The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Smashing Pumpkins

Img_capt = The Smashing Pumpkins on May 24, 2007, at "den Atelier", Luxembourg. Left to right: Ginger Reyes, Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin (back), Jeff Schroeder
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Chicago, Illinois, United States
Instruments =
Genre = Alternative rock
Years_active = 1988–2000, 2006–present
Label = Caroline, Virgin, Constantinople, Reprise
Associated_acts = Starchildren, Zwan, The Marked,
Jimmy Chamberlin Complex
URL = [ Official website]
Current_members = Billy Corgan
Jimmy Chamberlin
Past_members = James Iha
D'arcy Wretzky
Melissa Auf der Maur

The Smashing Pumpkins are an American alternative rock band that formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1988. [Although frequently referred to as simply "Smashing Pumpkins", and credited as such on the covers of "Gish", "Siamese Dream", and "Zeitgeist" (and related singles), the band's name has more often been presented as "The Smashing Pumpkins", dating back to their first demo tape, and exclusively so between "Mellon Collie" (1995) and "Earphoria" (2002).] While the group has gone through several lineup changes, The Smashing Pumpkins consisted of Billy Corgan (vocals/guitar), James Iha (guitar/backing vocals), D'arcy Wretzky (bass guitar/backing vocals), and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums/percussion) for most of the band's recording career.

Disavowing the punk rock roots shared by many of their alt-rock contemporaries, [Rogers, Ray. "Smashing Pumpkins [interview] ", "Interview". February 1996 (available [ online] ). Retrieved on 2007-03-11] the Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered, and guitar-heavy sound, containing elements of gothic rock, heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, arena rock, shoegazer-style production and, in later recordings, electronica. Frontman Billy Corgan is the group's primary songwriter—his grand musical ambitions and cathartic lyrics have shaped the band's albums and songs, which have been described as "anguished, bruised reports from Billy Corgan's nightmare-land". [Shaw, William. "Appetite for Destruction". "Details". December 1993.]

The Smashing Pumpkins broke into the musical mainstream with their second album, "Siamese Dream" (1993). The group built their audience with extensive touring and their follow-up, the double album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" (1995), debuted at number one on the "Billboard" charts. With approximately 18.25 million albums sold in the United States alone, [cite web| title=Top Selling Artists | publisher=Recording Industry Association of America (| url= | accessdate=2008-02-05] The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. [There are differing reports on the Pumpkins's worldwide sales at the time of their breakup: Jim DeRogatis, in December 2000, reported a total of "twenty-two million copies sold". David Fricke, that same month, wrote of the band's "more than twenty-five million records sold worldwide". See DeRogatis, Jim. "Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's". Cambridge: Da Capo, 2003; p. 89; cite web | author=Fricke, David| date= 2000-12-22| title= Smashing Pumpkins Look Back in Wonder| publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-10-25] However, internal fighting, drug use, and diminishing sales hampered the band and led to a 2000 break-up. In April 2006, the band officially announced that it was reuniting and recording a new album. Returning members Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin were joined by musicians Jeff Schroeder (guitar/vocals), Ginger Reyes (bass/vocals), and Lisa Harriton (keyboard/vocals) in 2007 to tour in support of their new release, "Zeitgeist".


Early years: 1988–1991

At the age of nineteen, singer and guitarist Billy Corgan left his native city of Chicago and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida with his gothic rock band The Marked. The band had limited success and quickly broke up. Corgan returned to Chicago, taking a job in a record store. While working there, he met guitarist James Iha. Adorning themselves with paisley and other psychedelic trappings, the two began writing songs together (with the aid of a drum machine) that were heavily influenced by The Cure and New Order.Kot, Greg. "Pumpkin Seeds", "Guitar World". January 2002.] Corgan met bassist D'arcy Wretzky in 1988 after a show by the Dan Reed Network where they argued the merits of the band. After finding out Wretzky played bass, Corgan stated his band's need for a bassist and gave Wretzky his telephone number. Wretzky soon joined the band, and she and Iha later had a short-lived romance. ["From Fighting to Smashing", "Washington Post". November 19, 1993.]

