D'arcy Wretzky performing with The Smashing Pumpkins in 1998
|Also known as||D'arcy|
|Born||March 1, 1968|
South Haven, Michigan, U.S.
|Artists||The Smashing Pumpkins, Catherine|
|Other associated acts||Filter, Catherine, Grave Next Door|
D'arcy Elizabeth Wretzky-Brown (born May 1, 1968) was the original bass player for The Smashing Pumpkins and is credited on their first five studio albums. She left the band in 1999.
Wretzky was born and raised in South Haven, Michigan, where her mother, Vikke Anderson, a musician working as a lounge singer, encouraged D'arcy and her sisters to perform music. Growing up, she played the violin and oboe, and performed in choirs. She also performed gymnastics. Wretzky intended to start a musical career since she was 10 years old. She would later refer to her father, Jerry Wretzky, a pipefitter with a love of horseback riding, as "a very strange man." The young Wretzky was a self-described "tomboy," and had a contentious relationship with her sister. Wretzky suffered from severe stage fright during her childhood. She attended South Haven's L.C. Mohr High School, where she grew interested in post-punk and played in cover bands. After high school, she moved to France to join a band, but the band had already disbanded upon her arrival, prompting her to return to the United States. She then moved to Chicago and spent the summer living with friends and attending concerts. Wretzky stated that she is a self-taught bass player.
1988–1999: Smashing Pumpkins
After a concert at a local rock club, Wretzky overheard Billy Corgan criticizing the band that had performed. An argument and discussion followed, and Corgan recruited her into his band, the nascent Smashing Pumpkins, which, at the time, was merely Corgan, James Iha, and a drum machine. Wretzky accepted, and Jimmy Chamberlin completed the lineup a few months later, after Joe Shanahan (the founder and owner of The Metro) encouraged Corgan to add a live drummer.
Wretzky is the credited bassist on the Smashing Pumpkins' first five studio albums: Gish, Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Adore, and Machina/The Machines of God. It was confirmed by both her and Corgan, however, that Corgan played the bass tracks for Siamese Dream because he could complete them in far fewer takes. Wretzky often contributed backing vocals in concert, and on studio albums. She contributes vocally in some Smashing Pumpkins songs including "Daydream" from Gish, many songs on Siamese Dream, "1979", "Cupid De Locke", "Farewell and Goodnight", "Beautiful"; "Where Boys Fear to Tread" from Mellon Collie, and "Dreaming" and "The Bells" from The Aeroplane Flies High. Wretzky also co-wrote one Smashing Pumpkins song, "Daughter".
1999: Final tour, recording sessions and leaving the band
Wretzky's time in the band was marked by alternating periods of happiness and discomfort. Corgan considered her the "moral authority" and "moral conscience" of the band. In the aftermath of the success of 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Corgan said she began an "apparent slow descent into insanity and/or drugs (take your pick)." However, Wretzky explained that she suffered from extreme stress due to the demands of Corgan and the band. She endured a miscarriage when recording Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which she felt was stress-related. After the short, nine-date "The Arising!" tour in April 1999, which saw all four original members performing together for the first time since 1996, Wretzky decided to leave the band with intentions of pursuing an acting career. The band were recording Machina/The Machines of God and Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music at the time and consequently she performed very few bass parts on the album. Most of the bass parts were handled by Corgan himself. Shortly after leaving the group, she was arrested for possession of crack cocaine. Corgan later said she was "fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict who refused to get help." She was replaced on 2000's Machina tour by former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur.
|“||That was more towards the end of the recording actually [that D'arcy left the band]. We probably did most of it before the tour, and I was told by both James and Billy that they were going to change my basslines and re-record them, but for the most part they didn’t. It was mostly my stuff, and they actually sent me some of the Gold records from it. Now Billy is saying that’s not true.
But the thing with that was I was going through a really bad time, I didn’t know what was happening, I was having a nervous breakdown. I had 30 plus panic attacks a day, I didn’t know what it was, it was terrible. The day after the tour, I had tried to quit two or three times, but it’s difficult to do when you have everybody, my husband, my family, telling me, ‘No, no, just wait until the next record. All of these people are depending on you, all of these people who work for you guys, don’t just think of yourself.’ I just should have left a couple of years earlier.
|— D'arcy Wretzky, Alternative Nation interview, February 14, 2018|
1999–present: Life after the Smashing Pumpkins
Wretzky did not participate in the Smashing Pumpkins' reunion. In 2008, she and her former boyfriend and bandmate James Iha filed a lawsuit against Virgin Records for selling ringtones of Smashing Pumpkins songs without their consent.
Wretzky is a fan of both Star Trek and The X-Files. She has stated that space travel and aliens are a recurring influence on her creative ideas, and still a possible influence on acting aspirations and talked about future plans for a solo album.
After many years out of the spotlight, Wretzky resurfaced in July 2009 by calling in unexpectedly on Chicago's Q101 FM with Ryan Manno. During the interview, she stated that she was not healthy enough to be a musician, and repeatedly professed her admiration for Monkees frontman Davy Jones who was known to be an early romantic crush of Wretzky's. She also discussed her appreciation for the band Silversun Pickups who have a sound influenced by the early Gish era of the Smashing Pumpkins. She also mentioned that she then lived on a farm in Michigan, that she had briefly lived in Austin, Texas, sometime during the previous decade, and that her former fiancé Wendell Green had died.
Wretzky was jailed on February 1, 2011, for missing four court dates related to a ticket she received for failing to control her wild horses, allowing them to free roam the streets at night causing interference to local traffic, farmers, as well as trespassing on public property and stealing vegetables from the local farmer's market storage. She spent six days in jail. The following day after getting released from jail she was arrested again on February 7, 2011, on a misdemeanor drunken-driving road rage charge in South Haven, Michigan. She was sent back to jail.
Wretzky claimed she had been offered a contract to rejoin the band on the Shiny and Oh So Bright tour, but that Corgan rescinded the offer soon after. Corgan released a statement denying the claims, stating "Ms. Wretzky has repeatedly been invited out to play with the group, participate in demo sessions, or at the very least, meet face-to-face, and in each and every instance she always deferred".
When the band opened their Shiny and Oh So Bright tour in Glendale, Arizona, on July 17, 2018, the show featured a music video for the song "Try Try Try". The video featured a model that bore a striking resemblance to D'arcy struggling with drug addiction.
Other musical work
Wretzky joined the band Catherine as a second vocalist for their final album Hot Saki and Bedtime Stories. She also appeared in the video for Four Leaf Clover. At the time, Wretzky was married to Catherine member Kerry Brown.
Wretzky contributed vocals to the track "One and Two" on James Iha's 1998 solo album, Let It Come Down.
In 1999, she worked with cellist Eric Remschneider, who she had worked with when he had recorded with the Smashing Pumpkins. That year she also contributed backing vocals on the Filter songs “Cancer" and “Take a Picture” from Title of Record.
In May 2016 in an interview with Loudwire, Filter lead singer Richard Patrick spoke of a romantic relationship he had with Wretzky saying she was the subject of a song he wrote called "Miss Blue", also on Title of Record.
While making no indication that she will record with or make any meaningful contribution, Michigan doom sludge metal band Grave Next Door said on Twitter that they were jamming with D'arcy in her home with one band member posting a pic of himself with a prop from the video "Tonight, Tonight".
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