Disavowing the musical punk rock roots of many of their alt-rock contemporaries, the Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered, and guitar-heavy sound which while adhering to a punk influenced philosophy in terms of musical delivery, contains elements of gothic rock, heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, shoegazing, and electronica in later recordings. Corgan is the group's primary songwriter--his grand musical ambitions and cathartic lyrics have shaped the band's albums and songs, which have been described as "anguished, bruised reports from Billy Corgan's nightmare-land".
The Smashing Pumpkins broke into the musical mainstream with their second album, 1993's Siamese Dream. The group built its audience with extensive touring and their 1995 follow-up, the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. With 20 million albums sold in the United States alone, the Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. However, internal fighting, drug use, and diminishing record sales led to a 2000 break-up.
In 2006, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin reconvened to record a new Smashing Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist. The band toured with a rotating lineup of between five and nine musicians through much of 2007 and 2008 with new member Jeff Schroeder before Chamberlin left the band in early 2009. New drummer Mike Byrne and bassist Nicole Fiorentino solidified a new lineup with Corgan and Schroeder, toured through much of 2010 and 2011, and are currently recording the album Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, having just released the album-within-an-album Oceania.
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