that Billy was known as
"Farmer Billy", James was a dog, and Jimmy, a pig -- a picture by Riley
Manion's of what she thought of when listening to "Meladori Magpie", which
is really cute and funny (they loved it, Riley! :>). It was hard keeping
track of James, but I think he was sitting in a chair, looking through
his book. They absolutely loved everything, though, and it was so
incredible sitting there watching the Pumpkins, right in their presence.
It was funny listening to D'Arcy and Dennis talk. D'Arcy at one
point said something like, "He says I never move around on stage. I move
around on stage!" D'Arcy was in an awesome mood all night, totally
laughing and having a good time. It was really cool how nice they were.
"Help yourselves, guys." I think it was the manager who said
this (it's hard remembering right now, I was sort of dazed at that
moment). He was referring to the food on the table. I was incredibly
surprised that we were offered food, because we thought that we would only
be able to stay a few minutes. We actually stayed about an hour and a
half, maybe close to two hours, and left when the band had to leave for
the tour bus to the next city :> Karl, Tanya, and I looked at one another
and smiled. "Wow, awesome, thanks!" we responded. I took a coke, and
Karl and Tanya took some drinks themselves. We stood for a couple of
minutes looking around, while they sat reading their books. James walked
close by then and Karl caught his attention by asking him how Bugg was.
James stopped and talked to us for quite a bit, "Well, it's been
about five days now (?), and well, he's an old dog, but he's the same.
He's a dog."
Karl then made a funny remark, asking if Bugg wanted a divorce
from him since he was away for a lot of the time.
"No, he...he...understands." He said something like, "So, are
you disappointed in meeting us boring people?"
We replied, "Of course not, why would we think that? What were
we supposed to expect?"
"That we'd be juggling or something," James replied. He's so
damn funny :>
"No, this is great, awesome," We all replied back. Tanya then
asked about how the tour was going.
"It's going pretty well... we're really tired, though."
Karl at one point asked him if he'd ever heard of Listessa or had
gone on the Internet. He hadn't, no doubt :< Karl then asked him if he
had anything he'd like to say to all the people on their computers out
there. "Like any cool quotes," I added in. James couldn't really think
of any, but we could tell he was extremely exhausted. Karl then mentioned
the masturbation quote at James said during the Dublin concert broadcast
over the net, and reported that people often used that one at the end of
their emails. We all laughed and James said that he couldn't remember
when he had said that. Oh well...hehe. At one point James said something
like, "So, you're coming on the road with us now, eh?"
We replied, "Yeah, sure!" Karl then said something like, "I'll be
the water boy!" We all laughed. :>
Billy walked close by then and asked us what we were discussing.
This part, for some reason, is blurry for me. I can't remember what Billy
or James said to one another. I think I was just too focused and in awe
at the whole band in their presence rather than what they were saying at
times. That probably happened a few other times as well. Billy then
walked away and we continued talking to James for a bit longer. He
eventually had to go off and do something in the other room, so he said
to us, "Thanks for the book." We all thanked him back and I replied, "It
was our pleasure. We'd do it all over again in a second." We turned
around looking at rest of the band members. Matt was chilling out on the
couch; in fact, they were all chilling out on the couches, looking at
their books. Then they looked up at us.
"So, you guys have any questions?" Billy asked.
Karl asked about some threads that frequently occur on the list.
The first question was about the next single (which, at that time, we
didn't know about. We didn't even know whether it was "Thirty-three" or
not). Billy came straight out and answered, "Thirty-three".
Karl: "So it's not 'Muzzle'?" Billy: "Nope!" D'Arcy said,
jokingly, pouting: "I wanted 'Muzzle' but no one else did." We all
"Okay, kewl," we said. Karl then asked about the box-set (which
we now know about as well).
Billy: "Yeah, we're gonna have a compilation out called 'The
Aeroplane Flies High'. It'll be a collection of b-sides plus 5 covers."
Billy recommended buying the box-set when asked. "Yes,
definitely..,"so make sure you guys go out and buy it (if ya haven't yet)
There was a moment of silence then, and I said, "I had so
many questions that I was gonna ask you guys, and my mind is blank now."
I decided to ask about "X.Y.U.", since it's an endless thread on the list.
I still see posts about it.
Billy came straight out and said: "Ex, why you?"
