The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson, two alternative-rock acts that achieved stardom in the 1990s, combine their dark musical forces for “The End Times Tour.”
The U.S. and Canadian Pumpkins-Manson tour opened July 7 at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California. Running through Aug. 8, it arrives in New Orleans Monday for a show at Champions Square.
During a joint press conference in Chicago in May, co-headliners Manson and Smashing Pumpkins singer-guitarist Billy Corgan discussed their “End Times Tour” intentions.
Topics included Manson and Corgan’s favorite songs and their once polarizing rivalry over actress Rose McGowan. The two musicians have only recently begun speaking to each other again, encouraged to do so by another ’90s rock star, Courtney Love.
“It’s a mutual respect, love or admiration,” Corgan said of his current friendship with Manson. “We understand each other in a way that very few people understand us in the world.”
During their hour-long appearance, Manson and Corgan also covered the challenges posed by contemporary audiences addicted to cellphones; Corgan’s decades-long hatred of hipster culture; and their never realized idea to start a band featuring rapper Flavor Flav and porn star Jenna Jameson.
The pair’s pre-tour press conference, Rolling Stone reported, further revealed that Manson and Corgan will, curiously, perform Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” together during the tour.
Manson’s guitar lessons with Corgan came up, too.
“Billy taught me to play guitar, so it’s his fault,” Manson said. “You can blame him.”
Corgan also knocked the trend of classic bands performing entire albums in concert. That’s boring, the Pumpkins frontman insisted.
Speaking to USA Today later, Corgan promised that the tour’s Smashing Pumpkins shows will feature heavy, attitude-filled renditions of Pumpkins classics. Because the band’s sets will last just 80 minutes, there’s no time for nuance, he explained, adding the performances will be the equivalent of punches to his audiences’ collective heads.
USA Today also reported that original Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin has joined the tour.
“It’s a great opportunity not only to celebrate the music, but to celebrate the friendship and the legacy,” Chamberlin said.
A Rolling Stone review of the opening date for “The End Times Tour” bestowed most its praise on Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins “emerged victorious, while Manson seemed to be flailing,” the reviewer judged. Nevertheless, Manson “perked up for his notorious cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”