Oct 06, 2023, 06:29AM

Hoboken Runaway in Soho

Veronica Morgan’s new life, and new name, in Manhattan, January 1996.

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Veronica remembered where her brother was that night. She signed off for a long break with another song by The Smashing Pumpkins, “Starla.” The song was 11 minutes long, with an extended improvised guitar solo driving most of it, and on top of the commercials she was obligated to play, Veronica had at least half an hour to herself. She played the song for her brother Paul, a massive Smashing Pumpkins fan who told her he was planning on going to the show tonight. They’d stayed in touch, but Veronica left home as soon as she turned 18 and went looking for radio gigs. She changed her name a year in, losing patience with the Alien jokes; she knew she was going to be famous, and since Veronica Cartwright was already taken, she settled on Veronica Morgan. It never felt quite right.

She considered calling home, then tried to remember her home phone number in New Jersey, struggled slightly, and abandoned the idea without thinking much about it. Six years older than Paul, she was able to move out, disconnect, and lose touch before he even started going out. Collateral damage: Veronica was not going to stay in Hoboken with that family. She hated Howard Stern even more than Rush Limbaugh—“an obvious enemy”—and wanted to spearhead a new movement of talk radio. Everyone in her home town loved Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison; they joked about running trains on girls; heroin chic had just had its moment. This was not a healthy culture for young girls or boys.

But Veronica couldn’t take Paul with her, and without calling or writing home, there was no way to communicate clandestinely. She hadn’t spoken to her brother in nearly three years.


Earlier that night, when Paul was still getting ready for his trip into Manhattan, he found an old poster that belonged to Veronica. He kept his custom ticket for the Pumpkins show in her old room, forever preserved by their mother, certain she’d come back one day. He could put pot on the pillow and no one would notice—no one ever went in Veronica’s room except for him. He still went through the trouble of hiding the ticket, painted by guitarist James Iha, in his older sister’s old desk, in between the drawers, taped in a crevice. He grabbed it and came up with something else: a piece of paper with the following text:





Bury Me



Window Paine

I Am One


I Am My End

…and a poster advertising THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, live at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, August 3, 1991… Veronica left a year later… they never got to talking about the band.


Veronica didn’t like Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. She didn’t even like Siamese Dream. She was disappointed the band abandoned their prog rock freeform tendencies once grunge exploded; if Billy Corgan nearly killed himself because Kurt Cobain stole his girl and became world famous, then, according to Veronica, he should’ve come up with something more inspiring than that awful song “Today.” Did you know it’s an ironic song about suicide? Yes, Billy, every single fucking chance you get to explain it.

But she wished she was at the show tonight with her brother. Apparently Corgan had shaved his head and was refusing to change his clothes… She thought about calling the venue, begging for a press pass… but it was too late…

She went back on the air just as “Disarm” was finishing. “…and there’s ‘The Doorbell Song’ by your favorite, the Fantastic Butternut Squash… led by Fred Crogan… call in, Paul, if you’re listening…”

—Follow Rooster Quibbits on Twitter: @RoosterQuibbits


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