The first performance of The Smashing Pumpkins was on July 9, 1988, at the Polish bar Chicago 21. This performance included only Corgan and Iha with a drum machine.Kelly, Christina. "Smashing Pumpkins: The Multi-Platinum Band Is Over the Infighting But Can the Harmony Last?", "US Weekly". December 1, 1995] On August 10, 1988, the band played for the first time as a trio at the Avalon Nightclub."Jimmy Chamberlin [interview] ", "Modern Drummer". January 1994.] After this show, Cabaret Metro owner Joe Shanahan agreed to book the band on the condition that they replace the drum machine with a live drummer. Jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was recruited for the band after a recommendation from a friend of Corgan's. Chamberlin was at first an unlikely match, as he knew nothing of alternative rock at the time. As Corgan recalled of the period, "We were completely into the sad-rock, Cure kind of thing. It took about two or three practices before I realized that the power in his playing was something that enabled us to rock harder than we could ever have imagined." On October 5, 1988, the complete band took the stage for the first time at the Cabaret Metro.In 1989, the group had recorded a handful of demo tapes, which appeared later on the bootleg release "Early 1989 Demos". The Pumpkins made their first appearance on vinyl that same year on the compilation album "Light Into Dark", which featured several Chicago alternative bands. They released their first record, a limited edition single of "I Am One", in 1990 on local Chicago label Limited Potential. The single sold out and they released another single, "Tristessa", on Sub Pop, after which they signed to Caroline Records.Keedle, Jayne. "Patchin' It Back Together", "Hartford Advocate". October 1, 1996.] The Smashing Pumpkins recorded their 1991 debut album "Gish" with producer Butch Vig at his Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, for $20,000. [Kot, Greg. "Out of the Patch for Smashing Pumpkins, New Album Is Another Sign of Liftoff", "Chicago Tribune". June 21, 1991.] In order to gain the consistency he desired, Corgan often played all instruments save drums, which created tension in the band. The music fused heavy metal guitars, psychedelia and dream pop, garnering them comparisons to Jane's Addiction. [Rotondi, James. "Orange Crunch", "Guitar Player". January 1996.] "Gish" became a minor success, with the single "Rhinoceros" receiving some airplay on modern rock radio. After releasing the "Lull" EP in October 1991 on Caroline Records, the band formally signed with Virgin Records, which was affiliated with Caroline. The band supported the album with a tour that included opening for bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, and Guns N' Roses. During the tour, Iha and Wretzky went through a messy breakup, Chamberlin became addicted to narcotics and alcohol, and Corgan entered a deep depression, [Hilburn, Robert. "Smashing Pumpkins Endures When (and What) Other '90s Bands Couldn't", "Los Angeles Times". August 3, 1998 (available [ online] ) Retrieved on 2007-03-11.] writing some songs for the upcoming album in the parking garage where he lived at the time. [cite web | url = | title = Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan Leaving Hometown of Chicago | last = Davis | first = Darran | publisher = Yahoo! Music ( | date = 2000-08-08 | accessdate=2007-02-01]

Mainstream success: 1992–1994

With the breakthrough of alternative rock into the American mainstream due to the popularity of grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins were poised for major commercial success. At this time, and amid their protests, the Pumpkins were routinely lumped in with the grunge movement. In a Halloween night interview on MTV's "120 Minutes" in 1993, Corgan remarked, "We've graduated now from [being called] 'the next Jane's Addiction' to 'the next Nirvana,' now we're 'the next Pearl Jam.' [cite interview |last= Corgan |first= Billy |program= 120 Minutes |callsign= MTV |date= October 1993] The group nevertheless contributed the song "Drown" to the platinum-selling soundtrack of the 1992 movie "Singles", a film set in the Seattle grunge music scene.Corgan said that in the wake of Nirvana's landmark 1991 album "Nevermind", "We felt a great pressure that if we didn't come up with a record that was huge, we were done. It was that simple in our minds. We felt like our lives depended on it." Corgan's depression deepened to the point where he contemplated suicide. [cite web | last = Shepherd | first = Julianne | title = Billy Corgan (interview) | publisher =| date=2005-06-13 | url = | accessdate=2007-02-03 Corgan has said on various occasions—most notably during the band's 2000 performance on "VH1 Storytellers"—that "Today" was written as an ironic statement about this period of suicidial thoughts. See also cite web | last = Beck | first = Johnny | title = The Greatest Songs Ever! "Today" | publisher =| date=December 2001/January 2002| url = | accessdate=2007-02-03] To counteract his depression, Corgan worked overtime, saying he practically lived in the studio for the 1993 follow-up album, "Siamese Dream". The album was recorded at Triclops Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, mostly between December 1992 and March 1993. The band lived in Marietta during the sessions, as Butch Vig reprised his role as producer. The decision to record so far away from their hometown was motivated partly by the band's desire to avoid local friends and distractions during the recording, but largely as a desperate attempt to cut Chamberlin off from his known drug connections. In this respect, the strategy failed, as Chamberlin quickly managed to find new connections and often was absent without any contact for days at a time.

The recording environment was very difficult, and the band fought constantly. The contemporary music press portrayed Corgan as a tyrant during the recording sessions. Corgan admitted there was some truth to the accusations, though he felt the press misunderstood the situation. [Mundy, Chris. "Strange Fruit: Success Has Come at a High Price for this Chicago Band", "Rolling Stone". April 21, 1994.] Rumors circulated that he had recorded all the guitar and bass parts himself. It was never confirmed exactly how much each member participated on the album; Corgan did say he performed a majority of the guitar work, but only because he could record tracks and parts in far fewer takes.Azerrad, Michael. "Smashing Pumpkins' Sudden Impact", "Rolling Stone". October 1, 1993.] In 2007, Corgan would finally clarify the nature of the band's recording habits, stating "ninety-seven percent of what you would hear off of any Smashing Pumpkins record is, pretty much, just Billy and Jimmy."Chamberlin, Jimmy; Corgan, Billy (interview subjects). "Inside the Zeitgeist" (Reprise Records, 2007).] In all, it took over four months to complete the record, with the budget exceeding $250,000. Despite all the problems in its recording, "Siamese Dream" debuted at number ten on the "Billboard" charts, [cite web | title=UB40? No, UB7! | publisher = | date=1993-08-13 | url=,,307649,00.html | accessdate=2007-10-05] and sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone. [cite web | last = Rosen | first = Craig | title=Pumpkins' "Dream" | publisher = Yahoo! Music ( | date=1999-11-02 | url= | accessdate=2006-11-04]

