Pumpkins' Corgan Seeks New Image for Gen-X
On Thursday (July 2) afternoon, Billy Corgan and James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins visited the Five Acres Boys' and Girls' Aid Society, the chosen recipient for all proceeds from the Los Angeles dates of the current tour July 1 and 2 at the Universal Amphitheatre. "An Evening With the Smashing Pumpkins" is a 13-city, 14-date jaunt, all proceeds from which are donated to local charities.
Corgan and Iha (bassist D'Arcy was not present) arrived at the children's center in Altadena, CA, for a brief tour of Five Acres, a residential treatment facility for abused and neglected youths. After they walked through the facility and spoke to some of the children living there, the two band members participated in a press conference, which was held in the center's assembly room.
"We wanted to show people that a rock band can do something other than rock and be rockstars," said guitarist Iha when asked what motivated the band to donate money to various charitable organizations around the country. "We choose organizations like this one because they're very progressive and non-political and obviously a great cause."
The Five Acres facility is just one of the 13 organizations that will benefit from the Pumpkins tenth anniversary tour. According to estimations, the Chicago-based trio will raise approximately $2.3 million dollars for the mostly child-focused charities. Why did the band opt for child-based organizations?
"It's important for us, as people of Generation X, to start taking care of people from the subsequent generation," stated Corgan, whose shorn head was topped with a black cowboy hat. "Generation X is often accused of being whiny, selfish -- I've always disagreed with that. I felt the music that my generation has made came out of a lot of pain and deep emotions. The reason those feeling were shared is because we care. Now I think the time has come to start turning the corner to a more positive era, both musically and socially."
The band are currently enjoying acclaim for the recently released Adore, which Corgan claimed to be an album laced with a more optimistic view of life, in line with their charitable actions. "Now that we're older, we have a little more perspective, I think we feel more comfortable to express other things besides the feeling you have when you're a teenager."
One journalist asked what the kids at Five Acres asked the Pumpkins during their brief visit.
"They wanted to know if we showed up in a limo," replied Iha. "We didn't. We came in a van today." Other than that, the kids, some of whom had never heard of the band, were interested in the daily life of a famous celebrity. The biggest response, according to Iha, came when he told the kids Dennis Rodman made an appearance at the previous night's show.
"Don't forget that, for most of these kids, for every minute they watch MTV, they're also watching Jerry Springer," said Corgan when asked why he wants to help the future of America. "I think they probably walk away with a lot more from Jerry Springer than from the Smashing Pumpkins, so we have to counter that with something very strong." Helping children in need, Corgan believes, is a noble and unquestionably worthy goal.
After tonight's show in LA, the band will return to Chicago for a hometown concert on July 7, proceeds from which will benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation.