Where Boys Fear to Tread

From SPCodex, The Smashing Pumpkins wiki
"Where Boys Fear to Tread"
Song by The Smashing Pumpkins
Studio sessions
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
Producer(s)Alan Moulder, Flood, Billy Corgan

"Where Boys Fear to Tread" is a song from The Smashing Pumpkins' third studio album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. During the Infinite Sadness and Zeitgeist tours, it was sometimes listed as "The Bomb" on setlists.

Background and recording[edit | edit source]

The song is an example of how the raw live energy of the band was captured on Mellon Collie. The recording was of the band performing the song in its entirety for the very first time.[1] Corgan signaled to other band members when changes were to come in the song. The ending was intended to be just as it is heard on the record, however Jimmy Chamberlin continued to play after the final note, so that much was edited out afterwards.[2]

As for equipment, Corgan used his Les Paul Junior Reissue. The high-pitched sound heard as the drum comes in at around the 45-second mark are Corgan's overdubs using his famed "I Love My Mom" Fender Stratocaster.[2]

The song samples an explosion sound from the computer video game, Doom. This can be heard at the 1:20, 1:55, 2:29, 3:01 and 3:44 marks in the recording. This points to the relationship between Doom and The Smashing Pumpkins in the SPISPOPD joke.

Courtney Love, who used to be in a romantic relationship with Billy Corgan, has claimed the song was written about her, with lines like "dark prince of death" and "for a love lost, a faded picture" referring to his distaste regarding her relationship with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.[3] Corgan has never commented on the veracity of this claim, and the ambiguity of the lyrics by themselves offer little concrete evidence that Love's claims hold truth.

Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles Of Putrid Debris[edit | edit source]

Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles Of Putrid Debris (or SPISPOPD) is part of a joke relating to the computer game Doom. It dates back to a Usenet post in early December 1993, where it was proposed to id Software (the company behind the game) that their next game be called Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles Of Putrid Debris. This initial quip was carried on, and a parody of the Doom FAQ was written called the SPISPOPD FAQ. The FAQ described a 3D game that ran on a computer with minimal specifications.

id Software gave a nod to the joke by planting it as a cheat code in the game. Typing "idspispopd" activates "no clipping" mode, which allows the player to walk through walls.

A second reference apparently sponsored by id Software appeared in the 1995 novelization of the video game series. The first book "Knee-Deep In The Dead" contains a passage in which one of the two major characters says "Smashing pumpkins into small pieces of putrid debris."

The Smashing Pumpkins perpetuated the gag by sampling the rocket launcher sound effect from Doom in "Where Boys Fear to Tread".

Two computer games were created based on the joke. Smashing Pumpkins into Small Piles of Putrid Debris is a 2D action game from Jamul Software (which later became Hamumu Software) where you collect candles and smash pumpkins with a red hammer. It was reportedly developed in 48 hours to capitalize on the joke. Hamumu Software later created a similar game called Amazin' SPISPOPD.[4]

In Master of Magic, there is an item named "The Idspispopd", based on the Doom cheat code.

Videos[edit | edit source]

"Where Boys Fear to Tread" starting at ~4:50, preceded by "Glimpses"; July 4, 1997, Belfort, France

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Normal lyrics

candy cane walks down
to build a bonfire, to break my fall
my baby, my sweet thing
just maybe we could lose ourselves this time
king of the horseflies, dark prince of death
his tragic forces are heaven sent
in sweet things, in a lovers breath
in knowing this was meant to be the last
a go-go-kids, a go-go-style
a suck suck kiss, a suck suck smile
as always, in young need
a veiled promise to never die
on dead highways, her black beauties roam
for june angels, so far from home
for a love lost, a faded picture
to tread lightning, to ink the lavender skies
so get on, get on, get on the bomb
get back, get back where you belong

Early lyrics[5]

baby steps
to my babies
to my sweet things, stay crazy
a go-go-go-shakes
a go-go-go-kids
a go-go-go-thin rakes
for doing what you did
get on, get on, get on the bomb
get back, get back to where you belong
a go-go-go-kids
you can never die
your always in my eyes
the dry masses suck you thin (in)
the high parents just make you cry
for trying
in young ways, i know your need
insert rails, insert coal
shoot into the land of bad dream
on your radio, shit static from below
she's saying, no
but i'm smiling yes
my baby, my sweet thing
get on, get on, get on the bomb


Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessDisc two – Twilight to StarlightStudio
666Bootleg • Video
The Aeroplane Flies High2013 Reissue CD 6: Live Inside the Dark GlobeBox set
Adore2014 Reissue CD 6: Kissed Alive TooStudio
The Friends & Enemies of Modern MusicBootleg
The Original F.E.M.M TapeBootleg

Tour stats

Personnel[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Billy Corgan. Mellon Collie 2012 reissue liner notes
  2. 2.0 2.1 "ORANGE CRUNCH – Guitar School magazine interview, April 1996". starla.org. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  3. Leight, Elias. "Courtney Love: Many Smashing Pumpkins Songs Are About Me". Billboard.
  4. https://hamumu.itch.io/amazin-spispopd
  5. From SPFC. Presumably these lyrics were used in an early demo version of the song.

General[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]