While the Pumpkins were successful, they were not universally adored by the alternative rock community. Participants in the indie scene had derided the band as careerists since their early days. Indie rock band Pavement's 1994 song "Range Life" refers to the band with the lines "I don't understand what they mean/And I could really give a fuck", which have been widely interpreted as an insult (although Stephen Malkmus, lead singer of Pavement, has stated "I never dissed their music. I just dissed their status."). [cite web | author= Gabriella | month=June | year=1999 | title= Interview with Stephen Malkmus of Pavement | publisher = | url= | accessdate=2006-07-12] Former Hüsker Dü frontman Bob Mould called them "the grunge Monkees", and fellow Chicago musician/producer Steve Albini wrote a scathing letter in response to an article praising the band. He countered that the Pumpkins were no more alternative than REO Speedwagon and said they were created "by, of and for the mainstream" and "stylistically appropriate for the current college party scene, but ultimately insignificant". [Albini, Steve. "Three Pandering Sluts and Their Music-Press Stooge", "Chicago Reader". January 28, 1994.] Others such as Courtney Love of Hole (who dated Corgan before marrying Nirvana's Kurt Cobain) were vocal supporters of the band.

In 1994, Virgin released the B-sides/rarities compilation "Pisces Iscariot" which outperformed "Siamese Dream" by reaching number four on the "Billboard" charts.cite web| url= | title=Smashing Pumpkins Artist Chart History: Albums| | accessdate=2007-10-05] Also released was a VHS cassette titled "Vieuphoria" featuring a mix of live performances and behind-the-scenes footage. Following relentless touring to support the recordings, including headline slots on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour and at Reading Festival in 1995, the band took time off to write the follow-up album.

"Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness": 1995–1997

Corgan worked nonstop over the next year and wrote, according to statements in interviews, about fifty-six songs for the next album. [ cite interview | last = Corgan | first = Billy | last2 = Iha | first2 = James | last3 = Wretzky | first3 = D'arcy| program = Hora Prima | callsign = MTV Latin America | date = 1996-12-19] Following this spell of concentrated creativity, the Pumpkins went back into the studio with producers Flood and Alan Moulder to work on what Corgan described as "The Wall" for Generation X", [DeRogatis, pp. 46, 80.] a comparison with the 1979 Pink Floyd two-LP concept album.The result was "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness", a double album featuring twenty-eight songs and lasting over two hours (the vinyl version of the album contained three records, two extra songs, and an alternate tracklisting). The songs were intended to hang together conceptually as a symbol of the cycle of life and death. Praised by "Time" as "the group's most ambitious and accomplished work yet", [Farley, Christopher John. "A Journey, Not a Joyride". "Time". November 13, 1995.] "Mellon Collie" debuted at number one on the "Billboard" charts in October 1995. [cite web | title='Mellon Collie' Baby | publisher = | date=1995-11-10 | url=,,299485,00.html | accessdate=2007-11-05] Even more successful than "Siamese Dream", it was certified nine times platinum in the United States [cite web| title=Top 100 Albums | publisher = Recording Industry Association of America (| url= | accessdate=2007-08-04 Sales for double albums are counted for each disc, thus 4.5 million copies of the double album package have been certified.] and became the best-selling double album of the decade to date. ["Germ Warfare", "Newsweek". October 14, 1996.] It also garnered seven 1997 Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. The band won only the Best Hard Rock Performance award, for the album's lead single "Bullet with Butterfly Wings". The album spawned five singles—"Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "1979", "Zero", "Tonight, Tonight", and "Thirty-Three"—of which the first three were certified gold and all but "Zero" entered the Top 40. Many of the remaining songs that did not make it onto "Mellon Collie" were released as B-sides to the singles, and were eventually compiled in "The Aeroplane Flies High" box set. As a testament to the band's popularity, Virgin Records originally intended to limit the set to 200,000 copies, but produced more after the original run sold out due to overwhelming demand. [cite web| date=1996-12-16 | title= Pumpkins' "Collectors" Set Has Mass Appeal | publisher =| url= | accessdate=2006-08-30] In 1996, the Pumpkins embarked on an extended world tour in support of "Mellon Collie". Corgan's look during this period—a shaved head, a longsleeve black shirt with the word "Zero" printed on it, and silver pants—became iconic. [cite interview |last= Corgan |first= Billy |program= Breakfast with Billy | callsign= KROQ | city= Los Angeles | date= 1996-02-02] That year, the band also made a guest appearance in an episode of "The Simpsons", "Homerpalooza". With considerable video rotation on MTV, major industry awards, and "Zero" shirts selling in many malls, the Pumpkins were considered one of the most popular bands of the time. [Marks, Craig. "Zero Worship", "Spin". June 1996.] [Violanti, Anthony. "Cool in Control Smashing Pumpkins Weathers the Storms of Celebrity", "Buffalo News". June 30, 1996.] But the year was far from entirely positive for the band. In May, the Smashing Pumpkins played a gig at The Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. Despite the band's repeated requests for moshing to stop, a seventeen-year-old fan named Bernadette O'Brien was crushed to death. The concert ended early and the following night's performance in Belfast was cancelled out of respect for her. [cite web | year=1996 | title= Fan Crushed at Smashing Pumpkin's Show | publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-06-23] However, while Corgan maintained that moshing’s “time [had] come and gone,” the band would continue to request open-floor concerts throughout the rest of the tour. [Durando, Stu. "Wary of Injuries and Litigation, Concert Venues Take Extra Precautions to Deal with Moshing", "St. Louis Post-Dispatch". July 17, 1996.]

