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James Iha works on new solo LP, launches site, scores film 11:37 pm // Friday, April 30, 2010

Posted by Jill in james iha, video.
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It seems like former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha has been keeping busy as of late. According to his new official site, after last year’s tour with Tinted Windows, Iha has remixed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, written the score to a Japanese independent film, and started work on the new Raymond & Maria album.

Oh, yeah. According to a headline post on his site, he’s also begun work on his “long-awaited follow-up solo album” which he jokes is halfway done “(in his mind)” (!).

For more Iha, check out his new Facebook fan page and the trailer for Kakera: A Piece of Our Life below.

Alan Moulder talks “Mellon Collie” recording 2:18 pm // Thursday, October 22, 2009

Posted by jjb in alan moulder, billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, interview, james iha, mellon collie.
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Triple J has a new interview with Alan Moulder (HT: @GermanPumpkins) during which he discusses the recording of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  The relevant portion is four minutes long starting at the 5:20 mark.  Here are two transcribed excerpts:

On setting up the studio space:

On Gish and Siamese Dream, Billy had played nearly all the instruments that weren’t drums.  They had limited time; he knew that he could probably play all the parts quicker and more to his satisfaction than if he waited for D’Arcy and James to do it.  So…[on Mellon Collie] he wanted them to be more involved.

Billy’s not good when he’s not doing anything; he’s got to be kept occupied, otherwise he gets twitchy.  So on this one we came up with the idea — because it was Flood and I doing it — we’d have two rooms going.  That way Billy could always be working, and in the other room work would be getting done too, so, double gain, really.

On “Thru the Eyes of Ruby”:

My philosophy is ‘more is more’.  On a track called “Ruby”, there’s seventy, I think seventy-eight tracks of guitar.  But, we did them all in an afternoon!  He just was on fire, we just could go, “next-next-next…”  All different sounds, it was just like, “How many we got?”  I remember counting them up, there was fifteen tracks of EBows, and it was…yeah, it was crazy.  When you’re making records like that, there’s something charming about the ridiculousness of it all.  It’s not, “What the heck?!” you know.  Leave minimalism to somebody else.

HU Podcast #45: Freak 7:16 pm // Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Posted by chris in james iha, podcast, spirits in the sky, zeitgeist.
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I apologize both for the week with no podcast last week and the slightly worse sound quality of this show, as the HU Podcast Studios official PC went belly-up, thereby necessitating a reinstall.

Listen to the whole show (48:10)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jill, and Andrew

-Billy Corgan and Spirits in the Sky debut a new song, tentatively titled Freak. We give our impressions on it and the debut of the drummer of the future. (10:17)

-Is James Iha really worth five million dollars?  We can’t really verify the number itself, but we do discuss what impact James would have had on the tour.  Plus, I compare music critics to the birthers. (8:39)

-Jason posted last week about the one or two good songs on Zeitgeist, and you all responded.  Is this phenomenon any different for Zeitgeist than for other albums?  We finally identify the root cause of all the problems with music journalism, but sadly do not have a solution. (23:57)

Song of the Week
-Pomp and Circumstances, New Orleans, LA October 27, 2007

Corgan: Tour with Iha would have netted extra $5 million 9:58 pm // Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, interview, james iha, smashingpumpkins.com.
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A SmashingPumpkins.com writer has paraphrased several bits from a brief sort-of interview with Billy Corgan conducted on the night of the recent Sky Saxon tribute concert in Los Angeles.  Here is an excerpt from the writer’s story:

Addressing D’Arcy’s phone call to Q101, [Corgan] used it as evidence as to why rebuilding the original lineup wouldn’t work. D’Arcy admitted she isn’t in a state to tour extensively right now and furthermore (I’m paraphrasing): If Corgan had toured with James Iha for six months last year, they’d be $5 million richer, but it would’ve been disastrous internally for the band members.

James Iha did not contribute to new Marilyn Manson album 8:09 pm // Saturday, May 30, 2009

Posted by jjb in analysis, james iha, marilyn manson, wikipedia.
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As was suggested by a peculiarly exhaustive HU investigation, published reports claiming that Smashing Pumpkins co-founder James Iha would appear on Marilyn Manson’s followup to Eat Me, Drink Me have proven inaccurate.  The Wikipedia entry for Manson’s just-released The High End of Low gives the bottom line:

[N]obody outside of the main personnel appear on the album.

