Billy Corgan honored the victims of the 4th of July mass shooting in Highland Park, IL with a new Smashing Pumpkins song, “Photograph”. The singer-songwriter debuted the song during a benefit show at his Madame Zuzu’s vegan teahouse for the victims of the shooting in the Chicago suburb.
On July 4th during an Independence Day parade, Robert Eugene Crimo III allegedly killed seven people and injured 48 others. He is facing 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder, and 48 counts of aggravated battery.
Corgan has lived in Chicago for over two decades, and in 2020 opened Madame Zuzu’s vegan teahouse and performance space in Highland Park with his partner Chloé Mendel, a decade-long resident of the Chicago area. All proceeds from Wednesday’s Together and Together Again concert will go to the Highland Park Community Foundation and be directed to its July 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund.
“This is my reaction, I guess you could say, to what happened,” Corgan said during the solo portion of his performance before debuting “Photograph”. “I don’t know if it’s a good song or a bad song, but it certainly expresses the way that I feel.”
Corgan, who is normally “loathe” to explain his lyrics “because invariably I ruin somebody’s stoner trip version,” took a moment to explain the song before debuting it live.
“So in the opening scene, I’m explaining to somebody that I found a photograph of us standing in the spot where this horrible thing happened,” he said. “It’s as simple as that, how something so simple as a photograph taken on a beautiful day right over here by the ice cream shop where we go sometimes for a fancy sorbet and suddenly you look at a photograph and suddenly it has meaning. My god, we were in that spot.”
Corgan staged a mostly-solo performance for Together and Together Again, but also welcomed a number of guests including longtime Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Along with touring bassist Sierra Swan (who also performed with her father Billy Swan, who scored a #1 in 1974 with “I Can Help” and who Corgan remarked was the only person in the building with a #1 hit), the trio debuted another new Smashing Pumpkins song, “Scimitar”. Billy ultimately closed his set with a duet of Jane’s Addiction‘s “Jane Says” alongside Jane’s frontman Perry Farrell who was in Chicago for his Lollapalooza where he will perform with Porno For Pyros.
A full video of the Together and Together Again Billy Corgan performance is available on YouTube. “Photograph” begins at 1:37:00 and “Scimitar” begins at 2:17:30.