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Former Smashing Pumpkins Guitarist James Iha Guests on Frontman Billy Corgan’s Solo Album

Astrid Stawiarz / Scott Harrison, Getty Images
Astrid Stawiarz / Scott Harrison, Getty Images

When Billy Corgan‘s sophomore solo effort Ogilala hits shelves and streaming services on Oct. 13, fans may recognize a familiar guest: original Smashing Pumpkins guitarist, James Iha. Corgan’s old bandmate played on the song “The Processional” as well as an unnamed track that may wind up as a b-side.

Iha, who hasn’t played on a track with Corgan since the Smashing Pumpkins’ 2000 record Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, is the only guest on the album, save a string quartet. Corgan’s feelings for the original lineup is a main reason why he decided to issue Ogilala as a solo record — using his full birth name of William Patrick Corgan” — rather than as a Pumpkins project.

“I felt like I had exhausted the idea [of the band] on my own,” Corgan told Rolling Stone. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t had help, but I think my interest in working on just the name Smashing Pumpkins is not as interesting to me without original people involved. It doesn’t seem to have the same resonant energy for me. I like to think that if I do any work in the future it would be with them, if possible.”

Fortunately, Corgan has made peace with Iha and the rest of the band. He and Iha performed several Siamese Dream songs during a stop on the Smashing Pumpkins’ In Plainsong tour last year. Corgan also revealed that he had patched things up with bassist D’Arcy Wretzky and, in 2015, original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin rejoined the Smashing Pumpkins for his fourth stint with Corgan.

“We were in a pressure cooker for 13, 14 years. We were literally together almost non-stop for a long time. We did a lot of work and we put ourselves through some crazy s—,” Corgan says. “When the family thing broke, it was one of those things like, ‘Hey, have you talked to your cousin?’ ‘Eh, I love him, but you know, whatever.’ So it was like that for a long time, and now that that’s over, and the family thing is resolved, it’s awesome.”

And while Corgan is pleased that the band members’ long estrangement has ended, it’s still unclear whether a reunion will happen despite persistent rumors. Corgan will tour behind Ogilala in October and November, while Iha’s commitments with A Perfect Circle run through the end of the year.

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