View Full Version : Greensboro Clinic - REALLY LONG REVIEW


pumpkinxyu
08-19-2003, 10:21 PM
Jimmy Chamberlin Drum Clinic
August 15, 2003
The Music Loft: Greensboro, NC

Let me start by saying that I am probably Jimmy Chamberlin's biggest fan, in the world, period. That sounds remarkably stupid, but...I think that I am. I'll make no attempt to prove it to you, but I'd like to straighten that up before proceeding, because I want to make clear that this was a truly amazing day for me. I've been a drummer stuck in a guitarist's body for the last 6 years or so, and I finally started playing drums last December, thanks almost entirely to inspiration from Jimmy. When I found out he was doing a clinic tour, I was in heaven.

I'm from Atlanta and I was originally planning on driving to Jimmy's clinic in St. Louis (I've already been to St. Louis twice for Zwan, and it's one hell of a boring drive, but for Jimmy, I couldn't resist). I bought tickets for that clinic, only to find out that there was going to be a clinic in Greensboro as well. I called the Music Loft in Greensboro and spoke with Doug, the owner. He said that it would be first come first serve. No tickets, no reservations. Whoever wanted to see Jimmy's clinic was welcome to do so. A few days later, Doug was nice enough to email me and say that the response had been overwhelming and that they were going to have to sell $5 tickets in order to limit attendance and cover the basic costs of putting on such an event. He said that because I had shown so much interest, he wanted to make sure that I got tickets. I called him the next day and reserved the first pair of tickets. Many thanks to Doug.

My friend was originally planning on going to Greensboro with me, but he bailed a few days before the clinic, so I was stuck with an extra ticket and a lonely drive. But for Jimmy, that sure as hell wasn't going to keep me from going. I left Atlanta at around 9:00 on the morning of the 15th, wearing my blue Zwan shirt for good luck and armed with plenty of Zwan and Pumpkins music to keep me excited about Jimmy for the duration of the drive. A few minor traffic problems slowed me down, but I rolled into Greensboro at around 2:30. I had no idea what the Music Loft looked like, so I ended up passing it, but I turned around and spotted it the second time I drove by. It was a fairly tiny store stuck in the middle of a shopping center. It wasn't even 2:45, and the clinic didn't start until 7:00, but I had nothing better to do, so I parked and went inside to look around. On the door was a nice poster with a description of Jimmy's career, advertising the clinic.A few of the people who worked at the store were already setting up chairs, as well as a small platform/stage and a Yamaha drum set with Zildjan cymbals (of course). I looked around for Timmy, Jimmy's drum tech (and one hell of a nice guy), but he was nowhere to be seen. I went up to the counter and asked if I could pick up my will call tickets early, and the guy hooked me up. He told me that they had to close the store at 3:00 to set up for the clinic, but that I could look around until then.

I walked around, casually looking at the guitars on the wall, watching the employees set up on the other end of the store. I was the only person in there other than the guys working, so I felt kind of weird. I was about to head out when in walks (you guessed it) Jimmy Chamberlin. My head was spinning and the walls were shaking. He walked in with a small little entourage (a friend and a Yamaha rep), and the guy who had given me my tickets said, "Hey, Jimmy! You're a rock star, you're not supposed to be on time." I managed to get a hold of myself and say, "Hey Jimmy." He spotted my Zwan shirt and walked over. We shook hands and I told him that I was excited about the clinic. He said, "Yeah, man, it should be fun." I don't really get star struck, but for Jimmy, I definitely made an exception. I was speechless, and after a slightly awkward silence, he smiled and walked over to where they were setting up his drums. He looked them over and made sure everything was to his liking. The guys working on his drums asked him if there had been big turnouts so far on his clinic tour. Jimmy stretched out his arms and said, "Massive. It's been wild. We've had girls getting topless. Rock and roll." He strolled around looking at guitars while I tried to look like I was doing something other than staring at him. He came back over to where I was standing and grabbed a yellow strat off the wall. He put his foot up on an amp and played a little blues lick, then examined the guitar. He asked me if I worked at the store, and I told him that I didn't, that I had just driven up from Atlanta for the clinic. He said that he had just gotten off of a plane too, and that he'd been flying from clinic to clinic. I asked him how the clinics were going, and he said, "They've been going ok. We've had a few clunkers. The one in Denver wasn't too good." He walked over to another spot in the store and asked about a resonator guitar, which was very reasonably priced, much to Jimmy's delight. Then he went and took a bathroom break.

