Former Smashing Pumpkins bassist D'Arcy may have left the band to
pursue acting, fans and friends speculate, but few expect her departure
to affect the group's signature sound.
When it was announced Thursday that D'Arcy had left the emotive
Chicago rockers, most expected it would leave the group's sound
unchanged, pointing to the strong stewardship of mastermind Billy
Corgan. Others speculated that the group's often silent co-founder had
tired of the grind of touring.
"D'Arcy's clearly pursuing another aesthetic side of herself," said a
source close to the group who has known the members since their early
days together. "She's been digging deeper into her art background for
acting and possibly directing."
The source said D'Arcy also is an entrepreneur who raises horses on
her Michigan farm, which is also the site of a recording studio used
by many of the area's indie rock bands.
The Pumpkins' announcement of D'Arcy's departure came just six months
after prodigal drummer Jimmy Chamberlin returned to the group, which
also includes guitarist James Iha. Under the headline "D'Arcy's Gone!"
the band's terse statement read, "D'Arcy has left the Smashing Pumpkins.
The band's new album is finished and will be released on February 15,
2000, by Virgin Records. The Smashing Pumpkins will continue as a band
and will tour in support of the new record."
No reason was offered for the departure of the 31-year-old bassist,
born D'Arcy Wretzky. She co-founded the group with Corgan in Chicago
in 1989, with the pair originally using a drum machine as accompaniment.
But in creative terms, the bassist born in South Haven, Mich.
always has taken a back seat to Corgan, who writes most of the band's
Former Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave
Navarro, a friend of D'Arcy, said he "wishes her all the best in her
[pursuit of] acting."
Fans also wished the bassist well.
"When I heard first that she was leaving I was very little surprised,"
fan Adam Bosse wrote in an e-mail. Bosse, a native of Caribou, Maine,
said he thought D'Arcy no longer seemed happy in the group when he saw
her play during recent Smashing Pumpkins shows.
"D'Arcy leaving will damage the image of the band, but will only leave
a small dent musically," Bosse opined, adding that he thought the
return of Chamberlin was more significant. "Actually, one of the
reasons I fell in love with the Pumpkins is because of her. ... I just
liked watching an enchanting-looking girl rocking out on bass guitar. ...
It suited the image well."
Bosse's vote for a replacement was Jimmy Flemion of oddball rockers
the Frogs, with whom the Pumpkins frequently have shared the stage.
No replacement for D'Arcy has been named, but the source said her
departure isn't expected to derail the band's plans for its next album.
"The record's going to come out in February, they've been working hard
on it, D'Arcy's parts are done," the source said. "She's a woman who
has business and other interests and she's not involved in the 100
percent priority nature that it takes to be in the Pumpkins right now.
I don't think anyone holds it against her.
"Billy, James and Jimmy are 100 percent Smashing Pumpkins right now."
D'Arcy has played on all of Smashing Pumpkins' albums, including their
most recent, Adore (1998), a low-key, electronic-influenced work that
featured "Ava Adore" (RealAudio excerpt).
She also provided backing vocals during live performances and on some
While mostly mute in interviews and recordings, D'Arcy's mellifluous,
girlish voice sporadically could be heard on the recordings of such
bands as husband Kerry Brown's Catherine. D'Arcy sang a duet with
Catherine frontman Mark Rew on "Four Leaf Clover"
from the band's Hot Saki and Bedtime Stories (1996).
Fan Aaron Grant, 21, of Flint, Mich., is the webmaster of the
unofficial Pumpkins site Siva. Grant agreed with Bosse's assertion
that D'Arcy no longer seemed happy in the group. He also thought her
defection would not hurt as much as Chamberlin's absence affected the
sound of the sedate Adore.
"I think D'Arcy will be missed as a personality," Grant wrote in an
e-mail. "She had quite the attitude and a lot of wittiness. Some
people said she was the glue of the band and kept their sanity."
Grant said that despite her low profile, he thought D'Arcy had been an
inspiration to many of the band's female fans. "D'Arcy actually was a
big role model for a lot of the girl fans on my site," he wrote.
"I've seen tons of post[s] of girls saying they picked up the bass to
be just like D'Arcy and how they did their hair just like D'Arcy."
Last month, speaking in connection with the release of his score for
the film "Stigmata," Corgan said each member was essential to the
"If I played with three other people, that wouldn't have been the
sound," Corgan said.
"There's something about the four characters coming together that
created that sound. I can't take credit for all that."