Melissa Auf der Maur

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Melissa Auf der Maur
A female musician performing with a bass guitar against a black and blue backdrop. A microphone is visible above her.
Melissa Auf der Maur performing in 2010
Background information
Born (1972-03-17) March 17, 1972 (age 52)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
ArtistsThe Smashing Pumpkins
Years active1999-2000
Associated actsTinker, Hole, Constant Comment, Team Sleep, The Chelsea, Hand of Doom
WikipediaMelissa Auf der Maur

Melissa Gaboriau Auf der Maur (born March 17, 1972) is a Canadian bassist who played with The Smashing Pumpkins from October 1999 through the breakup in 2000.

She was recruited as the bassist for the band Hole in the summer of 1994 and is included on several Hole releases, including the album Celebrity Skin (1998). She left Hole in 1999, joined The Smashing Pumpkins as a touring member, and began her solo career. She has also collaborated with Indochine, Rufus Wainwright, Ric Ocasek and Neverending White Lights.

Auf der Maur is a photographer and occasional actress. Her photographs have been included in National Geographic and exhibited at Sotheby's.[1][2] She has acted in How to Make the Cruelest Month (1998), Beyond Borders (2003) and Collaborator (2011).

VH1 placed Auf der Maur at number 68 on its list of 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll in 2007[3] and her solo albums have received favorable reviews.[4]

Tinker and Hole[edit | edit source]

At a Smashing Pumpkins performance at Les Foufounes Électriques in 1991, Auf der Maur met and befriended Billy Corgan. She was 19 years of age at the time. During the performance, Auf der Maur's roommate heckled the band between songs and threw a beer bottle onstage while the band was performing, leading to "a strangling fist fight" between him and Corgan.[5] Auf der Maur explained:

Auf der Maur and Corgan became pen pals and dated each other in the early 90s. She credits him as her mentor and "spiritual fucking cowboy."[7] Following months of no contact, Auf der Maur sent a letter to Corgan requesting that Tinker – a band she formed in 1993 – open for The Smashing Pumpkins during their next tour date in Montreal. Corgan accepted her request and Tinker performed the largest show of their career, to 2,500 people, opening for The Smashing Pumpkins at Métropolis on November 30, 1993.[8] Corgan, Auf der Maur recalled, "patted me on the back. He said, 'You're a really good bass player. You're going to be in my band one day.' It felt like a dream come true – exactly the kind of confidence boost I needed."[6]

After the death of Kurt Cobain and Hole's former bassist Kristen Pfaff two months later, Billy Corgan went to Courtney Love's aid, encouraging her to tour after the release of 1994's Live Through This, and recommending Auf der Maur as a replacement bassist.[7] Tinker disbanded in summer 1994 after Auf der Maur accepted Love's invitation to join Hole, a job she initially declined:

From 1994 to 1995, Auf der Maur toured worldwide with Hole in support of its second studio album, Live Through This (1994). Auf der Maur was featured on various Hole releases, including the 1996 non-album single "Gold Dust Woman" and on various live tracks on My Body, the Hand Grenade (1997). She was featured on the band's third studio album, Celebrity Skin (1998), performing bass and co-composing five of the 12 songs. Following the tour in support of its release, Auf der Maur left Hole in October 1999 as her five-year contract with the band ended and she wished "to grow in many different directions".[9]

The Smashing Pumpkins[edit | edit source]

Original Smashing Pumpkins bassist D'arcy Wretzky left the band in September 1999 during the recording of the band's fifth studio album, Machina/The Machines of God (2000).[10] In October 1999, Auf der Maur was recruited as her replacement by Billy Corgan, with whom she was still friends from her time in Tinker and Hole. "Courtney knew I was leaving to make my solo project," she explained. "But then, coincidentally, the week that I left Hole was the week D'Arcy left the Pumpkins. So, within a week, Billy called me and said, 'The stars have aligned: it's time for you to join my band.' I had to do it."[11]

Auf der Maur was featured on neither Machina/The Machines of God nor Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music (2000) as Wretzky's remaining bass duties were assumed by Corgan during recording sessions. However she played with the Pumpkins during the Europe 1999-2000 and Resume the Pose tours, and final The Sacred and Profane tour before the band broke up.[12] The tour covered North America, Japan and Europe and was described by Auf der Maur as "very ambitious". Reflecting on the tour, she said: "they would always be changing arrangements and keys of songs. The work ethic of the Pumpkins is so full-on and so demanding ... joining [the band] was just intense work, much more about work than about emotional experience".[3] She performed at various shows, including the band's final television performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the band's final show at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago on December 2, 2000,[13] as well as appearing in the band's music videos. Smashing Pumpkins broke up at the end of the year 2000.

In February 2006, MTV reported that Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin had signed a new management deal with Azoff Management, with a spokesperson confirming they had signed under The Smashing Pumpkins moniker.[14] In response, Auf der Maur said in a separate interview that "as long as Billy has Jimmy, he can make the essential Pumpkins record, I'm sure" and when asked of her involvement said she was not planning on participating in the reunion but noted that her "services are always there to play [her] favorite songs. If D'arcy is not available, I'm always happy to be second in line".[15] Despite her earlier interest and Wretzky's absence, The Globe and Mail reported in April 2007 that Auf Der Maur confirmed she would not be rejoining The Smashing Pumpkins.[16]

Discography[edit | edit source]

Other studio appearances[edit | edit source]

Music video appearances[edit | edit source]

Touring stats

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Music on ... Photography: Photos From Melissa Auf der Maur - National Geographic". 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  2. "Musician Sally Taylor attends the Cocktail Party to Celebrate Melissa..." Getty Images. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Interview: Melissa Auf Der Maur". AskMen. Ziff Davis. July 20, 2007. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  4. "Auf der Maur Profile". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  5. "Live Concerts: 'You should have been there!'". The Globe and Mail. The Woodbridge Company/Bell Canada. June 26, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Q, August 2004, p. 59
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Melissa Auf der Maur on Bill Corgan introducing her to Courtney Love". Instagram. Fierce Women In Music with Lori Majewski. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  8. Hadadi, Roxana (June 2, 2010). "Into the Twilight Zone: Melissa Auf der Maur". Blurt. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  9. "Melissa Auf der Maur Leaves Hole – Music, Celebrity and Artist News". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. October 25, 1999. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  10. "D'Arcy Exits Smashing Pumpkins". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. September 10, 1999. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  11. Q, August 2004, p60
  12. Wilonsky, Robert (July 31, 2011). "For Your Excessive Heat Warning Listening Pleasure: Smashing Pumpkins at Bronco Bowl". Dallas Observer. Voice Media Group. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  13. Fricke, David (December 22, 2000). "Smashing Pumpkins Look Back in Wonder". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on September 9, 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  14. Harris, Chris; Perez, Rodrigo (February 2, 2006). "Smashing Pumpkins Reunion is Under Way, According to Sources – Music, Celebrity and Artist News". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Archived from the original on December 21, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  15. "Corgan, Chamberlin Revive Smashing Pumpkins". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. February 3, 2006. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  16. "Movers and shakers in Canadian arts". The Globe and Mail. The Woodbridge Company/Bell Canada. April 23, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2014.

External links[edit | edit source]