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Stereogum shows great respect for ‘em original Pumpkins 1:10 pm // Monday, June 23, 2008

Posted by jjb in criticism, d'arcy wretzky, james iha, stereogum.
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In reaction to a blurb on smashingpumpkins.com reiterating the band’s plans to release early studio material and mount a Gish-centered tour, Stereogum employee “amrit” writes:

Of course this begs of Billy (again) the D’arcy and James question, but more importantly, whether he decides to bring ’em out or not…

Wow. So this guy thinks James Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky are just like dolls in Billy Corgan’s closet, with Billy able to choose when and whether to “bring ’em out” and turn their lives upside-down against their will. Because, you know, James and D’Arcy don’t have other projects and the rest of their lives or anything — they’re just sitting around waiting for Billy to grab them and hang tiny instruments on their movable appendages! See, that’s why their renewed presence would be so important to the band…

I mean, I know he’s fashionable, but… 4:41 pm // Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Posted by jpiniak in amusing, james iha, marilyn manson, news, parody.
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Following up on the previous bit of circle-jerk “news” cycle reporting regarding Iha’s involvement in the new Marilyn Manson album, HU brings you the latest jaw-dropping headline, courtesy of punk.bz.

Former James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins will be on new Marilyn Manson album

I wish the new Jaymie Iha continued success as ‘s’he recovers from the procedure and returns to rock a million faces more.



Kerrang! loudly! repeats Iha-Manson collaboration rumor 6:30 am // Sunday, May 25, 2008

Posted by jjb in analysis, james iha, marilyn manson, wikipedia.
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Kerrang! claimed on Friday that Pumpkins co-founder James Iha will make a “guest appearance” on the next album from Brian “The Space Cowboy” “Marilyn Manson” Warner and Jeordie “Ratso Rizzo” “Twiggy Ramirez” White:

[Marilyn Manson], who is clearly reeling after the commercial and critical failure that was 2007’s Eat Me, Drink Me, says tracks for his eponymous band’s seventh studio album are “very ruthless, very heavy, and very violent.”

The Double M has also revealed that Slayer guitar god Kerry King and The Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha will be making guest appearances on the record.

There is essentially no original content in this Kerrang! blurb, as the information — including the “very ruthless, very heavy, and very violent” quotation — has been part of a Wikipedia entry since February.  Just days after that Wikipedia entry was created, an extensive discussion of the entry took place on Manson fan board The Hierophant Council.  One fan taking part in that discussion, Tim “Litso” Hessel, recognized that the Wikipedia entry was a copy of an entry on his MansonWiki site:

It’s nice to see wikipedia takes information from the MansonWiki, it used to be the other way around. Everything in the article is true for as far as I know, we try to stick to the facts (as presented in interviews and other reliable sourdces) as much as possible.

Another participant in the Hierophant Council discussion wrote:

I recognize almost everything in that [Wikipedia] article from posts here [on the Hierophant Council site] of live concert reports and other credible goings-on of information gleaned over the past year, but for Wikipedia that isn’t (and shouldn’t be by principle, even though we know better) good enough for it to remain unsourced and intact there. It is just about all true, though.

So the Kerrang! blurb is (effectively) sourced from Wikipedia, the Wikipedia entry from MansonWiki, and the MansonWiki entry from the Hierophant Council discussion boards.  Based on a Google search of those boards, it appears that the James Iha information can be traced to a September 27, 2007 post by Heather Wiewes, who told of her experience at a Manson concert in São Paulo the night before:

After the show, I met Manson, talked a little bit with him. I asked to him about a new album and new single… he told me that a new album coming soon :D and it will be a participation to Slayer (sorry, I can’t remember the name of guy), James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins and someone else (I also can’t remember)

Also cited on the boards is a November interview conducted with Manson by David Saavedra of Madrid newspaper El Mundo.  The interview is in Spanish, but here is the Google Translate rendering of the section where Saavedra tries to get clarity:

[Saavedra]. – is rumoured that could assist in that CD Slayer and Smashing Pumpkins.