The band suffered a personal tragedy on the night of July 11, 1996, when touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and Chamberlin overdosed on heroin in a hotel room in New York City. Melvoin died, and Chamberlin was arrested for drug possession. A few days later, the band announced that Chamberlin had been fired as a result of the incident. [cite web | author= Errico, Marcus | date= 1996-07-17| title= Smashing Pumpkins Drum Out Jimmy Chamberlin | publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-06-21] The Pumpkins chose to finish the tour, and hired drummer Matt Walker and keyboardist Dennis Flemion. Corgan later said the decision to continue touring was the worst the band had ever made, damaging both their music and their reputation. Meanwhile the band had given interviews since the release of "Mellon Collie" stating that it would be the last conventional Pumpkins record,Di Perna, Alan. "Zero Worship", "Guitar World". December 1995.] and that rock was becoming stale. James Iha said at the end of 1996, "The future is in electronic music. It really seems boring just to play rock music." [Graff, Gary. "Smashing Pumpkins—Rave of the Future", "Guitar World". December 1996.]

"Adore", "Machina", and breakup: 1998–2000

After the release of "Mellon Collie", the Pumpkins contributed multiple songs to various compilations. Released in early 1997, the song “Eye” relied almost exclusively on electronic instruments and signaled a drastic shift from the Pumpkins’ previous musical styles. At the time, Corgan stated his "idea [was] to reconfigure the focus and get away from the classic guitars-bass-drum rock format”. [Gundersen, Edna. "Smashing that Pumpkins stereotype Band shuns 'tragic' label', "USA Today". February 26, 1997.] Later that year, the group contributed "The End is the Beginning is the End" to the soundtrack for the film "Batman & Robin". With Matt Walker on drums, the song featured a heavy sound similar to "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" while still having strong electronic influences. The song later won the 1998 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Though Corgan announced that the song represented the sound people could expect from the band in the future, [cite video | people = Chris Connelly | title = MTV's Week in Rock | medium = TV-Series| publisher = MTV | date = 1997-05-02 ] the band’s next album would feature few guitar driven songs.Recorded following the death of Corgan's mother and his divorce, 1998's "Adore" represented a significant change of style from the Pumpkins' previous guitar-based rock, veering into electronica. The record, cut with assistance from studio drummers and drum machines, was infused with a darker aesthetic than much of the band's earlier work. The group also modified its public image, shedding its alternative hipster look for a more subdued appearance. Although "Adore" received favorable reviews and was nominated for Best Alternative Performance at the Grammy Awards, the album had only sold about 830,000 copies in the United States by the end of the year, which led the music industry to consider it a failure. [cite web | author=Fricke, David | date=1998-12-29| title= When Billy Corgan Speaks... | publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-05-05] The album nonetheless sold three times as many copies overseas. The band embarked on a seventeen-date, fifteen-city charity North American tour in support of "Adore". At each stop on the tour, the band donated 100 percent of tickets sales to a local charity organization. The tour's expenses were entirely funded out of the band's own pockets. All told, the band donated over $2.8 million to charity as a result of the tour. [cite web | date=1998-09-22| title=Smashing Pumpkins Raise Over $2.8 Million on Charity Tour| publisher| url= | accessdate=2006-08-30] Listen|filename=ava_adore.ogg|title="Ava Adore"|description=Sample of "Ava Adore", the first single from "Adore" (1998), which emphasizes the band's new electronic music-based sound via the use of drum machines and effects. |format=Ogg Listen|filename=The Smashing Pumpkins - The Everlasting Gaze (sample).ogg|title="The Everlasting Gaze"
description=Sample of "The Everlasting Gaze" from "Machina/The Machines of God" (2000), the first single from the album. A return to the dense, guitar-heavy sound of previous records.|format=Ogg
sample box endIn 1999, the band surprised fans by reuniting with a rehabilitated Jimmy Chamberlin for a brief tour dubbed "The Arising", which showcased both new and classic material. The lineup was short-lived, however, as upon the completion of the album "Machina/The Machines of God", the band announced the departure of Wretzky in September. [cite web | date=1999-09-10| title= D'Arcy Exits Smashing Pumpkins | publisher | url= | accessdate=2007-02-07] Former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur was recruited for the "Sacred and Profane" tour in support of the album and appeared in the videos accompanying its release. Released in 2000, "Machina" was initially promoted as the Pumpkins' return to a more traditional rock sound, after the more gothic, electronic-sounding "Adore".cite web | author=Newman, Melinda, and Jonathan Cohen| date=2000-05-24| title= Corgan: Smashing Pumpkins To Break Up | publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-05-04] The album debuted at number three on the "Billboard" charts, [cite web | date=2000-03-09| title= Santana Still No. 1 Despite Strong Debuts | publisher | url= | accessdate=2007-10-05] but quickly disappeared and as of 2007 has only been certified gold. [cite news |first = Gemma |last = Tarlach |title = Once-Sizzling Bands Grapple with Fading Fame |url = | publisher = "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" |date = 2000-04-11 |accessdate = 2006-09-27] [cite web | url= | title= Gold and Platinum Database Search | publisher= Recording Industry Association of America ( | accessdate=2006-09-27] Music journalist Jim DeRogatis, who described the album as "one of the strongest of their career", noted that the stalled sales for "Machina" in comparison to teen pop ascendant at the time "seems like concrete proof that a new wave of young pop fans has turned a deaf ear toward alternative rock." [DeRogatis, pp. 84–85.] On May 23, 2000, in a live radio interview on KROQ-FM (Los Angeles), Billy Corgan announced the band's decision to break up at the end of that year following additional touring and recording. The group's final album before the break-up, "Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music", was released in September 2000 in a limited pressing on vinyl with permission and instructions for free redistribution on the Internet by fans. Only twenty-five copies were cut, each of which was hand numbered and given to friends of the band along with band members themselves. The album, released under the Constantinople Records label created by Corgan, consisted of one double LP and three ten-inch EPs. [cite web | url= | title="Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music" | work=The Smashing Pumpkins Fan Collaborative Discography ( | accessdate=2007-01-12] Originally, the band asked Virgin to offer "Machina II" as a free download to anyone who bought "Machina". When the record label declined, Corgan opted to release the material independently.cite web | author=Fricke, David| date=2000-12-22| title=Smashing Pumpkins Look Back in Wonder|| url= | accessdate=2006-10-25]

