Butch Vig

From SPCodex, The Smashing Pumpkins wiki
Butch Vig
Vig at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin
Background information
Birth nameBryan David Vig
Born (1955-08-02) August 2, 1955 (age 68)
Viroqua, Wisconsin, U.S.
OriginMadison, Wisconsin, U.S.
ArtistsThe Smashing Pumpkins
Years active1990-1993
Associated acts
WikipediaButch Vig

Bryan David "Butch" Vig (born August 2, 1955) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer who worked with The Smashing Pumpkins on Gish, Siamese Dream, and the Sub Pop release of "Tristessa". He is most well-known however as the drummer and co-producer of Garbage and as the producer of Nirvana's Nevermind. In addition, he has produced for artists such as Green Day and Foo Fighters.

In 2012, Vig ranked number nine in NME's list of the Top 50 Greatest Producers Ever.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

The Smashing Pumpkins were trying to find a producer for the "Tristessa" single that was to be released through Sub Pop. Someone recommended listening to a Vig-produced record,[2] and the band was impressed by the kick drum sound, and this is what influenced them to pursue recording with Vig.[3]

Vig met Billy Corgan and the rest of the band when they came to Smart Studios to record "Tristessa" and "La Dolly Vita." Vig has said he thought they looked super cool as a band but were "totally a bunch of freaks."[3]

Jimmy Chamberlin has historically jokingly referred to Vig as "The Butchster".[3]

Gish[edit | edit source]

Vig co-owned Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin where Gish was recorded, the other owner being Garbage co-founder Steve Marker. He used a 24-track Amek/TAC Scorpion mixing console. In these sessions he was known for pushing The Smashing Pumpkins to perfection. As Gish was the first studio album by the band, they had not experienced the pressure of working with a professional producer before.[4] In a 2020 Instagram video, Corgan explained in particular the frustration behind recording "Rhinoceros", where Vig caused a lot of "head fuckery" insisting Corgan re-record the "she knows" lyric for hours upon hours until it met Vig's liking.[5]

Vig was still a relatively unknown producer at the time, and enjoyed the longer recording period and larger budget. He later remembered,

(Corgan) wanted to make everything sound amazing and see how far he could take it; really spend time on the production and the performances. For me that was a godsend because I was used to doing records for all the indie labels and we only had budgets for three or four days. Having that luxury to spend hours on a guitar tone or tuning the drums or working on harmonies and textural things ... I was over the moon to think I had found a comrade-in-arms who wanted to push me, and who really wanted me to push him.[6]

It was under pressure from Vig[5] that Corgan performed much of the guitar and bass parts on the record, in order to save time.[7]

Siamese Dream[edit | edit source]

Siamese Dream was recorded mainly between December 1992 and March 1993. The band relocated to Triclops Studios in Marietta, Georgia for the album sessions, so they could avoid local friends and distractions.[8]

According to an interview with PSN Europe, he stated "Billy [Corgan] and I raised the bar really high. We wanted to make a very ambitious sounding record. It was all done on analogue tape so it was time consuming. We were working 12 hours a day, six times a week for about three months, and for the last two months we worked seven days a week, 14 or 15 hours a day because we were behind schedule."[9]

Production credits[edit | edit source]

Year Album
1991 Gish
1991 Lull
1993 Siamese Dream (promo)
1993 Siamese Dream
1994 Pisces Iscariot
1994 Siamese Singles
1999 The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–1998
2001 Judas O
2001 Rotten Apples
2002 Earphoria

Studio sessions[edit | edit source]

Session Artist Album(s)
Summer 1990 – Smart Studios The Smashing Pumpkins
December 1990-March 1991 – Smart Studios The Smashing Pumpkins Gish
Winter 1991 – Smart Studios The Smashing Pumpkins
March 1992 – Smart Studios The Smashing Pumpkins
December 1992-March 1993 – Triclops Sound The Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "50 Of The Greatest Producers Ever". Nme.com. 2015-11-22. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  2. Corgan and Vig incorrectly remembered the band name as Das Damen in the Thirty-Three podcast, but they were probably referring to either the albums Twelve Point Buck by Killdozer, or Century Days by Die Kreuzen.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Corgan, Billy. "Hooligan (with Butch Vig)". iHeartPodcasts. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  4. https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7386036/the-smashing-pumpkins-billy-corgan-gish-at-25-classic-track-by-track-look-back
  5. 5.0 5.1 Corgan, Billy. "GISH: ALBUM BY ALBUM, TRACK BY TRACK DEEP DIVE SERIES #1". Instagram. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  6. Thomas, Richard (October 2008). "Signal to Noise: The Sonic Diary of the Smashing Pumpkins". EQ Magazine.
  7. Thomas, Richard (October 2008). "Signal to Noise: The Sonic Diary of the Smashing Pumpkins". EQ Magazine.
  8. Kot, Greg (January 2002). "Pumpkin Seeds". Guitar World.
  9. "'I thought, man, this is over': Butch Vig on making The Smashing Pumpkins' 'difficult' second album Siamese Dream". PSN Europe. August 10, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2019.