[Manson]. – It’s definitely a possibility. Obviously, I had the opportunity to meet many people during these years. I have made very close friend of Kerry King of Slayer, I have had enough contact with Smashing Pumpkins and recently I also worked with Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who has made a remix for me. All of them can become part of the disc.

Where does that leave us, or the truth?  I’m not really sure, but I almost have to question the rumor purely on plausibility grounds. I don’t have any personal knowledge of the “failure” of the last Manson album, but I daresay that anyone who calls in James Iha to further a plan for heavily ruthless violence is reeling at best and may rather like the drugs.  Uhm, so, maybe it IS true…

Last note: the MansonWiki is now citing Kerrang! (in the mistaken belief that Kerrang! conducted a new interview with Manson) as evidence that “the Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha would still be making an appearance on the album.”  What goes around, stays around?

Interview with Ivy 10:04 am // Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Posted by Jill in interview, ivy, james iha, wikipedia.
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In a recent interview with Andy Chase from the band Ivy, the Dead Flowers blog invigorates some new commentary about James Iha and his longstanding relationship with the NYC trio, members of which may trace their roots to Fountains of Wayne and a Scratchie Records partnership.

DF: You have a strong musical connection with James Iha. I recently heard an interview with Butch Vig and he was talking about with the early Smashing Pumplins records, people didn’t realize how important Iha was in influencing the band’s sound and feel. Any thoughts?

AC: He has such an amazing musical aesthetic and a very unique way of playing the guitar. I think this all flew under the radar for most Pumpkins fans. Knowing him as I do outside of the Pumpkins I’m always marveling at his great sensibility and appreciation for good music – or at least the music I think is good. I’m much more of a fan of HIS stuff that I ever was of the Pumpkins.

Though Iha’s collaboration efforts with Ivy have lasted more than ten years to date, I don’t think his contributions flew under the radar for fan. In fact, didn’t we just talk about this on last week’s podcast?!

As Chase suggests, Ivy will likely be releasing a new album late next year but it’s yet to be known if Iha will be counted among the contributors. In the meantime, check out this stream of “Tess Don’t Tell” – featuring James Iha.

HU Podcast #4: Former Band Member Spectacular 5:48 pm // Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Posted by chris in billy corgan, dave pajo, james iha, jimmy chamberlin, podcast, zwan.
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podcast logoWe deviated from talking purely about the Pumpkins’ music this week to have a special themed show about former band members.  I didn’t mention it in this week’s show, but our next show review will be of the June 5th, 2007 secret show at Zitadelle Spandau.  This will either be in episode 5 or 6 depending on what pops up in the news.

Listen to the whole show (1:01:45)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, Jill, and an uncredited Andrew

We welcome back Jill by grilling her on the topics that she missed. (3:54)

-Cherub Rock has now been included in virtually every video game released in the past year.  We talk about what’s with all the cross-promotion. (5:02)

-David Pajo makes some snarky comments about Billy, and Jason and Jill swoop in with talons sharpened. (14:05)

In-Depth Discussion
-Pajo wasn’t the only former band member in the news this week.  We tackle last year’s controversy over whether it’s really The Smashing Pumpkins without James and D’Arcy.  Plus, Jason makes a comparison between Billy and Michael Jordan that doesn’t have to do with both of them being bald, and I make references to a Marked song. (28:16)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-The first official Smashing Pumpkins release, the Limited Potential I Am One single, is delivered to the masses.  Plus, I promise giveaways on which we can’t possibly follow through.

Song of the Week
-Farewell and Goodnight, April 5th, 1996

HU Podcast #3: Hardcore Fan Concerts and the Double Door 7:23 pm // Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Posted by chris in billy corgan, james iha, mellon collie, podcast, tour.
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podcast logoI’m a little late getting the podcast up this week due to some technical issues, but here it is for your enjoyment.  We’re in between tours, so I’m expecting to the news to slow to a trickle, leaving me with plenty of time in the show plan for debate.  If you have a question you’d like us to talk about in a future in-depth discussion segment, leave a comment below or email me (remove the NOSPAM).

