Something really unexpected happened at a SMASHING PUMPKINS show in L.A. on Saturday night. BILLY CORGAN brought out original guitarist JAMES IHA, who hasn’t played with the band in 16 years.
The crowd was stunned, but Billy just casually said, quote, “Yes, it’s James Iha.”
They played nine songs together . . . including the “Siamese Dream” classics “Today”, “Disarm”, and “Rocket”. It was James’ 48th birthday . . . so Billy also sang “Happy Birthday“ to him during the encore.
Original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin is also back with the Pumpkins for this tour, which means they were only missing bassistD’Arcy Wretzky, who left in 1999.
A classic reunion has always seemed very unlikely. Five years ago, Billy said, quote, “I can’t in any way, shape, or form ever envision standing on a stage, playing music again with James and D’arcy. I just don’t see any situation where that would be possible . . . that’s never going to happen . . . it’s really bad now.”
And just TWO MONTHS AGO, he said there’s “no relationship,” but added that if they were lying on the side of the road, he’d be willing to stop and bring them to the hospital. Maybe THAT was the olive branch that got the ball rolling. (???)
Now, there’s no indication this is more than a one-time thing. Neither Billy nor James has commented. Jimmy Tweeted, quote, “Pretty cool to play with my old bandmate, James. Looking forward to doing it again sometime.” And James Re-Tweeted that.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, D’Arcy’s birthday is May 1st . . . and the Pumpkins are playing that night in Fort Lauderdale. You know, just in case.