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The Smashing Pumpkins Deserve a Documentary, Movie or Musical

The Smashing Pumpkins have been a musical force on the global scene since they released their first studio album in 1991. Now over 30 years, they're still at the cutting edge, putting on spectacular rock shows and making more music than ever with double album 'Cyr' and three-act rock opera, 'ATUM'. One of the most creative bands out there, their music explodes into kingdoms of art and while most acts only seem to get their movie after the final bow, it just seems about time that The Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan got their own documentary, movie or rock odyssey musical.

the smashing pumpkins deserve a documentary movie or musical

Across the Universe brought a number of Beatles tracks together in order to compose a kaleidoscopic blend of Beatles-inspired storytelling. Abba's music was turned into a musical that made the leap to screen with Mamma Mia. It seems funny that we haven't seen anything more official than Bohemian Rhapsody, which took its time to unearth, when it comes to Queen. Their 'We Will Rock You' jukebox musical from Ben Elton has gone from strength-to-strength, now currently touring South Africa.

While we take a moment to ponder why Queen doesn't have their own custom rock odyssey narrative, especially on the back of the runaway success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rami Malek's Oscar-winning performance as Freddie Mercury, it seems there a few checkpoints along the way before you can truly find the perfect story for a musical or movie adaptation.

The lasting legacy and popularity of a band needs to reach a tipping point where fandoms simply throw money at just about anything they touch. Then, if they're that big... it seems as though the legend must be revered enough to have the right kind of story to lace a choice selection of hits and lesser known tracks according to their lyrics and meaning. Finally, don't forget all the rights - perhaps this is why Across the Universe was basically a series of covers. Whether a failsafe or easier to foster a tribute, there seem to be a lot of little miracles along the way. Perhaps this is why Queen's eventual odyssey remains in limbo - how do you lace it all together?

One band that has been around for over three decades that deserves a film or even musical is The Smashing Pumpkins. While many would argue their heydays were in the 1990s when they unleashed behemoth albums such as 'Siamese Dream' and 'Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness', this band has been in a continual state of reinvention. Leaning on some of the big anthems that made them famous as live shows (even if resistant to jukebox tours), they've committed to evolution and creating new art with three to four double albums. It's reflected in the inlay artwork, the rock show innovation, the giant screens, the re-releases and the continual thirst for inspiration.

Billy Corgan is a legendary front man, who has continued to be his unapologetic self in an age of illusion. Going your own way is admired but does present challenges in perpetually swimming upstream. Having created just as many riffs as rifts as a young musical genius turned rising star, the divisive character has led a public life, even if his music has the power to exhilarate at its quietest and loudest moments. While the band has gone through a number of line-up changes over the last two decades, the music has remained an undying passion.

One of the most prolific music talents of all-time, it shouldn't come as much surprise that Corgan and his band have recently released a rock opera to rival the double album miracle that was 'Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness'. The new album shows the steady progression of the band, which has taken Corgan through his solo career, venturing into 'The Future Embrace' and coming out with a few tricks up his sleeve. Having unleashed the seething album 'Cyr', which had some strong affinities with The Cure and Depeche Mode, it seems inevitable that Corgan's soaring soundscapes become more electronic.

The music may not have the same soul as their biggest albums but is never short on layers, musicality and art. Corgan would probably be one of the first to admit that music is his life, which explains why his efforts have been so prolific. Having described and named 'ATUM' as a rock opera in three acts, it does seem as though the seed has been planted and one can only hope that his efforts result in a film adaptation. The gifted musician has had a long association with film, whether creating the track 'Eye' for David Lynch's Lost Highway, being heavily involved in the soundtrack for Stigmata or even dishing up a cameo as a doctor in Spun.

The Smashing Pumpkins have always had an artful eye, going to great lengths to create music videos that have atmosphere, mood, tonal complexity and often strong story elements. Consider the 'Tonight, Tonight' song's tribute to the George Méliès classic black-and-white film, Trip to the Moon. Having presented this story element in tracks including: 'Today', 'Rocket', '1979', 'Try Try Try', 'Perfect'... the list goes on. Corgan's 40-minute short film Pillbox served as a moving picture to link his solo album 'Ogilala' with longtime collaborator Linda Strawberry as co-director. Then, let's not forget the music documentary If All Goes Wrong about a residency.

Aiming to open the music to it's own visual tapestry, The Smashing Pumpkins continue to this trend in their concerts, where giant displays translate the music by way of strong visual elements. The band have created their own aesthetic, carried forth in all associated art, which makes it seem like an organic and natural step for them to take it further. While they're not exactly household names, they've harnessed the power of nostalgia and now with entire music catalogues available on streaming platforms... new fans are being born every day.

Based on the band's hundreds of tracks, it seems like the most difficult task would actually be the cherry-picking. The lyrics have a poetry to them, which opens them to interpretation. Having created a few animated shorts to promote the 'Cyr' release, the collaborations are slowly happening around a band that's not easily compartmentalised. Hopefully there will be enough traction, whether it happens through traditional means or on the crest of the renewed vigour behind biographical musicals and documentaries. As far as alternative rock bands, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana would probably be first in line for this treatment but wouldn't it be magical for The Smashing Pumpkins to get their dues. Having done justice to Cobain and Bowie with the music documentaries Montage of Heck and Moonage Daydream, perhaps Brett Morgen is the filmmaker who could make it all happen.