Jimmy Chamberlin Explains Leaving The Pumpkins

Days after Billy Corgan announced that Jimmy Chamberlin was leaving the Smashing Pumpkins, the drummer has written about his departure on his personal blog, saying, “I won’t pretend I’m into something I’m not.”

Corgan’s announcement simply said that Chamberlin had left the group, not giving a reason behind the split.

Here’s what Chamberlin had to say:

By now you have heard the news of my departure from the Smashing Pumpkins. I will say, without going into any unnecessary details that this represents a positive move forward for me. 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. It deserves the highest commitment at every level and the Pumpkins are certainly no different. I’m sorry but it really IS that simple.

Rolling Stone theorized that the line “cash the check” might be code for Corgan selling out the band through recent Visa, Hyundai and Ford commercials and Guitar Hero tracks. Oh, and Corgan’s support of the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger probably didn’t help matters either.

Photo: AP Photo
Spike TV Scream Awards, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles.

Some fans think that with Chamberlin gone, leaving Corgan as the only original member in the band’s lineup, Corgan should give up the Smashing Pumpkins moniker. One Pollstar reader suggested that rather than following in Axl Rose’s footsteps, Corgan should follow the lead of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead (who with Jerry Garcia gone, now call their band “The Dead”) and name the band “The Pumpkins.”

Chamberlin disagrees as he continued his blog post to give Corgan the OK to carry on as the Smashing Pumpkins. Unfortunately he won’t be dishing out any dirt with his departure as he says there was no drama between the bandmates.

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. It is his right. I will continue to make music with the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex as well as pursuing other musical interests. I feel that I have a long way to go and a lot to give.

He ended the post by thanking fans for their support and writing that it’s an honor and a privilege to play music for a living, something he doesn’t take for granted.

Chamberlin joined the Pumpkins as the alternative band’s drummer in 1988. Although the band fired him in 1996 after he was arrested for heroin possession, Chamberlin reunited with the Pumpkins in 1999.  The band broke up the following year.

He and Corgan then joined forces as part of the short-lived supergroup Zwan. In 2007 the duo then returned to the stage as a reunited Smashing Pumpkins along with three other new touring members, replacing D’arcy Wretzky on bass and James Iha on guitar.

Chamberlin played on all of the Pumpkins’ albums except for 1998’s Adore.

Check out Jimmy Chamberlin’s blog here.

Read the Rolling Stone article here.