According to the Smashing Pumpkins Web site, "It's official. The Smashing Pumpkins are currently writing songs for their upcoming album, their first since 2000."
The popular 1990s rockers have been tipped to reunite for months, ever since leader Billy Corgan took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune last summer announcing his intentions to re-form the band (see "Billy Corgan Says He Wants To Re-Form Smashing Pumpkins"). In December, he posted another cryptic message on his MySpace page, which read, "The surprise I have in store for you all will be announced soon enough. Hold on to your horses. After all, good things surely come to those who wait. Don't you just love the suspense?"
Otherwise, Corgan has been mum on when or how the reunion will take place and who will join him on the second go-round. The only other new information on the official Web site is that "no release date has been set yet, but the band plans to begin recording this summer."
A source close to the group confirmed last week that the Pumpkins were in "pre-production" mode, but did not discuss who would be in the band's lineup for the new album and expected tour. Corgan has been estranged from original bassist D'Arcy Wretzky for more than seven years, since she left the band prior to the release of 2000's Machina/ The Machines of God. She was replaced by former Hole bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur, who told MTV earlier this year that she would be happy to rejoin the group (see "Smashing Pumpkins Reunion Is Under Way, According To Sources"). The status of guitarist James Iha, who has also had strained relations with Corgan over the years, is also unknown.
The last original recording from the Pumpkins, Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music, was released on the Internet as a free download in 2000. On December 2, 2000, the band played what Corgan said would be their last-ever show, at the club that helped launch their careers more than 12 years earlier, Chicago's Metro.
Days before the group's final show, Corgan was asked if there was any chance that Wretzky might make a surprise appearance and signal a thaw in their relationship. He joked, "Obi-Wan [Kenobi] has a better chance of playing with us."
Then again, he opened that last, epic 4-hour show with the quip, "Welcome to the last gasp of the Smashing Pumpkins" and said in the days after the gig, "This is the last time I will play all these songs for the rest of my life." At the time, he said he had discussed it with the group's other members and they'd all decided that they would never play live together again (see "Pumpkins Circus Folds Up With Epic Show").
But never seems to have come sooner than Corgan thought, as the one person who is definitely on board is his long-time right hand man and the group's muscular drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin (see "Smashing Pumpkins Drummer On Reunion: 'I'm In, And I'm Excited' "). (A spokesperson for Azoff Management confirmed in February that Corgan and Chamberlin had signed on with the firm as the Smashing Pumpkins.) Chamberlin was also the drummer for Corgan's short-lived post-Pumpkins group, Zwan.
Earlier this year, Auf Der Maur said Corgan has been working on material that will, at some point, surface in the form of a new Smashing Pumpkins album. "From what I understand, Billy [will be] making a Pumpkins record over the next little while," Auf Der Maur told MTV News. "Everyone knows Billy doesn't need too many people to make a Pumpkins record, other than Jimmy [Chamberlin, longtime Pumpkins drummer] — who he has [on board]."
Auf Der Maur said she's game for a reunion. "My services are there for him whenever he needs them," she said in February. "Assuming I'm not on tour — but even then, we can cross paths. I love the Pumpkins, and to play those songs again would be nothing but fun for me. It was a big part of my life."