Smashing New Drummer

Andy DoerschukPublished July 27, 2009

After founding drummer Jimmy Chamberlin left Smashing Pumpkins in March, bandleader Billy Corgan announced open auditions to fill the drum chair. Early this month rumors began spreading that the band had hired an unknown teenager to replace the highly-respected Chamberlin. Corgan all but confirmed that 19-year-old Mike Byrne of Beaverton, Oregon had won the spot when he blogged: "I've worked with him so far for one week, and all indications are really good that he's the man for the job."

At this point, Byrne seems to have sewn it up. He backed up Corgan at a July 24 show at the Echoplex in Glendale, California – a tribute to Seeds frontman Sky Saxon who passed away on June 25. The one-off band, Spirits In The Sky, also featured two veterans of the psychedelic '60s: keyboardist Mark Weitz of Strawberry Alarm Clock and bassist Mark Tulin of The Electric Prunes.

Little is known about Byrne, except that, prior to the Pumpkins audition, he had played with the Beaverton band Moses, Smell The Roses, was a freshman at Berklee School Of Music, and placed second at his local Guitar Center Drum Off at the age of 16.

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