I used this time to gather my thoughts, realizing that the store would be closing any minute and that I probably wouldn't be able to talk to Jimmy again any time soon. I thought to myself, "Self, you should ask Jimmy to play a Zwan or Pumpkins song on guitar with you. That would be unreal." But then I started panicking, thinking, "Shit, what song will I be able to play all the way through without fucking up?" So I grabbed the yellow strat that Jimmy had been playing and started going over songs. My hands were still shaking from when Jimmy had walked in. I started playing "I Am One," and I finally calmed down a little. Mid-verse, I looked up and saw that Jimmy was standing a few feet away, watching me play. He smiled and walked over towards the banjos, which he strummed. Then he asked the guy at the counter if he could walk behind the counter to look at the nicer archtops. Eventually he ended up over by the drum set they were setting up, and he sort of took the reigns. He tuned his floor tom and adjusted a couple of things. Meanwhile I hid behind the banjos, contemplating whether or not I should ask Jimmy to come jam. A few minutes later he walked out of the store. I'm glad that I didn't ask Jimmy to play with me; I would've sounded like even more of a goober than I am. At that point I was surprised that I hadn't been kicked out yet, but shortly thereafter the guy at the counter told me they had to close.

I walked outside, head still reeling from my close encounter with Jimmy Fucking Chamberlin. Of course, standing about ten feet to my right is Jimmy. He's talking to his friend, and they go into a comic book store in the same shopping center. I walk past the comic book store to a vending machine (a likely story!), where I buy a ginger ale. I walk back, glancing into the comic book store in non-stalker mode. The windows are tinted. Damn. Since I have nowhere to go, I decide to just plop my dumb ass on a bench near the Music Loft and wait for a while. Jimmy and his friend walk out a little while later and head to the other end of the shopping center. I grab the book I'm reading ("The Spectrum of Consciousness" by Ken Wilber, so far so good) from my car, as well as my camera the items I had brought for Jimmy to sign after the clinic. I start reading, but I can't stop thinking about all the things that I should have said to Jimmy. I should have told him how much I admire him and asked him about Zwan, drumming, the meaning of life. I should have just been happy with the fact that I met my hero, but you always want a little bit more, ya know?

I look up from my book to see Jimmy and his friend heading back towards the Music Loft. Jimmy gives me a nod, which I return too eagerly, and he heads for the door. The door is locked, so Jimmy and his friend knock on it for a while. I hear them mumbling. Jimmy poked his head out from the entranceway to give me a smirk and roll his eyes. That made me feel better about all the stuff I hadn't said to him. I smiled, sat back, and started reading my book.

That didn't last long, because as it turns out, Greensboro is hot as balls. Big, sweaty balls. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was beating down on me mercilessly. I was sweating like a little bitch, and I eventually had to get in my car and crank up the A/C. I could still see the door to the Music Loft in case anyone else showed up to get in line, or in case Jimmy came out again. A short while later, a guy with a book sat down on "my" bench with a book. He didn't necessarily look like a Zwan/Pumpkins guy, but the book indicated that he was there to wait for something. It was too hot to get out of my car, so I sat for a while longer, but eventually decided to go sit on a bench a good bit further away from the Music Loft, since "my" bench was occupied.

