Kiki Wong, the new guitarist in The Smashing Pumpkins, has spoken about the “mind-blowing” experience of playing her first shows with the band over the last week.

In April, the band announced Wong as their new guitarist, after conducting a search that saw them receive over 10,000 public applications for the role.

The position came up after longtime guitarist Jeff Schroeder announced he was leaving the band last October. After narrowing down the applications, a small group of finalists auditioned in person in Los Angeles in March, with Wong coming out on top.

Last Friday (June 7), the band kicked off their joint UK tour with Weezer in Birmingham. Their set included a cover of U2’s ‘Zoo Station’, in what was Wong’s first full show with the band.

Shortly after the show, she shared her thoughts about the experience on Instagram. “What an absolute mind-blowing experience it was,” she said.

“I am so overwhelmed with excitement,” she added. “It was such an honor to play my first arena on guitar with such an incredible group of musicians. Someone pinch me, actually don’t because I want to keep living this dream.”

Wong is a veteran session musician and high-profile YouTuber, and played with Taylor Swift at the 2014 VMA’s, Usher at CBS’s Fashion Rocks Fall 2014 and was the lead guitarist for Bret Michaels in a commercial for Nissan. She has also performed with rock bands Nylon Pink, Hellfire Heart, and currently, Vigil of War.

Frontman Billy Corgan has said: “I was a fan of Kiki’s before she submitted her name to be considered – and it’s great that someone of her acumen will be part of our touring family. I can’t wait to hit the road with Kiki as part of our mad circus. It’s definitely an exciting moment for The Smashing Pumpkins to be this busy with touring in 2024. We’ll see you all this summer!”

Wong added: “It’s been an absolute wild ride, but I am beyond honoured and humbled to be chosen to perform alongside some of rock’s greatest and most influential musicians of all time.”

She continued: “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, so never lose hope out there. I am so grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to share the stage with the legendary Smashing Pumpkins!”

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