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By: Erin Keene
The new millennium has triggered big changes in the world. First there was 9/11, now the war against terrorists, and Smashing Pumpkins, everyone's favorite band, broke up! But it's not all bad news. As a result of the breakup a new harmony, Zwan, has formed. In the extended version of their CD Mary Star of the Sea, Corgan describes Zwan as "a collective of 5 individual artists creating harmonious music in an unharmonious world."
Devoting 13 years of hard work and dedication to the music business, the Smashing Pumpkins had accomplished every band's dream; they sold millions of records! But too much of a good thing is never good. After a fatal overdose of touring band member Jon Melvoin, a temporary firing of drummer Jimmy Chamberline, and the mysterious absence of bassist D'Arcy Wretzky, trying to make Smashing Pumpkins a harmonious unison again was nearly impossible.
"I didn't know what to do," said Corgan "I'd been in the Smashing Pumpkins basically from the end of my teenage years or so… I thought I should really take a pause and really feel what I wanted to do." (NJ Musine, 3/03). And that is exactly what he did! In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times, former Pumkins drummer Chamberline says, "We promised each other we'd take a year off that lasted (Pumpkins Show) and about 3 1/2 months later we were in Salt Lake City recording with Zwan."
Determined Corgan was excited to start over. With Chamberline and long time friend guitarist Matt Sweeny (of bands Skunk & Chavez) Corgan began concentrating on developing a healthy, friendly sound. All the members of Zwan seem to be carefully selected, as they all are very talented musicians with impressive resumes. New addition Paz Lenchantin, was the beautiful bassist from Perfect Circle and David Pajo, Zwan's 3rd guitarist, was formerly with Slint and toured with many bands, such as Stereolab.
The harmony of the new collaboration was evident at their Pompano Beach Show on April 9th. Zwan seemed at ease on stage as if they were just hanging with each other and the crowd. At one point Lenchantin and Corgan faced each other as if they were having a playoff. Rumors of an offstage romance were whispered around the crowd, while Sweeney made faces behind their back. Being so comfortable with each other, they made their perfection of sound look easy to accomplish. But the hard work was definitely there. Pajo was switched from guitar to keyboard, Chamberline still proved that he is one of the best drummers in the world, and of course Corgan's distinctive voice captured the crowd.
After an encore of Of a Broken Heart, the stage lights went dark and everyone thought it was time to go home. Just then a solid blues riff echoed across the amphitheater. The lights became bright again and Corgan's father, Billy Senior, appeared on stage with a guitar in hand and a smile on his face, wearing a Zwan t-shirt. As bald as Billy, the two closed the night together. Even if you knew nothing about Billy Corgan and his relationship to his father, it was obvious that he has the utmost respect for him musically. He was definitely a big influence on his son, and it is interesting that Billy used his talent on a totally different kind of genre.
For your down low info, next fall the members of Zwan plan to release an acoustic DVD of different types of music adapted from old folk and gospel songbooks. In this suit they will call themselves Djali Zwan. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Mary Star of the Sea or log on to Zwan.com to hear the sound of Zwan. Enjoy!
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