I was getting into my book when I saw that Jimmy had just walked out of the music store. The guy on the other bench didn't seem to react. Jimmy spotted me and gave me a nod again, which I returned more casually, this time. The fact that Jimmy had become a fixture in my afternoon had lost its shock value, despite the fact that it remained ridiculously awesome. I didn't want to bother him, though, so I started reading. Seconds later, I look up and see that Jimmy has walked over to me. He asks me what I'm doing. I tell him that I don't really know what there is to do in Greensboro, so I'm just reading. He asks what I'm reading, and I show him my book, which he picks up and looks at. He nods approvingly. (I'm hoping he doesn't realize that I'm reading it because it's one of the books that Billy recommended on the O-boards ages ago. I'm such a goober!) So as it turns out, I'm just having a conversation with Jimmy. No big deal. We talk about drumming, and playing guitar. He smokes a cigarette. I remain relatively calm, considering the circumstances. I'm just having a one-on-one with a casual acquaintance, and he happens to be the greatest drummer on earth. It definitely happened, but it seems so surreal now that I'm thinking about it. I just wanted to enjoy the moment, but I felt that it was my duty to the Zwan community to prod for a little information here and there, so I did. Some of what I found out is just a confirmation of stuff that's already been mentioned in less concrete form, but here it is:

-Jimmy still plays guitar a little bit, and he's been writing some songs. He's hoping to release a solo record next year. He'll play drums and Mike Garson will play piano (Jimmy says that Mike is one of his best friends). It will be instrumental and will most likely be a bit fusion-y.

-Jimmy's still having fun in Zwan, and so is Billy. They're just taking a short break.

-Paz probably won't be replaced for the Djali Zwan. In fact, Jimmy says that the Djali Zwan record might just be him and Billy.

Aside from that, Jimmy commented on the heat in the South and how "everything sticks." He asked me if it was gonna get any cooler, and I told him that I wasn't too sure, but that I hoped so. I saw that his cigarette was starting to come to its natural end and realized he'd probably be going back inside soon, so I asked him if he'd sign something for me. It's the Siamese Dream booklet, which I had gotten signed by D'arcy, James, and Billy in Pittsburgh on the Arising! tour in 1999. I had never gotten Jimmy's signature. I explained this to him, and he signed it "All My Love, JC." He smiled at me and said, "There, now your life is complete!" I laughed and told him that I had gotten what I came for and that I would skip the clinic and head back to Atlanta. He laughed and went back inside. I must have been glowing like a...I don't know what! But I was happy.

After Jimmy walked back in, the guy on the other bench got up to look at the poster on the door, and I remembered that I still had another ticket to unload. I went over to him and asked if he was waiting for the clinic. He said, "No...but, dude, was that guy on the poster the guy who just came out and talked to you? The guy from Smashing Pumpkins?" And I said, "Yup." And he said, "That's fucking weird. But no, I'm not here for the clinic. Well, maybe I'll go." I offered him my ticket, but he declined and said maybe he'd come back later. He left a little while later, and I went back in my car to cool off. Two guys (one of whom is GoldenHummer) showed up a little later. I figured these guys were there for the clinic, so I got out of my car and went back to my bench to read. Jimmy walked out to his rental mini-van a little later with the Yamaha rep so they could go get something to eat before the clinic.
Things were pretty uneventful until 6:15 when the doors opened.

My fellow Zwan/Pumpkins hardcore mothafucka Kenny (HolyZwan), from Salsbury, NC, showed up as doors were opening to pick up his will call tickets. I grabbed two seats in the front. The place filled up pretty quickly. About 200 people in all. They played MSOTS over the P.A., and at 7:00, Doug Baker came onstage to introduce Jimmy. When Jimmy came out, there was lots of enthusiastic cheering. He's the man, after all.

Jimmy sat down at his drum set with an extra mic for talking to the crowd. He explained that he had only done a few clinics, so he was still new to the whole thing, and that he was nervous, so we should forgive him if he stuttered or messed up. He cracked his first Jimmy joke of the evening by saying, "I usually have a big bald guy in front of me," to which someone in the crowd replied with, "Billy is a god." Not to be upstaged, Jimmy said, "Yes he is, but he's not here to hold my hand tonight." He explained his game plan for the evening: play some songs from MSOTS, talk about songwriting and arranging, answer some questions, and basically discuss anything else that we wanted to discuss...race cars, girls, whatever. He said he wanted to just go ahead and play a song called "Lyric" so he could stop being nervous. "This is how you play 'Lyric'...hopefully." Jimmy had a metronome to help keep time, and he wore headphones while he played and the CD played in the **********. You could hear it, but obviously the drums were the main thing. There was a problem with the mix in Jimmy's headphones, and then the CD started skipping, so there were a couple false starts. But that was fine by me, because I just got to see Jimmy play the beginning of "Lyric" that many more times. Obviously the drums to that song are incredible, but look the fuck out. Jimmy's drum part is monstrous and getting the chance to focus in completely on the drums while Jimmy just pounded...wow. It was a treat.

