Basic Background Info
Jimmy Chamberlin grew up the youngest of six children in a Chicago suburb. He studied jazz, Latin, Brazilian, and big band drumming under the tutelage of future Yanni. After leaving home as a teenager, Jimmy Chamberlin played with several local outfits before enrolling at Northern Illinois University for one year. Jimmy Chamberlin quit school to tour for three years with show band JP and the Cats. Frustrated with the rigors of constant touring, Jimmy Chamberlin worked days building houses.
In 1988, Jimmy Chamberlin joined Billy Corgan, James Iha, and D'arcy Wretzky of Smashing Pumpkins. Although initially Jimmy Chamberlin's jazz background seemed ill-suited for their sad rock sound, eventually Billy Corgan realized the benefit of Jimmy Chamberlin's diverse playing. 'It took about two or three practices before I realized that the power in his playing was something that enabled us to rock harder than we could ever have imagined.'
The Pumpkins released their debut album, Gish, in 1991. They went on tour in support of the album and opened for the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, and Guns N' Roses. Cashing in on America's newfound proclivity for alternative rock (thanks in part to bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam), the Smashing Pumpkins' popularity grew, even if they didn't quite seem to fit precisely into the alternative music category.
Their second album, Siamese Dream, sold well and MTV regularly played several of the accompanying music videos. Their 1994 B-side/compilation album, Pisces Iscariot reached #4 on the Billboard Music Chart. The Pumpkins toured again, supporting their album and headlining Lollapalooza in 1994, as well as the Reading Festival in 1995.
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a two-disc concept album, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Chart in 1995. The album was certified platinum nine times and received seven Grammy nominations, one of which it actually won. While touring in support of Mellon Collie, Jimmy and touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin overdosed on heroin. Although Jimmy was revived, Melvoin died. Jimmy was arrested and dismissed from the band.
After a drug rehab program, Jimmy Chamberlin returned to the music world and joined The Last Hard Men with Sebastian Bach. The band recorded its one album in 1996, but Atlantic Records optioned not to release it until 2001.
In 1999, Jimmy Chamberlin reunited with Smashing Pumpkins. The group announced they would record one album and go on an accompanying tour before dismantling the band. They released Machina/The Machines of God in 2000, and then freely distributed Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music. On December 2, 2000, they wrapped up their farewell tour in Chicago.
Jimmy Chamberlin and Billy Corgan created Zwan in 2001 with extreme optimism. However, after recording just one album, the band faded into obscurity. Jimmy then formed the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex with Billy Mohler. Jimmy Chamberlin's specific goal was to create music distinct from his work with Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins, and Zwan.
In 2005, the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex released their debut album, Life Begins Again, a relaxed and delicate progressive-rock collection.
In 2004, Jimmy Chamberlin and Billy Corgan decided to start working together again. In fact, Corgan announced his plan to revive the Pumpkins on a full-page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune on June 21, 2005. However, Corgan and Jimmy recorded the next album, Zeitgeist, alone. Following the July, 2007 release, Jimmy and Billy toured in support, promising to record another album as the Pumpkins. Jimmy has also promised that another Jimmy Chamberlin Complex album is in the works.
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