Into The Pumpkins-Verse! Your guide to The Smashing Pumpkins' ever-evolving line-up from their inception to the present day

Smashing Pumpkins and their many members...
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Since their mid-90s heyday, every tour by The Smashing Pumpkins will have had at least one punter in the diehard crowd point at the stage and go, “Hold on, who the hell is that?!”. It’ll happen again this weekend as Billy Corgan’s alt-rock livewires embark on a UK and European tour and unveil the latest addition to their ranks in new guitarist Kiki Wong. But fans shouldn’t be surprised – Smashing Pumpkins' line-up has been a fluid, ever-evolving thing since those imperious early records, the biggest surprise being that they managed to make it all the way through Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness with the same members (their classic incarnation) on board. Here you have one handy, more-mammoth-than-I-expected-when-I-suggested-this-piece guide so you can be ready to pipe up when you hear the person behind you say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not Jeff Schroeder…”.

Louder line break

The OGs

Smashing Pumpkins in 1993

(Image credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns)

Billy Corgan

Given the way the Pumpkins’ leader has run his band with such an iron fist, it’s a surprise he’s never sacked and then reinstated himself. Corgan is the sole constant presence of the band he formed with James Iha in 1999 but saying that, you can split his stint into two: Billy With Hair and Bald Billy. Billy With Hair was a visionary dynamo who lorded over their first three records but Bald Billy is more visually iconic, except for that bit towards the end of the Mellon Collie tour when he ditched his ace Zero outfit for a shirt and a really fat 90s tie.

James Iha

Corgan’s foil has always been an integral part of the Pumpkins’ dynamic, even when his bandmate was dominating how they sounded. There’s something about Iha’s understated manner that just seemed to make them tick and his absence felt huge during that chunk of reunion shows when he opted not to come back. So cheesed was he by the time they originally split in 2000 that, by the time Corgan came off stage for the band’s ‘last ever’ show at Chicago’s Metro, Iha had already left the building. But he returned in 2018, restoring balance to the Pumpkins universe.

D'Arcy Wretzky

Unfortunately for fans, though, original bassist D’Arcy never got a second chance. D’Arcy oozed cool by always looking like she didn’t want to be there, and then she wasn’t there, leaving in 1999 as the group began work on what would become fifth album Machina/The Machines Of God. Corgan, never one to keep his counsel, later wrote in a post online that she was a “mean-spirited drug addict”. In the years since, there have been reports of various arrests – one was apparently for failing to control her wild horses which were causing chaos by gallivanting freely around the town she lived in Michigan. There were rumours that her and Corgan had made up in 2018, sparking hopes of a return alongside Iha, but it soon turned into a war of words online, as per, and no-one has heard from D’Arcy since.

Jimmy Chamberlin

Arguably the Pumpkins’ most definitive sound isn’t Corgan’s hard-rock virtuoso riffing or angry-cat snarl but Jimmy Chamberlin’s unique style of octopus-limbed drumming. No-one else in rock plays like Chamberlin, who can do powerhouse and nimble at the same time, John Bonham if he’d studied jazz. His importance is reflected in how many times he’s returned to the fold. He was fired in ’96 for his drug-use after overdosing with touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin (who died), returned in ’99, was on board for the reunion in 2006, left in 2009, rejoined as a touring member in 2015 and fully re-entered the fold in 2018.

The Replacements - Guitarists

Jeff Schroeder

Proof that the “new guy” tag is tough to shift in rock music, former Lassie Foundation guitarist Schroeder was a full-time Pumpkins member from the reunion in 2007 right the way through to his amicable departure last year – but he’s still the new guy. Sidelined perhaps by the return of Iha, his role in helping to (try and) keep the Pumpkins on steady ground after reuniting shouldn’t be dismissed.

Kiki Wong

The newest member of this sprawling clan, Wong was the chosen one when the Pumpkins opened up entries for Schroeder’s replacement to everyone, reportedly receiving 10,000 audition tapes. But Wong is no flukey competition winner – she’s a seasoned pro who has performed with Taylor Swift and Bret Michaels and been in bands such as Hellfire Heart and Nylon Pink, with her current group Vigil Of War presumably on hold as she veers off into Pumpkinsland.

