SMASHING PUMPKINS mainman Billy Corgan has told Music Radar that the drummer in the band's most recent lineup, Mike Byrne, "has left the building." Asked to elaborate on that statement, Corgan replied: "Mmm… Let's just say that Mike, like Elvis, has left the building."
Byrne joined SMASHING PUMPKINS when he was just 19 years old back in 2009, replacing founding member Jimmy Chamberlin. Byrne was featured on SMASHING PUMPKINS' latest CD, "Oceania", which was part of the band's 44-song cycle, "Teargarden By Kaleidyscope", and accompanied Corgan and the rest of the group on tour.
Corgan recently recruited MÖTLEY CRÜE's Tommy Lee to lay down the drum tracks on all nine songs that will appear on SMASHING PUMPKINS' new album, "Monuments To An Elegy", tentatively due in 2015. Corgan told Music Radar about the process of getting Tommy's drum parts recorded: "I went out to L.A. and played him the demos we had. He loved them, got 'em right away. Then I came back to Chicago and demoed more specifically with the idea of him tracking the drums to them. Then I went back to L.A. and worked out all the drum parts, which, of course, further refined some of the arrangements, came back to Chicago and redid the demos again, and then I went to L.A. to cut the final drums.
"The reason why I did that was because I wasn't interested in just, 'Hey, isn't it cool that Tommy Lee is on the album?' I wanted to work with Tommy as intimately as I could so we could find common ground, so that when you hear the music it sounds like we're playing together. It'll sound like he's in the band, not just the stunt drummer that I called in to dazzle and amaze. The results have been fantastic; the people who've heard it are like, 'Holy shit, I can't believe how cool this is!'
"It's so immediate – the songs are so immediate, and the way Tommy plays is so immediate. Everybody seems to get it right away. There's an immediacy to the music that is more like me circa 1995 than, say, me anything since then."
Asked if he gave Tommy a lot of direction when cutting the tracks, Corgan replied: "Oh, no. Not at all. I think the only thing relatable to that question is that there were certain idiomatic style things, like if I was talking about ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN, well, he doesn't necessarily know that album. So there were points of translation on a more emotional level where I might have explained something than just, 'Yeah, play it like the guy in ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN.' That's not music that he might've grown up and listened to.
"But you don't have to tell him what to do. He's right up there. The two most intuitive musicians I've ever worked with are Jimmy Chamberlin and Tommy Lee. You sit there in the back as you're watching it happen and you think, ‘There's a reason why this guy has sold so many records' — and I'm looking at it. It's a certain feel, a certain swing, a certain approach to music and a real love of music. Both Tommy and Jimmy have that. They just know what to do — there's no hand-holding."
Corgan recently announced that he plans to complete the recording of two new PUMPKINS albums, "Monuments To An Elegy" and "Day For Night", by August 15.
"Monuments To An Elegy" will come first, with Corgan writing about the sound of the new disc, "Think guitars, guitars and more guitars."
"Monuments To An Elegy" is being produced by Howard Willing, who first worked with SMASHING PUMPKINS during the "Adore" sessions
The PUMPKINS released their last studio album in 2012: "Oceania", which entered The Billboard 200 chart at No. 4, earned the No. 1 spot on the Independent Albums chart and garnered vast critical acclaim.