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"I was very into Jack Kerouac, and I read a little book by Jack Kerouac called Tristessa, which was about a Mexican prostitute. And although the song's not about a Mexican prostitute, I thought it was such a cool title for a- I've always like girls' names in songs. Always been attracted to that. Um, like "Caroline, No", that kinda stuff. So um, I dunno, it's kinda vague. I think it's about an LSD trip, I'm not really sure. What I like about Tristessa, in hindsight, is it's probably similar to Siva as- Siva & Tristessa probably more than any other 2 songs on Gish sort of point the way where the Pumpkins are headed, this very electric, kinetic style. The use of the guitar as almost like, as Eastern instruments, pulling on the strings, & taking them out of tune, & kind of playing with the harmonics of the guitars, & a lot of open strings, & that whatever, you know. People used to say, when they'd come see us live, they'd be like, "I can't believe there's only 2 guitars playing." Because the style we would play, it would almost sound like there were 3 guitars. And James & I really learned how to do a certain kind of technique that would sort of make the band sound bigger than the other bands that we might be playing on the bill on. So, Tristessa sorta captures that, that technique & that style. And uh, still play it live, still like the song, so- it must not be too bad." -BC, Matt Pinfield interview, Nov. 2011

"Lifted from author Jack Kerouac's book of the same name, written, I think, about a Spanish prostitute. I see myself not as a whore but as a mirrored reflection in the feminine creative mind. I will await the artist within to come out to play. I call out her name longingly, coyly. Maybe I know that the artist in me is indeed meant to be a whore? Our second single this was, re-recorded to try to clarify an earlier version. In the trade-off something vital gets lost. I won't even bother to try to make it better, a shrug of ambivalence. I have already moved on from her." -BC, Gish 2011 re-issue liner notes



pledge of faith i hardly break
struggle to return
blurry mind so hypnotized
fast enough to burn

wonder where you are?

soul take soul as eye take eye
i will wait for you
want to believe your wish to receive
want to believe in you

hang on to your life

i love you true
surely i do
i love you true
surely i do
surely i do
surely i do
no, no, no

did you ever wake up and find yourself alone?
did you ever wake up far from home?
want to believe your wish to receive
want to believe in you


1990 - Smart Studios
Dec 1990 - Mar 1991 - Smart Studios (Gish recordings)


Gish (x3)   (buy [])
Gish (promo)
Live at Kawasaki 2.24.92
The Rubano Tapes Vol. 2
A Very Special Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins   (buy [])
Shot Full of Diamonds: A Tribute to The Smashing Pumpkins

The Aeroplane Flies Underground (x2)
Black Sessions (Alley Kat)
Bury Me
Fishing Blue (x2)
From the Mixing Desk
Halloween Party
Man of Light (x2)
Mashed Potatoes
May We Have A Record Contract, Please? (x2)
Out of Focus
Party All Night
Retrospective (x2)
Shine (x2)
Smashed (x2)
Tribute to Blue Oyster Cult (BOC) - (Live Storm)
Tribute to Blue Oyster Cult (BOC) - (Sugarcane)
Waiting For the Past

total: 35 (9 on official releases, 26 boots)

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BMI Number

Writing Credits
Billy Corgan

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