Listen to the whole show (56:13)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, and Andrew

-Billy mentions James and D’Arcy’s absence at the RockWalk induction.  We awkwardly discuss the awkwardness of his comments. (3:42)

-What is a 20th anniversary show?  Andrew predicts a rock-’til-you-drop marathon, while I opt for surprise guest musicians, each more surprising than the last. (5:34)

-Billy rekindles more DVD rumors, and we do more gambling on the band’s future. (2:05)

In-Depth Discussion
-How could the Pumpkins put on a show that would satiate the hardcore fans yet still remain solvent enough to the dresses and costumes to which they’ve become accustomed?  We throw out ideas while Jason schools us in economics. (14:53)

Show Review: February 28th, 1995 Double Door; Chicago, IL
-Upon a relisten, the Double Door shows aren’t as fabulous as I remembered.  I break down the screaming crowd, the setlist, and the songs that never made it.  Plus, we enjoy a classic James Iha rap. (20:15)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-The MCIS 3LP is released in a limited pressing, although Andrew remains bitter about the limit.  D’Arcy turns 40.  Plus, we look back on the historic April 30th, 1989 show, and I somehow refrain from singing a few bars of Alabaster. (4:27)

Song of the Week
-Speed February 28th, 1995

James Iha: Transpacific Collaboration 5:04 pm // Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Posted by apm in james iha, japan, leo imai.
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Speaking of old news, James Iha has collaborated with the Japanese musician Leo Imai on his major label debut album Fix Neon, which was released in Japan at the end of February. The album has two songs “feat.” James. A clip of one of the songs is available in the previous link. Leo also posted two videos to myspace featuring he and James having something of an international webcam conversation about James’ continued monolingualism, Tokyo, New York, Godzilla, and dogs among other things.

Leo Imai

Edited: Figured out the <embed> tag.
Vol 1.

Vol 2.

James Iha: Remixed 10:44 am // Friday, March 7, 2008

Posted by Jill in james iha.
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RockSellout.com reported last night that Midnight Movies‘ new Nights EP, will feature a “dance-floor ready” remix by James Iha. The track, “Patient Eye,” will be released March 11th via New Line Records. Hear the original mix on the label’s website via the embedded player.

You’ll be able to pick it up via the US digital store, the international digital store, or via iTunes. It’s already available to listen to via their MySpace and I dig it. You can definitely hear the Pumpkins’ influence in its dark, dancey beats. Reminds me of Eye or The Beginning is the End is the Beginning is the End is the… Batman Song.

Friday dance party, baby!





Prêt-à-Rocker: Smashing Pumpkins and… Fashion? 3:05 pm // Friday, February 22, 2008

Posted by Jill in art, billy corgan, fashion, james iha, melissa auf der maur.
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They’ve come a long way, baby.

The Smashing Pumpkins have been indubitably tied to fashion – well, at least since Mellon Collie brought financial stability and catapulted them into the Public Eye. But what has impressed me most in the span of their career is the penchant for drama – not simply vain haute couture – that drives their style. They’ve toed the avant-garde line during the Adore and Machina eras with Jean-Paul Gaultier jumpsuits just as dramatically as their fun, costumed tour looks (Jeff Schroeder’s cape, anyone?). The infamous Zero shirt became an icon for moody American teens and the black and white stripes so prevalent last year have started turning up in droves at the Swedish mega-retailer H&M. Let’s hope the mental-ward scrubs Billy Corgan sported last year will never achieve popularity beyond Britney Spears.

But what is this history of this fashion fascination? What is their relationship to cultural couture?

As far back as 1995 and 1996, the Pumpkins worked with Arianne Phillips, a then-barely-known but now Oscar-nominated costume designer. Presumably, Phillips worked with them on their music videos and touring garb as that was her primary focus at the time. In this 1997 article from the New York Times, she explains her perspective on the relationship between fashion and music:

“Getting” a subject’s cultural context, whether it is a portrait she is styling or a character she is defining in a film, is her signature. For instance, she came up with the idea of dressing Ice-T in a policeman’s uniform on the cover of Rolling Stone when his controversial song ”Cop Killer” was released, in 1992.

