It was probably the most successful year for the band to date. The Pumpkins triumphed with the mega sales of their latest album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
. The LP sold much more copies than expected, and it thus propelled the band to be the premier alternative bands of the year.
The band continued their world tour in promotion for Mellon Collie
and played shows for the whole year, and finally finishing in 1997.
Billy sported one of his most famous ensembles of a long-sleeve black shirt with the word ZERO in silver letters in the center. He also wore silver pants to accompany the shirt. Billy explained his phenomenon with "it's all art." The shirt became very popular at the shows.
The band almost always played their hit single, "Tonight, Tonight" with Georges Melies's 1902 "Voyage to the Moon" on the background behind the band. Other sorts of video screens displaying kaleidoscopic images were also used.
The tour featured an extended version of Siamese Dream's
"Silverfuck". Before the tour, rehearsals for the song were all improvised and various jams were intertwined. There are apparently four different versions of the song that are completely different. The song became a frequently used encore that lasted about 25-40 minutes.
Drummer Jimmy's drug habits seemed to diminish during the Mellon Collie recording sessions, regulating himself to his pack and a half of cigarettes a day. However, his drug use increased significantly during the tour and would later lead to his downfall.
The band continued to be under the false impression that Jimmy was using drugs sparingly. "We were
being made to believe that we were being told the truth every step of the way. Which we later found out wasn't true at all." In the spring of the tour, the band actually offered to postpone dates so that Jimmy could seek treatment, but he insisted that he did not need it.
- The band kicked off a small tour of the US on the 2nd. The mini-leg consisted of an acoustic song set, followed by a "big raucous rock show." The Pumpkins wore their pajamas in some shows for the acoustic set. The goal was philanthropic once again, with the intention to provide the most amount of music for the least possible amount of money. The occupancies were 1,000-1,500 and the shows lasted about three hours.
The second single from Mellon Collie, "1979" was released on the 22nd. It featured another James Iha track, "The Boy." The song was noted as a very diverse style compared to the other tracks and was also the last song written for the album. Some say this led to the transition for the later material that was more electronic-orientated. The song was also one of Billy's favorite songs from Mellon Collie.
Interestingly enough, the track was written and recorded in less than five days. In the elimination process for the forty-odd songs, producer Flood had told Billy to drop the song but the frontman asked for an additional day to work on it. That night, Billy wrote the entire song and played the new demo for Flood the next morning.
The Recording Industry Association of America announced on the 22nd that Siamese Dream had been certified as going platinum four times by selling 4,000,000 copies.
The Pumpkins headed to The American Music Awards on the 29th in Los Angeles.
- The Recording Industry Association of America announced on the 1st that Mellon Collie had been certified as going platinum by selling 1,000,000 copies. The Pumpkins enlisted the assistance of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell for equipment and other Seattle brethren. The band's equipment was misplaced due to a flooding in the Pacific Northwest, but was able to put on their scheduled performances on the 9th and 10th at the Moore Theater.
The band began an Asian leg of their MCIS tour with Filter opening on 19th in Osaka, Japan.
The first of three drug abuses of Jimmy and Jonathan occured on the 29th at the band's show in Bangkok, Thailand. "Jonathan was fine, but Jimmy was definitely out of it," said Billy. Billy also warned Jonathan that if there was a second offense, he was to be fired. A second offense (and a fatal third offense for Jonathan) did occur three months later in May.
- The Recording Industry Association of America announced on the 8th that Mellon Collie had been certified as going platinum six times by selling 6,000,000 copies.
Addicted to Noise reported that on the 19th, the Pumpkins had to postpone their New Zealand and Sydney shows because of the death of drummer Jimmy's father. The Australian and New Zealand dates are made up in May.
- The Recording Industry Association of America issued a press release on the 2nd that the Pumpkins have attained a six million mark in album sales of Mellon Collie.
The Pumpkins resumed their European leg of the MCIS tour, with Filter as the opening band, on the 3rd in Rotterdam.
