For many fans, the Smashing Pumpkins haven't really been the Smashing Pumpkins since bandleader Billy Corgan parted ways with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, the last remaining original member.
And the sounds that Corgan has crafted in the new millennium have more or less marked him as the sadly spent but still wildly egotistical Dennis DeYoung of his generation.
Nevertheless, for those who still care or truly are desperate for work, the Great Pumpkin's publicists have announced that he will be holding open auditions for a new bassist and a keyboardist "who is a fan of--and can play in the prog-rock style of--Jon Lord and Rick Wakeman." (They were in Deep Purple and Yes, respectively, kids.)
The same methodology was used to find current drummer Mike Byrne last year. Current faux-Pumpkins bassist Ginger Pooley allegedly left the band to raise her new baby--but take that with a grain of salt. It now turns out that Corgan's last parting with Chamberlin was not nearly as amicable as portrayed by his hype merchants at the time.
In a controversial new interview with Rolling Stone, Corgan now claims he fired Chamberlin. He also whines that, "There's a lot of days where you feel forgotten" (though probably not as forgotten as D'Arcy Wretzky).
The full interview is not online, but Rolling Stone does have a hype blurb with some choice quotes up here. It notes:
In a soul-baring, wide-ranging interview, Corgan discusses the idiosyncratic spiritual beliefs that saved him from suicidal depression (including his association with a vintage hippie cult called Source Family); opens up for the first time about his 2009 split with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin (Corgan says he fired him); reveals his father's heroin addiction (his dad was arrested two years ago with a needle still in his arm); says that he "loves" Jessica Simpson; and much more...
Corgan on His Critics: "Do I belong in the conversation about the best artists in the world? My answer is yes, I do," he says. "I've been too productive for too long, and despite what anybody wants to strip away from me, I am influential. I am. So all the Pitchforks in the world can try to strip me of every ounce of dignity, but I belong."
On the Pumpkins' Breakup: "Rather than break up the band, what I should have done is chuck James [Iha] out," Corgan says. "I should have just said to Jimmy [Chamberlin], 'You go to rehab, and we'll continue, and James, get the f--- out of here.' Instead, I fell on my sword for James, for what I thought was a friend."
On His Spiritual Beliefs: Corgan subscribes to the fashionable idea that we're building to a cataclysm, or at least a major vibrational shift, in 2012; he wonders what was really in the H1N1 vaccine; he fears that the United States is headed toward a Soviet Union-style economic collapse... But when pressed on details, he backs off: "I don't want to be a dead hero," he says.
On "Loving" Jessica Simpson: "If I go, 'Oh, we're just friends,' then it's like, 'Did they go out, did he dump her or she dump him, what happened?' It has nothing to do with any of that. Sometimes people just like being around each other, and good things come out of that. My goal in life is to love whoever I think is worth loving, and I think if people knew her like I knew her, they would love her like I do. It's really simple."
Meanwhile, the music world yawns and prepares for three nights of "American Idol."