The 10 Messiest Band Breakups

The bitter ends of the Clash, the Police, Guns N' Roses and more

Load Previous
Smashing Pumpkins
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage4/10

Smashing Pumpkins

Few bands are true democracies. There are usually one or two people who call the shots, and the other members learn to live with that. When they can't, things can get very ugly. Smashing Pumpkins leader and main songwriter Billy Corgan insisted on playing most of the guitar and bass on the band's 1993 breakthrough, Siamese Dream, which didn't sit well with bassist D'arcy Wretzke and guitarist James Iha. The Pumpkins held it together until 1996, when touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin died of a heroin overdose. Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin overdosed that same night, and was thrown out of the band. He came back in 1999, but shortly afterwards D'arcy left. The Pumpkins called it a day in December of 2000.

Four years later, Corgan explained what happened. "The truth of the matter is that guitarist James Iha broke up the Smashing Pumpkins," he wrote online.  "Not me, not drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, but James. Did it help that bassist D'arcy Wretzky was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help? No, that didn't help keep the band together, not at all." He went on to explain that Iha left the final show without saying a word to him. "He didn't say goodbye to the two people he had won and lost and traveled the world with," he wrote. "So, I won't be protecting him anymore and I won't be protecting a whole lot of other people anymore."

Back to Top