Smashing Pumpkins Drummer Explains His Exit

Last week, a brief posting on the Smashing Pumpkins website disclosed that longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was leaving the group. The post also revealed that, Billy Corgan, the last original member standing, “will continue to write and record as Smashing Pumpkins with plans to head into the studio this spring.”

Corgan and Chamberlin
Corgan and Chamberlin

Last week, a brief posting on the Smashing Pumpkins website disclosed that longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was leaving the group. The post also revealed that, Billy Corgan, the last original member standing, “will continue to write and record as Smashing Pumpkins with plans to head into the studio this spring.”

Almost immediately, rumors began to swirl about the reasons behind Chamberlin’s departure.  Chamberlain has had previous problems with the band — most famously, Smashing Pumpkins fired the drummer in 1996, following his involvement in the heroin-related death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, as well as his own substance abuse problems.  Since reuniting in 1998, Chamberlin has followed Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins to Zwan and then back to the Smashing Pumpkins.

In an attempt to dispel any rumors about his hasty exit, Chamberlin posted an explanation on his website. “There is no drama, bad blood, or anything else but a full commitment to music. My best goes out to Billy and I’m glad he has chosen to continue under the name.”  The statement seems to indicate that the difference is over musical styles.  In 2004, Chamberlin formed the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, releasing an album in 2005.  According to Chamberlain’s recent post, it appears that a second album may be in the works.

“I can no longer commit all of my energy into something that I don’t fully possess. I won’t pretend I’m into something I’m not. I won’t do it to myself, you the fan, or my former partner. I can’t just, ‘Cash the check’ so to speak. Music is my life. It is sacred.”

Fans will have to wait to determine whether Chamberlin truly objected to Corgan’s guidance of the Pumpkins, or whether this was just a publicity stunt to gain attention for a future Jimmy Chamberlin Complex album.