For the first time in 16 years, guitarist James Iha joined his former Smashing Pumpkins bandmates Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin onstage at the band’s Saturday night concert at Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel.
“Yes, it’s James Iha,” Corgan told the incredulous crowd. Iha, who celebrated his 48th birthday Saturday, reunited with the Smashing Pumpkins for a series of tracks off the group’s landmark 1993 LP Siamese Dream, including “Mayonnaise,” “Soma,” “Rocket,” “Today,” “Disarm,” “Spaceboy” and Pisces Iscariot‘s “Whir.”
Iha parted ways with Smashing Pumpkins following their initial 2000 breakup and subsequently never rejoined Corgan and the band’s revolving door lineups. However, whatever animosity existed between the former bandmates thawed earlier this month when they reunited, in writing, to threaten to sue whoever had been leaking early Smashing Pumpkins demos in recent months.
The past year has also seen Corgan bury the hatchet with former enemies like Marilyn Manson. Corgan also told Rolling Stone that he’s convinced the Smashing Pumpkins belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but wouldn’t elaborate whether an induction would be a catalyst for a reunion with Iha and bassist D’arcy Wretzky.
Watch fan-shot footage of Iha’s Smashing Pumpkins reunion below, including a crowd rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” sung to the guitarist.
— Smashing Pumpkins (@SmashingPumpkin) March 27, 2016