On December 2, 2000, The Smashing Pumpkins played a farewell concert at The Metro, the same Chicago club where their career had effectively started twelve years earlier. The four-hour-long show featured 35 songs spanning the group's career, and attendees were given a recording of the band’s first concert at The Metro, "Live at Cabaret Metro 10-5-88". The single "Untitled" was released commercially to coincide with the farewell show.

Post-breakup: 2001–2004

In 2001, the compilation "Rotten Apples" was released. The double-disc version of the album, released as a limited edition, included a B-sides/rarities collection called "Judas Ø". The "Greatest Hits Video Collection" DVD was also released at the same time, which compiled all of the Pumpkins promo videos from "Gish" to "Machina" along with unreleased material. [There is one notable omission, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End". This was excluded because the rights are owned by Warner Bros., who loaned out the band from their regular label, Virgin Records.] "Vieuphoria" was released on DVD in 2002, as was the soundtrack album "Earphoria", previously released solely to radio stations in 1994.

Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin reunited in 2001 as members of Corgan's next project, the shortlived supergroup Zwan. Their only album, "Mary Star of the Sea", was released to generally positive reviews but, after cancelling a few festival appearances, Corgan announced the demise of the band in 2003 under cloudy circumstances. During 2001, Corgan also toured as part of New Order and provided vocals on their comeback album "Get Ready". In October 2004, Corgan released his first book, "Blinking with Fists", a collection of poetry. In June 2005, he released a solo album, "TheFutureEmbrace", which he described as "(picking) up the thread of the as-of-yet-unfinished work of the Smashing Pumpkins".Corgan, Billy. "A Message to Chicago from Billy Corgan", "Chicago Tribune", June 21, 2005.] Despite this, it was greeted with generally mixed reviews and lackluster sales. Only one single, "Walking Shade", was released in support of the album.

In addition to drumming with Zwan, Jimmy Chamberlin also formed an alternative rock/jazz fusion project band called The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. They released an album in 2005 titled "Life Begins Again". Corgan provided guest vocals on the track "Lokicat". James Iha served as a guitarist in A Perfect Circle, appearing on their "Thirteenth Step" club tour and 2004 album, "eMOTIVe". He has also been involved with other acts such as Chino Moreno's Team Sleep and Vanessa and the O's. He continues to work with his own record label as well, Scratchie Records. D'arcy Wretzky has not made any public statements or appearances nor given any interviews since leaving the band in 1999. On January 25, 2000, she was arrested after she allegedly purchased three bags of crack cocaine, but after successfully completing a court-ordered drug education program, the charges were dropped. [cite web | author= Rosen, Craig| date= 2000-05-22| title= Ex-Pumpkin D'Arcy Wretzky Has Crack Case Wiped Clean | publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-05-08]

Corgan insisted during this period that the band would not reform, although when Zwan broke up he announced, "I think my heart was in Smashing Pumpkins [...] I think it was naive of me to think that I could find something that would mean as much to me." [cite web | author= Dansby, Andrew| date= 2003-09-15| title= Zwan Call It Quits | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2007-02-02] On February 17, 2004, Corgan posted a bitter message on his personal blog calling Wretzky a "mean-spirited drug addict" and blaming Iha for the breakup of The Smashing Pumpkins. [cite web | author= Corgan, Billy| date=2004-02-17 | title= Smashing Pumpkins (weblog) | publisher | url= | accessdate=2006-06-14] On June 3, 2004, he added that "the depth of my hurt [from Iha] is only matched with the depth of my gratitude". [cite web | author=Corgan, Billy | date=2004-06-03| title= Smashing Pumpkins (weblog) | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2006-06-14] Iha responded to Corgan's claims in 2005, saying, "No, I didn't break up the band. The only person who could have done that is Billy." [Spitz, Marc. "Head On", "Spin". August 2005.]

