Ξ August 20th, 2009 by Andrew Pakula | → 0 Comments | ∇ Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin, Music News, Smashing Pumpkins |
Smashing Pumpkins officially introduce new drummer
It has only been three years since Billy Corgan reunited Smashing Pumpkins with Jimmy Chamberlin, and less than one year since Corgan pledged the band would no longer release albums – but already those commitments have kicked the bucket. This week, Corgan formally announced Chamberlin’s replacement on drums, together with plans for a new Pumpkins LP.
Nineteen-year-old Mike Byrne has officially joined Smashing Pumpkins after recording demos with the band this summer. The teenager from Oregon was not even born when the Pumpkins played their first gig, but he impressed Corgan at auditions earlier this year. Chamberlin quit the group in March, saying that he couldn’t “cash the check” and “commit all of my energy into something that I don’t fully possess”.
“Dream come true, man,” said Byrne, who has been listening to Smashing Pumpkins since he was 13 – that is, since 2003 – when he found them “exciting and fresh”. After playing in obscure bands like Moses, Smell the Roses and the Mercury Tree, Byrne answered Corgan’s call for internet applications – and was invited to auditions in Los Angeles. “We didn’t actually play songs at the audition,” Byrne said. “We just kind of jammed for about 15 minutes and then talked about Fugazi for the other 15 or so minutes.” Besides the Pumpkins and DIY punks Fugazi, Byrne says his influences include Mogwai, Maserati and quirky indie-pop band Maps and Atlases.
Corgan said: “We counted over 1,000 submissions, and what made Mike stand out was he just seemed to have that X-factor that all the great drummers have, a stunning blend of power, speed and grace. I’m excited to work with him moving forward – he truly deserves this opportunity. I believe in my heart he will push me to be a better musician.”
Byrne will play with the Pumpkins at a handful of concerts in August, but more important is his contribution to a forthcoming album. A “major announcement” on the follow-up to Zeitgeist is promised for September. This will be the first Smashing Pumpkins album to feature only one original member.
“We’re starting from scratch and just working our influences up into something totally different,” Byrne said. “It’s sort of a new direction.”