Billy Corgan Details How Smashing Pumpkins Found Their New Guitarist

By Katrina Nattress

June 4, 2024

Photo: Smashing Pumpkins

As the Smashing Pumpkins gear up to hit the road later this week, they've been preparing their newest member: guitarist Kiki Wong. The band connected with Wong after putting out an open call on social media in January, following Jeff Schroeder's departure from the band. They received 10,000 applications, but only auditioned a handful of musicians. In April, they announced Wong has their new touring guitarist, and during a new interview with Kerrang!, Billy Corgan revealed what made her stand out in a sea of thousands.

"I was following her on social media, so I totally knew who she was," he admitted. "We put out this call for a guitar player, and we got 10,000 emails from 10,000 different people. When we whittled down that list to, let's say, people with some form of professional pedigree, I saw Kiki's name was on the list, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is great. I know who this person is.’"

"It was kind of a weird thing, I wondered if she would fit in, because I knew her as more of a metal guitarist," Corgan continued. "So, we talked to her on Zoom – she's such a nice person, and so engaging – then we invited her out to audition. I think we auditioned nine guitar players that day. What was interesting about her being first in the day was we had such a good feeling about her. And then it wasn't that other people weren't as good, but there was something about Kiki's presence and personality and sweetness that we just were really attracted to. She just felt like a real breath of fresh air. We love that it's great opportunity for her. But we also think she's the right person.”

Smashing Pumpkins' European tour kicks off on June 7. Take a look at their full list of tour dates here.

Smashing Pumpkins
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