Summer 1990 - Smart Studios, Madison, Wisconsin

Produced by Billy Corgan and Butch Vig

First recording sessions with Butch Vig, for the Sup-Pop single.

Billy Corgan: The first time I met Butch Vig was when we walked into Smart Studios to record what became our Sub Pop single ["Tristessa"]. I knew who he was by name and reputation, but didn't know anything else about him. I think [I liked] the fact that he wasn't pretentious; he was a hard worker and he wasn't intimidated by the scope of what Jimmy and I were trying to do. In fact, he seemed to welcome it. Then, in turn, he asked us to play at a higher level than we even knew we could play at, which just fueled our, "Alright, if you meet us there; we'll meet you here." That started this really incredible relationship between Jimmy, Butch, and I – we tended to feed off of one another's insanity.[1]

Butch Vig: When I first met the Pumpkins I was thrilled to work with them because I think I had found someone, in Billy Corgan, who really set the bar high sonically. I knew right away that he was gonna push me, but I could push him right back. Quite frankly, on most of the albums or projects I'd done before Gish there was never any budget or any money. I had to do records really fast, in two or three days, or maybe five or six days, so everything just had to be by the seat of my pants. I'd have to make really fast decisions. When we went in to make Gish, I think the budget was maybe 30 days or something, and I was over the moon. I was really thrilled about that, because I always wanted to be able spend more time finessing a sound. As much as I love punk rock, rock ‘n' roll, chaos, and noise, I like to hear the focus of that sound. I like records to be focused: I like to hear the instrumentation; I like to hear the hooks. Billy and the Pumpkins felt the same way. We were a good pair, and I think that was one of the first things we bonded on initially; setting the bar really high in what we could do sonically.[2]


Billy Corgan: so old yet it is kinda timeless in a strange way. i think it is because it has a dignity all it's own. we also tried to re-record this for gish, but my heart was not in it. so many mistakes but the raygun is almost on i i catch my assumption. mary's always on the shoulder and the devil has his pitch fork on that back side of yours. la dolly vita, true as blue shy sky, cool as ice cream the b-side of o our second single recorded with buth vig. we recoreded this and tristessa on the same day somewhere in the past and it was also the first day we met buth v. still one of my favourite hidden songs, this brings b back many memories. sorry, a tad too personal. be careful what you say but be really careful what you don't say.[3]

Billy Corgan: a treasure that remains from our very first recording session with butch vig in 1990, la dolly vita stands alone, unlike any other song i've written since. i'd spent summers listening to woozy psychedelic music , and it must have seeped into the idealistic cortex for this to pop out so simple and fully realized. the arrangement does bear one insecurity though, where in the interest of not appearing too whimsical we tacked on the epic ending, making sure we left you somewhere out in space; far out of the orbit of planet love. [4]

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  1. Jake Brown, "Smashing Pumpkins: A Studio History", Tape-Op, Sept/Oct 2016
  2. Jake Brown, "Smashing Pumpkins: A Studio History", Tape-Op, Sept/Oct 2016
  3. Billy Corgan, Pisces Iscariot liner notes, October 1994
  4. Billy Corgan, Pisces Iscariot Remaster liner notes, July 2012
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