State of Sound

No Rock n’ Roll sound combines attitude with music as much as Punk.

Panache and often politics were on the gritty ground floor of the Punk movement. Loud guitars and scorching vocals only amplified the attitude. Songs were short and layered with a blitzkrieg of sound and emotion. Punk’s aggression of the late 1970s was sharply contrasted by the commercial success of Disco. In Chicago, circa 1977, punks and gays were dancing into the early morning at the underground Le Mere Vipere, while several blocks south an elite crowd was getting their Disco on at Faces on Rush Street. Life was moving to different beats.

Disco died out and Punk found it better to burn out than fade away (as Neil Young sang about punker Johnny Rotten). Alternative Rock followed Punk, embracing the DIY attitude of Punk but keeping a more open mind. This resulted in genres that ranged between Grunge (Punk and Metal) and an Indie, guitar-pop driven ethos that defines much of today’s contemporary Rock n’ Roll sound.

Featured Artist:
Smashing Pumpkins

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 Biography Transcript

Smashing Pumpkins 

Raised in Glendale Heights, Glenbard North honor student Billy Corgan chose not to accept several scholarships from universities, instead deciding to pursue a career in music full time.

He met Loyola University student James Iha while working at a used record store in Chicago and the two began making music together. Soon after, Corgan met D'Arcy Wretzky at a club and Smashing Pumpkins were born. After gaining a local following and starting to get national interest, the band hired former jazz musician Jimmy Chamberlin as their drummer.

Their first major release drew college radio station attention but it was the immaculate production of the 1993 Siamese Dream that drew critical praise and a number ten debut on the music charts. The double-disc set Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, debuted at number one on the charts producing even bigger hits.

The band took several hiatus’ and saw lineup changes before most of the original line up reformed in 2018 for a tour and album produced by Rick Rubin. 

Artists of the Sound

Tom Morello
Liz Phair
Rise Against
Naked Raygun
Fall Out Boy
Varuca Salt


The Smashing Pumpkins Billboard #1 Award

The Smashing Pumpkins’ landmark album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness further solidified their careers as global superstars. This Billboard Magazine Award presented to drummer Jimmy Chamberlin marks the period when the record was #1 on Billboard’s top 200 Albums chart.

Courtesy of Jimmy Chamberlin

Jimmy Chamberlin’s Custom Drumheads

Arguably one of the best drummers in Rock today, Joliet native Jimmy Chamberlin is the backbone of The Smashing Pumpkins’s multi-platinum-selling sound. He used the drumhead with a traditional Jazz shield (left) during the 1990s and the other (right) in the 2007 Zeitgeist tour, with artwork by Shepard Fairey.

Courtesy of Jimmy Chamberlin

Patrick Stump’s Video Shoot Costume

Fall Out Boy’s long-form 2014 video “The Youngblood Chronicles” features an all-star cast, including Elton John, Tommy Lee, and many others. Singer Patrick Stump wore this jacket in the final large-scale battle segment.

Courtesy of Fall Out Boy

Video Shoot “Weapon” Prop

Fall Out Boy’s drummer, Andy Hurley, wielded this weapon as part of the long-form 2014 video “The Youngblood Chronicles,” which accompanied the Fall Out Boy 2013 album Save Rock and Roll. This prop was used in the “Rat-a-tat” section, guest starring Courtney Love.

Courtesy of Fall Out Boy

Guitar owned by Tim McIlrath from Rise Against

This white Gibson Les Paul guitar was used by Tim McIlrath on many early Rise Against tours and recording sessions. The words “Out of Step” printed on the back pays homage to pioneers of Punk, Minor Threat, who influenced Rise Against.

Courtesy of Tim McIlrath

Naked Raygun vocalist, Jeff Pezzati's Guitar

Naked Raygun is a pioneering and influential band from Chicago’s punk scene. The band started in 1980 on the city’s south side Beverly neighborhood. Vocalist Jeff Pezzati used this Telecaster-styled guitar, made in Evanston, Illinois, by Flynn Guitars, in the early part of his career with the band.

Courtesy of Jeff Pezzati

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