1999 proves to be quite an important year for the Smashing Pumpkins. The year started off with the band rehiring ousted drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, and playing a short eight date tour in April named the Arising! Tour. April also saw the band join the Internet revolution, putting up an official website at www.thesmashingpumpkins.com, and hosting a live webcast of the first four songs from Detroit, the opening night of the tour.
The summer months see little news in the public eye, as the band retires to the studio to work on their forthcoming album, tentatively scheduled for a late fall release before being pushed back to February of 2000. The soundtrack to Stigmata is released in August, featuring a score by Billy Corgan and keyboardist Mike Garson. The soundtrack also includes the Corgan-penned "Identify" sung by Natalie Imbruglia.
September sees bassist D'arcy's departure for unknown reasons, as the press release is lacking any relevant information. Her replacement is former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur. The end of the year sees the release of the single "The Everlasting Gaze" from the upcoming album, Machina/the Machines of God
, and the annoucement of a European tour in January and two Christmas charity shows at the Metro in Chicago. By bringing two cans of food to the show, fans were entitled to a signed gift from the band. The band wraps up the year with a Blind Date gig in Ireland.
- The band was still relishing their break after the worldwide Adore tour. Plans for a return to the studio were undecided, but rumors flew about that the band had already been recording. The only indication about the sound of the new album was a statement by Billy in the December 1998 issue of Rolling Stone that it sounded similar to Mountain.
- • 1999-01-05
- Grammy nominations on the 5th award the band with one nomination for "Best Alternative Performance" for Adore. Billy also received a "Best Rock Song" nomination for his work on "Celebrity Skin" by Hole.
- • 1999-01-15
- Rolling Stone reports that the band was close to re-hiring their former drummer, Jimmy Chamberlain. However, no official response was given to the article.
- Various sources announce the return of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain to the band after a three year absensce in mid February, while Corgan spends time in the studio, not for a new Pumpkins release, but to record a chunk of instrumental music for the upcoming movie Stigmata. Keyboardist Mike Garson is a collaborator on the project.
- • 1999-02-16
- After weeks of swirling rumors concering Chamberlain's return to the band, the Los Angeles Times, MTV.com, and SPIN magazine all confirm his return from an unnamed "source." However, there is still no official word or press release from the band.
- • 1999-02-17
- Sonicnet reported that Billy and the band had done about forty hours of recorded music in the studio and were slated to have at least one song or more for the film "Stigmata" with Patricia Arquette.
- The news trickle begins to open up, first with Billy accompanying his father at the First Waltz benefit March 25, his first performance since the KROQ acoustic Christmas concert last December. This was followed by the announcement of the Arising! Tour, a short eight-date cross country trek, widely believed to be a test of new material and the official confirmation of Jimmy Chamberlin.
- • 1999-03-04
- Princeton University music history professor Peter Jeffery sues the band, alleging hearing loss sustained at the New Haven Coliseum, CT show on January 25, 1997 during the final leg of the MCIS tour. Jefferey, who was there with his son, claimed that even after applying earplugs, he still lost a portion of his hearing due to the loud sounds. Jefferey sued the band for $150,000, and also sued the city of New Haven, and the venue. Read more at http://www.spc.org.uk/main.htm.
- • 1999-03-08
- James Iha and Fountains of Wayne/Ivy leader and Scratchie collaborator Adam Schlesinger turn an old warehouse in New York into a recording studio, Stratosphere Sound. Scratchie Records band Fulflej is the first band set to record material there.
- • 1999-03-25
- Billy and his father played a benefit show at the Metro dubbed "The First Waltz" organized by Nick Tremulius to benefit Neon Street, a homeless shelter. Other performers included longtime friend Rick Neilsen, and members of The Band and the Bodeans. The pair played two blues songs, with each taking a turn on vocals. There was a jam song at the end of the show featuring all the artists, but both Corgans had already left the building.
- • 1999-03-27
- The Pumpkins announced an eight-date club tour of the United States, featuring intimate venues of only a few thousand people. The tour is widely believed as a test for new material the band has been writing and as a reunion of drummer Jimmy. Tickets for all shows sell out quickly, and scalpers had a field day, with tickets going for over $200 and up to $500 for certain dates.
- The Arising! Tour kicks off on the 10th, with Jimmy back at the drumkit. The shows are a success all around, as the band is in seemingly high spirits. The new material performed, such as "Virex" "Dross" and "Stand Inside Your Love" is heavy and rock powered, and the band also includes rarely played songs like "La Dolly Vita," "I am One," "Soma" and "Geek U.S.A." The tour wraps up April 24 in Los Angeles, which would end up being D'arcy's final show as a band member.
- • 1999-04-10
- The first four songs from St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit, Michigan were broadcast in a live webcast, the opening night of the tour. The webcast was part of a "grand opening" of the band's new Web sit
e at www.thesmashingpumpkins.com. A few fans are able to catch the test run of the cameras online during the band's soundcheck ea
rlier in the day.
- • 1999-04-24
- The band was honored on at the Make a Wish Foundation annual charity wish ball. They were recognized for the Chicago show last summer that raised a half million dollars, the largest single donation for the organization.
The band also wraps up the Arising! Tour tonight in Los Angeles at the Roxy, after a shortened set the night before in San Diego. The Roxy show becomes the final show with the newly reunited band, as D'Arcy departs later in the year.
- A slow news month, after the excitement of April. The official web site mentions the plans for an Adore Documentary, featuring footage shot by the band throughout the tour in the summer of 1998. The documentary would never surface, however.