The third single from Mellon Collie, "Zero", was released on the 23rd. It contains several b-sides, and a 23-minute compilation of song snippets entitled "Pastichio Medley".
- The second of the three drug abuse incidents occurred on the 2nd in Lisbon, Portugal. Jimmy and Jonathan were both found unconscious outside a hotel, and rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment. "Adrenaline shots to the heart, the whole 'Pulp Fiction' bit," as Billy put it. After the show, Billy told Jonathan, "You're fired, but I want you to finish the tour because you're gonna leave us in the lurch."
On the 11th, The Pumpkins played a show at the Point Theatre, in Dublin Ireland. The tragedy struck. The band was playing a very energetic version of "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and a 17 year-old teenager, Bernadette O'Brien was crushed and suffered internal injuries. She was camped out near the front of the stage with a hometown friend and two cousins from Dublin, O'Brien was overpowered by a surge of the crowd and crushed by the masses.
The Shanagarry resident of County Cook had her life-support system disconnected by doctors at Dublin's Mater Hospital. She had died from the massive internal injuries. In fact, four other young people were injured in the same incident. The band sent flowers to the funeral and released a statement extending their condolences to the family and friends of Bernadette.
The scheduled date at Ulster Hall in Belfast was cancelled as a mark of respect.
The "Homerpalooza" episode of The Simpsons aired in the United States on the 19th. The episode featured the Pumpkins. Executives contacted the band's management and they agreed. They just went into the studio where they had four microphones set up. They said each of their four lines three times and the stand-in Homer responded. The band found it to be an interesting and humorous experience.
The Los Angeles Times reported on the 26th that bassist D'Arcy would sing a duet with Mark Rew, for a song by her husband Kerry Brown's band called Catherine. "Four Leaf Clover" was the first single from the Hot Saki and Bedtime Stories album.
- The band released their fourth single from Mellon Collie, "Tonight, Tonight" on the 11th.
The song became an award-winning video for MTV. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris made it. The original concept of the video was derived from a 1900's silent film director Georges Meiles and gave the band much recognition at the annual awards later in the year.
Billy casually mentioned in several interviews of a potential box set of all the Mellon Collie singles and 28 b-sides all in one package for Christmas, with a few tracks exclusive to the set.
The city of Cincinnati rejected an offer by the band to play at Riverfront Coliseum due to safety concerns. The group asked for a mosh pit at Riverfront and the city refused. Joseph Charlton explained, "We investigated the band and received information that there was a potential for injury there." It's probable that their investigation turned up information of May's incident in Dublin with the death of a 17 year-old girl of injuries.
The Pumpkins began their first US leg of the tour in Michigan on the 25th. Former produer Butch Vig and his band Garbage joined as the opening band for the first and third leg of the tour.
- Addicted to Noise reported on the 4th that the band would be back in Chicago for an "MTV Unplugged" session featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The projected set did not occur for unknown reasons.
Billy revealed in an interview at the Landover, Maryland show on the 9th, that a "Pastichio Medley" song, "Disconnected" was to appear on the next single. It was renamed to "The Aeroplane Flies High" and released on the "Thirty-Three" single as a b-side. In the same interview, Billy also revealed plans for a full orchestra at the MTV Music Awards.
The tragedy continued in the soap-opera life of the Smashing Pumpkins.
Touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, 34, overdosed of a potent mixture of alcohol and heroin (specifically a substance known as Red Rum) in Manhattan's Regency Hotel with Jimmy. He called 911 late on the night of the 11th. The dispatchers advised Jimmy to put Melvoin's head in the shower and attempt to revive him. After paramedics arrived, Melvoin was pronounced dead at the scene of a heroin overdose with a self-administered syringe.
Billy received a call from touring manager Tim "Gooch" Lougee at Manhattan's Four Seasons. Gooch said, "Jimmy's OD'd. Jonathan's dead. Cops are here."
The other members of the band, D'Arcy, James, and Billy were all brought down to the 19th Precinct police station on East 67th Street for questioning, but later released that day on the 12th. Jimmy was also brought down and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was scheduled to appear for a hearing in court on August 13.