The Replacements - Bassists

Melissa Auf Der Maur

Auf Der Maur stepped in to save the day after D’Arcy’s departure. Well, sort of – Corgan ended up playing all the bass parts on Machina/The Machines Of God and its online-only counterpart Machina II/The Friends & Enemies Of Modern Music but former Hole bassist Auf Der Maur became a crucial part of the corresponding tour, one that saw the group’s first phase come to a close.

Ginger Reyes

Chicago native Reyes came into the fold for the first wave of reunion action, touring the 2007 comeback album Zeitgeist before leaving to concentrate on her family in 2010.

Nicole Fiorentino

That left an opening for former Veruca Salt bassist Nicole Fiorentino, who played on two albums – 2011’s Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol. 3 and 2012’s Oceania – as well as being involved in a number of tours that concluded with the 50-date Shamrocks & Shenanigans stint in 2013

Mark Stoermer

Bit of a weird one, this – The Killers’ lanky bassist joined the Pumpkins for their Monuments To An Elegy tour, doing 26 shows and then legging it back to Brandon Flowers & co.

Jack Bates

Those switch-ups on the four-string appear to have finally settled down, with Mancunian Jack Bates handling bass duties since 2018. No doubt Corgan is thrilled to have someone with bass royalty in their DNA amongst his live players – Bates is the son of ex-New Order trailblazer Peter Hook.

The Replacements - Drummers

Matt Walker

Evidence of just how much Corgan and the band struggled to replace Chamberlin after his sacking in ’96 can be seen in how many different routes and drummers they tried – eventually settling on a mix of live parts and programmed beats for 1998’s low-key Adore. Industrial rockers Filter had supported the Pumpkins during the Mellon Collie tour and their drummer Walker was drafted in to fill the void, also appearing on some Adore cuts as well as making random guest spots with the band in the intervening years.

Matt Cameron

Has anyone played drums in as many great rock bands as Matt Cameron. As well as playing for Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Temple Of The Dog, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Prodigy, Cameron also got behind the kit for Adore’s epic ballad For Martha.

Kenny Aronoff

With his bald head, Bono-style sunglasses and skintight lycra T-shirts, Aronoff didn’t exactly look the part filling in during the Adore tour. But he held down the beat during an uncertain era for the Pumpkins, a period of instability reflected in how they started playing weird (and worse) versions of their classics rather than delivering them straight. Veteran session man Aronoff appeared unfazed.

Mike Byrne

Unfazed is not something you could say about the band’s 2009 recruit Mike Byrne, though. Byrne was still a teenager when he replaced Jimmy Chamberlin in 2009 and, as a childhood Pumpkins fan and Chamberlin obsessive, he was definitely fazed. It was a good thing, adding an extra edge and youthful exuberance to the underrated Oceania record.

Brad Wilk

Another weird one to pass through the Pumpkins’ doors – Rage Against The Machine man Wilk filled in on the Monuments To An Elegy tour and then filled out again.

Tommy Lee

Oh actually, not as weird as this one. Tommy Lee is obviously renowned as one of the great rock’n’roll characters but him and the Pumpkins – him garish and the life and soul, them awkward and moody – do not make obvious bedfellows. That didn’t stop Corgan having the Motley Crue man drum on 2014’s Monuments To An Elegy, albeit the results sounding a little workmanlike for a band who usually have Jimmy Chamberlin lighting a stick of dynamite up their arse.

Honourable Mentions For…

Of course, the list of studio guests and live players stretches on behind this already-epic list, but we couldn’t go without giving a nod to R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, who supplied the haunting mesmeric piano parts on Siamese Dream’s Soma, or long-term Bowie collaborated Mike Garson, who elevated Adore’s rustic experimentalism onstage. Then there’s Beck drummer Joey Waronker, also a player on Adore, The Frogs rascals Jimmy Flemion and his late brother Dennis, who played on a variety of songs in the mid-90s and, of course, the still very much in the fold Katie Cole – on keyboards duty for live shows since 2016.  

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.