After "Lyric," Jimmy discussed arranging songs. He explained how with Zwan and the Pumpkins, Billy usually brings in a guitar idea and they just mess around with it. He emphasized the importance of playing a song as many different ways as possible. Jimmy used "Declarations of Faith" as an example of a song where the arrangement made a big difference. Jimmy said that Billy brought in the guitar idea, which he sang for us "poorly": "Da da da da da...." He said they kicked around that guitar riff for a while without much luck, mostly playing it against a more standard 2-4 beat (almost like a "Zero" beat). He showed us the wrong way to play "Declarations of Faith" and the CD skipped once or twice, but I think he only wanted to play part of it anyway, so he cut that off after the first chorus, I believe. He and Billy weren't feeling the song the way they were playing it (although to tell you the truth, I think it still would've sounded pretty good, just not as good). But anyway, Jimmy woke up one morning thinking about "DoF," and then thought about "Tonight, Tonight" by the Pumpkins ("Anyone remember those guys?"). The idea of orchestral drums a la "Tonight, Tonight" seemed like it might work over "DoF," so Jimmy figured he's allowed to rip off his own part again. He suggested the idea to Billy, asking him if he remember the drum part to "Tonight, Tonight," to which Billy replied (and yes, Jimmy did an adorable Billy impersonation), "Yeah, how could I forget!" So they tried out the orchestrated drums and it gave the song new life. And as Jimmy said, it's still a work in progress, but once you record a song, that's sort of the definitive version. So then he started to play "DoF" the right way, but the CD started skipping and Jimmy said, "Ok, I don't think the CD thing is gonna work." He looked pretty upset, which sucked, but I thought it might result in the clinic being a little more improvised, which seemed cool. The people at the store said they could get him another CD player, so he said, "Let's just take some questions until these people get their S-H-I-T together."

I tried to remember as many questions as I could:

Q: "Do you have any training in orchestral percussion, and how important do you feel it is to have that training?"
A: Jimmy said that he'd talk about his ********** a little bit. He started playing drums when he was 8 years old, and he took lessons from his neighbor, Charlie Adams, who went on to play with Yanni. "He also dated my sister." He came from a musical family. His brother played drums and his father played clarinet, and he basically grew up in a "big band" environment. He didn't really listen to rock and roll until he was 16, when he got into the drumming of Ian Paice and John Bonham. I believe he also said that he hasn't read sheeet music for about 18 years.

Q: Which drummers do you listen to now?
A: David Garibaldi, Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones...the greats. As for current drummers, Danney Carey (who's a good friend of his), Stepehen Perkins ("Perk"), Matt Cameron, Matt Chamberlain, and Chad Smith. Jimmy said that he feels like he grew up with these drummers and that they sort of opened the door for more interesting drum work in rock music.

Q: Any information on the Hal Leonard instructional book that you're working on? (my question)
A: "Hey, Zwan Man." It's on the backburner, because he and Billy are going into the studio to record the Djali Zwan album in September.

Q: Do you still speak to James and D'arcy?
A: "Yeah, I do." He mentioned that James is playing in A Perfect Circle. He also said that he and Billy both think it would be kind of hokey to do the reunion tour type thing. But he spoke about how he had lunch with Billy a few days prior to the clinic, and that when Jimmy jokingly brought up the "reunion tour," Billy gave him a look like, "You shouldn't rule it out." "My palms started sweating." But Jimmy said that he thinks it would be fun to do a reunion with the Pumpkins, but that it won't happen for a long time if it does happen.

