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Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan

When alternative rock took over the world, the airwaves, and MTV during the 1990s, few bands garnered more press or sold more records than the Smashing Pumpkins — you’d almost think they were from Seattle! But, no, the Smashing Pumpkins hailed from Chicago, Illinois, where bandleader, vocalist and guitarist Billy Corgan began working with fellow guitarist James Iha in 1988, then recruited bassist D’arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain to complete the lineup. Over the next two years, the quartet cut several demos while performing local shows, prior to landing a deal with Caroline Records and recording their debut album, Gish, in 1991 with Steve Albini producing. A relative success, the album established the band’s unique blueprint, combining college rock, psychedelia, dream pop and heavy metal, just in time to join the alternative rock revolution spearheaded by Nirvana the following year. Like many of the independent bands now associated with grunge, in one way or another, the Smashing Pumpkins duly graduated to a major label (Virgin) and were catapulted into the mainstream by 1993’s Siamese Dream. The group then reached absolute ubiquity via 1995’s gargantuan, two-CD magnum opus, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, only to deal with tragedy when tour keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin suffered a fatal heroin overdose in July of 1996. Drummer Chamberlain was also busted for drug possession and replaced by committee on the band’s 1997 follow-up, Adore — a detour into electronica that alienated many fans, especially after Corgan blamed them for “not getting it.” 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God, fared somewhat better, but the Smashing Pumpkins (now reunited with Chamberlain) were, by all appearances, past their commercial prime, along with ‘90s alt-rock, so Corgan decided to break up the band to work with Zwan between 2001 and 2003. Corgan would inevitably backpedal and record once again under the Pumpkins banner, via 2007’s Zeitgeist, then initiate a so-called “ongoing studio album” with 2009’s Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, followed in 2012 by the more traditionally self-contained Oceania and 2014’s Monuments to an Elegy. So, however unlikely it may be that the Smashing Pumpkins will once again enjoy their world-conquering success of yester year, one should never count out the prolific Billy Corgan.

Smashing Pumpkins
Caroline Records

25 Years Ago: Smashing Pumpkins Release Debut Album ‘Gish’

On May 28, 1991, Smashing Pumpkins kicked off their recording career with the album 'Gish.'

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Virgin
Virgin

Billy Corgan Pens Heartfelt Birthday Note to Former Smashing Pumpkins Bassist D’arcy Wretzky

Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan just sent out his first public message to former Pumpkins bassist D’arcy Wretzky in what seems like forever.

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Billy Corgan
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Shuts Down Stage Crasher With One Remark in Memphis

What does Billy Corgan think of audience members joining him unsolicited onstage? The Smashing Pumpkins vocalist shuts down this stage crasher with one remark.

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Smashing Pumpkins
Virgin

Former Smashing Pumpkins Bassist D’Arcy Wretzky Says She’d ‘Consider Going Back’ to Band

In a new interview, former Smashing Pumpkins bassist D'Arcy Wretzky says she would 'consider going back' to the band under the right circumstances.

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Kevin Winter / Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images
Kevin Winter / Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images

Ex-Smashing Pumpkins Guitarist James Iha Joins Billy Corgan Onstage in Los Angeles

Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha surprised many, joining Billy Corgan and the band onstage in Los Angeles.

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Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Billy Corgan on Smashing Pumpkins Lineup, Guns N’ Roses Reunion + Rock Hall Possibility

In a new interview, Billy Corgan discusses the fluidity of the Smashing Pumpkins lineup, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Guns N' Roses' reunion.

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Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan: Full Album Shows ‘Smack of Consumerism’

Don't look for Smashing Pumpkins to revisit any of their albums in full onstage after Billy Corgan's recently comments.

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Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
Duane Prokop, Getty Images

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan ‘About a Thousand Pages’ Into Writing Autobiography

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan offers a progress update on his upcoming memoir.

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Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Wants ‘Peace,’ But No Reunion, With James Iha + D’Arcy Wretzky

Billy Corgan was asked if he would be interested in reuniting or finding out about former Smashing Pumpkins members James Iha and D'Arcy Wretzky.

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Kevin Winter, Getty Images / Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Kevin Winter, Getty Images / Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Billy Corgan Reflects on Scott Weiland: He Was One of the ‘Great Voices of Our Generation’

Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan has penned a lengthy statement collecting his thoughts on the passing of Scott Weiland.

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