James Iha began his career as a co-founder of The Smashing Pumpkins in Chicago in 1987. He recorded and toured with the group until 2000, during which time they released ten albums and became one of the biggest bands of the era, selling millions of albums and filling arenas worldwide. In addition to his guitar playing and singing, James was also a contributing songwriter.
In 2002, James joined the acclaimed progressive rock band A Perfect Circle (featuring members of Tool and Marilyn Manson). He continues to tour with the band, most recently headlining amphitheaters and arenas in the US in 2016.
James released his first solo album, LET IT COME DOWN, in 1998. It was an intimate, acoustic guitar-driven record that focused on the more personal side of his songwriting. During this period, he also co-founded indie label Scratchie Records, releasing albums by The Sounds, The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr., Robbers On High Street and others. In the late 90′s James relocated to New York, where he opened Stratosphere Sound Recording Studios along with friends Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne/Ivy) and Andy Chase (Ivy).
In 2012 James completed his second solo record entitled LOOK TO THE SKY. The album features such guests as Shudder to Think’s Nathan Larson, Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara and Tom Verlaine of Television.
James joined Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, Hanson’s Taylor Hanson, and Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos to form the power-pop group Tinted Windows whose critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album featured several Iha-penned songs. They toured throughout the US and Japan.
James is as producer and studio owner. He has produced and guested on records by the likes of Michael Stipe, Cat Power, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Annie, Ladytron, Whiskeytown, Fountains Of Wayne among many others.
In 2012 James moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on scoring film and television. Building on his previous indie film score credits he landed jobs composing for the television series Dead Beat (Lionsgate/Hulu), The Arrangement (E!/NBC), A History of Radness (Amazon) and the James Franco film Mother May I Sleep With Danger (Lifetime).