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.
James released his first solo album, Let It Come Down, in 1998. It was an intimate, acoustic guitar-driven record which focused on the more personal side of his songwriting. During this period, he also co-founded indie label Scratchie Records, which went on to release albums by artists like 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 2003, James joined the acclaimed progressive rock band, A Perfect Circle, featuring members of Tool and Marilyn Manson. He toured the world with APC for a year. After returning home from the tour, James focused on work in the studio: he scored several films, including Canadian indie feature Luck and Japanese indie Linda Linda Linda. More recently, he scored the Japanese indie film Kakera, which made the circuit at film festivals around the world. As a producer and remixer, James has worked with the likes of Michael Stipe, Cat Power, Morningwood, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Annie, Ladytron and The Sounds. He has also lent his guitar skills on albums by Whiskeytown, Isobel Campbell, Fountains Of Wayne, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Ivy and A Camp, among many others.
James recent collaborations include joining 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, and spawned tours throughout the US and Japan. In 2010, James worked extensively with acclaimed Swedish band Raymond & Maria, to produce their new album, while in 2011, James produced the debut from up-and-coming Brooklyn band Hunters. James also continues to tour with A Perfect Circle, whose extensive 2011 included a mainstage performance at Lollapalooza.
James recently completed his first solo album in nearly 15 years, entitled LOOK TO THE SKY. The album, which 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, will be released this Winter on EMI Japan, with worldwide releases happening later this year.