Look at the joy…Billy Corgan joy!
Not long after the Smashing Pumpkins’ breakup, frontman Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin formed Zwan with Matt Sweeney, Paz Lenchantin and David Pajo. Their own breakup months after the release of their debut album was a true “WTF?” moment, and for how it went down they’re kind of an almost humorous footnote in modern rock history. No matter, because at the very least I thought they were cool.
Mary Star of the Sea was Zwan’s first and only album. Its January 2003 release was preceded by first single “Honestly”. A decidedly different feel than the Pumpkins sees heavily flanged guitar work, and, despite the bittersweetness of the lyrics, a light and hopeful tone. Chamberlin also works the kick pedal and snare nicely to create a beat with wonderfully simplistic continuity.
“Lyric” followed as a single, but later that year Billy Corgan announced the end of Zwan. He took issue with his fellow members’ behaviour, and his notorious control freakiness probably didn’t help. Since that time the Pumpkins reformed with Corgan, Chamberlin and others, although the former is now the only OG member left. Paz Lenchantin has been in Pixies for a couple of years, Matt Sweeney has played with artists including The Mars Volta, and David Pajo with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and beyond. As a big Smashing Pumpkins fan I was intrigued by Zwan, and they didn’t disappoint. As fleeting as they were, they were good…honestly.