The Pumpkins were scheduled to play at New York's Madison Square Garden, but had postponed the remainder of their July dates.
The band were not invited to the Mevloin's funeral service on the 15th.
On the 17th, five days later, the band issued a press release. They announced that they have "decided to sever our relationship with our friend and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain." The group decided to search for a replacement to complete the tour, which was to resume in August.
Billy explained to many magazines and in interviews for the reasons he and the band were forced to fire Jimmy. He said, "We fired the guy to save his life. We could not continue thinking, 'Hmm, maybe he'll get better.' We were criticized for being intolerant and not helping Jimmy when he needed us most. Believe me, the guy couldn't have had any more chances. He used up all his chances plus five. For everyone's safety and mental health stability, we had to part company."
Jimmy entered a rehab clinic almost immediately after his release according to Addicted to Noise.
Rock veteran Kenny Arnoff contacted the band almost immediately following the dismissal of Jimmy. He sent in his resume, but the band would later settle on Filter drummer Matt Walker to continue with the MCIS tour. Arnoff did not protest the decision and continued working with Melissa Etheridge and John Fogerty.
The band held initial recording sessions for their upcoming album, Adore, shortly after Jimmy was ousted. Nearly ten songs were hastily recorded in a week. The band had wanted to experience rehearsing and recording as a trio, a lineup unaccustomed to them since their very early days. Songs were written in the morning by Billy, and recorded later that day. During those initial sessions, "To Sheila", "Ava Adore", "Daphne Descends" were recorded. The session was later scrapped since the final product made the songs seem to be more like demos.
Billy joined his friends in Cheap Trick for a few songs on the 21st. He played with the band for a benefit show at Park West in Chicago. It was his first public performance since the tragedy with Jonathan Melvoin. Billy played on "If You Want My Love" and "Auf Wiedersehen".
James and D'Arcy host a huge party at a Chicago club on the 27th for their record label, Scratchie Records.
MTV announces on the 31st that the Pumpkins had received eight MTV Video Music Award nominations, mostly for their video of "Tonight, Tonight" and were scheduled to perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York on September 4.
- The first week was spent with very secretive auditions for a new drummer to finish the tour in New York.
Addicted to Noise reported on the 6th, that Dennis Flemoin of the Frogs was going to fill in on keyboards for the late Jonathan Melvoin.
Two days later, on the 8th, the band issued a press release that Filter drummer Matt Walker would be the touring drummer for the remaining shows leading to 1997. Filter was the opening act for the European legs of the tour. In addition, Dennis Flemoin, drummer for the Frogs, was to be the touring keyboardist as reported by Addicted to Noise. The tour was set to resume in Las Vegas on the 27th. Rehearsals in Chicago, which lasted for several weeks, began immediately after the press release.
Jimmy appeared at the Manhattan Criminal Court on the 13th, for an arraignment stemming from his arrest following on drug possession charges of Pumpkins touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin. Jimmy pleaded innocent to the charges. Jimmy was arrested and charged on July 12.
Jimmy, 32, was in a drug rehabilitation program since the arrest, and according to his attorney Richard Schaeffer, he was "doing quite well" and "trying to get healthy."
The Pumpkins performed a matinee show at the Cabaret Metro on the 23rd in Chicago. It was their first public performance since the death of touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, and the subsequent firing of Jimmy. The band performed for a crowd of only 1,100. The show information was announced only a day before, and sold out in an hour. Tickets were $12 and went to the Christmas Is For Kids charity.
Matt Walker made his debut as the new touring drummer with rave reviews from the critics, especially Addicted to Noise. He was described as "a monster."
Virgin Records certified on the 27th that Mellon Collie has gone platinum seven times in the US, and reported as the "best selling double CD of all time." Mellon Collie has gone nine times platinum in Canada and platinum several times in Europe.
The Pumpkins played their first official, and quite successful, show on the 27th at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas as reported by Addicted to Noise. The LA Times reported that Billy said, "We're surprised at how unweird it felt out there. We worried it might feel creepy or weird or some kind of deflated stage, but it doesn't feel like that at all."
