James Iha

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James Iha
James Iha.jpg
Iha in 1995
Background information
Birth nameJames Yoshinobu Iha
Born (1968-03-26) March 26, 1968 (age 53)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ArtistsThe Smashing Pumpkins, Starchildren, Tinted Windows, Snake Train
RoleGuitar, vocals
Other associated actsA Perfect Circle, Vanessa and the O's, Whiskeytown, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts
WikipediaJames Iha

James Yoshinobu Iha (井葉吉伸, Iha Yoshinobu) (born March 26, 1968) is a guitarist and the co-founder of The Smashing Pumpkins. He was a member until the initial breakup in 2000. Among his musical projects of recent years, Iha has been a permanent fixture of A Perfect Circle. He was recently a member of Tinted Windows, a 1960s/1970s inspired group with members of Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, and Hanson. He rejoined The Smashing Pumpkins in 2018.

Iha has produced songs, contributed guitar and vocals, and produced remixes for a number of artists, including Midnight Movies, Isobel Campbell, Marilyn Manson, Whiskeytown, and Michael Stipe. He co-owns Scratchie Records, an independent record label, with Adam Schlesinger, and a recording studio with Schlesinger and Andy Chase of Ivy called Stratosphere Sound.

James Iha is married to designer Ashley Usich.[1] Her twin sister, photographer Lindsay Usich, is married to Marilyn Manson.[2]

Early life and background[edit | edit source]

Iha was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, which he described as "a boring, middle-class suburb of Chicago."[3] Iha received average grades in high school, and, after a successful two-year stint at a local junior college, he majored in graphic design at Loyola University Chicago before dropping out to dedicate himself to the Smashing Pumpkins.[4]

He is a second-generation Japanese-American and is able to speak only a little Japanese.[5]

Like his bandmate Billy Corgan, Iha has a brother with a disability.[3]

In the early 2000s, Iha had an imposter in the Chicago area, who was arrested.[6]

The Smashing Pumpkins[edit | edit source]

In 1987 Iha, then playing guitar in the Chicago band Snake Train, met Billy Corgan via a friend. Corgan had already been telling people he was in a band called "Smashing Pumpkins", and decided to make it a real band with Iha.

Iha later became romantically involved with the band's bassist D'arcy Wretzky, but the couple broke up just prior to the band's performance at the Reading Festival in 1992. After a brief feud between the two, Iha sustained a friendly and close relationship with Wretzky,[7] citing her as a best friend.

Iha wrote and sang a number of Smashing Pumpkins' songs, such as: "Blew Away" on Pisces Iscariot, "Bugg Superstar" on Vieuphoria, "Take Me Down" on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, "...Said Sadly", "Believe", "The Boy", and "The Bells" on The Aeroplane Flies High, "Summer" on the "Perfect" single and "Go" on Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music. He co-wrote with Billy Corgan "I Am One" on Gish, "Soma" and "Mayonaise" on Siamese Dream, "Plume" on Pisces Iscariot and "Farewell and Goodnight" on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. He sang the band's covers of the Cure's "A Night Like This" and Syd Barrett's "Terrapin". During his time with the Pumpkins, Iha recorded with other bands, including Ivy, to which Adam Schlesinger contributes, and Swedish New Wave band the Sounds.

Billy Corgan has claimed that Iha played very little guitar on the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums, with Corgan himself playing most of the parts in the studio that Iha played live.[8][9]

Iha was often considered the "quiet one" in Smashing Pumpkins, but he was known to engage in ad-libbed jokes and rap sessions at live performances. His humor was encapsulated in his use of the catchphrase, "I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all," originally from the Bon Jovi song "Wanted Dead or Alive".[10][11]

In 1998, Iha released a moderately successful solo album, Let It Come Down. One music video was produced from this album, for the song "Be Strong Now", which was released as a four-track single.

When his former bandmates Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin revived the "Smashing Pumpkins" name, Iha did not participate, and in fact had not spoken to Corgan in years.[12] Corgan stated in a 2008 blog entry that when he and Chamberlin reunited, the "door was open" for Iha to rejoin, but he declined, and Corgan said that he "can now say definitively that Iha isn't ever coming back."[13] However, in a 2012 interview about the band reformation, Iha stated that he was never even asked back into the band in the first place.[14] Iha also admitted within the interview that he has not heard any of the band's new music since the reformation.

In a March 2013 interview,[15] he was asked about looking back at the band's history and explained that he never really thought about his former success with the band, but did look back with fondness when asked about the 6 studio albums he made with them. He revealed that he and Corgan had not spoken in around ten years, but that he did speak to Wretzky "once in a while".

Iha joins Corgan on stage for the first time in 16 years to perform "Mayonaise" at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.

On March 26, 2016 and March 27, 2016, Iha joined Corgan and Chamberlin on stage unannounced at back to back Smashing Pumpkins shows at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Iha played a third show with the band in their hometown of Chicago at the Civic Opera house on April 14, 2016. In 2017, reunion rumors were leaked through various sources, and in 2018, Iha was spotted with Corgan, Chamberlin, and current Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder in the studio and at a photo shoot, confirming his return to the band.