James Iha: Solo Album in 2009? 2:21 pm // Thursday, April 30, 2009

Posted by Jill in james iha, tinted windows.
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HU fave Time Out Chicago today, continuing the Tinted Windows media maelstrom in advance of tonight’s show at the Double Door.  Iha talks about his Chicago roots, driving in a tour van with old man Bun E., and his long-lost love for deep dish pizza.

Oh, and there’s a solo album in the works:

TOC: Cheap Trick is touring this summer. What then is plan for Tinted Windows?
James Iha: There’s going to be a break. Everyone has commitments to other bands. Hanson is making a record around the same time as Bun E.’s tour. Adam is doing a Fountains record. I’m working on a solo record, hoping I can finish up sometimes [sic] this year. But we hope to play as much as we can.

Iha says Corgan did invite him to rejoin Pumpkins in ‘05 7:47 pm // Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, james iha, revival.
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Blair R. Fischer reports for the Sun-Times News Group’s Pioneer Press:

The Pioneer Press spoke with Chicago native [James] Iha — he is a graduate of Elk Grove Village High School — best known for his work with the ’90s alt-powerhouse Pumpkins. Iha now lives in New York but, he says, “I still come back to Chicago to eat pizza.” While reluctant to talk about his days with the Pumpkins or the band’s recent reunion, which didn’t include him, he confirms he was indeed asked by Corgan to reunite with the band but declined. “I’m not really answering too many questions about the Pumpkins just because I don’t wanna make it a thing about that,” he says. “I just want to keep it positive as far as being proud of what we accomplished while I was in the band.”

Was James here referring simply to Billy’s famous newspaper advertisement, or to a different avenue of outreach?   After all, in 2007, Iha was quoted by Rolling Stone as saying, “I haven’t spoken to Billy in years.” Maybe Billy sent a letter or communicated via mutual friends?

Earth Day Update: James Iha ‘Recycles’ 11:08 am // Thursday, April 23, 2009

Posted by Jill in amusing, ebay, james iha, siamese dream.
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In an in-progress eBay listing, seller ‘jonsolomon‘ offers the latest and greatest Earth Day observance: a recycled triple-platinum Siamese Dream plaque engraved for James Iha.

Though the full listing tells the nonchalant (and thereby hilarious) story about how the award passed hands, I hear Jon has a radio show to call into if you were so inclined.  *clears throat* Ahh, internet voyeurism.

Thanks to the Media Siren for the tip — great laugh-inspiring find!

“I just want to keep my history with the band positive and cool.” 5:36 pm // Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Posted by jjb in interview, james iha, jim derogatis, tinted windows.
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Jim DeRogatis has interviewed James Iha about Tinted Windows, who DeRogatis says have “unleashed a delightful sugar buzz” and whose debut album he says exhibits a “wonderful, spontaneous ‘we’re playing in the basement!’ kind of vibe.” (Beats the heck out of Zeitgeist, right, Jim?) Toward the end, DeRogatis does ask St. Iha about his time in the desert:

Q. I know your past with the Pumpkins is not something you are eager to talk about, but you have shown a lot of class over the last few years in not responding while you’ve had an awful lot of crap tossed your way.

A. Well, you know, I have said this before the few times I have had to comment about it: I want to keep it positive, because obviously, the Pumpkins achieved great things, made really good records, toured the world and it was a world rock band and that is great. But I’m not a part of it anymore and I just want to keep my history with the band positive and cool.

Animalania! 10:45 am // Thursday, February 19, 2009

Posted by Jill in art, james iha.
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Taking LOLCATS to the next level, the Fuse Gallery in New York City opened a show last night entitled “Animalania.”  The show features the multi-disciplinary work of roughly two dozen artists, each sculpting or photographing or painting their love of animals.  Proceeds from the show will benefit the ASPCA.

Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha has contributed three photographs to the event; other notable (and unexpected) contributors include filmmaker Spike Jonze and Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer and guitarist Karen O and Nick Zinner.  There’s a whole slew of other well-regarded photographers and sculptors joining the full line-up.

The show, curated by Aliya Naumoff runs through March 14, 2009 and is open to the public.  Check out Iha’s original 11″x14″ contributions below.  You can find all three of them on sale for $300 apiece according to HU reader Glen, who alerted us to this news!

“Found Bear”

“Untitled Sheep”

 “Classy Dog”

Billboard: Iha in pop supergroup with Schlesinger, Cheap Trick’s drummer and Taylor Hanson; album done, band to play SXSW 8:47 pm // Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Posted by jjb in james iha, news, tinted windows.
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Superstar rock reporter Jonathan Cohen, rolling the way he does, breaks the news:

Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, Hanson’s Taylor Hanson and Fountains Of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger have formed a new band, Tinted Windows.

