One From The Archives - Interview with Jimmy Chamberlin 2004
One my drumming highlights this year was discovering a new drummer (to me anyway), Jimmy Chamberlain. I knew who he was but never really heard him play. He was one of the big success stories here in the UK during the month of July when he undertook a seven date clinic tour. Jimmy was the drummer for not one but two very popular bands The Smashing Pumpkins and then Zwan and now has his own solo project ďJimmy Chamberlain complexĒ I met up with Jimmy at Brentwood Drumfest for what turned out to be a very honest and frank chat.
Mike.D: Tell me a little bit about your upbringing, musically, and what you were listening to.
In around 74/75 I started really getting into Jeff Beck and really fell in love with the way Richard Bailey played on the Blow by Blow record. I think if I could point to any milestone where I really found a style and tried to make it my own, I think itís that record. That was a real turning point, being able to simulate the 10/8 phrases of Scatterbrain, that is when I started getting into the machinations of sub-dividing music
Iíve always been a super-big fan of music and I go through these phases, Iíll spend two months just listening to Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Monk helps me write, just because what he does is so simplistic, yet so involved. He says so much with so little and as a drummer and an instrumentalist, itís important for me to be able to realise that because Iím not the greatest guitar player, Iím not a great piano player either. For me to be able to simulate that type of simplicity in a writing environment is really kind of cool and I think Thelonious probably did that the best.
You have your own very unique sound. Is this something you have worked on and are aware off?
Tell us a little bit about the Jimmy Chamberlain Complex.
I think the thing that people find so compelling about the record, and not just to toot my own horn, but I think this is a line that runs through all music thatís done this way, is itís just a block in time, itís a honest representation of that block in time, which is something you donít hear on records now. Nowadays you hear this whole running dialogue, but when you take a piece of your pie and put it in the music it just becomes this powerful thing and even though the songs like Street Crowd or So Far From Neural Waves, thereís this common thread that flows through it and it all sounds like the same record because it was all written from the same sense of path.
What was the reason behind the title?
A year ago you moved from Chicago, where you grew up, to LA. A lot of musicians move to LA at the beginning of their career to make a name for themselves but you were established, so why that move?
At the beginning of the Complex record my mother was in a home, she had suffered from Alzheimerís for about 10 years, and had just had it. I knew my mother so well, when I saw the look on her face I knew she was ready to check out. So when I was writing the album, and even before I was writing the record, all this stuff happened to me. Iím a believer in that youíll only get as many kids as you can raise and youíll only get as much as you can handle. Thatís a beautiful thing of the cosmos, if you get a bunch of crap late in your life, itís only because you can handle it and Iíve come to believe this. So my mother died. I was trying to put this record together. I was selling my house in Chicago where Iíd lived for 40 years and moving to California to be in this new band. It was a big, big roll of the dice, it was huge. I didnít even know if this band was going to stay, I didnít even know if I had a band, it was just this whole thing of vision and will power and not taking no for an answer no matter whoís saying it, just saying this has got to happen and Iím going to make it happen. Now Iíve got these incredible opportunities, surrounded by incredible musicians, incredible camaraderie from everybody around me. I found that LA, although itís not my favourite place to live but as far as the musical support group, itís great.
Your daughter would have been one when you made that move.
Youíve just done a series of clinics for Yamaha, how do you find doing this type of work?
Interview by Mike Dolbear
Please log in below if you wish to add your comments on this item. If you are commenting for the first time, you will need to register for security reasons.
|SHARE||PRINT THIS PAGE|