[artist id="1016"]Smashing Pumpkins[/artist] leader [artist id="1165669"]Billy Corgan[/artist] said he was looking for some new blood when he announced open auditions earlier this year to replace departed drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. And, according to Pumpkins fan site Hipsters United, the great Pumpkin — at this point the only remaining original member of the band — might have found his man in unknown 19-year-old drummer Mike Byrne.
Corgan blogged on Friday that he has found the band's "drummer of the future," explaining that he's still on target to release new music in October. "I've worked with him so far for one week, and all indications are really good that he's the man for the job," Corgan wrote of the unnamed drummer. "Going to work with him some more before it becomes official. Whoever takes the job has quite big shoes to fill, no doubt about it."
Smashing Pumpkins rep Mitch Schneider confirmed to MTV News on Tuesday (June 9) that Corgan is working with Byrne in the studio on demos. "I think he's an incredibly gifted drummer, and so far things are going really well," Corgan said, according to Schneider's statement.
The Hipsters United site quickly dug up some evidence that Corgan was referring to Byrne, who reportedly sits behind the kit for Oregon band Moses, Smell the Roses, in his blog post. Among the evidence is that the Berklee College of Music freshman — who was just 1 when the band's debut album Gish was released — wrote on his MySpace page in mid-May that he was "with the Pumpkins till next Saturday." He then updated his status on Monday to say, "Mike is off for another couple weeks at Pumpkin camp."
Ben Spees, a friend who is recording the latest Moses album, Tweeted on Friday about Corgan's blog post, writing, "Billy Corgan posted about Mike in his blog. Drummer of the future."
If he does make the lineup, Byrne — who reportedly has had only four years of drum lessons — would be the youngest member of the band, led by 42-year-old Corgan. New guitarist Jeff Schroeder is 35, and new bassist Ginger Pooley is 29. A spokesperson for the Pumpkins had no comment at press time.
Either way, it would be a big step up for Byrne, whose band just played a May 29 house show in Beaverton, Oregon. He appears to be having some fun with all the speculation, judging from the gig Moses posted on MySpace for December 31, 2010: "Billy Corgan's House w/Frank Zappa and David Crowder Band." The cost of the gig? $10,000.
[This story was originally published at 4:34 p.m. ET on 06.09.2009]