Photorgraphed by Mark Gilbert in Vancouver, August 2, 12:30 pm


Melissa Auf der Maur: Bassist, Weary World Traveller, Aspiring Role Model

"When I was in Hole we would do a lot of girly stuff on the tours, like shopping and just . . . girly stuff. Now that I'm in the Smashing Pumpkins I'm the only girl. I still go shopping with [guitarist] James Iha, but the other guys spend their time watching pay-per-view wrestling matches and hanging out with pro basketball players who come to the shows. They love wrestling. [Singer] Billy [Corgan] says it's a true art form. None of them seem to play sports, that's for sure. They just sit and watch.

"My favourite part of our rock shows is meeting the young adolescent kid who loves music the same way I did. If there's an opportunity to talk to a young girl, I'll always tell her things that I would've wanted to hear, or give her some kind of express-yourself-feminist-be-true-to-yourself-get-to-know-yourself-remember- you-have-everything-you-need-inside-of-you kind of speech. I love the idea of having access to a teenage-girl audience and setting an example. I haven't gone on a high-school tour talking about safe sex and quitting smoking yet. But I wouldn't put it past me.

"I'll be a spokesperson and a mother one day. And I look forward to that. This lifestyle is sort of coming to an end. The world tours, you know, they take years off your life. I've aged in ways that I wouldn't have if I'd stayed in Montreal. Once I'm done with the Pumpkins it will have been six fine years of travelling the world in other people's bands.

"That's definitely challenging - trying to keep my own identity even though I'm always behind somebody else's thing. With Hole I was a lot more connected to the songs because I was there for the writing of some of them. In this band I have no idea where the songs came from, so I may be overcompensating with the live show. It's like playing in the perfect metal band. I do kicks. Someone even compared me to the guy from Iron Maiden. It's not like I'm trying. I'm not practising in front of a mirror, but it's happening. This music has released the rock animal in me."

Melissa Auf der Maur is currently playing bass on the Smashing Pumpkins' "very expensive last tour ever." After eight Canadian stops, including one in Auf der Maur's hometown of Montreal, the band begins seven weeks of European dates, including several in what she describes as "these tiny Portuguese cities that I've never heard of."

Related Links:
Shrine to Melissa
Melissa stats
Smashing Pumpkins
Nick Auf der Maur on Melissa




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