Jimmy Chamberlin


Pioneer Member
Adam said:
Wow, your picture is Ian Curtis of Joy Division am I right? It's unexpected to find a JD fan in a "drum" forum...Joy Division is one of my favorites though!

yup. good spotting.....great band...


Senior Member
A thunder of Coxy said:
Went to see Jim last night at a clinic, was really good about 50 ppl in there so had a great view and was really close to see what he was doing. At the begginging of the night I was confused, sat downstairs with a few beers and we recognise someone it looks similar to Jim but we thought no he wouldnt just walk around the bar. So anyway I go the toilet and the same person walks out I just give a usually nod to say hi. In the toilets im speaking to a guy from Dawsons who set up the clinic and says "Its not every day you walk past Jimmy Chamberlain in the toilets is it?" I was shocked that it was him just walking round with us folks. Stayed talking to this guy and he says that he heard from Jim himself there is gunna be a new Pumkins record out :D, THE PUMKINS ARE GETTING BACK TOGETHER. So anyway I ran out trying to speak to Jim but he had gone upstairs to get ready I was gutted. The clinic then was awesome he played along to a few songs from his own complex album and 1 Zwan song. He told us alot which I totally agreed with. Later I spoke to him and got a few things signed, the only bad thing was a guy I go the same college as won an A custom cymbal in the raffle :S
Wow. That's really cool. I just can't wait for the Smashing Pumpkins to get back. I'm gonna' go buy their new album RIGHT when it comes out. It'll be so friggin' awesome. I have all their other albums already..I can't wait. Maybe there'll be a tour, which I will make SURE I go see. I've seen live video bootlegs of theirs, and I've always wanted to go see them. I just couldn't, because they were no longer a band, haha. Anyways, Smashing Pumpkins..tour..album..it's a dream come true.

"Life Begins Again" is becoming one of my favorite albums. It's real interesting how they play with song structures...some songs not even having a chorus but more like a climax, others more like compositions, others sound improv driven. Really a unique and intricate cd...


Pioneer Member
The thing I like most about Jimmy is the sound of his drums--so organic and musical. His playing speaks for itself.
Great all around drummer. He has great chops AND knows how to play for the song. He has great technique and drum knowledge. Very rare for his type of music. Very disciplined player!
burnthehero said:
The thing I like most about Jimmy is the sound of his drums--so organic and musical. His playing speaks for itself.
His rimshots sound fantastic! As do his toms, especially on "Loki Cat" off his new album; his phrasing is so melodic but groovy. Ahh crap, I said groovy now I sound like a hippie...


I first saw Jimmy on the Pumkins' "Gish" tour. The album had just come out and they were playing little venues. Me and my friends got to the club, (which was a hole in wall below street level) 3 hours early cause the bar was open and they had this awsome bowling machine. Anyway, The pumpkins arrive and set up and soundcheck, then the opening act who's name I can't even remember now. Jimmy goes straight to the bar after soundcheck and starts knocking 'em back one after another. We "bowled" for 2 hours and he's there the whole time getting plowed. Opening act starts, they suck so we bowl some more. Jimmy's still at the bar. Finally it's time for the Pumpkins to start and he gets up, slowly walks to the tiny stage, sits down and blows my freaking mind away! I don't know how he did it but it was one of the 5 best concerts I've ever seen. A phenomenal drummer.



Pioneer Member
i think he is tasteful in a true sense. he obviously doesn't underplay, which is usually a crude way of saying tasteful.


Junior Member
Stu_Strib said:
I bought his solo CD and it has some great drum sounds. The thing about his playing is it doesn't sound that hard, but just try to play along!

Again, another GREAT sounding Yamaha kit. I want his signature snare! (Right after I buy the two Weckl ones and the Ferrone one, hehe)
i actually was the drumtech on that session. a jimmy c. signature snare was my bonus. it rules.


Pioneer Member
his mellon-collie playing is inspiring. i expecially like "through the eyes of a ruby", "porcelina" and "zero" is simple but very effective.


