By Jon Wiederhorn
The big Smashing Pumpkins reunion announcement is likely to happen tomorrow, which is when the countdown clock on the band’s website expires. But the heavy drama surrounding the original lineup has been going down for the past week.
What’s clear is that original bassist D’arcy Wretzky will not be involved in the reunion, but the details why are still murky and the accusations being flung by both sides are getting ugly.
On February 12, Smashing Pumpkins released a statement, insisting that they wanted Wretzky to be involved in the reunion and that she turned them down. “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.”
Yesterday (Feb. 13), Wretzky responded by sharing text messages between her and Corgan, which indicated that she wanted to be involved in a reunion tour and that Corgan was interested in having her along. Then, the frontman seemed to back off, stating that she could be involved in a limited capacity, taking the stage for some songs, but not performing as the band’s main bassist.
Today (Feb. 14), an in-depth interview with Wretzky (the first in 20 years) has been published by Alternative Nation, and she pulls no punches, attacking Corgan for being “incredibly abusive” in the past and adding that he “loved to humiliate people and shame people in front of other people.”
Throughout the interview, Wretzky was fired up and, at times, indirect. She started by addressing her 18-year absence from the band:
“[Billy] has been telling people, “Well [The Smashing Pumpkins] haven’t played with [D’arcy] at all in 18 years.” “Right dumba–, because then it wouldn’t be a reunion! He says that he’s invited me to come out and play for all of these things, which is a complete lie. He’s never invited me to anything.”
“In fact, my feelings were a little bit hurt because he did the solo album tour, and he didn’t tell me when it started,” she added. “I was texting him saying, ‘Where the f— are you dumba–?’ He’s like, ‘Oh, I’m in New York. The tour started. Then I’m like, ‘Where are you?’ [He’d reply,] ‘Oh, the tour ended, you missed it.’ He thinks it’s a privilege for anyone to be in his presence, so therefore he shouldn’t have to tell me, and I shouldn’t have to be invited.”
Wretzky said that Corgan decided to play with Jack Bates, son of New Order’s Peter Hook, for the upcoming outing behind the new Smashing Pumpkins album, but that no one told her. ‘They hired Jack Bates for this tour. I made Billy spell it out because he was doing his nonsense double talk crap bulls—. Everyone was telling me, ‘Well that doesn’t sound like he doesn’t want you on the tour.’ Nobody could see it, so I finally made him spell it out for me.”
Wretzky said she was furious when she found out Corgan only wanted her as a special guest and then reiterated her disgust at having not been invited to partake in past band activities.
“It was just unbelievable, really just disgusting,” she said. “The f—— nerve, and then for him to come back and say, ‘Well, we haven’t seen you in this long, and you haven’t done this, and you couldn’t even make it to this. Everyone has shown up, and you didn’t?’ How could I, I didn’t even know you were there?”
That’s when Wretzky let fly with her accusation that Corgan was hostile and malicious when she was in the band.
“Billy loved to humiliate people and shame people in front of other people. It was incredibly abusive, and I was the only one who would fight back,” she said. “I think he and [drummer] Jimmy [Chamberlin] got in a couple fights, and he and [guitarist] James [Iha] maybe five, but with he and I, it was screaming matches all the time. I just got to the point where I couldn’t fight anymore, and I needed to leave… I honestly think he may have a brain tumor. He’s always been insufferable.”