Ongoing History Daily: The Smashing Pumpkins’ OD Problem

Back in the 90s when they were at their peak, the Smashing Pumpkins had a serious drug problem, especially with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. He ODed three times just on the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tour.

The first happened in February 1996 in Bangkok. Jimmy and touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin scored some Thai smack—and it almost killed Jimmy. Jonathan was told that if he was mixed up in something like this again, he’d be fired.

Then in May, both Jimmy and Jonathan ODed with both of them requiring medical attention. Jonathan WAS fired at the time, but he was also asked to finish the tour.

Then there were the events of July 12th in New York City in which Jimmy ODed and Melvoin died. Five days later, it was Jimmy who was fired from the group. It took years for him to get back in.

Remember comedian Phil Hartman? He also designed album covers. That story here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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