The group has recorded its debut album at Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York, which Schlesinger and Iha co-own with Ivy’s Andy Chase. The set is expected this spring on a label to be announced.

Tinted Windows will play its first major show at Billboard’s South by Southwest showcase, to be held March 20 at Pangaea in Austin, Texas.

James teams up with another Nina 12:49 am // Saturday, February 7, 2009

Posted by apm in a camp, james iha, nina persson.
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More than a decade after teaming with Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon on the Bullet with Butterfly Wings b-side …Said Sadly, James Iha has added another notch to his “collaborations with women named Nina” belt. James contributed some guitar work to a new album by A Camp, the side project of Nina Persson, the frontwoman for The Cardigans. The new album, Colonia, is already out to postive reviews in Europe but is only slated for a late April release in North America (though Amazon is offering to import the European release for $22.49). This is A Camp’s second album, a breezy eight years after its first eponymous release. That release featured my all-time favorite completely earnest and heart-felt cover of a 1980s pop-country song, The Bluest Eyes in Texas. (Original here. WARNING: the preceding link contains mullets.)

Unfortunately, the exact degree of James’ involvement on Colonia is rather unclear. Press clippings and reviews for the album all mention the fact that James is “featured” but don’t mention on which or even how many songs. I counted five or six songs containing possible James-ish guitar riffs listening to the free samples for the album on Amazon.co.uk, how many do you hear?

Cool as Dairy-Free Ice Cream 3:46 pm // Saturday, January 31, 2009

Posted by Jill in james iha, photo.
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Judging by the caption “Kyra Sedgwick & Kevin Bacon Visit Stogo Ice Cream Shop” at Getty Images, the photo below was unintentional.  Yet, observant photog Michael Loccisano captured a candid shot of former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha ordering up a a scoop of dairy-free ice cream at newly-opened vegan dessert boutique Stogo in the East Village on January 14th.

Thanks to SP.com writer Sunky for the tip.  I wonder if the ice cream truck is waiting outside?!

Iha interview from 2003: “I definitely needed a break” 1:30 pm // Sunday, January 25, 2009

Posted by jjb in a perfect circle, interview, james iha, radio.
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Chicago radio personality James VanOsdol has just republished on his blog an interview he conducted with Josh Freese and James Iha on August 11, 2003, while the two were touring with A Perfect Circle.  VanOsdol explains:

Back when I worked at the Zone [WZZN-FM] in the early ’00s, my P.D. discouraged doing live interviews with bands. Because of that, I did a lot of interviews which were essentially put on a shelf for reference, never to be heard by the public.  I took the time to transcribe this one for my first blog, which ran somewhere in the depths of the Zone’s website back then.

An excerpt from the interview:

JVO: I’ve always had the impression of you as someone who was okay being behind the scenes, and keeping a low profile. You’ve kept a low profile since the Pumpkins breakup. What dragged you back in? What made you say, “I want to go on tour again”? I’m sure it’s a pretty grueling proposition.

JI: Yeah. I definitely needed a break from being in a big rock band. I just wanted to not have the pressure and the whole thing of being a big alternative rock band. I was saying to somebody, the only way I could be persuaded to go back into a big band is if it’s a great band, and these guys needed a guitar player, and they’re all really great guys, and I like what they do. That’s about it.

20th Anniversary post-mortem 10:53 am // Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Posted by apm in billy corgan, interview, james iha, tour.
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Billy sat down for an interview the the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot after Monday’s final installment of the 20th Anniversary Tour.

Nothing particularly newsworthy, they discuss the Pumpkins’ future as a “singles band” and the strong reactions that the recent tour caused. I did enjoy this line.

Tribune: Why’d you break up the Pumpkins in 2000?
Corgan: The real story was Iha was driving me out of my mind. He was so negative. The guy literally drove me insane.

Thanks to Cherub Angel for the tip!

Greg Kot

Billy blogs: excited to play “as a 9 piece version of the band”, says James and D’Arcy “aren’t ever coming back” 4:23 pm // Monday, October 27, 2008

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, blogging, d'arcy wretzky, james iha, live, tour.
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On the occasion of the revitalization of his band’s website, the head Pumpkin (picture above from G4TV, more here) holds forth on an array of topics. You’ll likely want to read the whole thing, but here are some particular points of note:

Last evening we were able to play for the first time as a 9 piece version of the band, which is very exciting. The more we let go of how the band is supposed to appear numbers-wise and more of what it is supposed to sound like heart-wise, the closer we get to a present kind of truth. …

The night before we played the new Guitar Hero release party, which was great fun. I swore I kept hearing someone from the crowd yelling over and over, ‘where are the Smashing Pumpkins?’. I think I imagined it but either way it made me chuckle to myself.

