Silverfuck

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"Silverfuck"
Song by The Smashing Pumpkins
Studio sessions
Length8:42
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan

Silverfuck is a song from The Smashing Pumpkins' second studio album, Siamese Dream. At 8:42, it is the longest track on the album.

Original version[edit | edit source]

It was one of few Siamese Dream songs along with "Rocket" and "Luna" that were completed almost two years prior to the album's initial release in 1993. It was first performed on July 18, 1991 in Khyber Pass Pub in Philadelphia. It was recorded in Triclops Sound Studios in December, 1992.

The song is built around D major but avoids being repetitive due to its roller coaster dynamic, going from intense guitar and bass drum attack in the beginning, through quiet verses, screaming choruses and blazing solo bursts, before unexpectedly going into a long, quiet, almost ambient section with whispered vocals and distant feedback. The song reaches its dynamics bottom in its a cappella section when Corgan distantly and exhaustively sings repeating nursery rhyme "bang-bang, you're dead, hole in your head" four times (with a reverse echo effect) and then band comes into with full power culminating into song's disturbing climax with complete dissonance and layers of feedback. The band's soft humour calms down the situation when Corgan quietly admits in his short spoken part in the very end: "alright, this take don't give a fuck".

While the album version of "Silverfuck" may seem simple and primal, it is considered to be one of the most emotionally charged songs in the band's repertoire and also continues other Siamese Dream songs' tradition as complete perfectionist recording. The Pumpkins and their producer Butch Vig spent months recording each song for the album, and "Silverfuck" was not an exception, though not beating another Siamese Dream track "Soma" (which had literally 40 guitar tracks alone).

It uses guitars and bass guitars tuned into drop D.

The song led to the release of the "clean version" of Siamese Dream, manufactured to sell in stores like Walmart. It lists no track information.

1993-1994 live version[edit | edit source]

Live at the Aug 14, 1993 record release party
"Silverfuck" began expanding when the studio version was released and the band felt they had a way to go to explore the energy of the song. The song was almost always a show closer. Its a cappella part was extended with a brief tease of the classic "Over the Rainbow", and the final part included different short jams; many of which became parts of the band's 1996 B-side "Pastichio Medley". "Silverfuck" also got a very soft and mellow opening section, which could be considered as a different song or jam. Parts of it later became "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans".

During the Lollapalooza tour, the song even increased differences in dynamic and emotions, mainly to show the band's disrespect to the disappointing Gen X crowd. For example the band was finishing the song with guitarist James Iha screaming nonsense ad-libbed lyrics over a long and disturbing feedback of Corgan playing simple tunes on distorted guitar without bass and drums, and then turning the volume up and going backstage without saying a word to the infuriated crowd.

Eric Remschneider played cello with the band on their Lollapalooza tour.

The band was also joined by Japanese band Boredoms on one of the performances of the song.

Earphoria and Vieuphoria[edit | edit source]

A live version of "Silverfuck" appears on Vieuphoria and its companion CD Earphoria. Both include performance of the song during the second day of band's gig in Astoria Theatre, London on April, 1994. The finishing jam is the song called "Jackboot" and it was later recorded in studio, though it didn't make any of the band's albums and remained an instrumental. During the jam, Corgan smashes his Fender Stratocaster breaking it in two parts with its neck in his hands, then beats a Marshall amp with it, and then pulls a drum set apart, with one of the cymbals falling on him and causing damage to his face.

2002 DVD release of Vieuphoria has an additional footage of "Silverfuck" performance during Lollapalooza tour.

The "Over the Rainbow" part in "Silverfuck" is omitted on Vieuphoria due to prohibitive licensing costs on both 1994 VHS and 2002 DVD release, though included in both 1994 promo and 2002 official release of Earphoria. It is completely deleted in the Astoria performance, and is muted in Lollapalooza performance.

Mellon Collie Tour[edit | edit source]

Silverfuck was reintroduced into the repertoire during the tour. By late 1996, no guitar "riffs" from the original were present and the song featured mostly ambient guitar work combined with pieces of the original lyrics and other Pastichio Medley riffs.

Final Metro performance[edit | edit source]

This was the last song performed by the Pumpkins at the farewell show before their 2000 breakup. The 35-minute performance at the Metro in Billy Corgan's hometown of Chicago, featured him shouting "I feel no pain, I feel no pain, I feel no pain," and then saying "We have the answer to your question, the answer to your guess is that we never fucking left!". Video of the song was played at a private after-show party, but has not been released to the public.[1] The song had a different feel and groove to the original, but halfway through the song, the original "Silverfuck" riff was reintroduced. No bootleg recording managed to capture the entire performance; the most common bootleg of the performance cuts off after 25 minutes.

Revival tour 2007[edit | edit source]

The reformed Pumpkins have again reprised "Silverfuck" in their live set, playing an 11 minute version at their first show in Paris which included a tease of The Doors classic "The End". The version reboots the evolution of the song and takes it straight to original album version with almost no changes. As the band's European tour progressed, many other song were often covered during the song, sometimes combined with random ad-libbed lyrics from Corgan. However, by autumn 2007, the song all but disappeared from set lists, often replaced by other jam-oriented songs penned by the band's newest line-up, including "Gossamer" and "Superchrist". The song became a staple during the The Other Side of the Kaleidyscope tour (2011) and again in December 2014.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

I hear your winter
I hear you rain
I've failed your summer ways
And I feel no pain

I hear what you want
And I feel that way
I hear what you want
And I feel that way

I hear you fade away
And I hear you crawl
I gave my life away
And I feel no pain
And I feel no pain
And I feel no pain
And I feel your pain

And she was my lover so sweet
And she was my angel
And what I've recovered of me
I put into a box underneath my bed

When you lie in your bed
And you lie to yourself
When you lie in your bed
And you lie to yourself
Lie
Lie

Bang bang you're dead hole in your head
Bang bang you're dead hole in your head
Bang bang you're dead hole in your head
Bang bang you're dead hole in your head

I hear what you want
And I feel that way
I hear what you want
And I feel that way

[Alright, this take, don't give a fuck.]

Availability

TitleNotesType
Siamese DreamOriginal releaseStudio
3 Feet HighBootleg • Live
The Cutting EdgeAugust 27, 1993 – Biddinghuizen, NL (soundboard / electric)Bootleg
Mashed PotatoesBootleg
VieuphoriaVideo
PluggelectricAugust 27, 1993 – Biddinghuizen, NL (soundboard / electric)Bootleg
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness2012 reissue bonus DVD: 1–11 Live at Brixton Academy 1996-05-15; 12–15 Live at Rockpalast 1996-04-07Studio
The Aeroplane Flies High2013 Reissue CD 5: Thirty-ThreeCompilation
EarphoriaMain releaseLive
Siamese Dream (Fruit Bats cover)Tribute
Live in Japan 1992Live

Tour stats

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]