In 2018 the Smashing Pumpkins announced that both Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin would rejoin the band for their Shiny and Oh So Bright tour in the Summer of 2018.[16][17] The Pumpkins' first LP with their reunited lineup, Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past, No Future, No Sun, was released on November 16, 2018 to positive reviews.

Discography[edit | edit source]

This list contains only works related to The Smashing Pumpkins and associated acts.
Solo albums
With Smashing Pumpkins
Tinted Windows
Guest appearances

Smashing Pumpkins songs written, co-written or covered by Iha[edit | edit source]

Name Album Writers
...Said Sadly The Aeroplane Flies High James Iha
Ball and Chain James Iha Billy Corgan
Believe The Aeroplane Flies High James Iha
Blew Away Pisces Iscariot James Iha
Bugg Superstar Earphoria James Iha
Farewell and Goodnight Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness James Iha
Go Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music James Iha
I Am One Gish Billy Corgan James Iha
Mayonaise Siamese Dream Billy Corgan James Iha
Pastichio Medley The Aeroplane Flies High Billy Corgan James Iha D'arcy Wretzky Jimmy Chamberlin
Plume Pisces Iscariot Billy Corgan James Iha
So So Pretty James Iha
Soma Siamese Dream Billy Corgan James Iha
Special Winner's Song The Aeroplane Flies High Billy Corgan James Iha D'arcy Wretzky Jimmy Chamberlin
Star Song The Aeroplane Flies High James Iha
Stars Fall In Moon Demo Billy Corgan James Iha
Summer Rarities and B-Sides James Iha
Take Me Down Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness James Iha
The Bells The Aeroplane Flies High James Iha
The Boy The Aeroplane Flies High James Iha
The Groover The Aeroplane Flies High James Iha
Tribute to Johnny The Aeroplane Flies High Billy Corgan James Iha
Wave Song Mashed Potatoes Billy Corgan James Iha
Your Whore Billy Corgan James Iha D'arcy Wretzky Jimmy Chamberlin

Covers sung by Iha[edit | edit source]

Touring stats

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Guitars[edit | edit source]

Amplifiers[edit | edit source]

  • Fender Twin Reverb Amp
  • Marshall JMP-1 Pre-Amp
  • Mesa-Boogie Tri-Axis
  • Orange Overdrive 120 Head & Cab

Effects[edit | edit source]

  • DigiTech DHP-55 Harmony Processor
  • DigiTech GSP2101 Effects Processor
  • EBow
  • Electro Harmonix Electric Mistress (18v Version)
  • Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
  • Electro Harmonix Small Stone Phaser
  • Eventide H3000 Harmonizer
  • Boss AW-2
  • DOD FX-17 Wah-Volume Pedal

Other[edit | edit source]

  • DR Hi-Beam Nickel-Plated Strings
  • Jim Dunlop 1.0 millimeter tortex pics
  • Pedal-cast Extender

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.fashionmamas.com/blog/2018/2/5/mama-cribs-ashley-usich-iha-fawn-baby-home-tour
  2. https://metalheadzone.com/marilyn-manson-breaks-silence-on-the-rumors-about-his-relationship-status-with-lindsay-usich/
  3. 3.0 3.1 Marks, Craig. Balom.org Archived February 2, 2009, at the w:Wayback Machine, "Zero Worship". Spin: June 1996.
  4. Mundy, Chris. "Strange Fruit: Success Has Come at a High Price for This Chicago Band Archived December 4, 2007, at the w:Wayback Machine". Rolling Stone, 1994/04/20.
  5. Smashing Pumpkins interview, Japanese TV, 1992. Available on Vieuphoria just prior to the performance of "Slunk".
  6. "James Iha Bio". James Iha Official Website. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  7. Corgan, Billy (April 23, 2005). "The Blogs of Pumpkins". Archived from the original on October 17, 2015.
  8. Azerrad, Michael. "Smashing Pumpkins' Sudden Impact", Rolling Stone. October 1, 1993.
  9. Chamberlin, Jimmy; Corgan, Billy (interview subjects). Inside the Zeitgeist (Reprise Records, 2007).
  10. Smashing Pumpkins. Interview Magazine, February 1996.
  11. Iha, James. On-stage banter. Smashing Pumpkins live at the United Center. November 29, 2000.
  12. "Exclusive: James Iha Speaks Out Regarding His Involvement in Pumpkins Reunion". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  13. "Observations from a delayed traveler". Smashingpumpkins.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  14. "Interview: James Iha". Consequenceofsound.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  15. StephenAndrew777 (September 12, 2016), Billy Corgan Explains That James Iha's Debut Solo Record Should Have Been Written by Billy Corgan, retrieved November 8, 2017
  16. Young, Alex. "Founding members of Smashing Pumpkins reunite for "Shiny and Oh So Bright" Tour". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  17. Sneirson, Dan. "Smashing Pumpkins reunite for tour — without D'arcy Wretzky". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  18. "Siva – The Smashing Pumpkins Web Site : Songs – Ol' 55". Blamo.org. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  19. "Siva – The Smashing Pumpkins website : Songs – Don't You Want Me". Blamo.org. Archived from the original on May 29, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  20. Blamo.org Archived December 7, 2008, at the w:Wayback Machine, Siva – The Smashing Pumpkins Web Site: Songs – Kooks

External links[edit | edit source]