Junior Member
I know nothing about drumming from a true musician's standpoint, as I technically know nothing about drums other than how much I like what I hear. But let me say that first of all, this thread made me just register here because it is nice to finally see Jimmy Chamberlin get the recognition he deserves. Billy Corgan himself said that Chamberlin is the most talented member in the Pumpkins. And yes, the band is getting back together, in fact they are recording a new album this summer. Go to www.smashingpumpkins.com if you want to sign up for the mailing list. Billy and Jimmy are in it for sure, maybe Melissa auf der Maur, and I haven't heard anything about James Iha yet.

I have a two clips that really show off his drumming. I would post another song, "Rock On," from their b-sides disc "Judas O," but I cannot because it is featured on a commerical disc. However, his drumming in that song is amazing. The band recorded it in one take, so there was no messing around, especially on Jimmy's part. Anyone that wants to hear one mindblowing performance by JC should definitely check that out.

Clip 1 - Drum solo: http://s37.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=057EJCVHXI18R0F4NOB0NFKRUI

Clip 2 - Heavy Metal Machine: http://s37.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3W2DETQTW5IZI3NEF7KTA1YIV5 - Gets really interesting at about 3:50 - 5:02, then kind of straightforward from 5:35 to 6:09, and then right after that Jimmy is just all over the place, I can't even explain it, but it's amazing. The whole thing is.

I've never heard a drummer cycle through what seems like so many different approaches and styles to music yet keeping his own signature sound at the same time. He truly is one of a kind. Everyone likes to give Dave Grohl all the praise for being the best 90's drummer, but I disagree.


Senior Member
Stu_Strib said:
Interestingly enough, I don't like Steve Gadd's drum sound very much. Its very stuck in the 70s. The snare is, I dunno, just ok?
I think the drum stinks. A lot of money for something really dry and dead.


Pocketman said:
I think the drum stinks. A lot of money for something really dry and dead.
Ironically, I actually got mine (the previous generation when Yamaha had the six different Gadd drums on the market - 13" with metal hoops, maple shell) very cheap. And it's a great drum, you just don't want to muffle the life out of it like Gadd does. For a point of musical reference it sounds more like Matt Chamberlain's snare on the Tori Amos live disc than the actual snare Matt was using (an Ayotte Keplinger Woodhoop) does.


Junior Member
Here is an interview with Jimmy a couple months ago, from a French magazine called "Batterie" -- this is a translation. Lots of great info about himself and his bands. He also talks about his sound and there's a picture of his current drumkit.

The rumor has been going around for quite some time: The Smashing Pumpkins could be coming back on stage with a brand new record. Jimmy Chamberlin confirms this, and much more.

Jimmy Chamberlin is probably one of best and most inspiring drummers of his time. As being comfortable in not only the universe of both Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan, but also the jazz/fusion and prog rock world of his very own band, Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, he may be the only drummer capabile of joining the strength of John Bonham and grace of Gene Krupa. Coming to California, our team decided to contact Jimmy. He agreed to meet us, under the condition that he does not reveal anything promotional pertaining to the band. Although, he did reveal the essential: The spirit is great in the band of Billy Corgan, and the record is in the works. Let's rock!

Q: We know that you don't want to talk about The Smashing Pumpkins. But can you at least tell us how far you are into everything?

A: We began last year in a discreet manor. We got back on track very well, and have had a lot of fun writing new songs and simply playing together. It's cool.

Q: Have you written a lot of songs?

A: We already have something like fifty songs written. We're very creative and will give some official news soon.

Q: Just one last thing (about the Pumpkins): Are D'Arcy and James Iha in the band?

A: To be honest, I don't want to talk about this subject. We have the songs, and we're preparing a new record. Please, let's leave it as this and talk about something else. (Note: Jimmy is a bit annoyed).

Q: Okay. Sorry to bug you about that. (Next question): Besides your bands, do you do a lot of sessions?

A: No, I only do a few, and only for my friends. Going into the studio is a lot of pressure for me, so I'm not like that. Also, I'm a sensitive guy, and the idea of selling my drumming to everyone is unbearable to me. I have friends, like Josh Freese, who do that job perfectly. That's their thing. But on the other hand, I do like to participate in learning events. I find them enjoyable.

Q: ...for what reasons?

A: To me, the clinics represent a rare opportunity for me to explain to people who I am, where I'm from artistically, and why I play the way I do. For my fans, it's the only way they can approach me personally and learn from what I have to share for inspiration. It's impossible to do something like that during a big rock concert.

