Smashing Pumpkins fans are eager to find out who is joining Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin in the soon-to-relaunch group and to hear its upcoming reunion album, Zeitgeist. But a pair of 21-year-old men might have taken their fandom a bit too far over the weekend.
At the same time, MTV News reached out to the woman who has reportedly been tapped to be the new Pumpkins bassist and found out … well, that we’ll all find out who’s joining Jimmy and Billy in a few weeks (see “Smashing Pumpkins Reunion Is Under Way, According To Sources” and “Smashing Pumpkins Drummer Offers More Clues About Forthcoming LP” ).
Joshua Kuhl of Madison, Wisconsin, and Simon Brown of Rockford, Illinois, allegedly broke into a Chicago rehearsal space being used by the Pumpkins on Friday night and made off with three guitar picks and 39 photographs that police suspect the men may have tried to sell online, according to Chicago Police Department spokesman Marcel Bright. The pair were arrested Monday and charged with felony burglary after other tenants of the building provided a description that led police to the suspects.
Bright did not know how many of the photos — which were briefly posted on Pumpkins fan site Netphoria.org — were discovered during the arrests. According to Netphoria webmaster Andrew Pakula, one of the two suspects posted the photos along with information about the theft. Among the allegedly pilfered shots that Bright said police suspect were slated for use in the album packaging and promotional materials are images of Paris Hilton posing in front of an exploding bomb, the grim reaper at a podium featuring the presidential seal with a black-and-white Pumpkins flag in the back, a person in a business suit wearing a devil mask while being crucified, five blond children saluting, a close-up of Corgan in a hoodie and another of him standing next to a topless woman.
The band’s management released a statement on Tuesday confirming that the burglary had taken place. “The two people who are now in jail illegally gained access to the band’s private space and stole various items belonging to them over the course of several hours while the band had left for the evening,” the statement read. “The band’s management says the group feels their rights have been violated by this crime and will always pursue their rights and the law to protect their property and the safety of themselves, their families and their fans.”
A group spokesperson would not comment on what images were taken or what they were intended for.
A statement posted on Netphoria by the moderator confirmed that the photos were briefly available and chided the overzealous fans for crossing a line. “What this person did amounts to theft and [the] band takes this very seriously as does Netphoria. I know everyone here is hungry for more information on the new album but this is not the way to go about it. Nobody here should condone or be supportive of the actions this individual took. It is unfortunate that the person chose Netphoria to leak these stolen works. Netphoria has always been a free and open forum without hard censorship but obviously in a case like this a line was crossed and I will not tolerate actions like this which is why numerous posts and threads were deleted last night.”
The shots were taken down at the band’s request, according to the post. Brown and Kuhl appeared on Tuesday in bond court, where each was ordered to be held on $100,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court again on Monday. A court spokesperson was not able to confirm if the two were released on bond pending their next court date.
Kuhl and Brown don’t appear to have divulged the biggest secret of all: Just who is in the Pumpkins these days? At South by Southwest in March, former guitarist James Iha confirmed to MTV News that he was not onboard, and original bassist D’arcy Wretzky has virtually disappeared since leaving the group in 1999.
The group’s publicist, Mitch Schneider, said Pumpkins management has not yet confirmed the lineup to him, but the Chicago Tribune recently reported that the group’s new bassist is Ginger Reyes (formerly of the Halo Friendlies) and Iha’s replacement is Jeff Schroeder, guitarist for the obscure Southern California noise-pop band Lassie Foundation.
On Wednesday (May 9), MTV News reached Reyes — whose defunct girl-pop group is best known for landing the song “Me vs. the World” on the 2003 “Freaky Friday” soundtrack — to get confirmation that she’s the new Pumpkins bassist. She said she couldn’t comment but confirmed that she’s still making music and that she might have something to say “in a few weeks.” Schroeder could not be reached for comment.