The Smashing Pumpkins are an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1988. Formed by frontman Billy Corgan (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and James Iha (lead guitar), the band included Jimmy Chamberlin (drums) and D’arcy Wretzky (bass guitar) in its original incarnation. It has undergone many line-up changes over the course of its existence, with Corgan and rhythm guitarist Jeff Schroeder currently being the only official core members as of 2014.
Disavowing the punk rock roots of many of their alt-rock contemporaries, the Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered, and guitar-heavy sound, containing elements of gothic rock, heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, shoegazing, and electronica in later recordings. Corgan is the group’s primary songwriter—his grand musical ambitions and cathartic lyrics have shaped the band’s albums and songs, which have been described as “anguished, bruised reports from Billy Corgan’s nightmare-land”.
The Smashing Pumpkins broke into the musical mainstream with their second album, 1993’s Siamese Dream. The group built its audience with extensive touring and their 1995 follow-up, the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. With 20 million albums sold in the United States alone, the Smashing Pumpkins was one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. However, internal fighting, drug use, and diminishing record sales led to a 2000 break-up.
In 2006, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin reconvened to record a new Smashing Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist. After touring throughout 2007 and 2008 with a lineup including new guitarist Jeff Schroeder, Chamberlin left the band in early 2009. Later that year, Corgan began a new recording series entitled Teargarden by Kaleidyscope featuring a rotating lineup of musicians, that has resulted in the albums Oceania (2012), Monuments to an Elegy (2014), and a forthcoming album. As of 2015, Corgan and Schroeder are the sole permanent band members. Monuments to an Elegy was released on December 9, 2014.
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