When the Smashing Pumpkins announced on May 23, 2000, that the band was ending its 12-year run, lead singer Billy Corgan blamed Britney Spears. Corgan, who had started the alt-rock band in Chicago with guitarist James Iha and bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, attributed the breakup to his “fighting the good fight against the Britneys of the world.” The band gave a four-hour farewell performance at the venue where it debuted — the Cabaret Metro in Chicago. Iha reportedly left the December 2, 2000, show without saying goodbye.
More than three years later, Corgan said the band had split because of Iha. Describing the conflict to Spin magazine, the front man said it was a “cancerous can’t-live-with-you-but-can’t-live-without-you situation.” Corgan also said he once begged Iha (from his knees) and asked, “Whatever it is, just forgive me.” Iha denied he was the cause. The band had gone through several shakeups prior to 2000. In 1996 touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin overdosed on heroin; Melvoin died and Chamberlin was fired. In 1999 Wretzky left the band to pursue acting, though Corgan said she was also fired because of drug use. On June 25, 2005, in a full-page ad in Chicago newspapers, Corgan declared his desire to “renew and revive” the Smashing Pumpkins. Corgan and Chamberlain reunited and released Zeitgeist in 2007. Iha and Wretzky did not participate.