Who are The Smashing Pumpkins? Over the years, the look of the band has changed for a number of reasons. On this Flashback Friday, we reflect on all the band members, past and present, along with a couple of major touring members. Thanks to GlassSiva on DeviantArt who inspired this Flashback with her wonderful artwork.
Billy Corgan: Born William Patrick Corgan Jr. on March 17th, 1967, he is the lead singer for the band and has been the one constant member. He is the sole remaining member of the Smashing Pumpkins’ first original 4 piece line-up and also the majority song writer with over 95% of all tracks recorded under the Smashing Pumpkins banner credited to him. Billy’s past bands include Hexen and The Marked. During the Smashing Pumpkins hiatus, he played with New Order for a few live shows, followed by forming Zwan and then doing a solo album, TheFutureEmbrace, before returning to the Smashing Pumpkins. Billy has written over 600 known songs since he started the Smashing Pumpkins and is working on new work right now, while also working on the Smashing Pumpkins extensive reissue process.
James Iha: Born on March 26th, 1968, James was the 1st person to join Billy to form the beginnings of the Smashing Pumpkins. James is the only member to this date, other than Billy Corgan, to have written a song alone for the Smashing Pumpkins, writing a number of songs such as Blew Away, Summer & Go. He also co-wrote a few tracks with Billy, such as Farewell and Goodnight, Soma & Mayonnaise. During his time with the Smashing Pumpkins, James made a solo album titled Let It Come Down which was released in February, 1998. James’ last show with the Pumpkins was in December, 2000. He has since played with A Perfect Circle, joined a new band called Tinted Windows, and completed his 2nd solo album Look to the Sky.
D’arcy Wreztky: Born on May1st 1968, D’arcy was asked to audition for the band after she and Billy argued over a band whom they had both seen play live. D’arcy sang backing vocals on a number of Smashing Pumpkins tracks during her time. She did sing on her own in Daydream, Dreaming, and Farewell and Goodnight. D’arcy’s only writing credit was for the song Daughter, which was recorded before Gish and was co-written with Billy. She made a somewhat unexpected exit from the band back in September, 1999. She has since taken the quiet route and rarely been heard from, outside of an impromptu Q101 phone interview in July 2009,
Jimmy Chamberlin: Born on June 10th 1964, Jimmy joined the band as the final piece of the original Pumpkins line-up. With Jimmy behind the drums, the band played their first show together at the Metro on October 5th, 1988. Jimmy would later be fired after the death of touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, due to a drug overdose. During that time away from the Pumpkins, Jimmy recorded with a group known as The Last Hard Men. He would later rejoin the Pumpkins in 1999. When the Pumpkins were on hiatus, Jimmy, like Billy, played in Zwan, as well as recording his own solo album. When the Pumpkins returned, Jimmy was the only other original member to rejoin with Billy but he would later exit the band in 2009. He went onto join a band called Skysaw (originally called THIS) and has since done a couple of drum clinics and played recently in a jazz trio.
Matt Walker: When Jimmy Chamberlin was let go from the band in 1996, the band hired Matt Walker to take his place. Matt was the drummer from Filter and would finish out the Smashing Pumpkins tour. Matt recorded with the Smashing Pumpkins for the track The End is the Beginning is the End and was in studio for some of the Adore sessions. He also played on James Iha first solo album and worked with Billy on the Ransom soundtrack. In 2005, Matt would once again play with Billy on his solo album and also toured with him.
Kenny Aronoff: During the Adore tour, Kenny was the main drummer for the Pumpkins. Kenny is a very respected session drummer who’s worked with Melissa Etheridge, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Iommi, The Rolling Stones, and Johnny Cash, just to name a few.
Melissa Auf der Maur: After the departure of D’arcy, the band called on Melissa to fill the vacancy. Melissa met Billy at one of the Pumpkins’ first shows in Canada when her band Tinker opened for the band. Billy was the one who suggested Melissa to Courtney Love as the new bassist for Hole. She toured with the band for all the Machina shows and has since gone on to have a successful solo career.
Mike Garson: Mike is a successful keyboardist who has played with David Bowie before joining the Smashing Pumpkins for their Adore tour. He would be retained for the Machina tour and helped Billy with music for the soundtrack to Stigmata. He also played a piano solo based on the song Le Deux Machina theme, parts of which are included in the middle section of Glass and the Ghost Children. Mike recently contributed to James Iha’s second solo album on the track Appetite.
Jeff Schroeder: Born on February 4th 1979, Jeff was hired on as the Smashing Pumpkins guitarist replacing former founding member James Iha. Jeff played in The Violet Burning & The Lassie Foundation before joining the Smashing Pumpkins. Jeff has remained in the lineup ever since. Billy Corgan said that “Jeff in many ways is a far superior guitar player than me” adding that he raises the quality of his own playing. Jeff is originally from Southern California, but recently moved to Chicago and has even stated that he has been asked for his opinion on reissues.
Ginger Pooley: The former Chuck E. Cheese mascot took on the job as the Smashing Pumpkins bass player at the same time Jeff was brought on. Before she joined the Pumpkins, she had put out two solo EP entitled Room & Laguna Beach Demos. Ginger played with the Smashing Pumpkins up till she was pregnant with her first child, at which time she posted in March 2010 that she was leaving the band to focus on her family. She played bass one last time in April 2010 with the Smashing Pumpkins and their new drummer Mike Byrne. Since then, she has gone on to continue on her solo work and also worked with Glee Live in 2010 and 2011
Lisa Harriton: Lisa played keys for the Smashing Pumpkins from 2007 to 2010, til Billy Corgan announced that the band was looking for a new keyboardist in March 2010. Lisa has worked with a number of artists including Adam Lambert & Ke$ha. Lisa has continue to work on solo music and she is still on good terms with the band being seen at Pumpkins shows since her departure, including during last year’s Oceania tour. She is also playing on her own under the name Elle Rae, with a show tonight in Hollywood.
Mike Byrne: Mike has been on board with the Smashing Pumpkins since day 1 of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. Replacing the legendary Jimmy Chamberlin on drums. Mike grew up a fan of the band and tried out when an open online audition was announced. At age 19, he was hired as the new drummer and played a handful of shows with Billy Corgan and Spirits in the Sky before playing his first show a year later under the Smashing Pumpkins banner. Mike had just started a band called Bearcubbin’ before joining the Pumpkins, and when not with SP he plays shows with them.
Mark Tulin: With Ginger gone Mark Tulin from the Electric Prunes took over bass for a couple of shows. Mark would go on to be the 1st male bass player for the band other than Billy Corgan. He had also previously played with Mike Byrne and Billy Corgan in Spirits in the Sky, and was in studio with the Pumpkins during Teargarden recording sessions. Mark passed away from a sudden heart attack in February, 2011. Billy noted about Mark’s contributions to the band after his passing saying, “it was a great honor to have him play on some of these recent
SP tracks; ‘astral planes’, ‘widow wake my mind’, and many others,
tons of unreleased stuff. ”
Nicole Fiorentino: In May 2010, Nicole was hired as the new bass player. The band had put out an open audition like they had for Mike, but instead, Nicole was taken on after Billy saw her playing at a mutual benefit show. Nicole played with Veruca Salt, Light FM, Spinerette, and Twilight Sleep before joining the Smashing Pumpkins. In addition to playing with the Pumpkins, she also now plays bass for the band The Cold & Lovely.