The Smashing Pumpkins Biography, Discography.

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Style: Alternative Rock
Year of birth: 1989
Country: USA
Views: 3606. Updated: 16 March, 2005 by Project Moderators

Biography of Band

The Smashing Pumpkins (previously known as simply Smashing Pumpkins) were a critically and commercially successful
American alternative rock band of the 1990s and early 21st century.

Less punk influenced than many of their contemporaries, their distinctive sound featured a dense, guitar-heavy sound and
combined elements of heavy metal, psychedelia, power pop, acoustic music, shoegazer-style production and, in later
recordings, electronica. They produced a series of critically and commercially successful records between their formation
in 1988 and dissolution in 2000.

At the age of 19, singer and guitarist Billy Corgan left his native Chicago, Illinois, moving to St. Petersburg, Florida
with his Goth band The Marked. The band had limited success and quickly dissolved, and Corgan returned to Chicago, taking
a job in a record store. There he met guitarist James Iha. They began writing songs with the aid of a drum machine. In
1988, Corgan met bassist D'Arcy Wretzky at another band's gig in Chicago; Wretzky would join the band shortly after;
Wretsky and Iha would eventually have a personal relationship. Though they played their first gig as a duo at a Polish
bar, jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was brought in to the band after Cabaret Metro owner Joe Shanahan agreed to book the
Pumpkins, provided they threw out the drum machine and recruited a human drummer instead.

In 1990, they released their first record, a limited edition single called "I Am One" on local Chicago label Limited
Potential. The single sold out and they released another single, "Tristessa" on Sub Pop Records, after which they signed
to Virgin Records. To give them indie credibility, Virgin matched the band with Sonic Youth producer Butch Vig and
released their 1991 debut album Gish on Virgin subsidiary label Caroline Records. Named after actress Lillian Gish, the
record fused heavy metal guitars, psychedelia and Dream pop and went on to become a minor success. During the Gish tour,
Iha and Wretsky went through a messy breakup, Chamberlin became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and Corgan entered a deep
depression, writing some songs for the upcoming album in the parking garage where he lived at the time.

To counteract his depression, Corgan worked overtime, playing all of the guitar, bass and vocal tracks for the 1993
follow up album, Siamese Dream. Contemporary music press portrayed Corgan as something of a tyrant during the recording
sessions, with rumors circulating that Corgan had unilaterally erased and redone guitar and bass parts previously recorded
by Iha and D'arcy, claims which band members say were greatly exaggerated. Corgan went on record saying if the record
didn't sell well, the band would break up. Siamese Dream sold four million copies in the US, and the videos for the songs
"Today" and "Disarm" garnered the Pumpkins international attention through heavy rotation on MTV.

In 1994, Virgin released a B-sides/rarities compilation Pisces Iscariot and a concert video Vieuphoria. A CD version of
Vieuphoria, entitled Earphoria was released to radio stations only. In 2002, Vieuphoria (on DVD) and Earphoria were
released to the public.

Following relentless touring to support the recordings, the band took time off to write the follow up album. Corgan
worked non-stop over the next year and wrote, according to statements in interviews, about 50 songs for the next album.
Following this spell of concentrated creativity, the Pumpkins went back into the studio with producer Flood to work on
what Corgan described as "The Wall of the '90s," a comparison with Pink Floyd's famous double concept album.

The result was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a double-disc (triple on vinyl) album release featuring 28 songs
and lasting over 2 hours. While the idea of an overriding concept was dropped somewhere along the way, Mellon Collie
became even more successful than Siamese Dream, selling over twelve million copies worldwide. It also garnered seven 1996
Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. Its hit songs included "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "Tonight,
Tonight," "1979" and "Zero." Many of the remaining songs that, for one reason or another, did not make it onto Mellon
Collie were released as B-sides to the singles, eventually compiled in the now out of print The Aeroplane Flies High box

The band's fortunes changed significantly on July 12, 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.
Chamberlin was subsequently fired from the band.

Though the band finished the tour with another drummer and keyboardist, their profile had taken a marked downturn. Billy
Corgan became something of a hate figure amongst the hard rock press following a statement in which he declared rock to be
dead. He stated that Mellon Collie would be the last Pumpkins record of that type, and that rock was, for himself at
least, becoming stale due to a lack of willingness to experiment from other rock artists.

Recorded following the death of Corgan's mother, 1998's Adore represented a significant change of style from the
Pumpkins' previous guitar based rock, veering into electronica, trimming much of the guitar-driven sonic underpinnings and
infused with a much heavier mood. The record was cut using drum machines and was distinctly experimental. Corgan also
modified his public image, shedding his alternative hipster look for a dark Gothic persona, and began hanging around
Marilyn Manson. Although Adore received quite favorable reviews and was nominated for Best Alternative Performance at the
Grammys, the album sold only 3 million copies.

The return of a rehabilitated Jimmy Chamberlin for 2000's MACHINA/The Machines of God signaled a return to a more
familiar Pumpkins sound, but failed to widely connect with fans. MACHINA also brought Corgan's desire to write a concept
album to fruition.

