Butch Vig reveals the unlikely effects box used on The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream

It’s unlikely to be on the used market anytime soon.

Smashing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan in 1994 (Image: Paul Natkin/WireImage/Getty)

Butch Vig, the drummer for Garbage and the producer for Smashing Pumpkins’ classic Siamese Dream, has revealed the unlikely source of the distorted lead guitar tone on the album.

Speaking to Guitar.com, Vig explained how it wasn’t a boutique pedal that got the sound: quite the opposite. “The engineer at the studio, Mark Richardson, had a weird lap steel guitar that had this little button you could flick, and it was a distortion unit,” he explained. “I asked him if he could take it out, so he took the thing apart and took out this tiny little box and we started using that for some of the overdrive. Billy [Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins frontman] still has it. And it just had this most insane buzz, it just would kind of stir your brain right up.”

He also explained how its unique, narrow EQ curve made it great for cutting solo tones: It had a really narrow focus too, and we used that on a lot of the lead solo parts on Siamese Dream, because they just had a real specific frequency. And it was just something that happened to be at the studio, and then we discovered it and ended up using it.”

Siamese Dream was Vig’s second time behind the desk for a Pumpkins album, having produced their first LP Gish. He’s previously spoken about the incredibly intense process of recording it, describing 15-hour workdays seven days a week to get the album finished in the last two months of its recording.

Read the full interview with Vig tomorrow (10 December) at Guitar.com.

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