music, x marks the pod

X Pod Episode 6: Zwan, the great lost Smashing Pumpkins spinoff

When the Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000, the talented, tortured genius of Billy Corgan was on display again in Zwan, a band with the Pumpkins’ monster drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, future Pixies bassist/vocalist Paz Lenchantin, and dual guitarist Matt Sweeney and David Pajo. It’s a pity it didn’t work out. 


Featured photo is from Zwan’s SNL appearance.

A slightly abridged version (no Spotify music) of this episode is also available at or on its way to Apple, Google and Spreaker/iHeart.


Monday Morning Music: Zwan, “Honestly”

It’s not surprising, but it’s a shame Billy Corgan’s post-Pumpkins band Zwan didn’t work out. He kept powerhouse drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, added guitarists Matt Sweeney and David Pajo, then added bassist/backup vocalist Paz Lenchantin. All of the band members had some sort of indie cred from previous bands.

Having three guitarists along with an active bass player and busy drummer can lead to a train wreck, but Zwan sounded terrific. The guitarists all found spaces to play. Lenchantin’s vocals were a pleasant complement to Corgan’s, reflecting his surprisingly sunny lyrics.

Offstage, of course, it was a disaster, and the band’s breakup was full of bitter accusations of this and that. Corgan and Chamberlin went back to Smashing Pumpkins but neglected to bring back anyone else, and the Pumpkins continue today with maybe one-tenth of the attention they earned with the classics Gish and Siamese Dream. I refuse to give up on Corgan, who sounded reasonable and insightful in several interviews on the Rush documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage, but it’s clear that fans are only willing to follow him through so many dissolved bands.

In the meantime, Zwan leaves us with one solid album, including this highlight: