Tuesday, June 16th 2009
News: The Smashing Pumpkins
A fascinating little interview with art director Frank Olinsky over at SmashingPumpkins.com led to the inevitable discussion of his contributions to the Pumpkins’ most ambitious (and best) album, 1995′s Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Olinksy, who’s contributed to album covers ranging from Sonic Youth to Duran Duran, shared a few never-before-seen album concept sketches from frontman Billy Corgan.
The words “brilliant” and “stunning” aren’t exactly the first adjectives that spring to mind while examining the rough drawings – in truth, they look like the drunk scribblings of a mildly retarded ten year old, but who are we to judge? Mellon Collie was an incredible (and wildly successful) album, and the sketches provide an interesting before/after look at the artwork for the project, as well as that of the band’s shortly-following singles collection, The Aeroplane Flies High.
Some may consider Billy’s insistence on an opium den scene featuring squirrels & rats a stroke of genius, while others (that’s me) might fail to see the metaphorical brilliance behind it all.
Either way, the merits of the album aren’t diminished by revealing the arguably ludicrous concepts, so have at it – and try not to think of Corgan’s latest legacy-ruining antics as you do. It’s better that way.
Frank Olinsky is the director behind the intricate packaging of all of the Pumpkins’ official releases between 1995 and 1999. The interview is a great read for anyone interested in the process behind album art development and how the entire field is affected by the raging tide of the digital age.