James Iha says the band came close to breaking up.
After three weeks the Smashing Pumpkins very excellent Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is still sitting pretty in the Billboard Top 200, which means people are still running into CD stores and buying it. Which is making the band quite happy. Well, as happy as is possible for a band that, well, just aren't that happy at lot of the time. When ATN caught up with ace guitarist James Iha in Chicago, we asked him if the Pumpkins have been misunderstood by the media. "Yeah, the music's been misunderstood and the band's been misunderstood," said Iha. "But Billy [Corgan] caused a lot of those problems with the first slew of interviews he did. Basically the media just played to it and that [that Corgan was Smashing Pumpkins] was the angle on the whole last album. Yeah, I don't think people understand the band dynamic and I don't think people understand the music. You just get a dominant front person and you don't ever hear about the band or the records. It's like, what did people talk about Nirvana? They talked about Kurt, they talked about Courtney Love, heroin abuse and smashing guitars and punk rock. They never talked about how good the songs were, how good the lyrics were." Not to beat around the bush, we asked Iha if there was a point where the Pumpkins had nearly thrown in the towel. "Yeah," he told us. "During Siamese Dream it was really stressful."