“I wondered if she would fit in, because I knew her as more of a metal guitarist… She just felt like a real breath of fresh air”: Billy Corgan reveals how many guitarists the Smashing Pumpkins auditioned in person – and how they knew Kiki Wong was the one

Billy Corgan performs live, Kiki Wong posed photoshoot with Jackson guitar
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images / Jack Lue)

In a new interview, Billy Corgan has discussed the inner workings of the Smashing Pumpkins’ epic guitarist search for the first time – including how many players they auditioned in person, and why the band ultimately went with Instagram shredder Kiki Wong.

“We got 10,000 emails from 10,000 different people,” he told Kerrang! of the exhaustive process, which saw the band recruit eight people full-time to work through every application (including one from this writer).

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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.