Billy Corgan haș debuted a new Smashing Pumpkins track, Photograph, performing it during a benefit concert he organized for victims of the Highland Park mass shooting.
The July 4 shooting devastated the Chicago neighbourhood earlier this month, and Corgan explained during the performance [which begins at about 1:37:00] that it was inspired by a dream he had following the tragedy.
“This is my reaction, I guess you could say, to what happened,” explains Corgan. “I don’t know if it’s a good song or a bad song, but it certainly express the way that I feel.”
The Smashing Pumpkins frontman has lived in Highland Park for many years and arranged the star-studded benefit show, Together and Together Again, with his partner Chloe Mendel.
It was hosted locally on July 27 at Madame ZuZu’s – the tearooms and sometime gig venue owned by Corgan – and the frontman opened the event with an eloquent and touching speech.
“As everyone knows, on July 4, there was a tragic shooting just one block from here and the injuries are untold and still unfolding. What we have in this community is a need and you’re here to help support that need,” said Corgan.
“This is a community reeling, I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life… The reason I named it ‘Together and Together Again’ is that we won’t stop. We will always come together. We will always bond about what we care about: our community and our love for one another. No one can take that from us. Tonight, we want to reclaim that for Highland Park. We want to bring that message to the world.”
The full show is well worth a watch. There’s a full solo set from Corgan (with occasional help from ’Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and bassist Sierra Swan), which features another new song, Scimitar [starts around 2:17:30] and a guest appearance from Perry Farrell, plus performances from harpist Janelle Lake, jazz saxophonist Frank Catalano and Canadian duo Bob Moses.
You can watch the full stream of the show and donate to the Highland Park Community Foundation over on YouTube. The footage will remain live until Monday morning (August 1), so don’t wait on it…