Reunion: 2005–present

On June 21, 2005, the day of the release of his album "TheFutureEmbrace", Corgan took out full-page advertisements in the "Chicago Tribune" and "Chicago Sun-Times" to announce that he planned to reunite the band. "For a year now," Corgan wrote, "I have walked around with a secret, a secret I chose to keep. But now I want you to be among the first to know that I have made plans to renew and revive the Smashing Pumpkins. I want my band back, and my songs, and my dreams." While performing at various drum clinics across Europe in September 2005, Jimmy Chamberlin confirmed that a reunion tour was planned to begin the next February, with a new album possibly to follow. [cite web | author=Kiener, Dan| year=2005| title=Pumpkins Reborn | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2006-05-02] In February 2006, reported that Corgan and Chamberlin had signed a new management deal with Front Line Management, and Melissa Auf der Maur stated that the pair were currently working on an album of new material. [cite web | author=Harris, Chris| date=2006-02-02| title=Smashing Pumpkins Reunion Is Under Way, According to Sources | publisher = | url= | accessdate=2006-02-02]

On April 20, 2006, the band's official website confirmed the reunion stating, "It's official. The Smashing Pumpkins are currently writing songs for their upcoming album, their first since 1999." [cite web | author=Kaufman, Gil | date=2006-04-21| title= Smashing Pumpkins Site Says "It's Official"—Band Has Reunited | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2006-06-28] The website later reported that the new album would be produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who produced many of Queen's albums, including "A Night at the Opera". [cite web | date=2006-08-16| title= For The Record: Quick News On Smashing Pumpkins, Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, Madonna, Guns N' Roses & More | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2006-08-23] Corgan and Chamberlin were verified as participants in the reunion, but there was question as to whether other former members of the band would participate. In April 2007, Iha and Auf der Maur separately confirmed that they were not taking part in the reunion. [cite web | author=Goodman, Elizabeth | date= 2007-04-06 | title= Exclusive: James Iha Speaks Out Regarding His Involvement in Pumpkins Reunion | publisher= | url= | accessdate= 2007-04-06] [cite web | date= 2007-04-23 | title= Movers and Shakers in Canadian Arts | |url= | accessdate= 2007-04-23] Chamberlin would later state that Iha and Wretzky "didn't want to be a part of" the reunion.Micallef, Ken. "The Evolution of Jimmy Chamberlin: Still Smashing!" "Modern Drummer". November 2007.] The Smashing Pumpkins performed live for the first time since 2000 on May 22, 2007, in Paris, France. There, the band unveiled new touring members Jeff Schroeder and Ginger Reyes, who took over second guitarist and bassist duties, respectively, as well as Lisa Harriton on keyboards. [cite web | author=Cohen, Jonathan | date= 2007-04-22 | title=Smashing Pumpkins Return To The Stage In Paris | | url= | accessdate= 2007-07-22] That same month, "Tarantula" was released as the first single from the band's forthcoming album. On July 7, the band performed at the Live Earth concert in New Jersey. [cite web| url = | title = The Police and Smashing Pumpkins for US Live Earth| publisher = | date = 2007-04-10| accessdate = 2007-04-11] The band's new album, "Zeitgeist", was released that same month on Reprise Records, entering the "Billboard" charts at number two. [cite web | author=Hasty, Katie | date= 2007-07-18 | title=T.I. Holds Off Pumpkins, Interpol To Remain No. 1 | | url= | accessdate= 2007-08-10]

The group released the four-song EP "American Gothic" in January 2008. The EP was released digitally on iTunes in the US, while internationally, the EP was released as a CD. In a February 2008 radio interview, Corgan said the band will be playing smaller venues, with shows dedicated to particular eras of the band's music.cite web | date= 2008-02-13 | title= Smashing Pumpkins Interview with Lane Zowe on Radio 1 | publisher | url= | accessdate=2008-02-19] The band is planning on releasing archival material from their entire career. That March the group contributed the song "Superchrist" to a compilation CD released by Guitar Center. Though Corgan and Chamberlin have continued to record as a duo, Jeff Schroeder indicated that he might be contributing to future recordings. [cite web | author = Becker, Alex | date= 2008-03-03 | title=Exclusive Interview with Jeff Schroeder - The Smashing Pumpkins | | url= | accessdate= 2008-04-03] No longer signed to a record label, Corgan and Chamberlin purchased a recording studio in Chicago and began recording in May, again, as a pair.cite web | author = Luerssen, John D. | date= 2008-03-19 | title=Smashing Pumpkins Entering the Studio to Plot Their Next Move | | url= | accessdate= 2008-02-19] The band released a new single, "G.L.O.W.", in September 2008 and plans to commence work on a "new multi-year, multi-release concept album" by the end of the year, according to Corgan. [cite web |author=Amter, Charlie |title=Billy Corgan discusses Pumpkins song in 'Watchmen' trailer |date= 2008-07-29 |url= | | accessdate=2005-08-02 ]

