Early this week, rumors spread that Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan had replaced Jimmy Chamberlin with a 19-year-old drummer. The band has yet to confirm the hire, but a note posted on the Pumpkins’ official Website confirms Corgan is working with college student Mike Byrne in the studio. “Speculation has been running rampant across the internet and airwaves today due to a few posts that have appeared online regarding the young drummer Mike Byrne,” the post reads. “SP.com can finally announce that Billy has been working with young (19) Mike Byrne on demos. Word from the studio is that Mike is an exceptionally talented and gifted drummer and things are going very well. And that is that.”
Just last week, Corgan blogged about possibly finding the Pumpkins’ “drummer of the future,” which had the Internet scrambling to find out who would be filling Chamberlin’s vacant kit. Hipsters United was the first to break the Byrne story, saying the Berklee School of Music freshman was the leading candidate. Byrne, a native of Oregon, was also the drummer in a band called Moses Smell the Roses. Further evidence in support of the Byrne theory came via Byrne’s own MySpace page where he said he’d be attending Pumpkins camp for another week.
Byrne may not be a full-fledged Pumpkin yet, but he’s likely having the summer break ever. Byrne, who can’t legally drink at gigs, is also 26 years younger than Chamberlin, and — as Idolator points out — was only a one years old when the band’s debut Gish was released.
This marks the second time this year that an older rock act has recruited a youngster to handle drum duties. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hired Jay Weinberg, son of E Streeter and Tonight Show band leader Max Weinberg, to fill in for his father. For more on the young Weinberg, check out his profile in the new issue of Rolling Stone.
• Billy Corgan Talks Future of Smashing Pumpkins in Long Message To Fans
• Jimmy Chamberlin Explains Smashing Pumpkins Split, Says He Can’t “Cash The Check”
• Smashing Pumpkins Auditioning New Drummers on April 10th