So two very different shows over 2 days, and we were able to play 4 new songs: Owata, A Song for a Son, As Rome Burns, and a 2012 version of Simon and Garfunkels ‘The Sounds of Silence’. We’ve rehearsed now for 3 weeks for the 20th Anniversary tour, so I trust we have a few more suprises in store. That is, if you dare come to watch us piss on our own grave. …

If anyone comes to this tour expecting a hand-holding, teary-eyed tribute to a dead band, forget it. That is long gone. Outside of 9 shows in 1999, that band hasn’t existed whole since 1996.

Let me take this pause then to say a few things about our former bandmates…

We absolutely, without reservation, honor James and D’arcy. There is no qualification to that statement. We honor them IN FULL. They were there, then. And together we did some incredible things. But let me go one step further. When Jimmy and I decided to move forward and begin again with SP we very openly addressed the question of James and D’arcy returning. We spoke honestly with each other about our feelings and personal reservations, and decided together that the door was open to them to return. Because it was the right thing to do. Honestly though it wasn’t suprising to us that they didn’t want to return, because that was consistent with their general position to date (and continues to be I might add), which is they see the band as something that they got away from for their own reasons. There were no conditions ever put on a return. They simply didn’t even want the conversation with us.

I can now say definitively that they aren’t ever coming back. Period. There is no maybe. If the door was once open to at least have the conversation and consider the possibility, it is now closed. For good. We have moved on. We love them, and we wish them well.

The Smashing Pumpkins are now whoever is standing on that stage, on any given day, with a willingness to play those songs. Not just any songs, those songs. Because its not just what we play, its how we play them. The music MUST come first. And that’s just the way it is.

Mancow interview transcript, part two of three 1:04 pm // Friday, August 15, 2008

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, fame, interview, james iha, legal, mancow muller, radio.
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What follows is part two (part one here) of the Smashing Pumpkins’ radio interview with Mancow Muller last Monday. There is some irreverence in this section, so more than usual it is a good idea to listen to the audio for inflection, tone, et cetera.

Mancow Muller: Where are you at now spiritually, Billy?

Billy Corgan: I’m in a really good place, I’m really happy. I know that’s shocking.

MM: Can you write when you’re happy?

BC: Oh yeah! Oh, I write more.

MM: And fame does weird things, doesn’t it? It did weird things to…I know you guys didn’t change, but boy, everybody around you just turned to *bleep*, huh?

BC: Yeah, it’s been shocking. [laughs] It’s been shocking. You know, it changed me to the extent I had to figure out who I was and go back to who I used to be, for sure.

MM: The suicide talk you gave, about…do you want to talk about that? It got a lot of attention.

BC: Sure!

MM: It’s hard for people to relate to. You’re on the top of the world, you’re writing some of the great songs, timeless songs, and yet you were suicidal. How is that possible, Billy?

BC: Well, I think there’s… Like everybody, I’m a human being. I didn’t face certain things. I think fame gave me a free pass on dealing with my problems. Like anybody else, you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you’re thinking, “You know what, I got all this money, I got all these cars, I got a hot woman, and I’m ready to throw myself off a roof because it just doesn’t matter.” And you know, of course, one of the great artists of our generation, Kurt, you know, took himself out. And I think, there’s this weird thing in America where fame is the new immortality. And look how many of those people are completely miserable. Like the kid who was in the Indiana Jones movie, he [Shia LaBeouf] flipped his car.

MM: Yeah, he’s miserable.

BC: How old is he, 22 years old? You just want to grab the kid and say, “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.” But, I’m sure he’s surrounded with a bunch of people who are making excuses for him already. I just know how that works. Trust me, Mancow: when we were flying, they couldn’t take us out to enough dinners, they couldn’t pat us on the back, they couldn’t tell us how great we were — and the minute it stopped selling like it did, they were gone. And that’s a weird feeling too, because you start thinking, like, “Well, is everybody a liar in my world?” Including bandmates. I’ll give you a perfect example: Our old bandmates, James and D’arcy, constantly complained to the press that I was this crazy dictator and I wouldn’t let them record their music. And they’ve been out of the band for seven, eight years and they haven’t released one song. So am I still suppressing them from a distance? I mean…

Jimmy Chamberlin: [laughs]

MM: Well, you know, the little Asian girl was nice. She was always nice to me. And D’arcy was always asleep, so…

BC: [laughs]

MM: So I can’t really say anything, but I did see you guys in the studio numerous times, and I really wasn’t sure what they did. In fact, early on, I thought they were maybe with the caterers.

