|Kerrang! Sept 13, 2003 Excerpts|
|September 13, 2003, 6:03 pm|
"Hey James," he [Maynard James Keenan] calls. "I'll give you these panties if you tell a really good joke."
There is silence inside Calgary's MacEwan Hall, defeaning silence. After an agnosing minute, a nervous little voice finally pipes up. IHa begins to relate a rambling, meaningless story about being at home alone, walking outside and meeting a bear and wanting to become his friend. It's the kind of tale a child would tell and be proud of. The audience is stuck for words...
James Iha (eye-liner enhanced)...
James Iha, meanwhile, must content himself with playing the role of token new guy in a band that has visibly quickly become a tightly knit gang ("Put me down as 'quirky new guy'," he smiles). When ex-NIN man Danny Lohner wasn't felt right for the role of replacing departing guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen (now in QOTSA), Howerdel immediately thought of Iha, who'd spent the three years since The Smashing Pumpkins split writing and working with unsigned bands, and putting his energies into his record label, Scratchy. At the time, he was chilling in Sweden. A couple of e-mails and two weeks later, he was in, and has not looked back. Apart from the practical jokes, that is.
"When I got to rehearsal the first time," recounts Iha, with the voice and demeanour of a rather shy and bashful teenager, "they have cases that we bring on tour, where you put your stuff: CDs, shoes, bandannas. Maynard had put 'the new guy' on mine, with one of those label-makers. It was pretty funny."
Iha knew little of Maynard before signing up for A PC touring duties.
"I knew there was a lot of mystery about his character," he shrugs. "I knew he was a really cool, unique singer, but honestly, I don't really pay too much attention to the rock icon stuff that gets talked about. I just decided it'd be fun and challenging to go out with these guys."...
James Iha stands around fiddling with his mobile, looking like a lost child.