Smashing Pumpkins Break With Drummer Mike Byrne

Portland-born wunderkind no longer part of Billy Corgan's motley crew

Smashing Pumpkins Mike Byrne Leaves Quits Drummer
The Smashing Pumpkins live at Glastonbury 2013 PHOTO BY IAN GAVAN/GETTY IMAGES
WRITTEN BY
Colin Joyce

With the news that Tommy Lee had joined the Smashing Pumpkins for their two 2015 albums, it was pretty clear that the band's usual drummer Mike Byrne was in a dicey spot. But now in an interview with Music Radar, Billy Corgan has confirmed that Byrne is no longer with the band.

"Tommy Lee is the drummer on the [Monuments to an Elegy]. Mike, like Elvis, has left the building," said Corgan, when asked about the lineup for the band's forthcoming record.

Corgan was then asked if he'd like to elaborate to which he just repeated, "Mike, like Elvis, has left the building."

Byrne replaced the Smashing Pumpkins' founding drummer back in 2009 when he was just 19 years old. He drummed on both of the band's records to emerge during his tenure, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and Oceania, as well as a host of tours, but nothing with Billy Corgan is forever, especially when he has the chance to team up with a hair-metal icon.

Later in the interview, America's favorite cat enthusiast expanded on the joys of working with Tommy Lee.

"The two most intuitive musicians I’ve ever worked with are Jimmy Chamberlin and Tommy Lee," Corgan said. "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."

Noticeably absent from that list of intuitive musicians is the Pumpkins erstwhile wunderkind drummer Byrne. But it seems like these days Corgan doesn't really need many drummers at all, with the epic, abstract modular synth workouts that he keeps putting on at his tea house. Byrne's departure could have easily just been to make more room on stage for that whole getup.

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