Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Jimmy Chamberlin - Songwriter

Putting the Sophistication back into Society

Check out the full interview, over at Songwriters on Process,  right >here<
Selected morsels >below<

On Skysaw; With a song like "Sad Reasons" on this record, I sat down in my office and just played the song from start from start to finish on my guitar... It didn't involve a lot of process other than making myself available to what was going on around me. That song in particular was a telling exercise because I was interested in how it would change over time after I recorded it and again after I delivered it to the band.  But the first version I laid down in my studio in the basement is the one that made it to the record."
On Tonight Tonight; "...the muse can take many different forms. Ideally, the greatest gift it to be hand-delivered a song from the cosmos and have it be the version. Billy Corgan often writes the same way. Like with "Tonight Tonight," he said he just woke up one morning, went down to the piano, and played it. And much like with a lot of those drum parts that happened in the Pumpkins, the first time he played it for me, the drum part you hear is the first drum part I thought of."
On playing the guitar; "I'm not that sophisticated of a guitar player to be able to come up with ... the riff of the century."
On Tolkien, Thelonious Monk and Mark Twain; In the arranging and production of songs, when I'm building them from the chords up and putting layerings of production in a song, I want to feel like I'm building this Tolkienesque world of music that's available to people on many layers... Thelonius Monk was always good at playing something that on the surface appeared simple, but as you delved deeper you realized that the chord structure on which the melody was based was so complex.. The idea behind playing the drums is to play something simple enough so that people can rhythmically attach to it, but as an artist my job is also to satisfy myself with a sophistication that exists within the music.  Mark Twain invites you into his world with seeming simplicity, but once you get into his writing, you realize how complex it is.
 On Zeitgeist; When I was with the Pumpkins and we did  Zeitgeist, it had been almost seven years since we made the album before it.  So having to go and play that style of drumming again, I was often I was at loggerheads with myself because I was saying, "I don't really play like this anymore..."  It became difficult to mine that stuff from 1996 and relearn how to play like that.  It would be like writing in the style you did when you were a sophomore in college.  That would be difficult since you've moved on...

Again, go check out the full thing. It's rather insightful indeed.


  1. "On Zeitgeist" - It sure doesn't sound like he felt that way back in 2007 when you go back reread those interviews. Hmmm.

  2. PP; JC in Modern Drummer, November 2007 - "I don't pretend to play the way I did in the old band anymore. There are things to be had and things to leave behind... When I went back and played that stuff, it felt completely alien... It was a matter of bringing back what about the drum parts that still resonated... Some parts resonate, some dont.