Karl: "Alright, cool. Makes sense. Another faq, who's on the
Billy: "Chris, my wife." (Hopefully this will end that
Karl then asked about the "Daughter" Flexi-disc and whether it
was coming out or not, and Billy said no. He asked if Karl had heard
that off a bootleg, and Karl answered yeah and nodded. I nodded as well,
myself owning bootlegs. I missed the transition point, but somehow, "The
Naked Man" came into conversation. It was pretty funny, and Billy
apparently got really pissed off by the guy. I would have too. He said
if the show wasn't being broadcast, he would have kicked the guy offstage
Billy then had someone put on some songs from the box-set to give
us a listen. Karl, Tanya, and I took a seat on a couch across from Billy,
and it was just so weird and wonderful what we were doing. We were
sitting around with Pumpkins, listening to their unreleased music, just
chilling out. The band was so hospitable, and everyone was enjoying
themselves. For the next 20 minutes or so, we sat and listened to the
music, relaxed and feeling quite at home. I must say that the
"Thirty-three" single sounds EXCELLENT! Very kewl :> One of the first
songs we listened to was "The Aeroplane Flies High". When it came on,
Billy said something like, "This is 'The Aeroplane Flies High', one of the
encore songs you heard us play." "The Aeroplane Flies High" and "The
Last Song" were the ones that stuck out in my mind the most. "The
Aeroplane Flies High" changes from loud to quiet and, as said before,
contains the "Pastichio Medley" riff, "Disconnected." It's absolutely
amazing and really powerful. Rawking tune :> That one song makes the
single worth getting. "The Last Song" is a ballad, really pretty, slow
and peaceful, an it made me want to bawl at times just from the beauty of
everything. "Transformer" is a rawking tune as well, hard and heavy,
rather catchy. "The Bells" is a very nice tune by James. "My Blue
Heaven" is a nice, light, pretty one, catchy.. (If you're familiar with
old 40's music, you know the song... just picture Billy's beautiful voice
singing it :>)..
Believe me, it is an absolute must to buy the box-set! We also
got a chance to listen to the cover songs, and they were quite cool. A
couple were sort of techno, so we're looking at quite a difference in
sound. I think they sounded pretty cool, myself, but quite different.
Lots of synthesizers, so it's like a window to their new sound. BUY THE
BOX-SET!! :) During some of this time, I looked over at Billy and
noticed him reading his Listessa book intently, and concentrating, really
into it. At some point, he bookmarked his spot, set the book down on the
side-table, rested his head on his hand, and sort of gazed off for a bit,
thinking to himself, I guess. It was a really beautiful scene, watching
the band we know and love reading and looking at a book we all put
together for them. Wow! :>
James, unfortunately, had left some time back :< It was obvious
that he was really tired, and I saw him going out the door with a
brown leather jacket on. I thought he would come back, but I guess he
didn't:< I feel bad in a way about having ignored Matt and Jimmy the
Frog, because most of my attention was on Billy, James, and D'Arcy. I
wish I had gone and talked to them or something, but it just sort of
happened the way it did. You always think and say you're going to do
something or act a certain way if you're in a certain situation, and you
plan it all out, but once you are in the position, you never really do it
the way you planned, and then you blame yourself later :< It was all
utterly amazing, though. I sat beside Karl and Tanya on the couch,
looking over at the band members, smiling to myself. Billy and D'Arcy were
mouthing the words along to the songs, doing hand movements at mepoints
(the swimming motion), laughing and smiling. A guy (maybe a roadie?), at
one point, pretended he was playing one of the guitar parts in one of the
songs. The whole time, Billy just looked up at him from where he sat and
smiled and laughed sarcastically. Karl, Tanya, and I all laughed at the
guy, who was really getting into the music, going all out. I listened to
the music and nodded my head up and down, keeping time. Karl and I looked
over at each other at one point and just smiled and laughed. It was so
unreal, and yet it was all happening. We all said nothing while listening
to the beautiful sounds, and we just sat and gazed around us. At one
point I would think to myself, "Jen, go up and talk to them, now. This is
your last chance," and I still anger myself about that, but when I look
back now, I think that it was a good thing to stay on that couch and not
go up and ask the band all these questions, because the band probably
wanted it that way, just wanted to sit back and relax with a few of their
fans. It was also such a wonderful experience, sitting there with Karl
and Tanya, that I think it would've ruined the moment. It was right to
just sit back and take it all in, even if it was my only chance.
