Billy Corgan officially announced that drummer Mike Byrne is now a member of Smashing Pumpkins, adding that the 19-year-old will make his official debut on the band’s next tour and album. Corgan also hinted that an announcement regarding that album — the Pumpkins’ first since 2007’s Zeitgeist — would be made in September. “I’m super excited to be playing with the band. Dream come true, man,” Byrne said on the Pumpkins’ official site. As Rock Daily previously reported, Corgan held open auditions for a new drummer after original member Jimmy Chamberlin left the group in March because he couldn’t just “cash the check,” as Chamberlin put it.
“Through the open audition process, I was astounded by how many great drummers there were that wanted the chance to try out for The Pumpkins. We counted over 1,000 submissions, and what made Mike stand out was he just seemed to have that X-factor that all the great drummers have, a stunning blend of power, speed, and grace,” Corgan said of Byrne. “I’m excited to work with him moving forward — he truly deserves this opportunity. I believe in my heart he will push me to be a better musician.” According to Byrne, the rigorous audition process included jamming for 15 minutes and talking about Fugazi for 15 minutes.
Byrne, who was a Berklee School of Music freshman before being recruited by Corgan, previously performed with Portland, Oregon-based bands Moses, Smell the Roses and Mercury Tree. Byrne saw the Pumpkins perform live in 2007 during the Zeitgeist tour, where the band impressed Byrne “because the band was so rooted in the idea of kind of being like a musical shape-shifter,” the drummer said. In June, it was rumored that Byrne was Billy’s new drummer after the two began working on demos together, but no official statement was made regarding Byrne’s status until last night.
Before Byrne makes his Smashing Pumpkins debut, the drummer will perform six shows with Corgan and the Spirits in the Sky, a tribute band to the Seeds’ Sky Saxon. Check out the group’s newly-announced tour dates below:
August 26 – Visalia, CA @ Tazzaria
August 27 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Muddy Waters
August 28 – Long Beach, CA @ Open
August 29 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s Palace
August 30 – San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
August 31 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Cafe
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• Jimmy Chamberlin Explains Smashing Pumpkins Split, Says He Can’t “Cash The Check”