Jimmy Chamberlin Complex
OK, it's common knowledge that singers, guitarists and even bass players from major groups (and even lesser ones) have a shot at solo success when the time comes. But what about drummers? They usually get lost in the shuffle with only a lucky few finding another high-powered gig behind the kit. Unless they are David Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters), who switched to guitar, drummers rarely make an impact on their own.
Former Jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was stickman for Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan. In the world of Rock drummers they don't get much bigger than that. And if it weren't for a nasty drug problem in the '90s, one that got him kicked out of the Pumpkins, his life would have been near perfect. Fortunately, Chamberlin beat drugs and was eventually reinstated in time for the Pumpkins last studio album. That led to joining head Pumpkin Billy Corgan in Zwan. But Zwan was a short-lived project with Corgan going solo. Chamberlin was unemployed once again.
What to do? What to do? The answer was the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. With Sean Woolstenhulme (guitar), Adam Benjamin (piano); Billy Mohler (bass) and, of course, Chamberlin, the group got help from Corgan on their debut album "Life Begins Again."
2005 Life Begins Again
Take an instrumental outfit, plug in a couple "guest" vocalists and you have a viable project. That's the operating logic behind "Life Begins Again." The instrumental tracks, "Street Crawler" and the theatrical "Time Shift" among them, are captivating. The Jazz influenced "Street Crawler," in particular, has tempo and texture changes that make it soar. As good as those tracks are this effort flies or dies by the vocal tracks. Rob Dickinson, former Catherine Wheel frontman, does a good job on "L.B.A." and "Love Is Real." Both are appealing tracks.
Because Corgan is so readily identified with the Pumpkins', his vocal on "Loki Cat" can't help but sound like a Pumpkins' retread. And not a very good one at that. What are you going to do, tell Corgan to come up with something better? Another vocal shortcoming is the inclusion of Bill Medley, the former Righteous Brother. Is the guy a favorite of Chamberlin's mom? "Lullabye," isn't much and Medley doesn't help.