Corgan and Iha formed The Smashing Pumpkins in 1988. The two met at a used record shop where Corgan worked. D'Arcy joined after meeting Corgan outside a bar and getting into an argument over the band The Dan Reed Network. They began playing as a three piece with a drum machine until Chamberlin was found through a classified ad.
The band played their first gig opening for Jane's Addiction. Afterwards they were quickly signed to Virgin Records.
Corgan is a notorious perfectionist. He played all of the instruments on Siamese Dream himself, although his band still received full credit.
During the tour for Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin died of a heroin overdose. He was with Chamberlin, who also overdosed but survived. Chamberlin was subsequently fired and replaced by Matt Walker of Filter. Dennis Flemion of The Frogs replaced Melvoin.
To promote their album Adore, the pumpkins wanted to comprise their tour solely of free shows. This was denied in all states except Minnesota, where they performed outdoors in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. The mayor declared it "Smashing Pumpkins day." The profits of the remainder of their tour were donated to charity.
In 2000, the Pumpkins released the album MACHINA: The Machines of God. Chamberlin rejoined the band, while D'Arcy quit. D'Arcy was replaced by Melissa Auf Der Maur of the band Hole.
The Pumpkin's final album before their 2006 reunion was called Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music. Only 25 copies of the album were pressed. These copies were given to fans to distribute over the internet for free. The band broke up on December 2nd, 2000.
Iha released a solo album in 1998, Let It Come Down.
Iha and D'Arcy owned their own record label, Scratchie Records.
After the Pumpkins, Corgan and Chamberlin formed the band Zwan, which broke up in 2003 (Corgan says he "detests" the other members of Zwan and they will never get back together). Corgan then began working on his first solo album. Iha and Auf Der Maur formed the band The Virgins. (thanks, heather - minneapolis, MN, for all above)
Corgan hardly ever plays his old songs. After The Smashing Pumpkins broke up, he went at least 4 years without playing one of their songs. When he finally did, it was a performance of "Today
" for some fans in Paris.
On April 20th, 2006, Billy Corgan officially announced that the band was back together writing material for their first album since 2000. Corgan, Chamberlin, and Iha were verified as members of the band. (thanks, Tyler - Concord, NH)
The band appeared in a season 7 episode of The Simpsons called "Homerpalooza." After being shot in the stomach with a cannon, Homer gets a spot on the festival and befriends the band. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)