On this day in music history: May 28, 1991 – “Gish”, the debut album by The Smashing Pumpkins is released. Produced by Butch Vig and Billy Corgan, it is recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI from December 1990 – March 1991. The debut release by the Chicago, IL based alternative rock band stands apart from many of their musical peers. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Billy Corgan is more influenced by bands such as post punk pioneers The Cure and New Order as well as progressive rock and heavy metal, rather than the punk and noise rock roots many other alt-rock bands. The band team up with producer and engineer Butch Vig (Garbage, Nirvana), recording at his small recording studio in Madison, WI. Recorded for a modest budget of only $20,000, Corgan’s fanatical drive for sonic perfection puts an immense strain on himself and the band resulting in him suffering a nervous breakdown during the sessions. Released on Caroline Records (independently distributed, but owned by Virgin Records), it is embraced immediately by college and alternative rock radio, selling over 100,000 copies in its first year. The album is remastered and reissued as a two CD + DVD set in 2011. The first CD features the original ten song album. The second CD features eighteen bonus tracks, including demos, and remixed versions of other tracks. The DVD includes a live concert performance filmed at The Metro in Chicago on August 25, 1990. It also included a twenty-four page booklet annotated by writer and music critic David Wild and Billy Corgan. The album is also remastered and reissued as a180 gram vinyl LP. “Gish” peaks at number one hundred ninety five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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