Editorials

ARE THE SMASHING PUMPKINS THE ORIGINAL WINDS OF PLAGUE?

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Of course members of glorified solo bands comes and go, but we’ve given Winds of Plague a lot of shit over the past seven months or so because of their insistence that their keyboard player slot be filled by a cute chick at all times. It’s the very definition of “gimmick” – it doesn’t matter who the best person for the job is. That job must be held by a woman at all times, lest adolescent boys’ interest in the music wane with their diminishing hard-on.

But then today I saw that The Smashing Pumpkins have a new bass player, Nicole Fiorentino (pictured above). And it hit me: “Holy crap, The Smashing Pumpkins are the Winds of Plague of their day.”

Fiorentino*, you probably know, is just the latest in a long line of cute indie-rawk chicks to play bass with the Pumpkins, after D’Arcy, Melissa Auf Der Maur, and Ginger Pooley. And I’m not saying this women aren’t talented – I’m a fan of Auf Der Maur’s in particular – I’m just saying, insisting that the person who holds a particular spot in the band is always someone of the same sex is ridiculous, especially when it’s a constant stream of attractive women who are clearly meant to appeal to the basest instincts of sexually depraved fans (like me).

(The obvious exception here is when you’re talking about a vocalist. If, for example, Julie Christmas quit Made Out of Babies and the band replaced her with a guy, the music would change in a really substantial way, so you couldn’t blame them for hiring a new female vocalist. But since women don’t play guitars, bass, drums, or keyboards in a manner that’s any different from men, it seems like that would be a “best person for the job” scenario. It’s also worth noting that Arch Enemy successfully made the switch from a male singer to a female singer; but that’s really more about screaming, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t the idea of a woman fronting, say, Cannibal Corpse kinda tickle you?)

Let’s think about it another way: if Billy Corgan insisted that his co-guitarist in the band always be of Asian descent, as James Iha was, well… it would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? And do you think he ever auditioned a woman to be the new guitar player or drummer in Smashing Pumpkins? Do you think any dudes even had a chance of getting in the door for the bassist slot?

I realize that it might sound like I’m making a not-so-covert “pro-dude/anti-chick” argument here, but I’m really not; I’m just trying to point out that Corgan and people like Corgan are being manipulative and exploitative. But maybe I should shut-up and just be glad someone is giving women a shot in rock music at a time when ladies don’t get no respect.

-AR

*Speaking of hard-ons, wouldn’t it be awesome if it turned out that she was realted to Linda Fiortentio from The Last Seduction?

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