After months and months of anticipation — and a few days of a countdown clock — the Smashing Pumpkins confirmed that they are indeed reuniting for a tour that will pay tribute to the past. But they’ll be doing it without original bassist D’arcy Wretzky.
The alt-rock heroes who churned out such seminal, critically admired 90’s albums as Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness announced the Shiny and Oh So Bright tour on Thursday, featuring singer/guitarist/guru Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who are the other three original members, along with guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who has been with the band since 2007. A video that accompanied the announcement featured the girls (now adults) from the cover of Siamese Dream, an album that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The band also celebrates its 30th anniversary this year,
The 36-date tour — which begins July 12 in Glendale, Arizona, and wraps Sept. 7 in Boise — will highlight songs only from the band’s beginnings through 2000’s Machina. Tickets go on sale Feb. 23.
“Some 30 years ago, as The Smashing Pumpkins, James Iha and I began a musical journey in the cramped rear bedroom of my Father’s house. And so it’s magic to me that we’re able to coalesce once more around the incredible Jimmy Chamberlin, to celebrate those songs we’ve made together,” said Corgan in a statement, adding: “This show and staging will be unlike any we’ve ever done, and will feature a set unlike any we’ve ever played. For if this is a chance at a new beginning, we plan on ushering it in with a real bang.”
Although Corgan revealed in an Instagram post that the band was recording in the studio with Rick Rubin, there was no mention in the tour announcement of a new album.
The Chicago-based Pumpkins, who achieved multiplatinum, Grammy-winning success before splitting up in 2000, were not without drama and personnel changes. After Corgan broke up his next band, Zwan (with Chamberlin, who had been fired from the band during the Mellon Collie tour and rehired before Machina), and released a 2005 solo album, he took out an ad in the Chicago Tribune, inviting the other original Pumpkins to reunite. Only Chamberlin joined him, and they released 2007’s Zeitgeist with new band members as well, including Schroeder. Chamberlin left the band again, and Corgan released several albums, including 2013’s Oceania and 2014’s Monuments for an Elegy, though Chamberlin joined him for a tour in recent years.
In the spring of 2016, Corgan shocked audiences by bringing out James Iha onstage in Los Angeles to play some Siamese Dream-era songs with him; it was the first time they’d shared a stage in 16 years. Later that year, in a Facebook post, Corgan confirmed his efforts to reestablish ties with original band members, whether that resulted in a reunion or not. “I’ve been in communication with D’arcy for the first time in 16 or 17 years,” he noted.
Last month, Corgan shared a photo on Instagram of himself with Iha and Chamberlin in a recording studio, fueling speculation about Wretzky’s participation. A few days later, Wretzky revealed to Blast Echo that a reunion tour was in the works without her, noting, “I only just found about it yesterday that the band has decided to go with a different bass player.”
In an interview with Blast Echo on Monday, Wretzky maintained that she only discovered that the Pumpkins were recording a new album from Corgan’s Instagram post (in which he quipped that he was “now a bassist,” and insinuated that it was Iha, not Wretzky, who played bass on Machina). Wretzky said that Corgan invited her to participate in the tour in some capacity, but then effectively withdrew the offer. In the comments section of the story, she blasted Corgan and said, “I think people might be getting sick and tired of being manipulated by Billy.” The band responded by issuing a statement, noting that “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.”
In an interview with Alternative Nation released on Wednesday, Wretzky maintained that she wanted to participate fully in the reunion although she was recovering from shoulder injury, but Corgan froze her out. She told the outlet that Corgan never wanted her participation and was only using it to generate interest in the tour, and had hired the other bassist, which she called “unbelievable” and “disgusting.”