Billy Corgan Rediscovers “Today” Video Location 25 Years Later

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Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has posted the following on Instagram.

“This non-descript building is, from what I’m told, and what a few fans have asked me to share, apparently the location of the first few scenes of the ‘Today’ video by SP. I wish I had more memories to share of that opening other than I can remember sitting on the ground reading the comic book and thinking it was going to be a hot day. The video, in whole, being budgeted for just a single day’s shoot.

So there was lots of running around and much in the way of improvisation. And I guess this is also where the kids came up and I gave away the ice cream. A conceptual idea that had come from my own childhood experience of meeting a rogue ice cream man, and of which I had to fight mightily (with the record company at the time) to get made. Thank God I won that argument, cause this video certainly changed the course of our lives and put a mark out of how we wanted to be viewed within our own ethos (IE and not like all the other kids) WPC.”

You can view the post on Reddit by HopeThatHalps with the exact details of where the “Today” video was shot below Corgan’s Instagram photo.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This non-descript building is, from what I’m told, and what a few fans have asked me to share, apparently the location of the first few scenes of the ‘Today’ video by SP. I wish I had more memories to share of that opening other than I can remember sitting on the ground reading the comic book and thinking it was going to be a hot day. The video, in whole, being budgeted for just a single day’s shoot. So there was lots of running around and much in the way of improvisation. And I guess this is also where the kids came up and I gave away the ice cream. A conceptual idea that had come from my own childhood experience of meeting a rogue ice cream man, and of which I had to fight mightily (with the record company at the time) to get made. Thank God I won that argument, cause this video certainly changed the course of our lives and put a mark out of how we wanted to be viewed within our own ethos (IE and not like all the other kids) WPC

A post shared by WilliamPatrickCorgan (@williampcorgan) on

Instead of putting together 1000 piece puzzles, my tedious hobby is looking for photographed places, for which the exact location is unknown, with Google Street View. So for fun, I wanted to find the opening scene for the Today video. All that was known was that they video was shot in or around L.A., and after looking around for a few hours and even asking the Los Angeles subreddit for some tips, I finally happened upon it, in Taft, CA:

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.1401903,-119.4576807,3a,75y,118.73h,89.7t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sNCrCiBY5HWsfIpeK15kadA!2e0!5s20120501T000000!7i13312!8i6656

And the building is still standing! And not only that, but the same signage is still likely in place, nearly twenty years after the video had been shot. It can be seen that the building directly to the south has been demolished as of 2012. Here is a wide view of the street https://i.imgur.com/3DF5pKF.jpg

Also in the video there is a short clip of a couple making out by a staircase, it can be seen that they are standing around the corner, against the north face of the same building.

The clue I received from the /r/LosAngeles that really helped was that someone noted that the location looked more like Bakersfield than Los Angeles, due to the fact that the streets were so “empty”. It didn’t turn out to be Bakersfield, but Taft, which is the next sizable town to the west. I had went so far as to email the director and the director of photography. The director Stéphane Sednaoui’s assistant said to check back in a few months, while the director of photography Marco Mazzei said “It was a point on a map to me and I really didn’t give the geographical location of the set too much thought. I was caught up in the visuals, and they were good.”

I then googled “Smashing Pumpkins Today Taft” to see if this was already known to the Internet, the only mention I could find is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrz6T_maqGXCHnNWEuGoF41HpYnjWhdJa , someone compiled a “filmed in Taft” play list which includes the video, but I have no idea how they knew of this. Apparently the town is used for filming somewhat routinely though, and in this article from 2018 it can be seen that the same hardware building is still standing https://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/taft-street-to-be-closed-wednesday-night-for-filming-of-music-video It looks like a new music video was being filmed there, it would be cool to find out which one. update, it was The Weeknd filming “Call Out My Name”

Also some has said that some of the desert scenes were filmed at Zabriskie Point, but my suspicion is that they never probably drove out that far, and that the rest of the video was probably filmed not too far from Taft. Knowing the general area where they filmed might make it possible to find other locations that were shot, although there are a lot less clues to work with.

You might say this was a lot of trouble to go through, but it was fun, and the payoff means I/we can possibly take some pictures there with ice cream cones before the building is inevitably demolished.