Smashing Pumpkins Select IG Darling, Kiki Wong, as New Guitarist

When Billy Corgan puts it out in the world that The Smashing Pumpkins is looking for a new guitarist, there's going to be a ton of virtuosos tossing their flying V's into the ring.

But who knew 10,000 would-be rockers would want a taste of standing in the shadows of the bald Chicagoan? And who would have guessed the winner would be an Instagram mainstay who slides into frame and shreds for a minute while making funny faces?

This is why we love rock music: dreams really do come true.

Kiki Wong is a 30something year-old tattooed lead guitarist who recently became a new mom. When she applied for the gig as the newest pumpkin, to her surprise the band already knew who she was.

But it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. With over 750k followers on IG, surely one might be the Pisces Iscariot?

“I remember hearing 'Bullet With Butterly Wings' for the first time and just having my mind completely blown,” Wong told Guitar World of "the world is a vampire" hit.

But what about the audition? Was it cool?

“I walked in, and it was one of the biggest rehearsal studios I’ve been to. My heart was going a million miles per hour because almost the whole OG line-up was there. It was like looking through a glimpse of my teenage years in real life!“ she said.

Poker Face by one of the freshest faces on Instagram

"And man, were the guys nice. The vibes were so good I kind of forgot about the nerves and we just jammed," she said. "In that moment it didn’t even matter if I got the gig or not. I was so grateful to be jamming with such legendary players. Truly.”

Wong said that once she had her child she thought that was it for her as far as performing at the highest level with a platinum-selling band, but nope.

Kiki is not the first female musician in the Pumpkins, but she is the first guitarist.

As you probably remember, the band's original bassist, D'arcy Wretzky was with the group for its first eleven years but was summarily fired in 1999.

D'arcy was replaced by Melissa Auf Der Maur, formerly of Hole. In fact it was Billy who originally told the Canadian bassist in 1994 that the Hole gig was hers for the taking.

When she said no she got a call from Courtney.

"'What do you mean, you don't want to join my band?'" she recalled. "'You're getting on a plane to Seattle tomorrow.'"

Auf Der Maur was only in the Pumpkins for a short stint before going solo.

Chicagoan Ginger Pooley played bass in the band from 2007-2010. Nicole Fiorentino took over for her from 2010-2014.

But Wong isn't going to be playing bass. She is replacing Jeff Schroeder who was a Pumpkin for 16 years until he decided in 2023 to part ways.

"It's easy to say now that when I joined The Smashing Pumpkins in 2007 I had no idea what I was getting into," he wrote in a post the band put on their IG.

"The opportunity seemed to have come out of nowhere. I was at UCLA working on my doctorate in comparative literature when a close friend messaged me and said The Smashing Pumpkins were looking for a guitar player. Being a huge fan of the band, the audition was something I threw myself into. It was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. The amount of incredible memories created over the last 16 years with the band are almost too numerous to quantify. Although it was a very difficult decision to make, I've decided to leave the band to make some space to explore a slightly different path. I want to thank Billy, Jimmy, James, and Jack for being both wonderful bandmates and even better friends. I will absolutely miss sharing the stage with you. I wish the band all the success in the future. I will be watching and listening."

Speaking of James, after leaving the band for a while, he's been back since 2018. But he's not a bassist, he's the OG second guitarist.

“Billy is just amazing and he’s literally a musical genius," Wong cooed. "Jimmy has a pocket like no other – the man is a downright drum shred master. And James adds so much personality and style to the playing. There’s really no-one else who could emulate what they’re doing. I have huge shoes to fill."

So now there's a triple guitar attack, who's going to hold the bottom down with drummer Jimmy Chamberlain?

Find out when the Pumpkins hit the road with Weezer in a week. Grab your tickets on their website before they sell out.

Smashing Pumpkins 2024 Tour Dates:
06/07 – Birmingham, UK @ Utilita Arena ^
06/08 – London, UK @ The O2 ^
06/10 – Dublin, IE @ 3Arena ^
06/12 – Glasgow, UK @ Hydro ^
06/13 – Manchester, UK @ Co-Op Live ^
06/14 – Cardiff, UK @ Cardiff Castle ^
06/16 – Paris, FR @ Accor Arena *
06/19 – Moenschenglabach, DE @ Sparkassenpark (outdoor) ^^
06/21 – Hannover, DE @ ZAG Arena ^^
06/22 – Berlin, DE @ Wuhlheide ^^
06/24 – Vienna, AT @ Stadthalle ^^
06/26 – Zagreb, HR @ Inmusic Festival
06/28 – Luxembourg @ Luxexpo ^^
06/29 – Rotterdam, NL @ Ahoy ^^
06/30 – Antwerp, BE @ Live is Live
07/02 – Gilwice, PL @ PreZero Arena Gilwice ^^
07/04 – Prague, CZ @ 02 Universum
07/06 – Lucca, IT @ Lucca Festival *
07/10 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival
07/11 – Lisbon, PT @ Nos Alive
07/13 – Barcelona, ES @ Cruilla Festival
07/16 – Athens, GR @ OAKA Indoor Arena *
07/29 – Washington, DC @ Nationals Park #
07/31 – Muskoka, ON @ Kee to Bala
08/01 – Toronto, ON @ Rogers Centre #
08/03 – Montreal, Quebec @ Osheaga Festival
08/04 – Bangor, ME @ Maine Savings Bank Amphitheatre %
08/05 – New York, NY @ Citi Field #
08/07 – Boston, MA @ Fenway Park #
08/09 – Philadelphia, PA @ Citizens Bank Park #
08/10 – Hershey, PA @ HersheyPark Stadium #
08/13 – Chicago, IL @ Wrigley Field #
08/14 – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre !
08/16 – Springfield, IL @ Illinois State Fair !
08/17 – Minneapolis, MN @ Target Field #
08/20 – Des Moines, IA @ Vibrant Music Hall %
08/21 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre !
08/22 – Cincinnati, OH @ Great American Ballpark #
08/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ American Family Field #
08/27 – Simpsonville, SC @ CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park !
08/28 – Atlanta, GA @ Truist Park #
08/30 – Nashville, TN @ Geodis Park #
09/01 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PNC Park #
09/04 – Detroit, MI @ Comerica Park #
09/07 – Denver, CO @ Coors Field #
09/10 – Southaven, MS @ BankPlus Amphitheatre at Snowden Grove !
09/11 – Arlington, TX @ Globe Life Field #
09/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium #
09/18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Chase Field #
09/20 – San Francisco, CA @ Oracle Park #
09/21 – Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Resort %
09/23 – Seattle, WA @ T-Mobile Park #
09/24 – Airway Heights, WA @ BECU Live at Northern Quest
09/25 – Portland, OR @ Providence Park #
09/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ BleauLive Theater inside Fontainebleau Las Vegas at Fontainebleau !
09/28 – San Diego, CA @ Petco Park #^ = w/ Weezer
* = w/ Tom Morello
^^ = w/ Interpol
# = w/ Green Day, Rancid, and The Linda Lindas
% = w/ Glorious Sons
! = w/ PVRIS

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Last updated: 24 Jul 2024, 02:11 Etc/UTC