Musical style and influences

Listen|filename=Smashing_Pumpkins - Cherub Rock.ogg|title="Cherub Rock"
description=Sample of "Cherub Rock" from "Siamese Dream" (1993), which features layers of guitar overdubs influenced by arena rock and shoegaze, as well as repeated use of "the Pumpkin chord".|format=Ogg
sample box endThe direction of the band is dominated by chief guitarist, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter Billy Corgan. Journalist Greg Kot wrote, "The music [of The Smashing Pumpkins] would not be what it is without his ambition and vision, and his famously fractured relationships with his family, friends, and bandmembers." Melissa Auf der Maur commented upon news of the group's reunion, "Everyone knows Billy doesn't need too many people to make a Pumpkins record, other than Jimmy [Chamberlin] —who he has on board." [cite web | year=2006 | title= Smashing Pumpkins Reunion Is On | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2007-01-11] Many of Corgan's lyrics for the Pumpkins are cathartic expressions of emotion, full of personal musings and strong indictments of himself and those close to him. Music critics were not often fans of Corgan's angst-filled lyrics. Jim DeRogatis wrote in a 1993 "Chicago Sun-Times" article that Corgan's lyrics "too often sound like sophomoric poetry", [DeRogatis, p. 80.] although he viewed the lyrics of later albums "Adore" and "Machina" as an improvement. [DeRogatis, p. 88.]

The Smashing Pumpkins' distinctive sound up until "Adore" involved layering numerous guitar tracks onto a song during the recording process, a tactic that "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" coproducer Flood called the "Pumpkin guitar overdub army". There were a few overdubbed parts on "Gish", but Corgan said he really began to explore the possibilities of overdubbing with "Siamese Dream"; Corgan has stated that "Soma" alone contains up to 40 overdubbed guitar parts.Aledort, Andrew. "Introduction", in "Siamese Dream Songbook". Miami: Warner Bros. Publications, 1994.] While Corgan knew many of the songs would be difficult or impossible to replicate from their recorded versions in concert (in fact, some songs were drastically altered for live performance), he has explained the use of overdubbing by posing the question "When you are faced with making a permanent recorded representation of a song, why not endow it with the grandest possible vision?" [Corgan, Billy. "Guitar Geek USA" [column] , "Guitar World". January 1996.] This use of multilayered sounds was inspired by Corgan's love of 1970s arena rock bands Queen, Boston, and Electric Light Orchestra, as well as shoegaze, a British alternative rock style of the late 1980s and early 1990s that relied on swirling layers of guitar noise for effect. "Mellon Collie" coproducer Alan Moulder was originally hired to mix "Siamese Dream" because Corgan was a fan of his work producing shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Slowdive. [DeRogatis, p. 78.]

Like many contemporary alternative bands, The Smashing Pumpkins utilized shifts in song dynamics, going from quiet to loud and vice versa. Hüsker Dü's seminal album "Zen Arcade" demonstrated to the band how they could place gentler material against more aggressive fare, and Corgan made such shifts in dynamics central to the pursuit of his grand musical ambitions. [Corgan, Billy. "Guitar Geek USA [column] ", "Guitar World". September 1995.] Corgan said he liked the idea of creating his own alternative universe through sound that essentially tells the listener, "Welcome to Pumpkin Land, this is what it sounds like on Planet Pumpkin." [DeRogatis, p. 76.] This emphasis on atmosphere carried through to "Adore" (described as "arcane night music" in prerelease promotion) [cite web | author= Kaufman, Gil | date=1998-01-14| title= Pumpkins Recording Album of "Arcane Night Music" | publisher= Addicted to Noise/ | url= | accessdate=2006-09-07] and the "Machina" albums (concept records that tell the story of a fictional rock band).

The Pumpkins drew inspiration from a variety of other genres, some unfashionable during the 1990s among music critics. Corgan in particular was open about his appreciation of heavy metal, citing Dimebag Darrell of Pantera as his favorite contemporary guitarist. [Corgan, Billy. "Guitar Geek USA [column] ", "Guitar World". August 1995.] When one interviewer commented to Corgan and Iha that "Smashing Pumpkins is one of the groups that relegitimized heavy metal" and that they "were among the first alternative rockers to mention people like Ozzy and Black Sabbath with anything other than contempt", Corgan went on to rave about Black Sabbath's "Master of Reality" and Judas Priest's "Unleashed in the East". The song "Zero", which reminded Iha of Judas Priest, is an example of what the band dubbed "cybermetal". ["Killer B's", "Guitar World". January 1997.] Post-punk and gothic rock bands like Joy Division/New Order, Bauhaus, The Cure, and Depeche Mode were formative influences on the band, which covered such artists in concert and on record. Psychedelic rock was also referenced often in the band's early recordings; according to Corgan, "In typical Pumpkins fashion, no one at that point really liked loud guitars or psychedelic music so, of course, that's exactly what we had to do." [Commentary for "Siva" music video. "The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection" (Virgin Records, 2001).] Corgan acknowledged that a chord he jokingly claimed as "the Pumpkin chord" (a G# octave chord at the eleventh fret of a guitar with the low E string played over it), used as the basis for "Cherub Rock" and other songs, was in fact previously used by Jimi Hendrix. Other early influences cited by Corgan include Cream, The Stooges, and Blue Cheer. ["Smashing Pumpkins", "Chicago Tribune". July 9, 1990.]