At that point the new CD player had been hooked up and Jimmy asked if it would be alright with us if he played the whole song again, since that's what he wanted to do. Hell yes it would be alright. So he ripped through "DoF" and it was amazing. It's my favorite song on MSOTS, probably, and a lot of credit has to go to Jimmy for making it so amazing.

After he played the song, he said that he wanted to talk a little bit about emotions. He discussed the importance of feeling the song and not just playing the parts, and how a drummer should use the drums to convey where the songwriter is coming from emotionally. If the song is asking for forgiveness, the drums should sound like they're asking for forgiveness. If the lyrics are a "love letter, hate mail, telling someone to get their car out of your driveway," etc, the drums should reflect that. He explained that whenever possible, he records with lyrics in front of him. He used "Endless Summer" as an example of capturing the emotional content of the lyrics with a drum part. When Billy first showed him the title of "Endless Summer," it made Jimmy think about his last day of his junior year of high school, and the summer that followed, which felt to him like an endless summer. Memories of his first girlfriend, his first beer, kissing girls on the golf course ("it sounds perverted but it's really not"). As a result, he tried to make the drums sound breezy, and he was pretty happy with the end result. He said that it's one of his favorite songs to play from the new record. It sounded great when he played it, needless to say. It's amazing how much we as listeners take for granted in Jimmy's playing, even when we think we're giving it our full attention. He's such a brilliant musician.

After he finished, he mentioned that the Yamaha rep (whose named eludes me) wanted Jimmy to talk about the music business a little bit. Jimmy said something like, "A lot of you are probably in bands that are gonna get signed and be huge (rolls eyes)." He said that there's more to the music industry than just playing music, and that it's the responsibility of musicians to be aware of how the business works. He said that a lot of his friends are broke despite being great musicians, just because they let the industry swallow them up. He gave the example of James Brown's drummer from back in the day (the name eludes me once again), who basically "invented every rap groove" that we hear today. Jimmy went to visit him and he was living in a small two room house, which Jimmy thought was sad for a man who had contributed so much with his drumming. Jimmy made it clear that he wasn't equating success with money, but that in his opinion, if you go out on the road for 14 months at a time and you're away from your family, you should be compensated for that. He went on to define success as a drummer as being happy with what you're playing, "whether you're David Gariabldi or the guy from the Violent Femmes." He recommended a few books regarding the business that were good to read, but the only one that I can remember is "This Business of Music."

He took a few more questions at this point.

Q: Do you chart your drum parts?
A: No.

Q: Did you ever re-record the drum parts for Adore?
A: Billy and Jimmy (possibly other Pumpkins as well?) recorded some demos. They made new arrangements for "Ava Adore," "Pug," and "The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete." For "Pug," which they re-worked with a different "3-5" ending, Billy told Jimmy, "See, if you had been around, it would've been a better song, jerk." He said that he and Billy were friends while he was out of the band, and that he takes complete responsibility for what happened. He really loves the songs that they re-arranged.

Q: When is Zwan touring and will they come to Greensboro?
A: "Definitely. First stop (rolls eyes)." He went on to say that they wouldnt' come if it was always this hot in Greensboro. Someone else asked Jimmy where he was from. He said that he was from Chicago, so the guy in the crowd said, "Ah, nice and cool." Jimmy said, "No, it's hot there too. I just like to complain. It takes up time...complaining."

Q: You have great use of flams in your playing, especially on "Muzzle." What exactly are you doing between your hands and your feet?
A: Jimmy wasn't entirely sure about which part the guy meant, but he guessed right. Jimmy asked the guy if he meant the part that begins with "I knew the distance to the sun," and the guy said yes. Jimmy told us about how Billy came to him with the idea of a tom groove over that section, which didn't make sense to Jimmy. He said that guitarists usually don't come up with good drum parts. He disagreed with Billy, but Billy was persistent and it wasn't until after he recorded the part that it made sense to him. Jimmy told us it had been 30 or 40 or 50 years since he played the part, so that we should give him a break ("I'm older than you think"). Of course, Jimmy played it flawlessly. Gave me a whole new appreciation for the song. He said afterwards that the part grew on him, but that all the drummers in the audience were probably thinking, "That's not right."

