The Smashing Pumpkins begin to take shape, as guitarist Billy Corgan meets D'arcy Wretzky in a confrontation, and gives her his number. After she calls him, D'Arcy is invited to Billy's home, where she listens to his homemade tapes and plays with him. D'arcy appears apprehensive and can't even hold her instrument properly, but Corgan finds her interesting and hires her without a formal audition.
The band plays its first ever show July 9 at a Polish disco named Chicago 21, with only Corgan and James Iha accompanied by a drum machine. Meanwhile, with bassist Wretzky now on board, the band begins rehearsing and plays its first "official" show August 10 at the Avalon, again backed by a drum machine.
By the recommendation of a friend, the band finds drummer Jimmy Chamberlin from Peoria. Chamberlin had attended Northern Illinois University and had been playing in a variety of bands around Chicago, including the Skittles and JP and the Cats. Chamberlin had seen the band at the Avalon, and thought they were horrible, but that the songs had a lot of potential and that Corgan was a great writer.
With Chamberlin, the band plays at the Cabaret Metro October 5. Owner Joe Shanahan had seen the band's Avalon show and told them if they replaced the drum machine, he'd put them on a bill.
As the year winds to a close, the band begins to pick up steam. They announce Chamberlin as thier official drummer on a radio interview at Northwestern University, and tape a local cable access show. Meanwhile, as a reward for Chamberlin's hiring, Shanahan rewards the band with the opening slot for Jane's Addiction.
Meanwhile, Corgan is working in local record store The Record Hut to make ends meet, and Wretzky works a variety of jobs, including at a bakery, a motorcycle store, and a Japanese restaurant waitressing.
- • 1988-05-07
- Following a show by Northwest hair band The Dan Reed Network at the Avalon, Corgan gets into an argument with D'arcy Wretzky about whether the band was put together by a record company. According to the Jim Stapleton book, Billy's first words to D'arcy, interrupting her conversation were "You're full of shit." The two band members remember the argument as going something like this:
"What the hell are you talking about? That band was crap and besides that, they were put together by a record company," Billy shouted.
"How would you know that? Can you tell just by looking at them?" D'arcy claimed.
"I can tell by the way a guy jumps around on stage," Billy responded.
"I jump around on stage and I wasn't put together by a record company," she said.
"Yeah, well what do you do?" he asked.
"I play bass."
"I have a band and I'm looking for a bass player. Here's my number, give me a call," Billy said.
- • 1988-07-09
- The first ever show of the Smashing Pumpkins occurs, as they perform at a Polish disco named Chicago 21 with the "psychedelic funk" band Still Life as openers. The band consisted of Corgan and Iha playing along with a drum machine. Corgan also played guitar with Stil Life.
- • 1988-08-10
- The Smashing Pumpkins play their first "official" show at the Avalon Nightclub to an estimated crowd of about 50 people. Tickets were $1 to get in, and the band played as a three piece with Billy Corgan and James Iha on guitars and D'arcy Wretzky on bass, backed by a drum machine. Cabaret Metro owner Joe Shanahan tells the band after the show that if they hire a drummer, he will give them a show at his club.
- • 1988-10-05
- The band takes the stage of the Metro at 9 p.m., one of three bands, along with October's Child and Love and Addiction, on the "Rock Against Depression" bill. For the show, the band uses jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who was recommended by a friend of Corgan's. Chamberlin, from nearby Peoria, had played in a number of band's before this gig, most recent being the 10-piece showband JP and the Cats.
- • 1988-11-19
- The band has a busy day, heading off to Evanston to be interviewed on Northwestern University's radio station, WNUR. The band plays some songs backed by a drum machine, but announces that drummer Jimmy Chamberlin is now an official band member. The Pumpkins also head to Roselle, Illinois for a taping of a local cable access show called Pulse.
- • 1988-11-23
- Following the Pumpkins' hiring of Chamberlin, the band is rewarded with the opening slot at the Metro for Jane's Addiction.