‘I got disillusioned with fashion for fashion’s sake,” she said. ”The great thing about musicians is, you have an art base to work with. If I work with a new band, I’ll ask for a tape, and they’ll say, ‘Why?’ I’ll say, ‘I’m dressing a band.”

Regardless of the fact that Ice-T now plays a detective on Law & Order: SVU, I would surmise that the cultural contextualization Phillips sought to achieve resonated with the Pumpkins early on. They went on a year after this article was published to perform at the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards after their music video for Ava Adore received a nod for “Most Stylish Video.” Download their performance of Crestfallen here.

More recently, the band has worked with Elise Overland, who just showed her collection at New York Fashion Week this month. VH1 gave an interview with her recently, in which she discusses her relationship as a designer to the music world — check out that interview here. However, Billy Corgan is not the only band member soliciting designs for the band from Gaultier and famous costume houses, though. The entire band has always been active in the fashion community.

Former guitarist James Iha and designer Anna Sui grew their friendship in the 90’s, with Iha modeling looks for her runway shows and designing t-shirts for her quirky line. Iha, a very public fan of fashion, frequents NYC’s Fashion Week, making numerous appearances at shows for Anna Sui’s collections as well as Benjamin Cho and others. [pictured at left during Fashion Week, Fall 2006]

Former bassist Melissa auf der Maur also follows designers closely. In a fantastic article for W Magazine, auf der Maur explores her love for fashion, reveals how she met the Smashing Pumpkins in 1990, and jokes about cruising local malls’ Sunglass Huts with James Iha on the Machina tour in 2000. Citing Michelle Mason, Arianne Phillips, Zaldy, Olivier Theyskens , and Versace as some of her favorite designers, she too modeled runway fashions for Theyskens and did print modeling for Calvin Klein. She elaborates on her taste in a New York Times Arts Feature – and on her first fashion mentor, Courtney Love:

Ms. Love introduced Ms. Auf der Maur to arena rock, but along the way Ms. Love also opened the door on the world of fashion. Ms. Auf der Maur, who was a thrift-shop devotee who had never worn makeup or tweezed an eyebrow, now wears the clothes of several designers she counts as friends. She even got a taste of the runway in 1999 after the Belgian designer Oliver Theyskens made her a dress she loved, a racy update of a Victorian gown, and asked her to model it in Paris.

“I couldn’t resist,” she said.

The current look on the Smashing Pumpkins tour features Corgan in a floor-length silver frock, emblazoned with varying icons depicting Saturn or the curious “999.” The futuristic look is not surprising to fans, however. We’re used to the theatrics – personally, I think they’re quite fun. In fact, now that I think about it, isn’t the look a kitschy, futuristic Rocket-Music-Video-meets-Machina-Mystery?!

Double Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of Jealousy. 1:53 am // Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Posted by Jill in amusing, james iha.
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Tonight, I queued up my old iTunes library to compile what I ended up sarcastically titling a “mid-90’s genius” playlist. In these endeavors, I try as hard as I might to leave out gratuitous Smashing Pumpkins tunes, but they inevitably slip in somehow. For grins, I included James Iha’s “Jealousy” on this playlist — mostly to make my boyfriend laugh at the transition from James to Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony.

However, in listening to it again, I remembered the following story. Totally true: In 1998, when his solo album dropped, my mom was so excited to have some easy-listening as a break from the deluge of Mellon Collie and The Aeroplane Flies High in heavy rotation. “That sweet Asian man is friends with Billy Corgan?!” my mom asked. “How is that possible? He’s so *angry*!”

Anyway, the joke was cemented in time when later that same night, my entire family heard the single while at dinner.

… on an easy listening station at Wendy’s.

James Iha < Parker Posey’s Puppy? 8:10 pm // Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Posted by Jill in blogging, james iha.
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My blog worlds have collided. According to this recent article on Curbed, a NYC real estate blog I regularly read, James Iha has less talent than Parker Posey’s Bichon Frisé-Maltese. I beg to differ.

Apparently, Posey, Chloë Sevigny, and Iha all live in a townhouse co-op off East 10th Street in the East Village, across the street from Molly Ringwald. This is a neighborhood to which I’ve been recently considering moving, but I think it might just be too cool for me. Hmmph.


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