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Smashing Pumpkins reunite, minus one, to revisit ’90s hits

By AFP 16 February 2018

Alternative rock icons The Smashing Pumpkins on Thursday announced a nostalgia tour of their 1990s albums featuring the band's classic line-up -- with one exception.

The Chicago group synonymous with frontman Billy Corgan will play its first full concerts since 2000 with both guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.

But bassist D’arcy Wretzky — who has had a tense relationship with Corgan and has been arrested on drug charges — will not take part, calling Corgan “insufferable” and in need of money.

The band said that the tour will feature only music from its first five albums including 1993’s emotionally intense, guitar-driven “Siamese Dream” and 1995 follow-up “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” which brought in operatic and electronic elements.

The 36-city tour of North America will open on July 12 in Glendale, Arizona and come to major arenas including Madison Square Garden in New York.

The tour marks an about-face for Corgan, who for years scoffed at fans who wanted to hear old songs and kept recording and touring as The Smashing Pumpkins with fresh material.

Going heavily for nostalgia, The Smashing Pumpkins announced the latest tour with a video that features the two girls — now adults — who appeared as conjoined twins on the cover of “Siamese Dream.”

Wretzky, who has been rarely seen in public since leaving the band in 1999, gave a rare interview ahead of the announcement in which she said Corgan had incurred debt in his side project of starting a professional wrestling league.

“Billy always said, ‘Oh, I’ll never do just a reunion and play the oldies just for money.’ That’s exactly what it is now,” Wretzky told music site Alternative Nation.

Wretzky denounced Corgan, saying he “loved to humiliate people and shame people in front of other people” and pointing to his controversial statements sympathetic to President Donald Trump.

The bassist, who denied drug problems but said she was suffering a shoulder injury, gave the site a lengthy text message exchange she said was with Corgan in which he tries to put her at ease.

The person identified as Corgan tells her she would face “zero pressure” on stage and that Jack Bates — son of Joy Division’s Peter Hook — would play much of the bass.

Jeff Schroeder, who replaced Iha as Corgan kept touring as The Smashing Pumpkins, will also take part in the tour, giving the band three guitarists. DM

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