Drum + Fife

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"Drum + Fife"
Drum + Fife Single Cover.jpg
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
ReleasedNovember 21, 2014
Studio sessions
GenreRock[1]
Length3:54
LabelBMG/Martha's Music
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
Producer(s)Billy Corgan, Jeff Schroeder, Howard Willing
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"One and All"
(2014)
"Drum + Fife"
(2014)
"Run2me"
(2015)

"Drum + Fife" is the third single from The Smashing Pumpkins' ninth studio album Monuments to an Elegy. The track was premiered through NME on November 21, 2014.[2][3][4]

Background and recording[edit | edit source]

In an interview with the NME, Billy Corgan said "'Drum + Fife' was originally a folk song. We really had a problem getting it off its almost dour Irish balladeer aspect. And I must give a lot of credit to Tommy Lee, because he's the one who turned the corner. Without saying it he was reacting in a way that told me he thought it was a bit boring. Tommy loves energy. Tommy wants to feel excitement. So he's playing the song and he's like 'I know this is a good song but it's just not working.' And he said to me 'Do you mind if I tinker around with it?' And so he got on the computer and used his experience in dance music and kind of turned the corner and found some loops and some beats and suddenly I was like...'wow'. It's almost like mid 80s new wave or something and it reminded me a little bit of early U2 or Big Country. The open strut made the Irish ballad part of the song come alive and have more of a expansive quality and from there on it got a lot easier."[2]

The cover art shows a young Billy Corgan playing a drum, believed to aged 13 months based on the date of the photo.[5] However, the UK single apparently states "And yes, that is Billy Corgan on the cover! Aged 5…".

Reception[edit | edit source]

The song was received positively. Consequence of Sound described it as "a melodic, yet rallying rocker", and went on to describe Corgan's vocals as "tenacious".[1] Radio.com stated "Our latest taste is track 'Drum + Fife', a mid-tempo, melodic rock song, structured and accessible like all their best work. Essentially, the Smashing Pumpkins are not still in their experimental period. They are back to crowd-pleasing—and many are, appropriately, pleased."[6]

Music video[edit | edit source]

The music video was directed by Jimmy Alhander and Robin Antiga, and produced by Good Company. It takes place in a rocky desert, with a group of boys carelessly playing a drum, before being interrupted by exploding mines. This serves as a metaphor to post-traumatic stress disorder and the after-effects of war. "I asked, albeit in an allegorical way, for the video to represent what our returning soldiers are going through with PTSD, and I feel that the directors [Ahlander/Antiga] captured that with poignancy", Corgan said. "I couldn't be more proud of the message we’re sending that we care what happens to those that are out there hurting."[7]

The directors said in a statement, "Our aim was to create a film which was poetic and yet made a very direct statement about war, conflict and how we acclimatize ourselves from an early age to this course of action".[7]

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Away, away foul dream
You're gonna listen now to me
No rules or in-betweens
You're gonna listen now to me
Waste all your time
Find another kind of boy, whoa
A face upon the line
Offensive I don't care to hold

Come on along on an eastern shore
Come on along, you're mine
Come on along on a winter's morn
Come on along, you're mine
Mine

Inside
The drum and fife is steel
Racing scene to scene
To break this beast in me
'Cause I will bang this drum to my dying day

In my affection, too
You're gonna listen now to me
But stop what's left as rule
You're gonna listen now to me

Come on along on an eastern shore
Come on along, you're mine
Come on along on a winter's morn
Come on along, you're mine
Mine

Inside
The drum and fife is steel
Racing scene to scene
To break this beast in me
To remedy this waiting
'Cause I will bang to my dying
I will bang this drum to my dying
I will bang this drum to my dying day
'Cause I will bang this drum to my dying day

Don't you ever be afraid
Don't you ever be afraid
Don't you ever be afraid
No more, no more, no more

'Cause I will bang this drum to my dying day
Don't you ever be afraid
'Cause I will bang this drum to my dying
I will bang this drum to my dying
I will bang this drum to my dying day
'Cause I will bang this drum

Track listing[edit | edit source]

Digital download and promotional CD
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Drum + Fife"Billy Corgan3:54

Release history[edit | edit source]

Released Label Catalog ID Format Country External sites
November 24, 2014 BMG Digital US Discogs MusicBrainz [1]
April 7, 2015 Martha's Music • BMG PROMOBMG1154 CD US Discogs MusicBrainz [1]

More releases: DiscogsMusicBrainz

Personnel[edit | edit source]

The Smashing Pumpkins
Additional musicians

Availability

TitleNotesType
Drum + FifeDigital download and promotional CDSingle
Monuments to an ElegyStudio

Tour stats

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Geslani, Michelle. "Smashing Pumpkins premiere new song "Drum and Fife" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Hear The Smashing Pumpkins' Compelling New Track 'Drum + Fife' - NME Exclusive". NME. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  3. Camp, Zoe. "Smashing Pumpkins Share "Drum and Fife" and Its Amazing Artwork". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  4. "LISTEN: New Smashing Pumpkins Song "Drum And Fife"". Radio 104.5. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  5. Nelson, Michael. "The Smashing Pumpkins – "Drum + Fife"". Stereogum. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  6. Cosores, Philip. "The Smashing Pumpkins Debut New Song 'Drum + Fife': Listen". Radio.com. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Grow, Kory. "Smashing Pumpkins Create PTSD Metaphor With 'Drum + Fife' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 24, 2020.

External links[edit | edit source]