When the Smashing Pumpkins play at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, some fans of the alternative rock icons will interpret the creative name of the band literally. After all, rowdy destruction fits with the theme of one of the band’s most recognizable lines from “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”:

“Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.”

An October show might even give fans the hint of a Halloween theme. However, the interpretation is actually far from the real reason the Smashing Pumpkins chose the name.

“Smashing is not a verb, it’s an adjective. It’s not like we like to smash pumpkins or anything. And we are not amused by pumpkin jokes anymore. I like the idea of smashing being aggressive as well as wonderful,” lead singer Billy Corgan said in Randi Reisfeld’s book This Is the Sound: The Best of Alternative Rock.

“It could have been any vegetable,” he added.

So, was the catchy and intriguing band name a total accident? Did everyone just ignore “the” and refer to them as Smashing Pumpkins without thinking twice?

D’arcy Wretzky, the band’s original bass player, spoke with Addicted to Noise about how the name originally grew from the strange sense of humor of the other original band members.

“But you know what happens over time is a name loses, it stops signifying what it originally meant…I think people never really understood what it meant in the first place,” she said. 

Maybe association with the action of smashing pumpkins was partly an effect of one of the most thought-provoking pictures the internet has ever produced.

The official TikTok account of THE Smashing Pumpkins set the record straight with a video to the tune of their long-time hit “1979” pointing out the intended meaning of smashing. 


Hehe got ya. (Pumpkin lovingly belongs to Howard Willing, SP producer, mixer, engineer, friend, etc)

♬ original sound - Satanic Panic! at the Disco

Regardless of how you interpret the band’s name, find your tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins with Jane’s Addiction.

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