In the clearest sign yet that Billy Corgan is reviving seminal alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins, sources say he and Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are set to begin work on a new studio album.
Original members James Iha (guitar) and D’arcy Wretzky (bass), recent targets of Corgan’s venom, are not participating in the reunion at this point. But sources say multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler will be involved in some fashion. Mohler formerly played bass in pop/rock act the Calling and contributed to Chamberlin’s 2005 solo album, “Life Begins Again.”
“As long as Billy has Jimmy, he can make the essential Pumpkins record, I’m sure,” former Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur told Billboard.com, adding that while she is not involved in any reunion plans, “my services are always there to play my favorite songs. If D’arcy is not available, I’m always happy to be second in line.”
When asked for comment, a Corgan spokesperson said there was no information to report at present.
Corgan has also signed a new management deal with rock impresario Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management. He broke up the band at the end of 2000, the year the band released its final album, “MACHINA/the machines of god.”
The Pumpkins are expected to hit the road at some point this year, although a rumored appearance at southern California’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in late April will not materialize. The group’s name is already being kicked around as a possible headliner for Lollapalooza, which is set for Aug. 4-6 in its Chicago hometown.
Corgan stunned fans last June when he took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times announcing his intentions to “renew and “revive” the Pumpkins. In 2004, he broke his silence about why the band dissolved, lashing out at Iha and Wretzky for walking away from an endeavor he described as “essentially my entire life... a dream I still believe in.”
Corgan’s newspaper ads came out the same day as his Reprise solo debut, “The Future Embrace,” which met with a chilly reception at retail. The album debuted at No. 31 on The Billboard 200 and has sold just 69,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
In the past few weeks, the URL http://www.SmashingPumpkins.com has begun redirecting to Corgan’s own home page. In December, he teased fans on his Myspace.com site with the promise of a surprise, saying that it “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?”