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Smashing Pumpkins Biography


Home > Music > S > Smashing Pumpkins > Biography


Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Years Active: 1988–2000, 2006–present
Genres: Alternative Rock


The Smashing Pumpkins is an American band that formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1988. Formed by Billy Corgan (vocals, guitar) and James Iha (guitar, backing vocals), the band has included D'arcy Wretzky (bass guitar, backing vocals), Jimmy Chamberlin (drums, percussion), and Melissa Auf der Maur (bass guitar) amongst its membership.

Less overtly sharing the punk rock roots of many of their alt-rock contemporaries, the Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered, and guitar-heavy sound, containing elements of gothic rock, new wave, heavy metal, grunge, dream pop, psychedelic rock, arena rock, shoegazer-style production and, in later recordings, electronica.

The Smashing Pumpkins recorded their 1991 debut album “Gish” with producer Butch Vig at his Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. “Gish” became a minor success, with the single “Rhinoceros” receiving some airplay on modern rock radio. “Gish” is currently certified platinum by the RIAA. After releasing the “Lull” EP in October 1991 on Caroline Records, the band formally signed with Virgin Records.

Released in 1993 on Virgin Records, “Siamese Dream” debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, sold over four million copies in the U.S. and over six million worldwide, cementing The Smashing Pumpkins as a major force in the alternative rock movement. Four hit singles were released in support of “Siamese Dream,” “Cherub Rock,” “Today,” “Disarm” and “Rocket.” Siamese Dream earned The Smashing Pumpkins their first Grammy Award nominations. The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, and the group was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal at the Grammy Awards of 1994.

“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” a triple LP was released in October 2005. Led by the single, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” the record debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first and only such occurrence for the group. The album spawned five more singles in ”1979,” “Zero,” “Tonight, Tonight,” “Muzzle,” and “Thirty-Three,” and has been certified nine times platinum by the RIAA. “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” earned the band seven Grammy Award nominations in 1997. The band won one award, for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal for “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.”

After the multi-platinum success of “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” and a subsequent yearlong world tour, follow-up “Adore” was released by Virgin Records in June 1998. “Adore” entered the Billboard 200 at #2, and was certified platinum by the RIAA five weeks later, but the album soon departed the charts, leaving “Adore” far short of the sales figures of its predecessors.

The concept album, “Machina/The Machines of God,” was released in February 2000. “The Everlasting Gaze” was issued as the album's first promotional radio single in December 1999. “Machina” is the second lowest-selling commercially released Pumpkins album to date. Although it entered the Billboard 200 at #3 in its first week, sales declined in the second week, and continued to slide.

The Smashing Pumpkins released “Zeitgeist” in 2007 after their 2000 disbandment and 2005 reunion. “Zeitgeist” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and also reached the top spots on Billboard's Internet Albums and Rock Albums charts in its first week. The album was certified gold by the RIAA. Charting singles included, “Tarantula” and “That's the Way (My Love Is).”

“Teargarden by Kaleidyscope,” a series of 44 individual songs, it is being released one track at a time through free MP3 downloads over the course of several years.