The Smashing Pumpkins: Set the Ray to Jerry

By: Ross McGowan

Posted 11/16/2005 - 10:13:11 AM by jobearon:
 Thank you. Also, I've always found the Tonight Tonight b-sides to be rather excellent- 'Meladori Magpie' shouldn't work but does, with the sweetly brilliant 'Do you remember when we first met/Chasing down the alleyways behind my dad's". Billy Corgan may come off a pompous asshole in interviews, but you can't know his music and realise that's just a protective facade. Devoted Corganite # 16
Posted 11/16/2005 - 10:43:07 AM by J_R_K_:
 i had the 1979 single, i seem to remember this song being on there... billy, call butch.
Posted 11/16/2005 - 12:25:53 PM by hansel:
 I never cracked into the Pumpkins, not even for Siamese Dream. Hearing the singles was enough for me. At least until I heard Set the Ray to Jerry a couple years ago. I often use it as my sole Corgan defense. Brilliant song, thanks for the write up.
Posted 11/16/2005 - 01:04:25 PM by cleric:
 Actually the Pumpkins are probably the best band of the whole "US grunge/alternative wave". And the Aeroplane box is really worth its money, not only for the die-hard fans but for all people who enjoyed their work. And i believe there are still more pumpkins out there, it's more like the critics & writers never liked them cuz corgan often fooled them. Although i have to admit it's really sad to see such a (former?) talent writing mediocre to crappy songs after the pumpkins era. Btw, also the b-sides from the machina time are really good, imo better than most album tracks.
Posted 11/16/2005 - 01:06:32 PM by cleric:
 ... on machina I and II of course.
Posted 11/16/2005 - 05:41:15 PM by Humbaba:
 This is probably my favorite "perfect moments in pop" article in the history of stylus. The Pumpkins' b-side stash is indeed an astonishing treasure: besides "Aeroplane," just listen to the first disc/half of "Machina II," with "Vanity" and "Speed Kills," or any of "Pisces Iscariot" and its sequel "Judas O." Corgan (and occasionally Iha) produce one gem right after another,and so I can agree with the above poster's remark about the Pumpkins being "the best band of the whole US grunge/alternative wave" movement. There are a greater number of killer songs on the "Thirty-Three" single alone than in the entire catalogues of most bands from said movement.
Posted 11/17/2005 - 01:19:10 PM by DeSandro:
 Thanks Ross. Just like any other pumpkinhead, this brought a huge smile to my face. Not just because it mentions Master Corgan, but because it features the one song that defied every Pumpkin convention. Although their style varied from one raucous end of the spectrum to the other passive side, Set the Ray to Jerry manages to float in the middle, out of touch, out of focus. This track will remind us all about what the Pumpkins really were, and not all the Corgan-centric rhetoric that surrounds them.
Posted 11/18/2005 - 08:24:19 AM by nycghosts:
 Excellent article on a brilliant song. I maintain my love for most SP material, but a few more songs like this would make it a lot easier to defend.
Posted 11/18/2005 - 02:12:48 PM by jhitting:
 How can I get this song without paying money for a box set? Is it at a website or something for free download? I can't find it on limewire. I'm not a SP fanatic or anything, but I have always liked Billy Corgan. I never understood why he got such a terrible backlash after Melloncollie was released...maybe it's the bald head and leather fetish?
Posted 11/18/2005 - 08:42:54 PM by RossMcGowan:
 Well, other than hoping that "1979" is floating around in some used bin somewhere, "STRTJ" is on the Judas O. disc of the Rotten Apples greatest hits album. If I remember correctly, the two discs only cost as much as one album, but I could be wrong.
Posted 11/23/2005 - 12:26:08 AM by mmmtweak:
 This song is amazing. Great choice and description, Ross.