While the Smashing Pumpkins rode in on the grunge wave of the early 1990s, they never fit into the new genre. Produced by Butch Vig, their debut release, Gish, created a buzz, but failed to chart. It wasn’t until 1993 with the release of Siamese Dream that the band broke into the mainstream. The followup was the lavishly-produced Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness which debuted at the number one spot on Billboard. Subsequent albums failed to garner such overwhelming accolades. Besides dismal record sales, the band was in disarray over drug abuse and the Pumpkins finally disbanded in 2000.
Following the split, Billy Corgan formed Zwan. The short lived supergroup only released one record in 2003, Mary Star at the Sea. Corgan then released a solo effort, TheFutureEmbrace, but his heart belonged to the Smashing Pumpkins, who reunited in 2007 with the release of Zeitgeist. The record entered at the number 2 spot on Billboard, but reviews were mixed. While lineup changes have been constant, many fans believe that the unmistakable voice of Corgan remains the key to their success.
Following their critically acclaimed 2012 release, Oceania, which debuted at number 1 on Billboard Alternative, comes Monuments to an Elegy which returns the band to their alt. rock roots. Billy scaled back the lineup to a trio. Included on the album is Corgan, recent member Jeff Schroder and Tommy Lee from Motley Crüe. Produced by Corgan and Schroder with Howard Willing, who worked with the original lineup on the Adore recording, the album makes way for complete artistic freedom. Once again, reviews for the latest recording are stellar and not Spinal Tap-ish, as the Pumpkins prove they are still relevant in today’s market, despite the setbacks.
Disenchanted with the media and the music business as a whole, Corgan has said that he might split the band up following the release of the Pumpkins’ upcoming release, Day for Night. With only Corgan and Schroder at the helm, the new record promises to be guitar heavy and rambunctious. While the Pumpkins may disband next year, it’s clear they won’t be going out quietly.