Music

Smashing Pumpkins Put Out a Call For a New Guitarist, Then They Got ‘Over 10,000’ Applications

The Smashing Pumpkins announced earlier this month that they were looking for a new guitarist after longtime third strummer Jeff Schroeder announced his departure after more than 16 years with the group. But, after putting out open call on Jan. 5 for a fresh face, according to a post from the Billy Corgan-led band on Tuesday night (Jan. 16) they’e been inundated with way more applicants than anyone could have anticipated.

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“The band has received over 10,000 submissions for the position of additional guitarist,” read a tweet featuring a photo of three original members Corgan, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and guitarist James Iha. The pile of audition tapes are so voluminous, in fact, that the post noted that there are currently “8 people working full-time to review each and every one.”

The Pumpkins were formed in Chicago in 1988 by Corgan and Iha, who were later joined by bassist D’arcy Wretzky and jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin — who replaced their original drummer, a drum machine. After rising to global fame and releasing a series of iconic indie rock albums such as Siamese Dream and the multi-platinum, two-disc Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the band fired Chamberlin in 1996 due to the drummer’s arrest on drug charges — and then re-hired him in 1999 — before splitting with Wretzky that same year. The original group broke up in 2000, at which point Corgan said he would not perform the band’s songs again.

The Pumpkins came back together in 2007 with Corgan and Chamberlin serving as the only remaining original members, joined by guitarist Schroeder, though Chamberlin would take leave again just two years later. Corgan continued to release new music with a rotating cast of players, with Chamberlin and Iha returning to the fold in 2018, though Wretzky did not sign on to the nearly complete reunion.

On Jan. 5, the band announced it needed a new guitarist to replace Schroeder, writing, “The Smashing Pumpkins are in search of an additional guitarist. The application process is open to anyone who might be interested. Applicants may submit a resume and related material to SPGuitar@redlightmanagement.com.” Schroeder’s last show with the group was a run through Siamese Dream to celebrate the album’s 30th anniversary on Sept. 17, 2023 at Corgan’s Madame’s ZuZu’s Teahouse in Highland Park, IL.

In a note to fans at the time of his departure, Schroeder said, “It’s easy to say now that when I joined The Smashing Pumpkins in 2007 I had no idea what I was getting into. The opportunity seemed to have come out of nowhere. I was at UCLA working on my doctorate in comparative literature when a close friend messaged me and said The Smashing Pumpkins were looking for a guitar player. Being a huge fan of the band, the audition was something I threw myself into. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

He added, “The amount of incredible memories created over the last 16 years with the band are almost too numerous to quantify. Although it was a very difficult decision to make, I’ve decided to leave the band to make some space to explore a slightly different path. I want to thank Billy, Jimmy, James, and Jack for being both wonderful bandmates and even better friends. I will absolutely miss sharing the stage with you. I wish the band all the success in the future. I will be watching and listening.”

The Pumpkins are currently slated to hit the road for their The World is a Vampire European summer tour on June 7 in Birmingham, U.K. on a run that will feature support from Weezer, Interpol and Tom Morello. They will then move on to a support role on Green Day’s summer Saviors Tour, which will criss-cross North America with Rancid and the Linda Lindas.

See the Pumpkins post below.

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