5.3 The keyboard/drummer events
In the summer of '95, the Chicago Reader ran an ad by the Pumpkins, seeking a
touring keyboardist. 5-minute tape auditions (with a "please, no pumpkins
songs" condition) were to be turned in by July 14th. On August 18,
Entertainment Weekly ran the following:
"...aspiring Pumpkins needn't wait by the phone. Two months later, a
refrigerator box full of cassettes graces Chicago's Soundworks studios, and
there's not a listening station in sight. 'We've been too busy to deal with
them,' says Iha. 'I don't want to listen to a bunch of wack keyboard players.
It sounds like a nightmare to me.'"
The position was filled by Jonathan Melvoin, who played keyboards and acted as
a second drummer for Silverfuck. He also appeared with SP on the American
On July 12, 1996, Jonathan was found dead from a heroin overdose. He and
drummer Jimmy Chamberlin had shot up the previous night, and Jimmy awoke to
find Jonathan dead. Jimmy was charged with misdemeanor heroin possession, and
the rest of the band were taken in for questioning, and later released. All
tour dates through July 27th were postponed. A few days later, the band
released a statement saying that Jimmy would no longer be the band's drummer.
Private/closed auditions were held a while later to find a replacement drummer
for the remainder of the tour. Matt Walker, former touring drummer for Filter,
took over. While auditioning for Filter, he reportedly dropped a drumstick and
finished with one- he was hired immediately. Dennis Flemion, founding member
and drummer/keyboardist of The Frogs, was chosen to be the replacement
keyboardist. A press release was issued on August 8th. The band played a
surprise warmup show at the Metro on August 23rd with the two new touring
members, and resumed the MCIS tour after that.
During the recording of Adore, SP used several drummers, including Joey
Waronker (Beck), Matt Walker (MCIS tour, Cupcake), and Matt Cameron
(Soundgarden). Drum machine programming was done by Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb.
During the Adore tour, the band hired a decent-sized backup band that consisted
of drummer Kenny Aronoff, keyboardist Mike Garson, and percussionists Stephen
Hodges and Dan Morris.
In 1999, Jimmy Chamberlin rejoined the band as the band's drummer before the
start of the brief 'Arising Tour'. Jimmy continued as drummer until the band's
demise on December 2, 2000, and re-joined when the band re-formed in 2006. He
left the band again in 2009, to be replaced by Mike Byrne.