Q: You know a lot about technique. That must be interesting.

A: I don't talk about technique. I must be the only one in clinics to talk about songwriting, and the role of the drums in songwriting. I also demonstrate my interpretation of funky rhythms. But I insist on writing music, even lyrics.

Q: You mean the lyrics of a song make you play in a different way?

A: Of course. I understood this while playing with The Smashing Pumpkins. The lyrics play a very important part in the mood of the band. I've realized while listening to the radio that a lot of drummers are completely off track. The singer tells a sweet and touching story, and the drummer is making noise over it. Here, I tell myself "this guy has a problem. He must be either deaf or disturbed." (Laughter). I believe that too many drummers play for themselves, and that's bad. I often use "Disarm" from the Pumpkins as an example. When I listened to Billy Corgan sing that song, I was touched by its simplicity. I told him, "you know, I don't hear drums on this song. I will put a bit of a mood with the timbales and cymbals on some parts, and nothing more." To me, that much was obvious. The part that I played on "Tonight, Tonight" is also very special for a rock tune. It's once again the lyrics that inspired me. I write lyrics for my own band as well.

Q: Are you satisfied with the success that you received for your first record with Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, "Life Begins Again"?

A: I'm very satisfied. For a record with a progressive mood, it has received some success. A few big radio stations have played some songs. I didn't expect that. The sales were good, and the record label is asking me to record another one, so they liked the music and they also must have made some money.

Q: "Loki Cat" (with Billy Corgan on vocals) is beautiful.

A: That makes me happy, because this song means a lot to me. I'm proud that Billy came to participate, after all we've been through together. There was no money to make, no commerical moves -- he just naturally decided to contribute. A great musician and friend.

Q: So, this next Complex record... when do you plan on recording it?

A: I need to wait to have the inspiration to do it. I think, if everything goes as planned, it might be released at the beginning of next year. It's not easy to write for this band. There's a balance between the feeling of Jazz Rock, Progressive, and Rock, and it's very easy to break that and be off track. When we were recording for the first time, the songs were written and recorded very fast. I think that may have helped us.

Q: Do you have a lot of drummers among your friends?

A: You know, we all know each other. In the USA, the drummers' community is so small. Terry Bozzio, Peter Erskine, Gregg Bisonette, Thomas Lang, Steve Smith, Mike Portnoy, Dave Grohl, Josh Freese, Taylor Hawkins. They're all my friends, and we like to see each other and spend good times together.

Q: By the way, Steve Hewitt asked me to salute you.

A: If you catch him, tell him I can't wait to see him again, and that I love Placebo's music. I'm proud that he likes what I do, and that he says good things about me, because he's a good drummer.

Q: In your opinion, why is there so much love among drummers?

A: You have to believe that ego is not proportional to the size of the instrument, if you know what I mean. (Laughter). It's hard to tell. Being a drummer is a hard job. Often it can be ungrateful, when you think about the cost of the gear when you start. And, mainly because of the responsibilities you're facing. We must help each other to survive, I think that's why.

Q: When will you come back to France?

A: With The Smashing Pumpkins, I'll be back during the year, that's for sure. But I'd like to do some clinics in France and spend some time there, just like I did in Britian. I like France a lot.

Q: Really? Aren't you trying to be demagogic on this one?

A: Absolutely not. I was on vacation in France in 1997 I think, and I liked everything. The food, the people, and the culture. I can't wait to come back.

Extra info:

The secret of his sound (by Jimmy Chamberlin):

I'm a big fan of ambient mics and rooms. They are, to me, very important, because they are responsible for providing the natural sound of the drums. They are a little bit like the ears of the audience that would be 10 meters away from me when I'm playing. The proximity mics in front of each element and the panoramics don't tell the truth. They mislead the sound and how we feel the drums. I know that when Led Zeppelin would record, there would be no proximity mics, except for just on the snare and kick. The room did all the work. In general, during the mix, I ask the engineer to under-mix the direct takes, and to push the ambience. That's how I head rock.

that clip above mentioned by gish06 is jimmy in the studio playing the drum part to the first track on his cd. I saw the jimmy chamberlin complex live and they were sick.


Senior Member
hes a great drummer and has alot of creative ideas i love the tune streetcrawler by the jimmy chamberlin complex so much in there