- • 1999-05-13
- The band's official site announced plans for an Adore Documentary, a new video that will encompass footage from the international Adore tour last summer that caught the band in a variety of venues. The footage was shot by MTV producer Jesse Ignjatovic.
- June finds the band in the studio, working on the followup to Adore in Chicago. It is also the beginning of Gish Month on the official web site, featuring early interviews, a special t-shirt, and to top it all off, a live chat with Billy and James, which was supposed to feature only Gish questions.
More "Stigmata" is featured as well, with the soundtrack slated for an August release and including Natalie Imbruglia singing the Corgan-penned "Identify."
- • 1999-06-08
- The site announces that Natalie Imbruglia has completed work on "Identify", one of the tracks from Billy Corgan and Mike Garson (a keyboardist for David Bowie and touring keyboardist for the Adore tour) on the upcoming "Stigmata" soundtrack. The CD will also feature forty-one minutes of music from the pair.
- • 1999-06-15
- The live chat with Billy and James for Gish month is cancelled because of a server crash. The chat is rescheduled for July.
Music for Hangovers, the new Cheap Trick CD culled from the band's 4 night stand at the Metro in April of 1998, is released. The CD features two tracks with Pumpkins ties, as Corgan plays guitar on "Mandocello" and D'arcy offers up backing vocals on "If you want my love."
- The band is still working in the studio, with the only new development being the announcement of the albumss's tentative release date being pushed back to February of 2000. The aborted chat from Gish month is also rescheduled for this month.
- • 1999-07-14
- The rescheduled Gish chat takes place, with somewhat disastrous results.
- August finds the long awaited release of the "Stigmata" soundtrack, featuring over 40 minutes of music composed by Billy Corgan and Mike Garson. Billy appears in a few articles about the soundtrack, but avoids a majority of the questions about the forthcoming album.
- • 1999-08-17
- An interesting interview with Corgan runs at Sonicnet, one of the only to offer some concrete quotes about the upcoming album. Corgan mentions that even fans that saw an Arising! show last April will be surprised by the new album, and that out of the 10 songs performed, 7 of them have been completely reworked in recording, and that those 10 songs were a small part of the nearly 40 written.
- • 1999-08-24
- The "Stigmata" soundtrack is released in stores today, with lead single being the Corgan-penned "Identify," sung by Natalie Imbruglia.
- The major news in September is the departure of D'arcy from the band, following rumors of her lack of work on the new album and pursuits of a movie career. The band is still in the studio putting the finishing touches on the upcoming album, due out in February 2000.
- • 1999-09-09
- A press release announces the departure of the band's bass player D'arcy Wretzky. The press release is lacking in information, and rumors swirl about D'arcy's work, or lack thereof, for the new album. The release does mention a release date (February 15, 2000) and subsequent tour in support of the album. An AOL chat with Corgan scheduled for the next day is cancelled as well in the wake of the announcement.
- October sees the first live performance since the Arising! Tour, as Billy and James (and unannounced guest Jimmy) play Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, the band's second time there. A new manager is finally announced as well, as Sharon Osbourne, wife of Black Sabbath member and solo artist Ozzy Osbourne, is hired. Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur leaves the band, leading to rumors she will replace D'arcy in the Pumpkins.
- • 1999-10-10
- After a nine-month search, various media sources announce that Sharon Osbourne, head of Osbourne Management, will be taking over managerial duties of the Smashing Pumpkins. Osbourne is the wife of Ozzy Osbourne, and also the manager of his band Black Sabbath, as well as bands like Coal Chamber.
A private listening party for about a dozen online fans was held at the Chicago Recording Company. The fans stopped by Saturday evening and hung out with Billy for a bit, then returned on Sunday. After a brief setup/intro by Billy, including a "no notes" warning, Flood took over, played a number of tracks for the fans, and asked for feedback, including "Does it rock?"
- • 1999-10-30
- Billy and James play the first and second night of the Bridge School Benefit, hosted by Neil Young and featuring artists such as Pearl Jam, the Who, Green Day and Brian Wilson. The duo play a similar acoustic set (with some help from Jimmy) each night, featuring a brand new song ("Age of Innocence") as well as Arising! songs "Stand Inside Your Love" and "Glass + the Ghost Children" and covers of "Stay" by U2 and "Ol' 55" by Tom Waits. The Sunday show (10/31) was also webcast.
- The penultimate month of 1999 finds an announcement of the new title (Machina/the Machines of God), tracklisting of the new album, and a new bassist (Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of Hole). The band also re-releases Siamese Dream, complete with the original full-page booklet.
- • 1999-11-19
- An exclusive listening party is hosted in New York for top Virgin executives and modern rock radio programmers to hear the finished album, handed in the week before. "Stand Inside your Love" is set to be the first single for the as yet untitled album, which has a new release date of February 29, 2000.
- • 1999-11-24
- The band finally divulges the long awaited album title, Machina/the Machines of God. Melissa Auf der Maur is also officially named bassist for the upcoming tour, ending weeks of speculation.
- The final month of the millennium sees an onslaught of activity as new album Machina/the Machines of God nears its February release. The band announces a European tour, two Chicago shows, and radio single "The Everlasting Gaze" goes into heavy rotation.
- • 1999-12-20
- The band plays the first of two charity shows (the other being Dec. 21 ) at the Metro in Chicago, the live debut of many new songs and new bassist Melissa Auf der Maur. Fans bringing two cans of food were entitled to a signed gift from the band.
- • 1999-12-29
- The band wraps up the year playing a Blind Date show in Dublin, Ireland, on their way to the start of the European tour on January 7, 2000.