Q: I saw you playing with the Pumpkins once and you were either bored or trying to piss off Billy, but you were changing all your fills and crashes, and just completely altering your drum parts. It was cool, but you looked like you were either really bored or trying to piss of Billy.
A: Jimmy said that it's possible that he was bored or trying to piss off Billy, although it didn't exactly ring a bell with him. He said that the band always tried to change things up live so that it wouldn't be boring, because the Pumpkins got bored with stuff very quickly. He said that we also should keep in mind that the band members are just human beings. Sometimes a family member has just passed away and the show must go on, or someone's got the flu, or the band's fighting. After all, he said, when you spend 10 years together in a van down by the river, there's gonna be fights. He told us about one fight where Billy went for Jimmy's throat, so Jimmy took the keys from the ignition and dropped them down an open sewer hole. He said that was a pretty good fight.

Q: What do you do when you have to come up with a part for lyrics that you don't like? It must happen sometimes.
A: "You mean when the lyrics are about you?" Everyone laughed, but Jimmy told us that it happens more than we think, which incited more laughter. "What's worse is when you think they're about you but they're not." He went on to clarify his earlier discussion about lyrics. His example was that if he were to tell you about falling out a tree and breaking his arm, you might not know exactly what it felt like to fall out of a tree, but you'd at least know where he was coming from on a general level.

Q: Do you play any other instruments?
A: He also plays guitar, bass, piano, and he tried trombone, which his neighbor didn't appreciate. Drums are a lot harder than guitar, he joked. He said that sometimes when he's watching Billy and Matt Sweeney play guitar, he think to himself, "I can't believe these guys are getting paid as much as I am." He mimed some guitar playing, which was really funny. "They're not even sweating!" After the laughter died down, he said that in all seriousness, he thinks all instruments are equally hard. He added that he generally doesn't play guitar much when he's on tour, because playing guitar tightens the muscles that need to relax when he plays drums.

Q: What do you use for bass drum technique?
A: He plays heel up. He said he grew up on "Good Times, Bad Times" (the Led Zeppelin song) type drum parts, which require pretty quick bass drum pedal movement. He gave a real quick demonstration of fast bass drum playing that left my jaw somewhere in the lap of the guy's across the aisle. I've always questioned how Jimmy can play certain songs without double bass ("Rock On" being the example that shoots into mind first). After hearing his demonstration, I no longer have any doubts that it is indeed single bass drum pedal. But I still have no idea how anyone can play that fast with one foot. It sounded like he was rolling, for God's sake.

Jimmy briefly explained that when Zwan went to record "Ride a Black Swan" ("I like to call it "World Goes Round," but on the album it's called "Ride a Black Swan"), they wanted to get a laid back feel for the verses and then get the chorus to pick up the pace. At first they tried having Jimmy play at a slower tempo for the verse and a higher tempo for the chorus, but that didn't work. They ended up by starting the verse at 138 beats per minute and gradually increasing by increments of .2 bpm until they reached 139 bpm in time for the chorus. After the chorus, the song drops back down to 138 and starts to increase again. Jimmy said it took him a long time to get it right in the studio. I can't say that I blame him. That's such a seemingly impossible thing to get accurately. A difference of .2 bpm is so minute, but obviously it achieved the desired effect. I'm pretty sure that for the clinic demonstration, Jimmy just kind of played the increase in tempo by feel, since the metronome couldn't really be increased that precisely. He played "World Goes Round," and it was definitely something to see.

After the song, Jimmy said his bit about Yamaha drums and how they were the best drums in the world. He said that in 1992, he went to see the head of Yamaha drums (one more name I can't remember) and told him, "I'm going to play these drums whether you give me an endorsement deal or not, because they're the best." The Yamaha guy let Jimmy try out a few of the different sets, and he was surprised to see that Jimmy actually had some chops. Jimmy said that he was just expecting some worthless typical rock drummer, and the fact that the Smashing Pumpkins had "the stupidest name" in the world didn't help. But he ended up letting Jimmy take a set or two with him, I think. They became good friends. Apparently the Yamaha guy played drums on "Name That Tune," so Jimmy would joke with him whenever he got mad, "Of course you're mad, you've never finished a song in your entire life. You only get to play the first five bars."

