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1988 – present (30 years)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
- Billy Corgan (1988 – present)
- D'Arcy Wretzky (1988 – 1999)
- James Iha (1988 – 2000)
- Jeff Schroeder (2007 – present)
- Jimmy Chamberlin Complex (1988 – 2009)
The Smashing Pumpkins are an influential American alternative rock band, formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1988. Billy Corgan and James Iha met in a record store, and began performing in local nightclubs with their bassist, D'arcy Wretzky, before they had a drummer. Jimmy Chamberlin was hired shortly after to drum on the album Gish, and ended up staying due to his fitting drumming style.
Less influenced by punk than many of their contemporaries, the Pumpkins had a densely layered, guitar-heavy sound, with powerful loud-to-soft-to-loud transitions, while still picking up grunge, heavy metal, power pop, psychedelic rock, shoegazer-style production.
In later recordings, namely Adore, the fourth album, an electronica flair filtered in after Jimmy Chamberlin temporarily left the band for drug rehab. Though Chamberlin returned for their fifth album, Machina/The Machines of God, electronica undertones remained. The emotional tone of bandleader Billy Corgan's songs ranged from angry (X.Y.U.) to dour (Disarm) to jubilant (Cherub Rock).
Selling more than 18.3 million albums in the United States alone (as of 2006), the Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. However, internal fighting, diminishing sales, drug problems, cultural vitality, and what is speculated to be improper treatment from their record company, hampered the band in their later years, leading to the 2000 break-up.
The band's final album, "MACHINA II / The Friends And Enemies of Modern Music" was unofficially released on vinyl in 2000, prior to their break-up, with the record company refusing to back the band with a pressing. Only 25 vinyl copies were made, each signed by the band. The album was then released across various fan sites by those who received the album and transferred it digitally, as a final tribute to the band's supporters.
Problems have been seen since then with Billy Corgan, James Iha (who later joined A Perfect Circle), and D'arcy (the original bassist for the Pumpkins), both of whom started their own record companiy Scratchie Records.
Billy Corgan would continue from there first forming the band Zwan with members Matt Sweeney, Paz Lenchantin, David Pajo, and Jimmy Chamberlin. After a bad breakup shortly after their debut album Mary Star Of The Sea Billy turned solo and released the album TheFutureEmbrace. Jimmy Chamberlin formed the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, and Corgan recorded vocals for them on the track entitled Loki Cat.
In mid-april 2006 The Smashing Pumpkins "reunited" with original members Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin. They performed live as The Smashing Pumpkins for the first time in 6 and a half years on May 22, 2007 in Paris, France. There, the band unveiled new members Jeff Schroeder, Ginger Reyes and Lisa Harrington who took over rhythm guitarist, bassist and keyboard duties respectively.
The band's latest studio album, titled "Zeitgeist", was released on July 10, 2007 to mixed reviews. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, #1 on the United World Chart, and in the top ten for several other countries.
On Jan 2, 2008 the Pumpkins released the American Gothic EP exclusively on iTunes as part of an expanded version of Zeitgeist. The four tracks: Rose March, Again Again Again (The Crux), Pox, and Sunkissed demonstrate a more acoustic sound when compared to the rest of Zeitgeist.
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