Billy Corgan seems to have some serious issues with just about every non-Billy Corgan person who’s ever played in the Smashing Pumpkins, but one guy he always goes back to is Jimmy Chamberlin, the band’s original drummer. Chamberlin started with the Pumpkins in 1988, and other than a brief period where he was kicked out for a drug problem, he played with the band up until its 2000 breakup. He also played with Corgan’s post-Pumpkins band Zwan and rejoined the band when Corgan put it back together in 2005. But he left in 2009 and hasn’t played with Corgan since. Until now. The Smashing Pumpkins have a big summer tour with Marilyn Manson coming up, and Chamberlin will be back behind the kit.
Chamberlin runs a drum tech company called LiveOne, so his stint back in the band will be a temporary one, but he’ll be there for the whole tour. Talking about the decision to bring Chamberlin back, Corgan tells USA Today, “We suddenly found ourselves in the situation of not having anybody lined up. We knew we could do the acoustic tour with some backing tapes and drum machines, stuff like that, but we’re also looking at the Manson tour in three weeks… You can’t just grab somebody and say, ‘Play drums on this Smashing Pumpkins song.’ Jimmy’s drum parts are so incredibly technical and nuanced that it’s a very rare class of people that can step in and play.”
Chamberlin tells the newspaper, “He asked if there was any way I’d consider coming back for the tour. It’s a great opportunity not only to celebrate the music, but to celebrate the friendship and the legacy.”
There was bad blood between the two as recently as 2011. Corgan spoke to Rolling Stone about it that year:
Chamberlin is sober now, but Corgan is convinced that his character hasn’t changed, that he is fundamentally “unhealthy.” “Jimmy is a destructive human being, and people who are destructive break things,” Corgan says. “I don’t see me reaching the highest levels of my creativity if I’m unhealthy and if I have unhealthy people around me. Every time Jimmy didn’t show up for a week in the studio, I made it about me. Any time James Iha was off in a corner somewhere not paying any fucking attention, I made it about me.” After Corgan told Chamberlin he was out, the drummer “unloaded” on Corgan, unleashing 20 years worth of pent-up insults. “So I was like, ‘Fuck you,'” Corgan recalls. “‘Go ride around in a white van for the rest of your life.'”
The Pumpkins/Manson tour kicks off 7/7 in Concord, CA.