November 26, 2003, 6:37 pm    A less-than-enthusiastic James Iha joins A Perfect Circle

Source: See Magazine

Here's a recently discovered interview from back in August:

Perfectly ambivalent
A less-than-enthusiastic James Iha joins A Perfect Circle
Friday, Aug 29
The Jubilee Auditorium

Interviewing James Iha–the guitarist-formerly-of-The Smashing Pumpkins–is a lot like introducing your new, slightly-arrogant, unapologetically quirky boyfriend to your parents. There are awkward questions and thinly veiled sarcastic replies; you can tell he doesn’t really want to be there, but he’s suffering through it out of misguided obligation.

Iha, who joined A Perfect Circle just six weeks ago, remarks that being in another super-group wasn’t exactly on the top of his agenda, which may explain his aloof attitude. "At this point I could take it or leave it," he says in regard to his abrupt return to the spotlight. Iha reveals that his role in A Perfect Circle was "unexpected," and that since his departure from The Smashing Pumpkins he’s been happily keeping a low profile, doing production and writing for other bands.

"I relocated to New York and I have a record label there called Scratchie [as well as] a recording studio in Manhattan, Stratosphere sound," he comments. "I was doing more behind the scenes stuff and planned to keep doing that until this came up."

Iha says his decision to take the open guitarist spot in the band came primarily because he saw it as a great opportunity to share the stage with some other amazing musicians who were creating music he enjoyed. He adds, "I hope I energize them in some old-school, ’90s-rock way."

But, why did A Perfect Circle choose to call up Iha to take the six-string spot?

"You got me," he remarks. "I guess they are just looking for a guy who can play the parts, can be an equal band member and won’t go crazy when they start touring. It’s easy to get someone really young and hungry, but you don’t know what’s going to happen to them when they go on tour."

In 1996 The Smashing Pumpkins’ temporarily severed relations with their drummer Jimmy Chamberlin after their touring keyboardist overdosed on heroin following a binge with him while on tour. Iha was interrogated by the New York police force following the incident, but he’s apparently removed the incident from memory. He clarifies his statement about unstable band mates as being "only hypothetical," and that he "hasn’t seen that before."

After over a decade of touring with bit alternative rock bands, you would imagine Iha has seen quite a lot; however, he insists he hasn’t garnered any great memories that really stand out. "I don’t have that many moments that I think of as the best days of my life. I was just out having lunch with Billy Howerdell (A Perfect Circle’s principal writer). We were talking about the last time I was in Seattle and I went to this nice seafood restaurant; he said he was there too," Iha continues, "So, I just have minor revelations like that: ‘oh yeah, we did this and that was really fun,’ or ‘we were on this award show and blah, blah, blah...’"

A Perfect Circle’s second release, Thirteenth Step, is set to release September 16. Although, Iha was not part of the recording process, you can catch his enigmatic style on stage as the band rolls through Canada. He may not be the type you’d want to bring home to your folks, but Iha should fit in just fine alongside singer Maynard James Keenan (who is infamous for performing entire shows with his back to the audience), and bassist Jordie White (who is equally infamous for controversial cavorting as Twiggy in Marilyn Manson’s band). "We’re crazy. We’re wild. I know, I know," mutters Iha derisively.



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