Meet The Smashing Pumpkins new guitarist, Kiki Wong

The Smashing Pumpkins has been an iconic alt-rock ban for decades. And now the group has added a new member to help them carry on for decades more. 

“The news you have been waiting for has finally arrived,” the band announced on social media last week. “SP is excited to officially welcome highly-skilled veteran guitarist Kiki Wong. Kiki joins the band’s touring lineup of Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin, and James Iha, along with mainstays Jack Bates and Katie Cole.” 

The band said in January it was seeking a new guitar player after Jeff Schroeder announced his departure from the group in October.  

The Anvil Experience Live
Kiki Wong attends “The Anvil Experience Live” at Saban Theatre on September 22, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.

/ Getty Images

The Smashing Pumpkins put out a public call for an additional guitarist in January, and in less than two weeks, they announced they received more than 10,000 submissions for the job – so many that eight people were “working full-time to review each and every one.” 

Wong’s arrival to the group comes after she played guitar for the Los Angeles-based rock band, Vigil of War. Her passion for music started when she was just 6 years old, she says on her website, when she started taking classical piano lessons. At 13, she got her first acoustic guitar that her father purchased from Costco, and in the years after, she joined “countless garage bands” and also learned how to play the drums. 

Once she got her pre-med bachelor’s degree in biological science at the University of California, Irvine, Wong says she decided to commit to music full-time with all Asian-American girl band Nylon Pink. Her career has only blossomed since. 

“It’s never too early or too late to follow your dreams,” Wong says on her website. “…With music, I want to break the barriers of genres and stereotypes. I want to clash styles and make them one. After all, we only have one world. We might as well unite it with music.”

Her music became so popular that Smashing Pumpkins co-founder and lead singer Billy Corgan says he was a fan of hers “before she submitted her name to be considered.” 

It’s great that someone of her acumen will be part of our touring family,” Corgan said. “I can’t wait to hit the road with Kiki as part of our mad circus.” 

The band is headed out on an international tour this summer, kicking off in the U.K. in June before hitting the U.S. and Canada from July through September. 

Wong said the process of joining the band has been “an absolute wild ride.” 

“I am beyond honored and humbled to be chosen to perform alongside some of rock’s greatest and most influential musicians of all time,” she said. “I never thought little ole 15-year-old me playing metal guitar in my bedroom would amount to this moment. It goes to show hard work and perseverance truly pays off if you’re willing to push through the tough stuff,s o never lose hope out there.” 

Wong, who is of Korean and Chinese heritage, joins The Smashing Pumpkins at the start of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

“Being in the rock and roll/heavy metal industry as an Asian American female isn’t easy,” she said in a 2021 interview with Asian American Pacific Islander Musicians. “I’ve received a ton of hate from people who judge me for being who I am. Though it may seem like a setback, there have been so many more positive feedback and support than negative.” 

“I grew up in a 92% Caucasian community with very little exposure to other Asians besides my own family. It was difficult understanding my identity and where I fit in at such a young age,” she added. “I hope to see more young emerging AAPI musicians who want to keep rock and roll alive. I hope that I can help inspire them to go against the grain of what we’re told we’re supposed to do and feel safe to creatively express themselves through music and not feel judged.”

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