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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Calls Jimmy Chamberlin a ‘Liar,’ James Iha the ‘Worst Human Being’ He’s Ever Met

Billy Corgan, D'arcy Wretzky, James Iha
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

Billy Corgan seems to subscribe to the notion that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then … say it to the international press? The singer hasn’t held his ex-Smashing Pumpkins bandmates in the highest regard since the original lineup’s final split back in 2000, and he definitely throws another log on the fire of drama that is the band’s post-split relationship in a new interview with NME.

In fairness to Corgan, he didn’t go out of his way to dredge up the past — he was, after all, asked about each of his exes — but it doesn’t soften the harshness of his words. We’ll start off with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who rejoined Corgan in a new version of the Pumpkins in 2005, only to leave the band again four years later.

Chamberlin has said that his departure was “because he couldn’t just cash the check,” meaning that he couldn’t continue playing with the Pumpkins when they were solely motivated by making money. “See now, here is a perfect opportunity for me to bury Jimmy as a f—ing liar. But I won’t,” Corgan shoots back. “That’s a lie. That statement’s just a flat-out lie.”

Corgan’s fiercest vitriol is reserved for original guitarist James Iha: “James Iha, I think, is just a piece of s—,” says Corgan. “I think he’s one of the worst human beings I’ve ever met in my life.”

Elaborating, he adds, “If there’s any f—ing culprit in this, it’s Iha. But y’know, he was there at the right time in my life. We did do good things together. I think he is a good musician when he gives a f—, which most of the time he doesn’t. And that’s about it.”

Meanwhile, he seems to hold the bassist in a little higher regard. “She’s sort of, in her own way, sort of an innocent,” says Corgan. She surely would’ve liked to have heard that during her past brushes with the law over drugs.

“Yeah, it’s terrible,” he adds, referring to the arrests. “But she’s not a bad person.  And I don’t hold any ill will towards her, even though I’ve had to deal with f—ing lawsuits and stuff like that. ”

So while it’s a safe bet that none of the three were aboard the boat that recently cruised around Chicago on Lake Michigan with Corgan’s family and friends to celebrate the release of the new Pumpkins album, ‘Oceania,’ we’ll have to wait to see what sort of reaction, if any, we get from them about these latest blows.

Iha: Your turn.

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