A couple years ago Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan matter-of-factly revealed that neither bassist Nicole Fiorentino or drummer Mike Byrne were in the band, without revealing whether or not they quit, were fired or something in between. Both members joined The Pumpkins in the late aughts and both performed on 2009’s Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and 2012’s Oceania. Currently bass duties are being handled by Sierra Swan and drums by original member Jimmy Chamberlain.
BlastEcho reached out to both Fiorentino and Byrne to better understand why they’re no longer Pumpkins, but only Fiorentino responded. Over email, Fiorentino confirmed that she was let go by Corgan but that “the circumstances look very different from my perspective than from Billy’s.”
“I know my heart was in it 150% ‘til the end,” she wrote, “and no one can tell me differently. It was my whole life.”
Fiorentino speculates that Corgan believed her other band, The Cold and Lovely, was becoming a distraction from her role in The Pumpkins. “That was the general vibe that I inferred,” she wrote. “But the thing is, I never focused on The Cold and Lovely unless I was on break from [The Pumpkins]. It never once conflicted.”
“And I always had such a great relationship with SP fans and felt like I had more of a presence online than anyone else in the band, constantly promoting just by being in touch with the fan base,” she wrote. “I don’t know how much more one can be committed to a band.” She says she’s no longer in touch with Corgan, but bears no ill will toward the head Pumpkin.
After leaving The Pumpkins, Fiorentino took some time off before going on tour with Night Terrors of 1927. She’s also done session work for a U.K. band named The Microdance, and devoted more time to The Cold and Lovely, which released a new album last year called What Will I Become. “The theme [of the album] is all about transformation and this idea of being able to create your life when you have no idea what is next for you,” she says. “It’s terrifying but very exciting as well.”