The band was formed in 1988 by college students Billy Corgan and James Iha, two aspiring musicians from Chicago, Illinois. They recorded their demos in 1989 for Gish. After spending a number of months together Corgan and Iha auditioned bass player D'Arcy Wretzky[?]. Though they played their first gig with a drum machine, jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin joined after a local club owner booked the Pumpkins provided they threw out the drum machine and recruited a human drummer instead.
Gish (named after silent movie actress Lillian Gish) was a minor success, but the band's real commercial and critical breakthrough came in 1993, with the release of Siamese Dream. It was a huge success, and sold over four million copies in the United States alone. The follow up album was even bigger. A double album, running for over two hours, 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness sold over twelve million copies worldwide. The band's fortunes changed significantly on July 12, 1996, when tour keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin[?] fell into a coma and subsequently died of a heroin overdose. He and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin had been using the drug while staying in a New York City hotel room, and this was dealt with severely by the band - Chamberlin was fired.
Though the band continued to record, their profile had taken a significant downturn. 1997's Adore[?] album was a huge change of direction, but was badly received by fans and critics alike. The return of a rehabilitated Jimmy Chamberlin for 2000's Machina: The Machines of God[?] signaled a return to a more familiar Pumpkins sound, but it was still a much more experimental album and failed to match the sales of its predecessors.
The band's lineup changed again at this point - bass player D'Arcy Wretzky departed and was replaced by Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of alternative rock band Hole. They then announced their decision to disband at the end of 2000, with a final tour and album (a predominantly internet distributed release named Machina II/The friends and enemies of modern music[?]) to mark the occasion.
The Pumpkins won many awards during their careers, went on several major tours, appeared on a few movie soundtracks and released a huge number of songs in a fairly short time. After 12 years together, on December 2, 2000 they played their final concert in the same Metro club which effectively started their career ten years previously.
see also: Zwan