Lars Ulrich Interviews Billy Corgan: Smashing Pumpkins Reunion
It’s Electric! host Lars Ulrich chats with Billy Corgan about the Smashing Pumpkins reunion, recording with Rick Rubin and Metallica’s influence.
On his birthday on March 26, 2016, original guitarist James Iha joined Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jeff Schroeder on stage unannounced at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. He performed a few songs, including “Mayonaise”, “Soma” and “Whir” marking his first appearance with the Smashing Pumpkins in 16 years. Iha also played at the second of the two Smashing Pumpkins shows at the Ace Hotel the following day, which was Easter Sunday. Iha joined the Pumpkins for a third time at their April 14 concert at the Civic Opera House in Chicago. In July, Corgan began hinting of the possibility of reuniting the band original lineup, of himself, Iha, Wretzky, and Chamberlin, and in August, he stated he had begun reaching out to the original lineup about the feasibility of a reunion, including speaking to Wretzky for the first time in sixteen years. Despite the comments, Corgan would spend much of 2017 working on solo material – recording and releasing the solo album Ogilala and beginning work on another solo album for 2018. In June 2017 Chamberlin also mentioned the possibility of a reunion tour in 2018. In January 2018 Corgan shared a photo of himself, Iha, and Chamberlin together in recording studio. In February 2018 Corgan announced that he was working with music producer Rick Rubin on a future Smashing Pumpkins albums, that there were currently 26 songs he was actively working on, and that “the guitar feels once again like the preferred weapon of choice.” Soon afterwards, Corgan shared a photo of sound equipment with Iha’s name on a label, as well as announcing recording was finished on the upcoming album.
On February 15, 2018, the band officially announced that founding members Iha and Chamberlin were back in the band. They will embark on the “Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour” starting in July, with a focus on performing material from their first five studio albums. Original bassist D’arcy Wretzky claimed she had been offered a contract to rejoin the band but Corgan rescinded the offer soon after. Corgan released a statement denying the claims, stating “Ms. Wretzky has repeatedly been invited out to play with the group, participate in demo sessions, or at the very least, meet face-to-face, and in each and every instance she always deferred”. Jack Bates (son of Joy Division bassist Peter Hook) will play bass on the tour. Bates previously toured with the Smashing Pumpkins in 2015.
In March 2018, Corgan mentioned the band planned to release two EP’s in 2018, with the first tentatively planned for May.