In a new The Ringer interview, Billy Corgan criticized former Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’arcy Wretzky’s talent as a musician, saying she ‘couldn’t play to the level’ after ‘phase one’ of song creation. He also challenged her to play live music again to prove him wrong for not offering her the position of full time bassist in The Smashing Pumpkins reunion.
Corgan also appeared to refer to Alternative Nation as a ‘third tier website’ when discussing our February 2018 interview with her. Corgan claimed in an interview in September that D’arcy had tried to return to the band after their falling out earlier this year, and D’arcy shot back, telling Alternative Nation that she didn’t want to go back to his ‘fucking clown car.’
Corgan told The Ringer, “Her role was to contribute to the aesthetic vision,” he says. “She obviously would play when we would play and when we rehearsed and made decisions about songs. So let’s call it ‘Phase One’: These are the songs. This is what we’re going to do. After that, most times she wouldn’t even be there because it was just understood she couldn’t play to the level. …’ He pauses, looks down in annoyance, and adds, “Ugh, don’t print that because it will just start the circus all over again.”
“When it became obvious that she wasn’t going to be able to do full shows. … ‘Just come and participate in a limited role, and if you feel comfortable and we feel comfortable then we can expand that role. So there’s no downside and it’s all upside.’ But she took a position that it was all or nothing. The press ran with it as a wrestling angle. I get it, I work in wrestling. But in essence the refutation of the argument, which was put on me, is ‘Why don’t you just let her back in the door?’
No, the real refutation of the argument would be she goes out and starts playing again. Isn’t that easiest way to say. ‘Look, they made the wrong call.’ So she’s given all the benefit of the doubt without having to provide any proof. A well-filtered photo and a couple interviews with third-tier websites does not a touring musician under 2018 rules make. And you saw the show. That’s a three-hour-and-15-minute show. That’s hard for anybody to do, much less 50-year-old people with other concerns.”
D’arcy described her negotiations with Corgan to Alternative Nation in our February interview, and also shared text messages.
“It’s just like this thing now, when we were talking about the splits, he had told me it would be 25/25/25/25. I asked him about it, and we discussed it. We talked about doing this for two years, ever since we started talking again. I have these texts, I was like, ‘I’m not going to go back as a hired gun.’ He said it wouldn’t be like that. Now he doesn’t remember, and the best thing he could come up with was 22/22/22. When I told him what happened, that he said we’d do equal splits, he’s like, ‘Well, I don’t remember that, so I can’t say I changed my mind, but business is such…’”
She also said later in the interview, “I really enjoyed our friendship. I really, really did, so much, but he’s just the same. If you say one tiny thing from the past. you have to see the texts to understand, but when it comes to money, he’s just disgusting. We almost immediately started talking about a reunion, because he said to me: ‘Well, maybe you know, and maybe you don’t, but with this wrestling thing I kind of got myself a bit into a bit of a hole.’ That was one of the first things he said to me, it was like the second conversation we had, but we didn’t want to do the ‘reunion.’ We both wanted to do the band again, be a band again, not just do a reunion. 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.”
She said she truly did want to reunite.
“Almost nobody ever has that, if you’ve seen The Princess Bride where they talk about one couple in ten lifetimes doesn’t get the shot at true love. Almost nobody ever finds people, that when we would jam, and we would click, it was just magic. The feeling was just amazing, that’s a better drug than anything. Music has always been a drug for me. I’ve done a lot in my life, and beyond excelled at everything I’ve ever done, and I’m like, I’m done with it when it comes to a lot of things. But music is the only thing that I’ve ever stuck with. Billy just killed it for me for such a long time, I couldn’t listen to the radio, watch TV, go to movies. I was so burned out and traumatized, and I hated myself for giving into him. I know now that I really did the best that I could, and better than anybody else could do.”
“He’s not going to forgive me. He wanted me to do what he wanted me to do, and he’s furious at me for telling the truth. He calls it ‘your’ truth: ‘You should have told people within the context of the band.’ What the fuck does that mean? I know what it means, toe the party line. ‘We have to be on the same page.’ Just fucking come out and say it, you don’t want me to tell people that I’m not going to be the bass player.”
She also said about the negotiation breakdown, “With every argument, Billy would answer me, but I felt like he wasn’t bothering to read my texts. There’s nothing that you could say that I didn’t try, because I really, really, really care, and I really wanted to do this way more than they did. I really wanted to do it, and I thought we could do it right this time, but Billy just can’t do it.
I thought he wasn’t reading my texts, then he said, ‘Blah blah blah, I wish you well.’ I was like, ‘You don’t wish me well, you don’t love me, you don’t love anybody, you don’t care about anybody.’ Then he’s like, ‘Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!’ I’m like there he is! There is the real Billy Corgan, I finally got through to you! He’s a like a dog with a bone, you just can’t get through to him.”
She also discussed why she has not ever returned to music, even outside of The Smashing Pumpkins.
“For a long time I didn’t do it because I knew Billy would take credit for it. If it’s good, he’ll take credit for it, and if it’s not he’ll be like, ‘That’s why we fired her from the band, she sucks.’
It took me a long time to not care, and not hate him. Now I don’t hate him, I’m back to where I was at the beginning. I laugh at his antics, and I’m going to go about my own life, but I don’t feel sorry for him. I do think he needs to get an MRI though.”