This issue, in profiles is: The Smashing Pumpkins Collection
For our anniversary issue, we were able to get an interview(by email) with The Smashing Pumpkins Collection webmaster, Steve Hemming.
1) How long have you been a webmaster? Was the Smashing Pumpkins Collection your first site?
I have been a webmaster since early 1995, The first site I created was called Valhala it was about Myth and Magic Figures, which then developed in a site with Myth and Magic and a small section on the Smashing Pumpkins. This was hosted on Geocites at http://www.geocities.com/sunsetstrip/5360/. The Myth site was then taken over and redeveloped by my girlfriend Dawn and it is still online today, even thought it is not updated or maintained anymore. The current address is http://www.smashing.force9.co.uk/myth/ (Soon to be http://www.spc.org.uk)
2) How does it feel to have come from a site on Geocities to the most popular Smashing Pumpkins domain on the net?
That question is really hard to answer, Im not sure if the site is the most popular but, great I think, I have accomplished what I set out to do. It has now became an addition which sometimes I wish I could quit.
3) Are there times when you just want to give it all up, times when you'd rather just do something else?
Yes you bet, once every couple of weeks, mainly when I get stupid emails to Billy and then more asking why I have not replied, I get 100+ emails a day regarding the Site and the Pumpkins, 75% are quality emails the rest are like this :
Subject: PUMPKINS BREAK UP! Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 10:17:09 PST From: "********" <********@hotmail.com> To: email@example.com
Yes, it appears that our worst fears have been confirmed. THE SMASHING PUMPKINS ARE NO MORE! This after it was announced that James Iha was leaving the band to pursue his solo career, and that he was fed up with "egomaniacal" Corgan. Adore will apparently be the last Iha pumpkins album, but reports say that Corgan and D'arcy will no longer continue either. Well, we can't say it's not been great hearing them. Farewell and Godspeed former Pumpkins.
And also when people E-bomb me for not giving away commercial fonts. ?
4) What is the most rewarding thing that has come from running the site?
1. Getting emails from other fans/site visitors saying what a great site it is. Like when I had almost decided to close the site due to the e-bombing incident, I got like 800 email in 5 hours pleading for me to keep it online, that is when I realised that 100s of people log on and go to the site first thing everyday for the latest news etc. 2. Win the second prize in the UK Web Awards in 1997 for Best Personal site was a great moment. I was actually glad that I didnt win, I think the personal attention would have been to much, Im quite a private person really. 3. I was in a local bookshop today flipping though a book called the Guinness Rock???? And under the Smashing Pumpkins section it listed the site address for more upto date info, that is rewarding to see.
5) In the old days at least, was there anyone or anything in particular that inspired you in making the site (like another SP webmaster, etc.)?
The reason for starting the site is explained in question 8 but as for people that inspired and encouraged me, It was all the fault of 2 people; Chris Carmen (http://www.smashingpumpkins.org) for the encouragement when I thought my design work was crap, he helped to give me confidence to carry on in late 1995, and Helge Loy who was running a site called the Smashing Pumpkins Junction with a section of links to SP sites, he rated my work 2 stars after I had spent 2 whole days working really hard, so I immediately restarted designing the site in a fit of anger, the new design took the whole weekend but in the long run, it forced me to work really hard and produce something worth visiting. His site is still online (http://home.sol.no/floy/links.htm) even thou it has not been updated since December 1996 when I got re-reviewed with 3 ½ stars. With these comments:
The Smashing Pumpkins Collection is constantly improving, this site features a great and fast layout. Contains a lot of stuff, info on heaps and heaps of boots, albums, singles, videos, promos etc. Also has lyrics and links. There's also a JAVA puzzle game there, plus some handy downloads for all of you SP-freaks out there. Great site which deserves a visit ...or ten.
In October 1996, I got the chance to do some web design work for an ISP in the UK, and they got me the domain http://www.smashing-pumpkins.net registered for me, this was when the site really took off.
6) How long have you been a Smashing Pumpkins fan? Since 1992 when my brother lent me a taped copy of Gish.
7) If you had to choose, what Smashing Pumpkins song best reflects your personality? Drown and Today. The lyrics say why!
8) What do you believe to be the most important aspect of your site?
Hopefully the depth of information it has (1000+ html pages) The main reason for creating the site in the first place was to run a small site with just the Visual Discography, When I got online in early 1995, there was like only 5-10 pumpkins sites online anywhere and even though there was a discography online it did not have images of any releases, which I found a shame because it would have helped to know what you are looking for in stores and at Record Fairs if you had seen the cover/s. By that time I had become a huge collector of World-wide releases, promos, videos etc, and having just got my first flat bed scanner figured what the hell, I would try and make a site showing the covers and artwork for what rare items I had. Having done this much, people would email and ask for the lyrics, then tabs, then the news section came along, which was half hearted seeing as I live in the UK and not much SP news would get here. I have just found a backed up copy of the October 1996 Smashing Pumpkins Collection which is online now at http://www.smashing-pumpkins.net/1996/
9) What is the future of the Smashing Pumpkins Collection and you yourself? What's next?
Site Improvement I would like to make given the time and resources include: 1. Including Realaudios of old and new Interviews 2. Including Realaudios of old and new Concerts 3. Database the whole discography section, which whole mean easier searching and easier updating, but that is a major task and I need a server that would support databases,etc 4. Add a search engine to the site, but most I have tried take to long due to the site of the site and amount of html pages to sift through. (last Java search engine I tried, took 20 minutes to search all document containing Zero and that was with a 128K ISDN line. 5. Include all the 1000s of photos and images of the band I have gathered over the years. 6. Add cgi stuff, but I would have to learn to program first but I really dont have the time.
What Is in the future for me? Who knows . I keep thinking about writing a book on the band or creating a multimedia CD-Rom, but all that takes time and money something I dont have really.
10) Do you have any advice for other Smashing Pumpkins webmasters on making good sites?
No! if I told you that my site wouldnt be so popular ? These are a few things I think are important, really we should ask the visitors to the site. These comments really apply to all website not just Pumpkins fan sites.
1. Make the site original, there are loads of topics to cover, dont just copy someone elses site but with your images. 2. Keep the site fresh update as often as you can, let visitors know what has changed so they dont waste time on loading the same page everyday looking for updated info. Who is going to keep visiting if it states Last updated September 1997? 3. Make sure all the links are working (use programs like LinkBot (http://www.tetranet software.com) to check out the site regularly. 4. Keep the layout simple and easy to navigate (offer different forms of navigation) 5. Dont use frames unless you really have to (they are a pain, yeah) 6. If the site has a lot of info (html) dump all the Java and animations, if the site is small make it fun to visit use the Java and Flash etc. 7. Keep the pages small in file size so they load faster and link to larger images rather than putting them on the same page 8. Use a html editor like Homesite (http://www.allaire.com) then you really will get what you wanted in the browser. 9. Dont put MP3s online unless you can afford the law suite. 10. Get feedback from the visitors, so you what you are doing right or wrong.
The Smashing Pumpkins Collection is undoubtebly the most popular SP site today. But what makes it such a popular site? The biggest reason has to be its amount of content: original creations like screensavers, the comprehensiveness of the visual discography + songlist,etc. The discography/songlist sections are the biggest part of The SPC, there is almost every release-official and unofficial in it. The downloads section is also pretty massive with original screensavers(also some by other authors I believe), fonts, desktop themes, cd player ini file, and more. Also, The SPC's news section is quite current. Not only that but the site includes pretty well every SP video in real video, rare real audio, a large image section, merchandise values, trading post, and a whole lot more. The design is also good for the most part.
This site is a definite must for the SP newbie and the avid fan.
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