Regarding the band's influence upon other groups, Greg Kot wrote in 2001, "Whereas Nirvana spawned countless mini-Nirvanas, the Pumpkins remain an island unto themselves." Still, some artists and bands have mentioned the Pumpkins as an influence, such as Nelly Furtado [cite web | last = Parker | first = Lyndsey | title = Exclusive LAUNCH Artist Chat | work = Nelly Furtado | publisher = Yahoo! Music | date = October 25, 2000 | url = | accessdate = 2007-04-09] and members of My Chemical Romance. My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way has said that they pattern their career upon the Pumpkins', [cite web | author= Tyme, Gwyn | date=2005-05-05| title=My Chemical Romance—Interview with Gerard Way | publisher= | url= | accessdate= 2006-11-05] including the attention they pay to their music videos.cite web | author=Montgomery, James | date=2005-01-13| title=My Chemical Romance Aim for Smashing Pumpkins Status | publisher= | url= | accessdate=2006-11-05] The members of fellow Chicago band Kill Hannah are friends with Corgan, [cite web |author=Hudson, Marc |date=2006-09-18 |title=Future Imperfect: Mat Devine of Kill Hannah |publisher= |url= |accessdate=2007-02-12] and lead singer Mat Devine has compared his group to the Pumpkins. [cite web |author= Bondowski, Karen |date= 2006-12-21 |title= Interview with Kill Hannah's Matt Devine |publisher=Livewire ( |url=|accessdate=2007-02-17] Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno said in an interview that he is a fan of "Adore", listening to it extensively while touring, and that "Once Upon a Time" "really moves" him. [Interview with Chino Moreno, "Kerrang!". April 1999.] Critics have found connections with the Pumpkins' sound in various Deftones albums. [cite web |author= Dailey, Bryan |year= 2000 |title= Review of Deftones "White Pony" | |url=|accessdate=2007-12-17 cite web |author= Rolls, Chris|date= 2005-09-25 |title= Great Albums: Alternative Metal/Deftones—"Deftones" (2003)| |url=|accessdate=2007-12-17 cite web |author= Begrand, Adrien |date= 2006-11-06 |title= Deftones: "Saturday Night Wrist" |publisher=PopMatters |url=|accessdate=2007-12-17]

Music videos

:"For a complete list of the band's music videos, see The Smashing Pumpkins discography."The Smashing Pumpkins have been praised for being "responsible for some of the '90s' most striking and memorable video clips" and for having "approached videos from a completely artistic standpoint rather than mere commercials to sell albums". [cite web | last = Prato | first = Greg | title = Greatest Hits Video Collection (review) | publisher = Allmusic ( | url = | accessdate=2007-02-08] MTV's 2001 anniversary special "Testimony: 20 Years of Rock on MTV" credited the Pumpkins, along with Nine Inch Nails, with treating music videos as an art form during the 1990s. Corgan has said, "We generally resisted the idea of what I call the classic MTV rock video, which is like lots of people jumping around and stuff." [Commentary for "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" music video. "The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection" (Virgin Records, 2001).] The band worked with video directors including Kevin Kerslake ("Cherub Rock"), Samuel Bayer ("Bullet with Butterfly Wings"), and, most frequently, the team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ("Rocket", "1979", "Tonight, Tonight", "The End is the Beginning is the End", and "Perfect"). Corgan, who was frequently heavily involved in the conception of the videos, said of Dayton and Faris, "I know my [initial] versions are always darker, and they're always talking me into something a little kinder and gentler." [Commentary for "Rocket" music video. "The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection" (Virgin Records, 2001).] Videos like "Today", "Rocket", and "1979" dealt with images taken from middle American culture, albeit exaggerated. The group's videos so often avoid the literal interpretation of the song lyrics that the video for "Thirty-Three", with images closely related to the words of the song, was created as an intentional stylistic departure. [Commentary for "Thirty-Three" music video. "The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection" (Virgin Records, 2001).]

The band was nominated for several MTV Video Music Awards during the 1990s. In 1996, the group won seven VMAs total for the "1979" and "Tonight, Tonight" videos, including the top award, Video of the Year, for "Tonight, Tonight". The video was also nominated for a Grammy at the 1997 ceremony. Fans reacted with equal fervor. Of the "Tonight, Tonight" video, Corgan remarked, "I don't think we've ever had people react [like this] ... it just seemed to touch a nerve." [cite interview |last= Corgan |first= Billy |program= "Smashing Pumpkins Videography" |callsign= MTV |year= 1996]


See also

*List of alternative rock artists
*Timeline of alternative rock


*Azerrad, Michael. "Smashing Pumpkins' Sudden Impact". "Rolling Stone". October 1, 1993.
*DeRogatis, Jim. "Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's". Cambridge: Da Capo, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81271-1
*Erlewine, Stephen Thomas, and Greg Prato. [ "The Smashing Pumpkins"] , in "Allmusic (".
*Kot, Greg. "Pumpkin Seeds". "Guitar World". January 2002.
*Thompson, Dave. "Smashing Pumpkins", in "Alternative Rock". San Francisco: Miller Freeman, 2000. ISBN 0-87930-607-6


External links

* [ Smashing]
* [ Official Smashing Pumpkins MySpace Page]
* [ Billy Corgan/Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan's LiveJournal] blog posts about the revival of The Smashing Pumpkins
* [] portal to several Smashing Pumpkins fan sites.

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