The last point he made during the clinic was the importance of good nutrition for drummers. He said that a lot of drummers today in bands bigger than Zwan have "piss-poor technique" and that it can cause a lot of problems, such as carpal tunnel and various other joint related problems. Proper training allowd Jimmy to avoid bad habits, such as not sitting up straight. Jimmy said that he does yoga, stretches, meditates, and takes a lot of vitamin supplements in order to stay in shape for drumming. He takes magnesium and calcium supplements to allow his muscles to tense up and relax properly. He explained that relaxation is the key to drumming, and talked about his two cats as an example of relaxed muscles. When you pick up a cat, it's like a sack of potatoes, completely relaxed. Drummers have to achieve that level of relaxation in their muscles at the right times. I think it was also around this time that Jimmy mentioned an invitation David Garibaldi had given him to take some lessons in September. Jimmy said that he was extremely flattered by the offer, and that he would definitely be taking him up on it. He closed the clinic by playing "Mary Star of the Sea," which he described as a "drum extravaganza." He had the Yamaha guy controlling the CD player fast-forward to 7 minutes and 50 seconds into the track. "Jesus, I" sounded pretty cool at high speeds. As if the drums on the album aren't sick enough, Jimmy had to sweeten the drumming up even more. It was probably the highlight of the clinic, and he was receiving cheers mid-song after particularly impressive fills. It was great.

Jimmy thanked everyone for coming out, said that he hoped we learned something, and then went backstage for a breather. There were some raffle prizes given out - t-shirts, hats, a cymbal, a snare drum, and two bass drum pedals. I got nothing. Then Jimmy came out to a table by the front of the store to sign autographs. Everyone in attendance was given a pack of Yamaha promotional brochures and a Yamaha poster of Jimmy (and Timmy Doyle). A lot of people got that signed, but a lot of people had other stuff. I saw vinyls, box sets, drum sticks, etc. I got Jimmy to sign the poster and my MSOTS booklet, which already has Sweeney's lovely signature on the front. I told him that I really liked what he had said about connecting to the emotional content and lyrics of the song, and I told him that he's the greatest drummer in the world, which he is, regardless of whatever anyone else (including him!) has to say to the contrary. Kenny and I waited around until after Jimmy was done signing stuff to get pictures with him, and then we said our goodbyes.

Four days later, my mind is still reeling from my eventful trip to Greensboro. I didn't think it would be possible to admire Jimmy any more than I did before this clinic, but sure enough, he's impressed me even more, as a drumming god and as a regular guy trying to stay out of the North Carolina heat. I hope he does more clinics in the future, but more importantly, I hope he never stops playing. Three cheers for Jimmy Chamberlin.

Dead
08-19-2003, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
I was sweating like a little bitch
This post had some informative stuff, but I especially liked this part.

The Pantsmaster
08-19-2003, 10:51 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu

In fact, Jimmy says that the Djali Zwan record might just be him and Billy.



This is interesting.

Sapphire
08-19-2003, 11:18 PM
Just Billy and Jimmy?

Well, that's pretty much how Siamese Dream was recorded.

So, if anything, that's a good sign.

Especially since both CD's will have been the second album in the respective bands lifespans.

Hey... that sounds nice. :)



Oh, and thanks for the review. It was a good read. :)

Boycott Graceland
08-20-2003, 03:49 AM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
He told us about one fight where Billy went for Jimmy's throat, so Jimmy took the keys from the ignition and dropped them down an open sewer hole.
that's pretty hardcore right there.

also cool to hear confirmation on the rerecording of the adore demos.

innocents
08-20-2003, 05:16 AM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
He's hoping to release a solo record next year. He'll play drums and Mike Garson will play piano (Jimmy says that Mike is one of his best friends). It will be instrumental and will most likely be a bit fusion-y.

this'll be interesting

eyesbomb
08-20-2003, 08:36 AM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
Jimmy Chamberlin Drum Clinic
August 15, 2003
The Music Loft: Greensboro, NC

Let me start by saying that I am probably Jimmy Chamberlin's biggest fan, in the world, period. That sounds remarkably stupid, but...I think that I am. I'll make no attempt to prove it to you, but I'd like to straighten that up before proceeding, because I want to make clear that this was a truly amazing day for me. I've been a drummer stuck in a guitarist's body for the last 6 years or so, and I finally started playing drums last December, thanks almost entirely to inspiration from Jimmy. When I found out he was doing a clinic tour, I was in heaven.

