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When asked by Music Radar if Byrne would continue to play alongside the Pumpkins’ newly-recruited percussionist Tommy Lee (yes, Motley Crue‘s Tommy Lee), Corgan said, “Tommy Lee is the drummer on the [next] album. Mike, like Elvis, has left the building.”
Corgan didn’t discuss the reasons behind Byrne’s departure. When pressed for more details, he repeated, “Let’s just say that Mike, like Elvis, has left the building.”
Byrne joined Smashing Pumpkins when he was only 19 years of age, and replaced founding member and long-time drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Byrne played on the band’s 2009 album Teargarden By Kaleidoscope and 2012's Oceania, and also joined the band on tour.
Lee, on the other hand, will feature on all nine tracks of the Pumpkins’ forthcoming record Monuments To An Elegy, a collaboration which Corgan has described as “indescribably epic”.
Speaking with Billboard, Lee has said that he thinks Monuments To An Elegy is “probably the best record [Corgan's] ever written”. “These are like epic, goose-bump songs,” Lee said. “It sounds like the first couple of Smashing Pumpkins records. I was fucking blown away.”
The Smashing Pumpkins are set to release two new albums in 2015, Monuments To An Elegy and Day For Night.
Watch Mike Byrne and the Pumpkins play Bullet With Butterfly Wings on tour in 2012, below.
Watch: Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Live At Barclays Center, 10th December 2012)