BC: Well, they looked good.

MM: They did look good in the videos!

BC: No, I have to say, they did make serious contributions, and it’s not fair to try to go out and denigrate their contributions.

MM: Yeah, but do you enjoy when I do it?

BC: Uhh… [laughs] I can’t argue against you, you know? It’s hard, though, but put it this way: we were all together there for a while and it worked. And God knows why it worked, because behind the scenes it was really impossible. But it did work, and you find yourself thinking there was something to it. But they’ve turned into such thorns in our sides, you know…

MM: Well, they were in the paper yesterday complaining that you haven’t given them money for your ringtones.

BC: Yeah, but see, that’s nice to say in the press, but that’s not really what’s happened. If you notice, they’re not suing me, you know what I mean? And there’s a reason they’re not suing me, because I haven’t done anything wrong.

HU Podcast #15: Summer Krush, Legal Wrangling, and Siamese Dream 5:11 pm // Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Posted by chris in d'arcy wretzky, james iha, podcast, siamese dream, tour.
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There was so much news yesterday that I didn’t want to muddy the waters with this week’s podcast, so here we are on a Wednesday with our 15th auditory offering.

I anticipate having a podcast next week, but once the tour starts we may miss a week or two as we follow the Pumpkins through small town America on the August tour.

If you make it to one of the shows or head to Davenport early and spot Billy on the streets, let me know if you’d like to answer a few questions via email or Skype.

Listen to the whole show (1:12:09)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, Jill, and Andrew

-Samsung and AT&T present: this segment of the podcast, in which we discuss the recently-announced Summer Krush traveling corporate roadshow concert addition to the August tour. Plus, Jill joins the Cult of Mac and Jason picks up where we left off last week. (7:21)

-James and D’Arcy sue Virgin for royalties. Will Billy end up becoming involved? (12:56)

-The Beginning is the End is the Beginning has some staying power on the online charts, and a members of Pumpkins management gives some ill-advised comments to Rolling Stone magazine. Jill comes out swinging at his perceived ineptitude. (11:06)

-The band heads to the Quad Cities next week to prepare for their Davenport, Iowa concert, and we address rumors of a secret show. Jason plans on growing a scruffy beard just in case. (12:19)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-Siamese Dream is released, making the Smashing Pumpkins a household name. Jason does his best to distract Andrew, but we all end up reminiscing about how we got introduced to the album. Plus, I reveal the unlikely Pumpkins song that started it all for me, and we discuss whether Siamese Dream is the best Smashing Pumpkins album. (22:08)

Song of the Week
-Rocket, July 28th, 1993

Thanks for all the feedback and comments last week.

James Iha’s pictures for college arts journal 1:51 pm // Sunday, July 27, 2008

Posted by jjb in art, ebay, james iha, photo.
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eBay seller michaels544 can’t seem to decide if his item is significant or not:

[James Iha] had a couple of photographs published in the 1988-89 annual issue of the Loyola undergraduate literary and arts journal Cadence. Like other college lit journals, this one was not really intended for distribution outside the student population, and of course most of the student population couldn’t care less about it anyway…

In the face of such indifference, Cadence continues in operation to this day. Its Geocities website leads with the confusing announcement that “Cadence LVIII is now available!” even though the 1988-89 edition available on eBay says VOLUME LXIII on its cover. I know Geocities is old, but I don’t think it dates to 1983-84.

James and D’Arcy sue Virgin Records over 2005 deal with Billy 12:53 am // Friday, July 25, 2008

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, d'arcy wretzky, james iha, legal, news, record labels.
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Time Warner’s TMZ.com has the filing (quite readable 9-page .pdf), and they summarize the suit thusly:

James Yoshinobu Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky-Brown claims [sic] in 2005, five years after the band broke up, Virgin negotiated a deal solely with frontman Billy Corgan for electronic transmissions (ringtones, download computer files, etc), without ever getting the consent of Iha or Wretzky-Brown.

The filing argues that the 2005 negotiation violated the terms of a May 11, 1998 contract between Virgin Records and the Smashing Pumpkins.


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