Tour Profile: Smashing Pumpkins

Dec 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Candace Horgan



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photo of Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins’ new lineup around Billy Corgan now comprises guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne.

Never let it be said that Billy Corgan does what’s expected of him. Halfway through the “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope” project, where the Smashing Pumpkins were releasing songs one at a time over the Internet, Corgan temporarily abandoned it, instead recording the 13-track Oceania, which is part of the “Teargarden” cycle, releasing the full CD in June 2012. The album charted to Number 4 in its first week of release. It was the first full-length album with the reconstituted Pumpkins and the band’s new lineup of guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne. The band then hit the road for a full-scale tour, playing mostly midsize arenas. On the tour, the Pumpkins played Oceania in track order before delving into the classics.

Mix caught up with the tour at Denver’s 1st Bank Center, a converted hockey arena-cum-concert venue that holds up to 6,500, depending on the configuration of the stage. Mixing at front of house was veteran sound engineer Jon Lemon, who has been with the Pumpkins on and off for about 17 years. A longtime DiGiCo user, he has upgraded to the SD7 for this tour.

photo of Jordan Kolenc, Jon Lemon

Eighth Day Sound’s Jordan Kolenc (left) and FOH engineer Jon Lemon

“I had one of the first prototypes of the D5 back in the day, and I have a very good relationship with them,” Lemon says. “I think it has the best sound of all the digital consoles, and now in particular, with this tour and a lot of keyboards and sequencers going on, having the ability to run at 96k has taken it to another level. I have the full Waves package on board; their plug-ins are of the highest quality.” Though Lemon still uses some outboard gear, he has found that with the integration of the Waves Non-Linear Summing mixing console plug-ins, he is not using as much.

“I’ve found that I still sort of need the Manley VoxBox,” he concedes. “That tube and opto thing really helps Billy’s vocal. I started to use Palmer Speaker Simulators on the guitars this year because they used them on the album, but it was still a little bit dead. In combination with the Renaissance Axx, I could get them to liven up quite a bit, but I needed some outboard EQ, so we got a couple of racks of Midas XL41s there, which really helped out, but now with the NLS channel I don’t rely on the XL41s so much.”

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