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Wednesday , September 30 2020

15 yrs later, Iha plays with Pumpkins – West’s ‘Famous’ now available on streaming services

Bruce Springsteen performs onstage at Madison Square Garden on March 28 in New York City. (AFP)
Bruce Springsteen performs onstage at Madison Square Garden on March 28 in New York City. (AFP)

NEW YORK, March 29, (Agencies): Fifteen years after leaving Smashing Pumpkins, guitarist James Iha has rejoined the alternative rock icons to perform songs from the classic 1993 album “Siamese Dream.”

Iha, who last appeared with Smashing Pumpkins in their native Chicago in December 2000, unexpectedly walked onto a Los Angeles stage on Saturday night to play with the band, according to videos posted online by fans.

“Yes, it’s James Iha,” Billy Corgan, the band’s frontman and undisputed leader, told a cheering crowd.

Sporting a blazer, Iha brought back the early Pumpkins’ signature fuzzy noise on electric guitar as Corgan sang and strummed an acoustic guitar.

The reunited band played tracks off “Siamese Dream” — notably the emotionally intense “Disarm” and the more upbeat “Today” — as well as a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Angie,” according to social media posts.


The show was all the more surprising as Corgan is known for disliking talk of reunions and frequently performs concerts solely with new material, saying he does not want to be stuck artistically on selling nostalgia.

But in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Corgan said he had developed “an open-door policy” for Smashing Pumpkins and felt no need to define who was a member or not.

The band was famous for its internal friction. During the recording of “Siamese Dream,” which catapulted the group to fame, the perfectionist Corgan would overdub his own playing to replace the contributions of Iha and bassist D’arcy Wretzky.

The Pumpkins’ reunion is still without Wretzky, who has had well-publicized drug problems and has kept a low profile since the band’s 2000 breakup.

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was fired in 1996 over drug use after keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin died of a heroin overdose while in New York on tour.

But Chamberlin returned to the band after rehab and has joined Corgan in the second incarnation of Smashing Pumpkins that began in 2006.

Chamberlin wrote on Twitter after Saturday’s show that it was “pretty cool” to play again with Iha and was “looking forward to doing it again sometime.”

Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most influential bands of the 1990s, moving from a grunge sound to incorporate operatic and electronic elements to songs defined by Corgan’s dark introspection.

Corgan, 49, in recent years has pursued diverse side projects that have included writing plots for professional wrestling matches and creating an eight-hour electronic interpretation of “Siddhartha,” Hermann Hesse’s celebrated 1922 novel inspired by the Buddha.


LOS ANGELES: Kanye West’s song “Famous,” which famously criticized Taylor Swift, is now available to stream on Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music.

This is the first track from the rapper’s seventh studio album, “The Life of Pablo,” which was released exclusively on Tidal in February, to appear on any streaming platform other than the Jay Z-owned service.

“Famous” gained notoriety for its lyrical digs at Swift.

Last month, the songstress’s publicist said that West didn’t seek Swift’s approval for “Famous,” yet urged her to promote the track on her Twitter account. She declined, due to the song’s “strong misogynistic message.”

In true Kanye West fashion, the rapper resorted to Twitter to respond to the claim, insisting that he obtained the consent of both Swift and his wife, Kim Kardashian, for the lyrics. He even said that Swift played a role in the inclusion of the now-infamous line, concluding his social-media rant by suggesting that his art was being compromised by politically correct content.

West has remained adamant about “The Life of Pablo’s” streaming exclusivity on Tidal, insisting on Twitter that his album “will never never never be on Apple” and “will never be for sale.”

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