The whole of The Smashing Pumpkins Credit: Lisa Johnson

D’arcy Wretzky and Her Split From The Smashing Pumpkins?

The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the most iconic alternative rock bands ever gaining massive success within the 1990s. However, the band’s rise was not without drama, controversy, and tensions. One particularly concerning relationship was that of bassist D’arcy Wretzky and the rest of the band members.

Let’s have a look at why D’arcy Wretzky left The Smashing Pumpkins and where they are now. 

How D'arcy met the band

D’arcy Wretzky’s relationship with Billy Corgan started the way it would continue, with an argument. After a live show, Corgan was caught criticising the band, Wretzky disagreed, and an argument was ignited. Despite this, Corgan would find out that Wretzky played bass and invited her to join the band. 

D’arcy alongside Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin would form the lineup for the early years of the band.

A young Billy Corgan in 1992 (Credit: Graham Racher)
A young Billy Corgan in 1992 (Credit: Graham Racher)

The band would see themselves rapidly rise to success. Their debut album Gish quickly gave them a name in the underground college circuit, while their sophomore album Siamese Dream would launch the band into the mainstream. This however is where the tensions would begin to rise within the band. 

D'arcy's Tensions With Billy Corgan

Rerecorded parts

As The Smashing Pumpkins rose to fame, internal tensions began to surface, and the relationship between Wretzky and Corgan became increasingly strained. This wasn’t just the case for Wretzky either, James Iha also had issues with the way Corgan went about the production of the band’s earlier albums. 

The issue with the earliest albums of the band was that Corgan rerecorded most of the band member’s parts. The reason he did so for Gish was because he believed the band to still be too raw to produce a cohesive recording. Therefore for consistency, he recorded them himself.

He did the same for Siamese Dream, although this was because Corgan spent an insane amount of hours in the studio, with some days being in there for more than 16 hours solid. It is safe to say that this caused issues with band members feeling unappreciated. This included D’arcy.

Siamese Dream Cover art (Credit: Virgin)
Siamese Dream Cover art (Credit: Virgin)

Songwriting Credits

Another issue that arose because of the former reason was the problem of songwriting credits. Songwriting credits can be a touchy subject when it comes to a band because it doesn’t just have implications on recognition, but it can have a serious effect financially. 

While it may have been true, all of The Smashing Pumpkins albums are credited solely to Corgan, except when noted. This made him the largest earner of the band by a considerable margin, something that caused unbalance in the band. 

D'arcy's tensions with James Iha

Billy Corgan wasn’t the only member of the band that D’arcy had a strained relationship with. D’arcy and James Iha were dating when recording the band’s first two albums, although they would split in late 1992, just before their appearance at Reading Festival. 

These tensions, while not catastrophic themselves, were a. contributing factor to the negative headspace of the band at the time. 

D'arcy Wretzky leaves The Smashing Pumpkins

D'arcy Wretzky (Credit: QuailBell Magazine)
D'arcy Wretzky (Credit: QuailBell Magazine)

The bassist would leave the band midway through the recording of Machina and Machina II. She and Corgan have different recollections of this event. 

Wretzky herself confirmed in an interview with Alternative Nation that she was fired from the band by Corgan. Despite this outcome, D’arcy stated that she was already ready to leave the band when she was fired. D’arcy was, at the time, having a nervous breakdown and was experiencing up to 30 panic attacks a day. 

D’arcy tried to quit the band multiple times. However, she did continue after being urged by family and friends to keep going for one more album. Corgan and Iha would eventually give Wretzky 3 months off to focus on herself. She would use this time to pursue an acting opportunity, and once Corgan caught wind of this, hell broke loose. 

What Corgan has said

Billy Corgan contradicted her claims in a blog from 2004. He stated, “D’arcy was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help”. Corgan later claims it was to prevent further decay in the band. In reality, this was the beginning of the band’s impending hiatus.

D’arcy later confirmed her drug use but saw it as a way of self-medicating various illnesses she experienced.

At the time of the break-up with D’arcy, Corgan would use the press to comment on the situation, saying things like “I wish D’arcy would come back and play”. Overall, both were at heads with one another, and the situation was tense.

Her Relationship with the band since

Billy Corgan Live with The Smashing Pumpkins

D’arcy and Corgan have spoken in the 20-plus years since she was fired. The communication has gone the same way as when she was in the band, with continuous ups and downs. This has included vicious social media posts, mixed with amicable text messages, and soon contradicted with slanderous interviews.

Despite Corgan managing to reaffirm and amend his relationships with James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin, he and D’arcy have never quite got to that point. This has meant that D’arcy hasn’t been part of the band’s reunion. Corgan has claimed to have extended the invite to Wretzky, but she has said this is a lie.

Wretzky's Legacy

The relationship between D’arcy Wretzky and The Smashing Pumpkins stands as one of alternative rock’s most tumultuous moments. And while The Smashing Pumpkins have reformed, the prowess and essence of D’arcy have been a missing element of the band trying to capture their original sound.

D’arcy has her place in alternative rock’s Hall of Fame, and her legacy deserves to be recognised despite her troubles and inner relationships with the band. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *