D’arcy Wretzky

What happened to Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’arcy Wretzky?

Sujan Tamang 

Famous bassist D’arcy Wretzky, arguably the most stylish musician of the 1990s, spent 20 years hiding from the public after the band’s frontman accused  her of being a “bad-spirited drug addict.” Although Wretzky remained silent for a long time and faced severe charges, her exit from the group was not what was expressed.

Although Smashing Pumpkins leader and lead composer Corgan has undoubtedly been a constant, the other original members have all left the band or were fired at some point. While guitarist James Iha eventually returned to the Pumpkins in 2016, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin has been in and out of the group on several occasions, while bassist D’Arcy Wretzky appears to be out of the picture permanently.

Despite occasional rumors to the contrary, she has not re-joined the band since parting company with them in September 1999. What would have transpired to make her conclude that her time as a Smashing Pumpkin was over? This is D’arcy Wretzky’s true reason for quitting Smashing Pumpkins.

When D’Arcy Wretzky left Smashing Pumpkins in 1999, rumors suggested that she was fired or quit because she felt Billy Corgan was overly controlling. Corgan claims that she was let go and has occasionally presented Wretzky in an unpleasant manner. Regarding her part in the band’s (brief) dissolution in 2004, he said this:

“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.”

Wretzky states in a 2018 interview with Alternative Nation that Corgan did fire her and that James Iha approved of the decision: “When Billy fired me, James went along with him, because he said he thought that’s what I wanted.”

However, she acknowledged that things weren’t quite that easy. Wretzky had already made several attempts to leave the band, and looking back, she regrets not doing so sooner. She was experiencing what she described as a very difficult period fairly accurately: “I was having a nervous breakdown. I had 30 plus panic attacks a day, I didn’t know what it was, it was terrible.” 

She was given three months off by the rest of the band to heal, but when she didn’t feel prepared to go back when Corgan wanted her to, things ended up the way they did.

She said in 2009 that she didn’t feel like she belonged in the rock and roll world of Smashing Pumpkins. She did, however, wind up having a few run-ins with the law; in 2011, she was jailed for failing to appear in court, and she was later charged with driving under the influence.

Wretzky said that Corgan had once declined her invitation to tour with the band on their Shiny and Oh So Bright tour, although Corgan subsequently said: “Ms. Wretzky has repeatedly been invited out to play with the group, participate in demo sessions, or at the very least, meet face-to-face, and in each and every instance she always deferred.”

Wretsky offered her side of events during her first interview in twenty years, highlighting Corgan’s apparently persistent tendency to come across as brash. She said, “Billy loved to humiliate people and shame people in front of other people.”

“It was incredibly abusive, and I was the only one who would fight back. I just got to the point where I couldn’t fight anymore, and I needed to leave.”



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