The Smashing Pumpkins – Gossamer Archives

In 2008 Dalton and I went to see at the Sundance Movie Theater in Madison the film “If It All Goes Wrong”.

This is essentially a film of The Smashing Pumpkins residencies at The Orange Peel in Asheville and The Fillmore in San Francisco in the summer of 2007. I was a little mesmerized throughout the film and in particular kept wondering when they played and continued to reference the song “Gossamer”. After getting home I checked all my Smashing Pumpkins albums and didn’t find any “Gossamer” song on any of them, including the newest album at the time “Zeitgeist”. It perplexed me for a long while. In the movie it seemed like a handful of lyrics wrapped in grand series of solos. The vibe went from hard driving to soft wavy solos and back along the way. It was really something and a bit unlike the short 4 minute songs. I really liked watching them extend and play.

I loved the entire “Zeitgeist” album and was bummed that “Gossamer” wasn’t on it. It was an incredible track. I bought the DVD of “If It All Goes Wrong” at some point and rewatched the “Gossamer” track, which of course is on YouTube now.

When it finally occurred to me to check good old Internet Archive and discovered that all the full shows from the residencies featured in the film were available to download I of course had to get them all. I was able to listen to “Gossamer” from all the shows. They ranged from 20 to 34 minutes and thought essentially the same it was cool to hear the differences. There are lyrics…

You will fly away again
You will
Straight into the heart of the sun
Straight into the heart of everyone
You will break my heart against
My will
I will be dead out of a gun
I will be dead out of everyone
Fly, fly away when you say you won’t
You follow when you swear you just don’t
I can’t rule you no more
We’ll buy you another sun
We’ll buy you another sun to love
We’ll buy you another sun
We’ll buy you another sun

Go find you another sun to gun down
Go find you
Another sun
You don’t want me anymore
You don’t love me anymore
No more
You will fly away again you will
You will fly away again you will
Bleed into the heart of the sun
You will break my heart against my will
You will break my heart against my will
Love bleeding out of your gun

but it’s the music that is so captivating. I made myself a little playlist of the residency “Gossamer” tracks and as I played over and over an idea began to form.

Then fast forward a few years to the days when I began listening to music on YouTube. Long compilations became a favorite and I began thinking of “Gossamer” again. What if I made some compilations of the “Gossamer” tracks from live shows to share on YouTube? I could get them easily enough from Internet Archive and who knows, maybe there are Pumpkins fans out there who unlike me didn’t see the “If It All Goes Wrong” film and didn’t see them perform it live and really have no idea that the song exists?

Having a little experience with YouTube, I deemed it possible and set to work downloading all the Smashing Pumpkins shows that Internet Archive had to offer that included “Gossamer”. It was a lot. A lot.

Then I pulled out the “Gossamer” track from each show into a separate folder.

Turned out to be 84 files. Of course there were some duplicates as some shows were recorded by more than 1 person. So those had to be listened to in order to pick the best sounding track. No duplicates. To be fair, these are for the most part the work of tapers at the shows and not soundboards, so there would be a contingent of people that will immediately thumbs down on them for that alone, but there will also be a swath of people that will appreciate them for the chronicle that they are in spite of the non-studio sound. Of course I would weed out any that were too quiet or muffled or any other obvious flaws. This process I tinkered with here and there, trying my best NOT to burn out on the toil of it in order to get to the final list of tracks. So it took a while. Sometimes these great undertakings are enough to kill off the enjoyment of it all.

I listened to a couple as I sat writing this. I still love it.

In the end I ended up with 59 unique tracks.

Then I tried to determine how I would couple them. Chronological? Should the residencies stay together? How long should each YouTube entry be? Do I run the audio along with pictures of the band or pictures of gossamer… my mind started spinning out and I suddenly had visions of my short lived Hipgnosis Theater videos that took SO long and in the end were a great disappointment.

I decided that in the end it was all about the music tracks, and visuals were just a distraction. So I decided to do 2-3 tracks with a simple title card setup to display the song, venue and date. Simple.

“The Smashing Pumpkins – The Gossamer Archives” seemed the most apt title. Band name to catch searches, song name and describing it as archives. I would need to write a brief disclaimer, all music available at Internet Archive, I’m just a fan… that sort of thing.

 I created the first one on February 6th and posted it on my YouTube channel.

Go check it out if you are unfamiliar with “Gossamer”.

It took a bit to get the title cards worked out so that I could reuse them and just add a new set of tracks each time. I estimate at about an hour for each I will end up with almost 20 episodes.

Maybe when they are all posted I’ll create a entry here to house all the links.

Stay tuned.

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