- The Pumpkins began their touring by opening for Guns and Roses on the 9th in
Gish, the Pumpkins' debut album, was released on the 28th on Caroline Records.
The long-awaited debut album was named in honor of American motion picture
actress Lillian Gish, best known for her work in silent epics such as "The
Wind." Billy once said, "The album's about pain and spiritual ascension. People
ask if it's a political album. It's not a political album, it's a personal
Unfortunately, Gish was released at the same time as Nirvana's
"Nevermind" both albums which were done by Butch Vig. However, Caroline had
expected sales of 30,000 to be sufficient, but Gish far exceeded it.
"I Am One" and "Tristessa" were re-recorded and included on the debut.
"Daydream", the last track on the album, features vocals by bassist D'Arcy. A
secret song followed it, later identified as "I'm Going Crazy" by Billy in a
'96 interview (02.03.96 at KROQ in Los Angeles). All drum tracks were finished
in just four days.
Billy had a positive take on the new album but had felt different about the
tour that followed. He said in Guitar School Magazine a few years later, "I
think Gish is a pretty good album. It definitely defined our band's
sound. I'm not proud of it in some ways -- I think I could have been a more
original in places -- but in terms of some things, the guitars for example, I
think it's pretty cool." Once the band had unleashed Gish, they embarked
upon a grilling 18-month world tour that would nearly split them up. Billy
later recalled "Back then I felt we'd really hit on something. When we toured,
the band became ultra-aggressive. By early '92 we'd become this lean, mean, on
the edge, completely rockin' machine. With a little bit of wizardry and a
little bit of sheer will, we were either blowing people's minds' or they hated
By this time, Virgin Records had picked up on the Pumpkins' scent and inked a
new deal with the band. They signed them to their independent subsidiary,
Caroline, which would later be resold to another independent Virgin subsidiary,
- They played an electric in-store show at Reckless Records in Chicago on the
22nd. The afternoon concert's highlights included the earliest known recording
of "Drown", and the never released "Jesus Loves His Babies."
A record release party, a month late, was held at the Cabaret Metro, the same
night, the 22nd.
The band played an acoustic in-store appearance at Rose Records. The Syd Barret
song "Terrapin" played at this show was used as one of the b-sides on the "I Am
One" 10" released in 1992.
A radio show CD aired on the 16th on the CMJ RadioNetwork. The CD includes a
variety of bands, but it includes a Smashing Pumpkins interview. The CDs are
specifically made for radio stations and include cue sheets that allow DJs to
know when commercials are inserted.
Billy did an interview in Chicago on the 93XRT's "Local Anesthetic" following
the band's show on the 22nd at the Metro. Billy revealed that the band "didn't
feel the vibe was right" with Sub Pop and with Caroline, "we really feel
comfortable with them." He also mentioned that many of the songs on Gish
underwent twenty to thirty rewrites.
- The tour rolled on as the Pumpkins did nine shows. They played at CBGB's once
again in New York on the 15th, but it was for the 1991 New Music Seminar.
Industry representatives in search of new bands attended the concert.
- Dave Boyd, managing director of Hut Records, released a limited pressing of
another single, "Siva" on black vinyl. The single also includes the Gish track,
"Windowpaine." This was not a promotional release. Gish was
simultaneously re-released. As he had anticipated, this time lapse gave
Gish more sales in the UK market.
Rolling Stone did a piece on the Pumpkins in their August 8, 1991 issue where
Billy is quoted as saying "What the band does is so specific that we couldn't
dilute it in any way. We couldn't put ourselves in the position where we were
powerless," regarding their signing with Caroline Records.
The Pumpkins played two in-store acoustic performances. The first show is at
Tower Records in Los Angeles on the 12th. The second show is two days later on
the 17th at Rough Trade Records in San Francisco, CA.
Another radio show CD aired on the 25th on the CMJ Radio Network. The CD
includes a variety of bands, but it includes a Smashing Pumpkins interview.
- They did an excellent three-song set for Radio 1 DJ John Peel at the Peel
Sessions in London on the 8th,which would later surface on Hut Records as
Later in the month, Billy did an interview at the Hotel Room in London, where
he plays "Drown", "La Dolly Vita", "Obscured", and "Snail". He plays part of
"Tristessa" and "Rhinoceros". Billy reveals that "Snail" is probably his
favorite song from Gish.
- The Pumpkins opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (with Pearl Jam). The first
date is on the 16th at the Oscar Mayer Theater in Madison, WI. Jimmy
Chamberlain said later in an interview that him, Chad Smith, and Dave Grohl
would warm up by using the toilets as drums with their drumsticks in the
bathrooms before shows.
Another in-store acoustic appearance was done at Atomic Records in Milwaukee,
WI on the 22nd.
- The Pumpkins played at the Whiskey a Go-Go in Los Angeles on the 17th. At that
show, Billy referred to himself as "a frustrated midwestern youth" as reported
in a review in the Los Angeles Times.
Hut Records released "Lull", a 12-inch EP. It featured "Rhinoceros", "Blue",
"Slunk", and "Bye June". The EP was originally planned as a single. The cover
art has partial lyrics to the song "Obscured", which was eventually recorded
and released on the "Today" single in 1993. "Bye June" is the track from the
Moon tape, the self-released demo.