The band's lineup changed again at this point. Bass player Wretzky departed after the recording of MACHINA/The Machines
of God, and former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur was recruited for the "Sacred and Profane" tour in support of the

In May 2000, Billy Corgan announced the band's decision to break up at the end of that year following additional touring
and recording. In a first for an established band, the group's final album, 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. The Smashing Pumpkins' final commercial recording was a single, "Untitled".

On December 2, 2000, Smashing Pumpkins played their final concert at The Metro, the same Chicago club where their career
had effectively started twelve years earlier. A DVD of the 4 hour concert is still in the works.

The Smashing Pumpkins won many awards during their careers (including two Grammy awards: Hard Rock Performance 1996 for
"Bullet with Butterfly Wings", and Hard Rock Performance 1997 for "The End Is the Beginning Is the End"), headlined
several major tours, appeared on a few movie soundtracks and released an impressive number of songs in a fairly short time.

2001 saw the release of a posthumous greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples (Greatest Hits), which included various
singles spanning their decade long career. The now rare double disc version of the album, released as a limited edition,
included a B-sides/rarities collection called Judas O. A greatest hits DVD was also released around the same time. It
compiled all of the Pumpkins promo videos from Gish to MACHINA, the rare promo for "I Am One", a 15 minute short film

d "Try" as well as a TV performance of "Geek U.S.A.". It also features the performance of "Fuck You (An Ode To No
One)" from their final gig at the Metro. (There is one notable omission, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", used in
the Batman and Robin soundtrack. This is excluded because the rights are owned by Warner Brothers, who loaned out the band
from their regular label, Virgin Records.)

Corgan and Chamberlin would reunite in 2001 as members of Corgan's next project, the shortlived Zwan. Their only album,
Mary Star of the Sea, was released to mixed reviews, and after cancelling a few festival appearances Corgan announced the
demise of the band in 2003.

On February 17, 2004, Billy 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. On June 3, 2004, he added that "the depth of my hurt
[from Iha] is only matched with the depth of my gratitude".

In October, 2004, Corgan released his first book, a book of poetry entitled Blinking with Fists. He is also publicly open
with his work on a new solo album, even requesting fans to attend live taping sessions.

At the same time, Jimmy Chamberlin has completed work on his first solo album, entitled The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex.

James Iha continues his work as guitarist with A Perfect Circle.

D'arcy Wretzky has not made any statements or appearances since leaving the band in 1999.

Members of The Smashing Pumpkins

Current Members:
Billy Corgan. Period: 1989 - 2001. Role: Vocals, Guitars
Side projects: Billy Corgan, The Marked, Zwan
James Iha. Period: 1989 - 2001. Role: Guitars
Side projects: A Perfect Circle, James Iha
Melissa auf der Maur. Period: 1999 - 2001. Role: Bass
Side projects: Hand Of Doom, Hole, Melissa auf der Maur
Jimmy Chamberlin. Period: 1989 - 2001. Role: Drums
Side projects: Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, The Last Hard Men, Zwan
Past Members:
D`Arcy Wretzky. Period: 1989 - 1999. Role: Bass


Compilation: Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music Studio: Constantinople.
Comment: This material is released
for free on the Internet and sometimes considered the band's sixth album. This release isn't new material, though.
Demo: The Smashing Pumpkins (1989) Tracklist.
Demo: Moon (1989) Tracklist.
Comment: "Daydream" and a later version of "Rhinoceros" later appeared on Gish, "Bye June"
later appeared on Lull (album). "Honeyspider (alternate)" later appeared as "Honeyspider II" on a limited edition of the
LP version of Pisces Iscariot.
Demo: Eye (1989) Tracklist.
EP: Lull (1990) Studio: Caroline. Tracklist.
Comment: Includes the demo track "Bye June", originally recorded in 1989.
CD: Gish (1991) Studio: Caroline. Tracklist.
CD: Siamese Dream (1993) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Compilation: Pisces Iscariot (1994) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Comment: Compilation of b-side singles, demos and outtakes of Gish and Siamese Dream.
Live CD: Earphoria (1994) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Comment: Mostly contains live versions that were recorded live during the Siamese Dream
tour. Re-released as a CD/DVD set on November 26, 2002.

2 - Recorded live in Atlanta, 1993.
3 - Recorded live on English TV, 1993.
4 - Recorded on MTV Europe, 1993.
5 - Recorded live in Chicago, 1993.
7 - Recorded live in Barcelona, 1993.
9 - Recorded live in London, 1994.
10 - Recorded live on Japanese TV, 1992.
12 - Recorded live on German TV, 1993.
13 - Recorded live everywhere, 1988-1994.
14 - Recorded live in London, 1994.
CD: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Comment: This material was released as a double album.
CD 1 1-14, CD 2 15-28
Boxed Set: The Aeroplane Flies High (1997) Studio: Virgin.
Comment: Includes a booklet with pictures and writings by the band's lead singer Billy Corgan and expanded versions of the five singles from their previous album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
CD: Adore (1998) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
CD: Machina/The Machines of God (2000) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Comment: This is the band's last official album.
CD: Rotten Apples (Greatest Hits) (2001) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Comment: This compilation holds all hits from their albums
between Gish and MACHINA/The Machines of God.
Compilation: Judas 0 (2001) Studio: Virgin. Tracklist.
Comment: Released as the second disc on the greatest hits album.

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