Something about that one moment, just being in that position, will always
come back to me when I think about the meeting. Just sitting there across
from THE best band on earth, taking in all that they are, knowing that it
would end in just a few more minutes but holding onto each last second in
total bliss. It will flash before me every time I listen to one of the
b-sides from "Thirty-three" or one of the covers from the box-set. I'll
never forget.. Sadly, time was running out. Karl asked Billy one more
question about "Thirty-three" and the significance of the name.
Billy responded something like this: "Thirty-three is a
significant number to me, as 66 and 99 are." I'm not sure of what that
means totally, but I don't think the name "Thirty-three" is in any way
biblically related. Sorry I don't remember this more clearly, but it was
another one of those times where I became so focused on the bandmembers'
faces rather than their words because I was sitting right in front of
Billy... hehe... I couldn't help it! We all got up and did the ritual
of signing. Karl and Tanya had some of their things signed first. I
walked up to Billy and stood right beside him. Me: "Could you sign this
for me, please?" I asked so shyly as I gave him my copy of the Listessa
book. I'm looking at the book at this verymoment, the inside cover, "To
Jennifer... much thanks and love, Billy, 1996." This book keeps me from
asking the constant question, "Did it really happen, or was it all a
dream?" :> I then gave him my "Tristessa/La Dolly Vita" vinyl cover. The
pen he was using to sign it began to run out and he said something like,
"Oh, pen ran out.. anyone have a sharpie? Someone gave him one and he
held out the ink pen that had run out. For some reason I hesitated to
take it... I wasn't sure if he wanted me to 'cause the pen wasn't mine. I
assumed he did and I took it from him and handed it to a guy sitting next
to him. The guy just said, jokingly, "Hey, don't give it to me...it ain't
mine." I discovered it was Karl's and Tanya's and handed it back to them.
Billy signed the back of the vinyl cover, as well as the front,
drawing all over his face, putting in three 6s and a goatee and horns. It
was really awesome. He wrote, "Billy, 1996" on both sides. During the
signing of them, I began saying that I hoped he liked the book. He didn't
hear me and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you," while holding my arm to
get my attention. I repeated myself, along with a "Thank you," and an "I
love you guys so much, you're just amazing" sentence which didn't really
come out well. I'm not even sure Billy heard me completely or not.
Next I walked up to D'Arcy and handed her my Tristessa/La Dolly
Vita vinyl cover. On top of her pic she wrote, "Me", with an arrow
pointing down to herself. Later, in the car, I noticed that she hadn't
signed my Listessa book, which surprised me quite a bit 'cause I thought I
had given it to her. I guess I totally forgot about it, caught up in the
moment. I wish I had gotten it, but at least she signed one of them. It
was disappointing that James left early, because we never got to receive
his autograph. It was kewl to get a chance to just talk with him, though.
Somehow we never got autos from Jimmy the Frog, Matt, or Dennis, don't ask
me why. Everyone was up and about, so they had gone by the time we got up
to leave. Oh, well.
Karl and Tanya had their books and their "I Am One" vinyl signed.
Billy and D'Arcy were amazed. They couldn't believe that Karl and Tanya
had found something so rare, and they were also really surprised because
they just hadn't seen it in ages. D'Arcy said something like, "Even WE
can't find this anywhere!" It was pretty cool and they continued to
talk about it for quite a while.
The final goodbye. We all stood up, and we each shook Billy's
hand. He thanked us again, and we all returned our thanks once again. It
was a really great experience, and then he walked past and got his coat
on. D'Arcy and Karl had a conversation before we left, discussing the "I
AmOne" vinyl some more, amongst other stuff. I wish I had had more time
to talk to all the members, but in a way, it was perfect, and I wouldn't
change any of it even if I could. We all walked out with the band, Karl
and D'Arcy talking still and laughing about things. I swear, it was as
if Karl and D'Arcy were long lost friends. It was great seeing Karl and
Tanya meet the band and talk with them, 'cause they are probably some of
the biggest fans you'll ever find. As we walked out the door, we turned
our separate ways and I saw the Pumpkins getting smaller and smaller. I
turned back around and continued to walk down the corridor and out into
the darkness. It was a beautiful night, nice and peaceful. I looked at
Karl and Tanya, and we walked to the car, talking, smiling, and
laughing... all the way home.