This side of the solstice bare, as most everyone has heard by now, Tommy Lee - the drummer for Motley Crue - will be drumming on all tracks for The Smashing Pumpkins' upcoming Monuments To An Elegy, the first of a two-album release.
And as a result, the word on the street is that Mike Byrne is out. And quite possibly Nicole, too.
The SP fan community is all of a dither. Juicy, isn't it?
This has long been a speculation, at least since last September or so when Billy was interviewed by the Crestfallen website and seemed to indicate everything was "too nicey nice" and said that he didn't get into rock and roll to be "nicey nice." Although the context behind that statement was debated, fan speculation about the satisfaction with the current band arrangement was stirred. And at the end of March of this year, as fans awaited the "big announcement" from Billy concerning the direction of the band, that speculation reached fever pitch as many fans were clamouring for a return of original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.
Although Mike's twitter still says "Drummer for Smashing Pumpkins," you have Nicole making posts on facebook attempting to support Mike and saying that he is free for all gigs and that people need to find him "another amazing band to be in!" (Source: https://www.facebook.com/coleytino/posts/10204218087831985)
And then, to give credit where it's due, Smashing Pumpkins fan diva, Juliana, did her homework and found this interesting snippet on facebook, in which someone said, "It's very disappointing that Mike Byrne and Coley Toohey-Tino's contributions over the past 3-4 years apparently don't seem to merit even the smallest expression of gratitude." (Note: "Coley Toohey-Tino" is Nicole for those who are confused.) Among those who liked the comment? Nicole. (Source: http://forums.netphoria.org/showthread.php?t=180906&page=14)
Admittedly, none of this looks very promising for Mike's or Nicole's prospects of still being in the band, even if just on a touring basis. Nicoles' twitter used to say she was the bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins and The Cold and Lovely, the two bands she was presently in. It now says "Bassist (The Cold and Lovely/The Smashing Pumpkins/Veruca Salt/Spinnerette/Light FM)." It reads more like a resume than a status, citing bands past, and current band first.
A lot of fans will have an opinion about this, one way or another. And of course all opinions are legit. I certainly have my own. But as a matter of tact, if Mike is really out of the band, let's give him a round of applause for a job well done and wish him the very best. And if Nicole is out as well, let's recognize her as a talented bassist for the band with a great intuitive groove. Well done.
That being said - !
My personal feeling is that Tommy Lee's addition to the studio recording is an exciting idea. It was bold, crazy and unpredictable, and given that the album is expected to be hard-rocking, having a seasoned drummer on the album who is known for many classic metal songs seems like a good fit.
As to whether or not Jimmy will contriubute to the SP legacy again, it seems up in the air, but not utterly out of the question, as Billy and Jimmy seem to have been on good terms lately, if twitter is any indication. Jimmy recently wished Billy a happy birthday, and Billy has now and then promoted Jimmy on his own twitter account. Time will tell. But regardless - I am now genuinely excited for what this album is going to sound like, probably for the first time. It's a crazy combination, but probably crazy-good.
And crazy-good is what The Smashing Pumpkins does best.