The Smashing Pumpkins have left Q Prime management, and the band is now searching for a new handler to guide its career, which in 1998 ran a bit off track.
Q Prime spokeswoman Gayle Fine confirmed the band's departure, but offered no comment. According to Jill Berliner, attorney for the Smashing Pumpkins, the relationship between Q Prime and the band had been "strained for some time," and that "the band's vision differed with management's vision." The Pumpkins joined Q Prime's all-star roster almost exactly three years ago, on the eve of the release of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. That double-CD quickly went multiplatinum and dominated rock, and even pop, radio for much of 1996, with hits such as "Tonight Tonight" and "1979."
The Pumpkins' latest album, Adore, released six months ago, has to be considered a commercial disappointment. To date it has sold 840,000 copies, according to SoundScan, making it the sixty-eighth best-selling album of the year. In this week's Billboard, Adore drops from No. 148 to No.183.
Q Prime, run by Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch, is one of the music industry's best-known and successful management companies and counts on its current roster Hole, Madonna (which Q-Prime co-manages), Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Def Leppard and Bruce Hornsby. Recently, the company has expanded, purchasing half of Volcano Records (home of Matthew Sweet and Tool), and entered the amphitheater business.
Sources speculate that Pumpkin band members (and Billy Corgan in particular) may have felt the band was not getting enough attention from Q Prime.
As for where the band may land next, industry insiders are pointing to the emerging, as yet unnamed, management/record label company being formed by Gary Gersh and John Silva. Gersh resigned as president of Capitol Records last spring, and Silva has been co-president of Gold Mountain management, where he's worked with Beastie Boys, the Foo Fighters, Beck and Sonic Youth. Silva is leaving Gold Mountain and taking his all-star acts -- and possibly the Smashing Pumpkins, too -- with him and teaming up with Gersh to form a new entertainment company. (All of those acts, though, would maintain their existing record label contracts.) Berliner confirms the band is talking with Gersh and Silva, "among others."
As for the band's next move career-wise, one major label VP offers some unsolicited advice: "They need to go away for awhile -- just hide completely and not even let Billy have his picture taken."
The Pumpkins apparently disagree. According to Berliner, the band is expected to enter the studio soon, with a release due out in '99.