- The Pumpkins made a big sweep by winning seven awards at the 13th annual MTV Video Music Awards on the 4th.
Before the show, they did a lengthy interview with MTV. They revealed that Jimmy and Jonathan had two previous overdoses before the July 12 incident. Billy reinforced his stand on Jimmy's return, by saying "He is out of our lives."
They won all the following awards for their video "Tonight, Tonight": Best Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction In a Video, Best Art Direction, Best Special Effects in a Video, Best Cinematography. They also won the Best Alternative Video award for "1979".
"We've had an interesting year. We lost a friend. We lost a drummer. But I hope we haven't lost any fans. To anyone who wonders, we're fine," commented Billy.
The band had a small gathering (comprised of about thirteen bands, four supermodels, and players on the New York Mets) at the Four Seasons Hotel following their success at the Video Music Awards earlier that night on the 4th.
The Pumpkins issued a press release on the 25th announcing a special 5-CD singles box set. The release was called "The Aeroplane Flies High" and contained B-sides from all the singles including five cover songs exclusive to the box set. The set was due on November 19th.
- Jimmy pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on the 8th when he appeared in court before Criminal Court Judge Donna Recant. If Jimmy successful completes rehabilitation program by December (and stays clean), his court records will be sealed. If he fails, he will serve fifteen days in jail.
MTV Europe confirms on the 13th that the band will appear at their annual video music awards show.
Allstar Music reports that Jimmy was collaborating with the Breeders' Kelly Deal, Frogs' Jimmy Flemoin, and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach.
Addicted to Noise reported on the 29th that Billy was going to do a new song called "Eye" for David Lynch's "Lost Highway". The track was a solo work, but the whole band was credited. Also, the song "Tear" was originally intended for the soundtrack, but was rejected. It later became the sixth track on Adore.
- The band's fifth single, "Thirty-Three" was released on the 12th. Interestingly enough, the single featured another song from James, "The Bells".
The band won the Best Rock Act Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards on the 14th. They played a goofy version of "Bullet with Butterfly Wings". Billy was quoted to have said "Oasis should have won this [an award for Best Rock Act Award]" was due to the fact that when Oasis won an earlier award, their manager accepted on their behalf and thanked the audience on "behalf of the best band in the world since the Beatles". Billy and the band found the Beatles and Oasis connection largely amusing, and absurd. And they thought that if Oasis was the best band, then they should have won the Best Rock Act Award category.
"The Aeroplane Flies High", the 5-CD box set, was released on the 26th. The box was comprised of the five singles from Mellon Collie. The singles were extended versions European releases and a few extra tracks.
Not surprising, since Billy said that, "I've often felt that our b-sides show more of our true character than some of our albums."
Billy contributed six tracks with the help of touring drummer Matt Walker to Ron Howard's "Ransom". Five of the tracks were instrumental, and known as the "kidnapper's boom box music." The soundtrack was released on the 26th as well.
In the second week, Sebastian Back of Skid Row, announced that he formed the band "The Last Hard Men" with former Breeders guitarist Kelly Deal on bass, ex-Pumpkin drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, and Jimmy Flemoin from the Frogs for guitar, bass, and vocals. The group's first single, "School's Out" was recorded for Wes Craven's "Scream" and released in December.
- Rumors for a follow-up to 1994's "Vieuphoria" live video surfaced, after Billy told fans of a "million dollar camera" that was filming the Anaheim, CA show on the 10th.
Addicted to Noise reported on the 23rd that Billy was to part of a tribute at David Bowie's 50th birthday celebration at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Jimmy completed drug rehabilitation, and began to concentrate playing with his new band, The Last Hard Men.
Billy's wife, Christine Fabian, filed divorce papers on the 29th at the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, and cited "irreconcilable differences" after 3.5 years of marriage. The couple had apparently been living apart for six months.
Billy had repeatedly said, "There is not and will not be any public record on my marriage. That's one thing I have to draw lines around."