Guitarist Jeff Schroeder quits the Smashing Pumpkins after 16 years

Guitarist Jeff Schroeder of Smashing Pumpkins performs at PNC Music Pavilion on August 22, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder quickly cemented himself as a vital part of the lineup he joined as a fan in 2007 and went on to record five albums with. But the Los Angeles musician, 49, has now announced his decision to part ways with the band.

"It's easy to say now that when I joined the Smashing Pumpkins 2007 I had no idea what I was getting into," he wrote in a statement released on 24 October. "The opportunity seemed to have come out of nowhere. I was at UCLA working on my doctorate in comparative literature when a close friend messaged me and said the Smashing Pumpkins were looking for a guitar player. Being a huge fan of the band, the audition was something I threw myself into. It was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. 

The amount of incredible memories created over the last 16 years with the band are almost too numerous to quantify

"The amount of incredible memories created over the last 16 years with the band are almost too numerous to quantify," Schroeder added. "Although it was a very difficult decision to make, I've decided to leave the band to make some space to explore a slightly different path. I want to thank Billy, Jimmy, James, and Jack for being both wonderful bandmates and even better friends. I will absolutely miss sharing the stage with you. I wish the band all the success in the future. I will be watching and listening."

Schroeder's most recent Pumpkins recording was this 2023's triple album Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts with his 2012 album with the band, Oceania, held by fans to be amongst their strongest releases.

"What it really comes down to for me is writing unique guitar melodies that complement what Billy is doing vocally," Shroeder reflected with us in 2021 on his approach to the Pumpkins. "That’s what I’ve found the most rewarding, what I try to do is think melodically and try and create a conversation between what Billy is doing, and the keyboard parts or what James is doing. It’s really about good melody, and it’s been fun.”

Schroeder's departure now reduces the three-man guitar lineup of the Pumpkins back to the original two of the first lineup. It remains to be seen whether a replacement will be sought. The guitarist released his debut solo single Haenim in 2021 and has been moving into production too, recently with the band Livingmore.  

"We thank Jeff for his ceaseless dedication to the band and our great fans," wrote William Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain and James Iha in their own statement. "Words can not express our gratitude and appreciation for the friend he is, and being there for SP in the good times and the tough times, too."

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.