|February 25, 1998, 11:00 pm|
AOL Chat with James Iha
February 26, 1998
OnlineHost: Your AOL Live emcees tonight are Judi (AOLiveMC11) and Mary Alice (AOLiveMC5).
OnlineHost: Whatever you might expect the first solo album by a member of The Smashing Pumpkins to sound like, it probably wouldn?t be anything like the music on James Iha?s "Let It Come Down."
OnlineHost: With the help of a tasty studio ensemble made up of old and new friends, Iha has created an album of earnest, engaging songs that are refreshingly free of trendiness and irony. He's here tonight, live from Chicago, Illinois to take your questions!!
J Iha LIVE: Thank you very much. I'm please to be here.
AOLiveMC11: Here's the our first audience question...
Question: I love your music, and i think it is very awsome, and truley touching. I love you so much. My question is: Why did you decide to do a solo album? and when did you decide to?
J Iha LIVE: I wanted to do a record of my own songs the way I heard them with my singing and it was hard to fit all my songs in the band context. I just wanted to do a more personal records. I stared thinking about doing this record about 2 years ago.
Question: for james: i really like your album! why do you think its getting mixed reviews?
J Iha LIVE: I think a lot of people see the record in terms of the band that I came from and read a lot into it that way. In total, most of the reviews have been really good. Especially in Europe, most of the revies have been really good and seem to review the record on a real honest level without too much pre-judging.
Question: What are your music influences?
J Iha LIVE: A lot of different things. I like Neal Young, The Band, Fountains of Wayne... Pop, Country, Folk.
Question: James What is yuor favorite song on your new album? I LOVE YOU
J Iha LIVE: I love you too and I will always think of you. My favorite songs are "Be Strong Now", "Sound Of Love", "Lover, Lover," and "No One's Gonna Hurt You"
Question: Hello James. Thanks for taking the time to talk to your fans! You talk about faith and God in many of your songs, I was wondering, are you religious? If so, what religion do you live by?
J Iha LIVE: I don't belong to any organized religion of such, but I'd like to believe in a higher power.
Question: James, will there be any of your solo work on "Adore" (either co-writing credits or full)? If so, what can we expect? If not, why not? I hope so anyway!
J Iha LIVE: Probably not, because I went right from recording my record right into the next Pumpkins record and I used up all my songs on my record.
Question: JAMES: Did the record turn out as you had pictured it would? Would you change anything about the record?
J Iha LIVE: I think you always want to change a few things but in general I'm very happy with it. I like the sound of the record, I like the songs, and I like the singing.
Comment: You write really aesthetic songs.
J Iha LIVE: I try.
Question: james: are there going to be any more singles/video's off of Let It Come Down, besides Be Strong Now? (which by the way is great!)
J Iha LIVE: Thanks very much. I'm hoping there will be a second single although we haven't really talked about it.
Question: James- Your new album is great. About how long did it take you to record it? By the way, how's Bugg? :)
J Iha LIVE: The record took about 2 and a half months to record. Bugg is in the upstairs bedroom so that he won't be bothering us with the online chat. He's great though.
Comment: james: i really love everything about your music. your music helped me to feel better when i was sick a couple of weeks ago(your cd was a get well present) yours & sp's music is everything to me! love, Cristen
J Iha LIVE: Thanks so much. I'm really glad that it has some sort of healing power.
Question: Most music now is so angst-filled where as in comparison your album seems so sweet and kind -- do you find it challenging to write that way?
J Iha LIVE: Not really. I just tend to write a lot of personal conversational warm songs as of late. I'm not really that angry about anything right now.
Question: Are you thinking of making another solo album sometime soon?
J Iha LIVE: I'll keep writing songs, and I'll keep playing with the band and yes I will definitely make another solo record.
Question: Why did you decide to make an "acoustic" album?
J Iha LIVE: It's not an unplugged record, but I wrote most of the songs on the acoustic guitar because I wanted them to stand on their own with just guitar and voice and I didn't want to stray too far from the original writing so I didn't think it called for distortion or heavy drums.
Question: Hi, James! I am an inspiring artist/musician, but many people seem to look down on it. What inspired you, and are you happy with the results of being a musician? Do you think I should follow my dream, and would you encourage others to do it too?
