In February—before BlastEcho had gone live—we reached out to someone we thought was D’arcy Wretzky, the reclusive former bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins. The call went straight to voicemail; the outgoing message didn’t indicate it was her, and the two texts that followed went unanswered. So we showed up at her goddamn door. Joking. Anyway, fast forward two months later, the phone rings and the distinctive area code gives it away before we answer: it’s her.
Why she waited two months to return the call or even why she decided to call back at all never became clear throughout our nearly hour-long conversation (which later spilled into text messaging). What we wanted to know and what we assume a lot of others want to know is, what the hell happened to her?
Little has been heard from Wretzky since was fired from The Pumpkins 17 years ago. Today she lives on a non-working horse farm somewhere in Michigan (she invited us to Google it, so by all means). In fact, the last time she was publicly outed it was 2011 when she was arrested for a misdemeanor drunk-driving charge and failing to appear in court for a ticket related to her inability to control her horses (she served six days in jail).
She also works on music that, in her words, she “wouldn’t know how to explain.” None of it is recorded and “who knows,” she says, if she’ll ever one day release it.
Calling her evasive would be an understatement, perhaps a condition of her, as she says, “off-the-charts ADHD.” How she makes a living, too, is anyone’s else but she inferred that she gets by on Pumpkins money. Her words: “If that’s what you’d like to think, then you can think that.”
Speaking of The Pumpkins, she called former bandmate James Iha’s two appearances with the new version of The Pumpkins “really healthy,” and said Iha is the only member of the Pumpkins who she keeps in contact with, albeit just “here and there.”
Wretzky claims she’s been asked to rejoin The Pumpkins on four occasions, but then later says she hasn’t spoken to head Pumpkin Billy Corgan since 1999, the year she was fired. She would, however, “consider going back.”
“Circumstances would have to be a certain way,” she says. “It’s much too complicated. I wouldn’t be able to tell you anyway.” Of course.
She hasn’t kept up with The Pumpkins since she left the band: “I don’t have time really. People tell me stuff but I don’t have time.” At the same time, she’s wistful about her tenure in the band. “Over the course of 12 years jamming with people who just clicked, you could just do it forever and ever and ever,” Wretzky says. “For me that doesn’t happen very often and I really miss that.”
At one point she asked us why we didn’t ask if she was on drugs (besides her prescription ADHD medication). When we remarked that we’d never expect a truthful answer seeing that she refused to tell us what town she lived in or what her music sounded like, she volunteered that she was “healthier now than she’s ever been in her life.” She did, however, confess that “there are very few drugs that I can do and the ones that I could do stopped working so I stopped using them.”
Why she remains so reclusive after all these years—her last interview was an equally serpentine one to a Chicago radio station in 2009—is, simply, because she “never really believed in fame.”
She says her life is full of weekend-warrior variety, and imagines her life as James Bond while hang-gliding, skydiving and scuba diving often.
“[There’s] no such day as a typical day in my life,” she says. “I couldn’t do that because I’d get bored. I’m never bored. Ever.”