After founding member and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin split with the band in March, leaving frontman Billy Corgan as the only original band member, a press release announced Corgan would continue to write and record as the Smashing Pumpkins.
The Pumpkins’ official Web site then announced it was accepting submissions for recording and touring drummers, with auditions being held in Los Angeles April 14. A week before the auditions, the band noted it had received over 1,000 submissions for the drummer spot.
Last week Corgan posted a blog declaring “I think I have my drummer of the future.”
He added, “I've worked with him so far for one week and all indications are really good that he's the man for the job. Going to work with him some more before it becomes official. Whoever takes the job has quite big shoes to fill, no doubt about it.”
Tuesday Pumpkins fans learned a little bit more about the band’s new drummer.
“Speculation has been running rampant across the internet and airwaves today due to a few posts that have appeared online (HipstersUnited.com SP.com) regarding the young drummer Mike Byrne,” the band’s Web site noted in its news section.
“SP.com can finally announce that Billy has been working with young (19) Mike Byrne on demos. Word from the studio is that Mike is an exceptionally talented and gifted drummer and things are going very well. And that is that.”
The Web site referred fans to an article on the site withYouTube videos showing off Byrne’s skills on the skins.
HipsterUnited.com wrote that Byrne is a Berklee College of Music freshman and the drummer for Oregon-based band Moses, Smell the Roses. Two days after Corgan wrote he had found his “drummer of the future,” Byrne posted on his MySpace page that he was “off for another couple weeks at pumpkin camp.” His mood? “Determined.”
The Pumpkins’ site reported that of the 1,000 drummers who submitted applications, Byrne was up against pros like John Dolmayan of System Of a Down and Frank Lenz, who has worked alongside Pumpkins’ guitarist Jeff Schroeder in The Lassie Foundation, as well as with a number of other bands.
In addition to news about the new drummer, Corgan also told fans he was diligently working on new music.
“Still working hard on getting these darn songs together. This past week has been trying to take the best one's and get them ready to record, which means some kind of realized arrangement and lyrics, which requires some teeth pulling and self-flaggelation to get me to say anything at all,” Corgan said.
“I am still on target for putting out new music in October. There certainly is no shortage of ideas to choose from.”
In December Corgan told the Chicago Tribune 2007’s Zeitgeist was the last Pumpkins’ album. In April he clarified the statement, explaining that “I don't think I'm going to make albums in the old-fashioned way, meaning 12-15 songs, etc in one small package.” He then invited fans to sign up for a 12-week subscription service for new music.
Click here for the Smashing Pumpkins’ Web site