Smashing Pumpkin James Iha Discusses Going Solo January 27, 1998

Smashing Pumpkin guitarist James Iha is stepping out on his own for a bit with his first solo album, "Let It Come Down."

The album, which has a decidedly acoustic feel, was recorded in Iha's Chicago home studio with producer Jim Scott, who has also worked with Tom Petty.

Iha also called in a little help from his friends, including the Pumpkins' touring drummer Matt Walker, Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt, and Iha's Scratchie Records partner, pianist Adam Schlesinger from Fountains Of Wayne.

MTV News visited with Iha on the set of his video shoot for the single "Be Strong Now" in Los Angeles last week where he discussed his inspiration behind the song, and his take on the reaction to his solo sound.

"I originally wrote the song about someone who's depressed, who has really terrible self esteem. I just sort of imagined it would be this song about a person if they had someone they could talk to or confide to. It has a certain warm, conversational quality to it," Iha said.

"People are just surprised to hear this side of me. I guess if you follow the things I've written on Pumpkins' records, it's not really all that different. It's just that, I guess people have this image of me with the glammy make-up and big hair and they just expect, like, heavy metal or something."

The video for "Be Strong Now" was directed by Sophie Muller, who's also done clips for No Doubt, Weezer, and Blur.

While Iha doesn't have a solo tour scheduled, a representative says he may do some live acoustic performances on a promotional tour through radio stations in the near future. "Let It Come Down" will be out on February 10.