Sparrow Attacks Pumpkin! | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Sparrow Attacks Pumpkin!


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To the editors:

The jazz, blues, new-music, and avant-garde sector has had its own private laugh for many years when wealthy rock icons discuss their newfound wealth, the horror of making money, and how hard it has been to become successful after playing the road and bars for 15 months.

Billy Corgan, of sudden "Pumpkin" fame, fits the frame of the above-mentioned in Bill Wyman's interesting column Hitsville (August 6). All musicians are happy when "any" local artist makes the big time simply because it is so profoundly rare. The creation of music by using two chords and electronic distortion is as valid as the most accomplished University of Chicago composer. It is all sound. It is all noise.

Bill "Pumpkin's" problem is one of youthful folly. Everything he says in the first part of the story fits the cute Ringo Starr syndrome. He wants to be a girl (sounds like Little Richard or David Bowie). Yes there is a girl in the band (Billie Holiday with Lester Young?). This is my 80th media interview (Mel Gibson without an instrument). And we have sold 300,000 units of our first album (no living, dead, or future jazz, blues, or new-music failure-success will ever reach this goal except Kenny G, the half son of Sun Ra. . . . and God bless Sun Ra in his newly found digital heaven).

The last part of the story is stupid and selfish, I quote: "The new guard, they're wonderful. . . . They're so excited because they look at a band like Urge, or us, and they think, wow, we can actually do this: we can put out a record and go on TV. They're not a bunch of grisly hacks who've been in a bar too long. The more the old guard passes into the sunset the more I appreciate Chicago in general. I think there's a renewed energy."

Now I realize that at the age of 39 I am a grisly jazz hack sitting in a bar and I do have a lot of rock friends that are my age and just as obscure--people like Jim Desmond, Billy Branch, Von Freeman, Hugh Hart, the Star Brothers, Fred Holstein . . . like man there are a lot of us grislies and there are a lot of bars . . . in fact there are entire grislied bands, like the Proud, the Climbing Vines . . . David Hernandez and Streetsounds . . . The Dave Clark 5. . . .

Ah . . . youth. I guess this next generation "Pumpkin" Bill mentions is touring the suburbs at the ripe old age of 14, talking about the next generation of 9-year-olds and the preborn generation at the age of -5.

Bill, the "Pumpkin," it's only two chords, or maybe three . . .

Those words of yours are fighting words.

Bradley Parker-Sparrow

Southport Records

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