After nearly two decades of drama, scandals, and groundbreaking rock classics, The Smashing Pumpkins called it quits in 2000. Some band members blamed the breakup solely on guitarist James Iha, but REELZ’s new docuseries suggests the split was a longtime coming thanks to the musicians’ wild lives and clashing personalities.
“Butch Vig came back for ‘Siamese Dream’ because A, Billy trusted him, and B, I would say if it’s not broke don’t fix it,” says former band manager Andy Gershon, in a teaser for Smashing Pumpkins: Breaking the Band.
“Butch is a real laid-back personality and Billy could be pretty intense, so they kind of balanced each other out and kept each other in check,” says the band’s former engineer, Jeff Tomei.
Producer Butch Vig decided to record the 1993 album in Atlanta, partly so he could keep wild child drummer Jimmy Chamberlin away from his drug suppliers, and in the studio where lead singer and co-producer Billy Corgan needed him.
“I think that Jimmy brought a level of musical ability as a drummer that helped Billy realize the grand dreams he had for the band. Here was a guy that could help him execute this music that he had in his head.,” says LA Times Pop Music Critic Mikael Wood.
But a few weeks into recording, Vig’s plan began to fail and the bandmates watched as Chamberlin jumped back to his toxic habits, delaying the recording process and creating animosity between the stars.
“If you’re looking for those distractions, you can find them, they’re easy to find in any city,” says Jeff Tomei. “Jimmy found all the people that he needed to find to do whatever recreational sports he wanted to do.
The Smashing Pumpkins reunited for a 2018 tour following their split.
Smashing Pumpkins: Breaking the Band airs Sunday, July 7 at 9 ET/ PT on REELZ.