Nov , 1997
By Randy Reiss

News Flash: Smashing Pumpkins Touring Drummer Out

Ex-Filter beat man decides to leave Pumpkins to pursue his own group, the Cupcakes.

Smashing Pumpkins drummer Matt Walker has split from the group to pursue his own rock band, which recently signed a record deal, according to Gayle Fine, publicist for the Pumpkins.

The Pumpkins announced Friday (Nov. 14) that the former Filter drummer, who has played with the band for the past two years, will no longer be beating the skins for the popular alt-rockers, Fine said. The departure comes as the Pumpkins continue working in the studio on the follow-up to the eight-time platinum selling LP Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Bridget Oliver, a 16-year-old Matt Walker supporter from Saul Creek, Wis., was disappointed to hear the news. "I think Matt leaving the Pumpkins really sucks," she said. "I knew when they hired him, that he was only temporary. But he was so good, I thought maybe he would stay there... I saw them on the 1996 Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tour and I thought he rocked."

Walker was brought on as the Pumpkins' drummer during their 1996 Mellon Collie tour after original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was fired for his continued drug use. Chamberlin used heroin with touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin on July 12, 1996, the night Melvoin died of an overdose.

While the fans are left to ponder who will be supplying the beats for the next Smashing Pumpkins album, Fine said that Walker will be leaving to concentrate on his band Cupcakes, which recently inked a deal with DreamWorks Records. "Matt is a tremendous talent and we wish him all the best and much success with his band," the Pumpkins said in the official statement. "We are very grateful that he has helped us so much."

While the Pumpkins expressed their appreciation to Walker, Pumpkins devotee, 15-year-old Avery Salter, of San Antonio, said that his leaving is a good thing. "I think it will be good for the band because maybe now they can find a permanent drummer," she said. "When Matt was in the band, no (fans) actually considered him part of it."

While Walker has toured over the past two years with the Pumpkins, his recorded output with the group is limited to "The End Is The Beginning Is The End," the group's latest single which was featured on this summer's Batman and Robin soundtrack.

"A lot of people never really liked him," Salter said. "I hang around on a lot of Pumpkins (online) bulletin boards, and people are always saying that he never compared to (original Smashing Pumpkins drummer) Jimmy (Chamberlin)."

Fine would not comment on when this decision was made, nor would she say whether Walker would play with the Smashing Pumpkins at their Dec. 5 show opening for the Rolling Stones at Miami's Orange Bowl Stadium.

And while some fans never grew too close to Walker, at least one of his supporters said she is looking forward to his Cupcakes project. "This is the first I heard about it today," Oliver said. "So I'm gonna keep my ears open for more information. If I hear it and it's good, I will definitely pick it up."

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