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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Confirms That Drummer Mike Byrne ‘Has Left the Building’

Billy Corgan Mike Byrne
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

It came as a bit of surprise recently when Billy Corgan revealed that two new Smashing Pumpkins albums were in the pipeline and that Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee would be manning the kit for an entire disc.

The recruitment of Lee obviously left a big question mark concerning the status of Mike Byrne, the band’s drummer who joined in 2009 for their ‘Teargarden by Kaleidyscope’ and ‘Oceania’ material. During a recent interview with Music Radar, Corgan confirmed, “Tommy Lee is the drummer on the ‘Monuments [To an Elegy]‘ album. Mike, like Elvis, has left the building.” When asked if he wanted to elaborate, Corgan simply stated, “Let’s just say that Mike, like Elvis, has left the building.”

So with Lee in the fold, Corgan spoke more about his special guest and the decision to find a new drummer for his upcoming work. The Pumpkins frontman revealed that Lee was the first name that came up and he adds that they hadn’t even gone down the road of what to do if he wasn’t available.

The frontman explained, “I think the main point to the band in 2014 is, I want to make a certain kind of music. If I want to make that kind of music, then it’s best made under the name ‘Smashing Pumpkins.’ Where Jeff [Schroeder] and I are at is, ‘What do we need to do to do that?’”

He added, “I wasn’t just interested in just, ‘Hey, isn’t it cool that Tommy Lee is on the album?’ I wanted to work with Tommy as intimately as I could so we could find common ground, so that when you hear the music it sounds like we’re playing together. It’ll sound like he’s in the band, not just the stunt drummer that I called in to dazzle and amaze.”

Corgan says he’s pleased with the results so far, adding, “It’s so immediate — the songs are so immediate, and the way Tommy plays is so immediate … There’s an immediacy to the music that is more like me circa 1995 than, say, me anything since then.”

At present, Corgan says he’s shooting for a single out by October or November, with an album following in February 2015. And he expects a gap of no more than nine months between the two albums.

With Motley Crue embarking on their Final Tour, there’s no word yet on who will play drums for Smashing Pumpkins when they return to the road. Stay tuned to see how it plays out. And for more of Corgan’s interview with Music Radar, click here.

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