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The Smashing Pumpkins need a new guitarist: A history of their shifting line-up

Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins performs in concert at the BB&T Pavilion on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in New Jersey.
Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins performs in concert at the BB&T Pavilion on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in New Jersey. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Jonny Walfisz
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Any 90s grunge loving shredders out there, take heed. The Smashing Pumpkins are looking for a new guitarist.

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The Smashing Pumpkins put a call out for a new musician to enter their ranks via an Instagram post. “The Smashing Pumpkins are in search of an additional guitarist,” the post reads. “The application is open to anyone who might be interested.”

The advert follows Jeff Schroeder’s exit from the band in October last year. Schroeder departed the band “to explore a slightly different path,” he said.

Schroeder was the second-longest serving member of the Smashing Pumpkins after frontman Billy Corgan, who founded the band in 1988. But Schroeder’s legacy with the band is a microcosm of the Smashing Pumpkins’ tendency to cycle through band members. Schroeder himself joined in 2006 to replace founding member and guitarist James Iha.

Corgan has been the only consistent member of the Smashing Pumpkins since their inception. In 1988, he founded the band alongside Iha, bassist D’arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.

In this formation, they released the work that put the Pumpkins on the map, chiefly their third album 1995’s ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ which contained their hits ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings’, ‘1979’ and ‘Tonight, Tonight’.

After touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin died of a drug overdose, they fired Chamberlin in 1996. He eventually returned in 1999, but then Wretzky left, replaced by Hole’s Melissa Auf der Maur, before the band went on hiatus.

The Pumpkins returned from hiatus in 2006, with just Corgan and Chamberlin of the previous line-up. Since then, Chamberlin has left again and rejoined again. Iha returned in 2018, while previous replacements have departed.

That’s the short version of Corgan’s roving Pumpkins line-up. Corgan is known to be a fiery character but it’s his temper that has defined some of the most iconic songs of the 90s alternative music scene alongside peers Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Hole.

Any guitarist who makes the cut will likely be joining the band on the tour to promote latest album ‘Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts’, released in three parts between 2022 and 2023. The World is a Vampire tour will travel across Europe, starting in Birmingham, UK and ending in Athens, Greece this summer with support from Weezer, Interpol and Tom Morello.

The invite to join as a guitarist is open to anyone, but who knows how long the new addition will last.

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