“It made me realize how grateful I am to have the guitar in my life”: I applied to be the new Smashing Pumpkins guitarist – I didn’t get the gig, but it was one of the most life-affirming experiences of my musical career

Singer/guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs at PNC Music Pavilion on August 22, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(Image credit: Michael Astley-Brown/Future / Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

The Smashing Pumpkins kicked off 2024 with one of the year’s biggest industry stories, announcing an open application process for a new guitarist to replace the recently exited Jeff Schroeder.

Although the wider music press was initially baffled by the search – three guitarists?! – the band had been performing live with the triple-axe lineup of Billy Corgan, James Iha and Schroeder for over five years, and Schroeder was integral to what made the band a live force in the modern era.

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Michael Astley-Brown
Editor-in-Chief, GuitarWorld.com

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.