Over the last year, the once unfathomable idea of a Smashing Pumpkins reunion has slowly inched toward reality. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin has been back behind the kit since last summer, guitarist James Iha reunited with the band on stage in March, and D’arcy Wretzky recently said she’d “consider” playing bass again.
Now, frontman Billy Corgan has told Smashing Pumpkins fans to expect something “big” in the near future. “There’s some big stuff happening,” Corgan explained in a Facebook vlog on Thursday. “We’re making plans. I can’t give that away, but it’s going to be interesting.”
While Corgan stopped short of providing any specifics, an industry source tells Consequence of Sound that he is indeed shopping a Smashing Pumpkins reunion for shows and festival slots next summer.
As of publication, it’s unclear whether Corgan has booked any gigs — however, if a reunion does come to fruition, it would mark the first shows featuring Smashing Pumpkins’ classic lineup since the band’s breakup in 2000. Corgan, of course, relaunched the band five years later with a new lineup that included Chamberlin and guitarist Jeff Schroeder. Chamberlin left the band in 2009, replaced by Mike Byrne on drums. At that time, Corgan also hired Nicole Fiorentino to play bass. Chamberlin returned to the fold in 2015, at which point both Byrne and Fiorentino were phased out.
All the while, Corgan expressed resentment toward his ex-bandmates, calling Wretzky “a mean-spirited drug addict” and Iha “a piece of shit and one of the worst human beings I’ve ever met in my life.”
However, earlier this year, Corgan made a surprise about-face when he expressed his desire to “find peace” with Wretzky and Iha.
“When you’re talking about the natural human instinct to find forgiveness and heal a relationship, I think that never ends. That’s a human thing, it has nothing to do with the band or people creating memories,” Corgan told Chicago TV host and author Jennifer Weigel during a Q&A held in January. Two months later, Iha joined Corgan and Chamberlin on stage in Los Angeles, and then again in April in Chicago.
Not long after his on-stage reunion with Iha, Corgan took to Facebook to wish Wretzky a happy birthday. In the same posting, he seemed to leave the door open for a full band reunion.
“It’s crazy to think that it was nearly 30 years ago that I began this wild and wooly journey, and that meeting James, then D’arcy, then Jimmy would alter all of our lives forever; for the better, I would argue. Which I suppose makes the hardships that came too, bittersweet,” Corgan wrote. “And as I feel speculation start to swirl about what happens next for SP, I’d like to say quite simply and directly that what matters most to Jeff and I is the music. Because from our darkest days together over the last 10 years it’s been our faith that the music we make, and by extension our loving curation of the songs made from the beginning on, that’d sail this old, creaky ship forward to another year.”
Further fueling rumors of a Pumpkins reunion, Corgan has announced the formation of a new band with Schroeder, plus current Smashing Pumpkins touring musicians Katie Cole, Sierra Swan, Jack Bates, and Linda Strawberry, who briefly played keyboards with Pumpkins in 2010. In other words, everyone except Chamberlin.
“So we’re going to be starting a new band, and we’re going to start working on music next week for the new band,” Corgan said in the Facebook video. He added that the new band is “much different than Pumpkins music.”
Elsewhere in the video, Corgan announced that he’s currently putting the final touches on a new solo record. “I just sort of finished a new solo album, which I’ll give more details on in the near future, but it’s actually recorded, and sort of mostly done,” he explained. “So I don’t know when that will be coming out, but I recorded the album over two weeks in California. All new songs, so that’s pretty exciting.”
Representatives for Smashing Pumpkins did not respond to our request for comment. We also reached out to Iha, but have yet to hear back.