J Iha LIVE: I would definitely encourage you to follow music if that's what you want to do. I think it's the greatest thing and I'm still a huge fan of music. Things that inspired me were just my own personal love of songs and bands that I was really into when I was younger and I didn't really care what anyone else thought.
Question: Why did you chose to work with Nina Gordon again on this album?
J Iha LIVE: Nina is a friend of mine and she's got a great voice and she's really fun in the studio. She has a lot of energy and it's just nice to have friends play on the record.
Question: As a musican, do you fans give give you any insipration to write music?
J Iha LIVE: I really appreciate all the good comments that I get from fans and the enthusiasm of the fans as well. I'm sure it makes its way into my music in some way.
Question: James, What is the thing you loved most about doing your new album. Was it the part about recording it in your basement? Or perhaps having D'Arcy join you in the recording of "One and Two"?
J Iha LIVE: I really liked recording at home because I could have my cup of tea, or I could consult Bugg on a drum track, and it was nice to be out of a cold, sterile studio. Recording with D'Arcy is always an experience She's crazy...I mean nuts, but she's great. I can't explain it.
Question: Now that youve released your album are you going to tour solo?
J Iha LIVE: I'm going to try to do some shows in major cities on my own with the people that played on my record. In small bars or clubs.
Question: JAMES : at your Richmond, Va. concert, you said your new years resolution was to read more books......what books have you read lately and did any of them have an influence your songwriting?
J Iha LIVE: I read The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I can't say it directly affected my writing but its a really great poetic book.
Question: I was disappointed that there weren't any guitar solos on your new album. Couldn't you have woven them in without betraying the style of music you wanted on the record?
J Iha LIVE: I tried, I really tried. There just wasn't any room in the tunes to rock a solo, although there are some nice melodic little drop ins that appear throughout a lot of the songs.
Question: Are you influenced in any way by Alanis Morissette? AM69Dana
J Iha LIVE: Ummmm, not really.
Comment: Hey James!!!!! Just wanted to let you know that I love your album and that all your songs are excellent. Love, Eileen
J Iha LIVE: It goes straight to my heart.
Question: hey James when did you get your first Les Paul Guitar?
J Iha LIVE: 1991, right before the first Pumpkins record.
Comment: James, happy 30th birthday a month early! :)
J Iha LIVE: I'm turning into an old man, help help.
Comment: Hey James - I just wanted to say that I love your album, my favorite song on it is Winter. I especially like the guitar part in it, and it's mysterious yet kind of sad air. ~*~ Tiina
J Iha LIVE: It's the most eclectic song on the record and maybe the most cerebral song on the record too. It has a really nice atmosphere, and kind of haunting feel that I like.
Comment: what kind of distortion pedal do you use?
J Iha LIVE: I really didn't on this record.
Question: do you feel that writing love songs, help you cope with pain in this life. does it make the lovesick heart feel better?
J Iha LIVE: I hope so. I really tried to make a warm, intimate record and writing songs in general is a great release for me. When I write a good song, its one of the best things. And when I can't write, I get kind of miserable.
Question: Hi James,first i just wanna tell you that how much I really love your album, it is just as I expected... (c:, most of the people i've chatted with didn't really expect that your album would be different at all, but i truly respect your music and you as a musician.
J Iha LIVE: Thanks very much. If you've followed some of the songs on the last few Pumpkins records that I've written, like "Take Me Down", "Blew Away," and some of the B-sides on the boxed set, they have a similar tie to this record.
Question: James, I love your new record. Be Strong Now is my favorite song. What was the inspiration behind it?
J Iha LIVE: I wrote it about this really sad and depressed girl that I know and she doesn't have anyone to talk to. I just sort of imagined what her life would be like if she did have someone to talk to like a friend, a family member, or a boyfriend.
Question: do you have any side projects beside the pumpkins and your solo? haveyou finished all the levels in turok? please say hi to bugg from me :)
J Iha LIVE: I'm a busy man these days. Not too many other side projects except sleeping and doing many interviews and I have yet to conquer all of Turok. Hopefully someone can help me out there.
Question: the new song "summer" you're working on will this be on adore or a b-side?
J Iha LIVE: It won't be on the record. It's incomplete as it stands right now.
Question: Are you also famous in Japan?
J Iha LIVE: Once I was walking down the street in Tokyo, and these Japanese fans came up to me and gave me some socks, which I'm wearing right now. And they are really nice socks.
Question: Do you get much fan mail, and if you do, do you answer it?
J Iha LIVE: I haven't recently although we do get big batches of mail to the Pumpkins fanclub, which we sometimes read if we have time.
AOLiveMC11: How about an address where people can write to you?
J Iha LIVE: I don't have it right now, but go to my website www.jamesiha.com and it will be posted in the next few weeks.
Question: What do you say to reviews that compare the album to the late Gram Parsons
J Iha LIVE: Well, he was a great singer/songwriter and had a real smooth heartbreaking kind of voice so I'll take it if I get it.
Question: James, when you create your next masterpeice, are you going to use a variety of themes in your music or will you stick with love?
J Iha LIVE: I had other songs on this record that weren't about love and my personal relationships but they weren't as good of songs. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do next, but I'm thinking there will be more variety.
Comment: I just wanted to say again, I love you and your music with the Pumpkins and now I love you by yourself.. You are just a wonderful, talented man. Thank you for all of the nice hours I've spent listening to you. :)
J Iha LIVE: Wow. Thanks very much again.
Question: How attached are you to your guitars -- have you ever given any of your guitars a pet name?
J Iha LIVE: Herbie, Sport, Topps, Rico, Celia, and Angie....I just made all those names up.
Question: What kind of job do you think you would have if you weren't in a band?
J Iha LIVE: Gosh, it would be kind of frightening. I would be the bagger at the grocery store with the blond streaks in his hair. Probably putting all the eggs with all the canned goods.
Question: James, what was your inspiration for LCID? Musical/emotional?
J Iha LIVE: Just the feeling I get from listening to good music, good books, heartbreaking gut-wrenching letters, and friends and lovers. Bugg too.
Question: What's playing on your boombox today?
J Iha LIVE: Beatles, Blur, Marvin Gaye, just groovy groovy tunes. Oh yeah, Pink Floyd, "Dark Side Of The Moon" too. I must be out of my mind.
Question: Hey James, you kinda a flamboyant dresser. Do you ever look at old pictures of yourself and think, "What the ____ was I thinking?"
J Iha LIVE: Sometimes I do think "What the ____ was I thinking." Yeah, I don't know sometimes what fashion crimes I am committing. I just seem to get all these crazy clothes. Although lately I haven't really been feeling it.
Question: Based on your experience, is it harder to lead a band or be in a band with a leader?
J Iha LIVE: There are two different things. I think that in different situations, they both can be really hard. Although, when you lead a band you have to make things happen all the time.
Question: James, are you doing any more modelling for Ana Sui/anyone else?
J Iha LIVE: I'm too old for the catwalk.
Question: Yo James, what's in your pockets right now?
J Iha LIVE: My wallet, my Pez dispenser, chewing gum, a box of jacks, a 12 string guitar, The Best Of James Taylor CD, and some doggy treats.
Question: What's the strangest thing you've ever been given by a fan?
J Iha LIVE: Socks, metal trains, robots and hair extensions.
Comment: I like your hair style..it suits you.
J Iha LIVE: My hair is just a big mess but I'm glad somebody appreciates it.
Question: When you were recording your album, did you feel any burden of expectation based on your success with the Smashing Pumpkins?
J Iha LIVE: I never expected to sell as many records as The Pumpkins. I just wanted to make an honest record of my songs with a real personal good feel to it and good singing. It was important that it didn't sound like a Pumpkins MK2
AOLiveMC11: James, I'm sorry to say that we only have time for one more question...
Question: I noticed a camera at the Viper Room when the new songs were debuted...is there going to be a "Vieuphoria 2" sometime soon?
J Iha LIVE: We're just talking about it now, but I'm not sure how soon is soon. It will probably take a little bit to put the footage together. But it will happen, eventually.
AOLiveMC11: Thanks for joining us in AOL Live tonight, James Iha. Any last thoughts for your AOL fans?
J Iha LIVE: I really appreciate all the support I've been getting on this record, and to everyone who wrote in tonight. It really means a lot. Thanks thanks thanks xoxoxo, James
AOLiveMC11: Thanks also to the audience for being here and sending in so many great questions! Good night, everyone.
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