I'm from Atlanta and I was originally planning on driving to Jimmy's clinic in St. Louis (I've already been to St. Louis twice for Zwan, and it's one hell of a boring drive, but for Jimmy, I couldn't resist). I bought tickets for that clinic, only to find out that there was going to be a clinic in Greensboro as well. I called the Music Loft in Greensboro and spoke with Doug, the owner. He said that it would be first come first serve. No tickets, no reservations. Whoever wanted to see Jimmy's clinic was welcome to do so. A few days later, Doug was nice enough to email me and say that the response had been overwhelming and that they were going to have to sell $5 tickets in order to limit attendance and cover the basic costs of putting on such an event. He said that because I had shown so much interest, he wanted to make sure that I got tickets. I called him the next day and reserved the first pair of tickets. Many thanks to Doug.

My friend was originally planning on going to Greensboro with me, but he bailed a few days before the clinic, so I was stuck with an extra ticket and a lonely drive. But for Jimmy, that sure as hell wasn't going to keep me from going. I left Atlanta at around 9:00 on the morning of the 15th, wearing my blue Zwan shirt for good luck and armed with plenty of Zwan and Pumpkins music to keep me excited about Jimmy for the duration of the drive. A few minor traffic problems slowed me down, but I rolled into Greensboro at around 2:30. I had no idea what the Music Loft looked like, so I ended up passing it, but I turned around and spotted it the second time I drove by. It was a fairly tiny store stuck in the middle of a shopping center. It wasn't even 2:45, and the clinic didn't start until 7:00, but I had nothing better to do, so I parked and went inside to look around. On the door was a nice poster with a description of Jimmy's career, advertising the clinic.A few of the people who worked at the store were already setting up chairs, as well as a small platform/stage and a Yamaha drum set with Zildjan cymbals (of course). I looked around for Timmy, Jimmy's drum tech (and one hell of a nice guy), but he was nowhere to be seen. I went up to the counter and asked if I could pick up my will call tickets early, and the guy hooked me up. He told me that they had to close the store at 3:00 to set up for the clinic, but that I could look around until then.

I walked around, casually looking at the guitars on the wall, watching the employees set up on the other end of the store. I was the only person in there other than the guys working, so I felt kind of weird. I was about to head out when in walks (you guessed it) Jimmy Chamberlin. My head was spinning and the walls were shaking. He walked in with a small little entourage (a friend and a Yamaha rep), and the guy who had given me my tickets said, "Hey, Jimmy! You're a rock star, you're not supposed to be on time." I managed to get a hold of myself and say, "Hey Jimmy." He spotted my Zwan shirt and walked over. We shook hands and I told him that I was excited about the clinic. He said, "Yeah, man, it should be fun." I don't really get star struck, but for Jimmy, I definitely made an exception. I was speechless, and after a slightly awkward silence, he smiled and walked over to where they were setting up his drums. He looked them over and made sure everything was to his liking. The guys working on his drums asked him if there had been big turnouts so far on his clinic tour. Jimmy stretched out his arms and said, "Massive. It's been wild. We've had girls getting topless. Rock and roll." He strolled around looking at guitars while I tried to look like I was doing something other than staring at him. He came back over to where I was standing and grabbed a yellow strat off the wall. He put his foot up on an amp and played a little blues lick, then examined the guitar. He asked me if I worked at the store, and I told him that I didn't, that I had just driven up from Atlanta for the clinic. He said that he had just gotten off of a plane too, and that he'd been flying from clinic to clinic. I asked him how the clinics were going, and he said, "They've been going ok. We've had a few clunkers. The one in Denver wasn't too good." He walked over to another spot in the store and asked about a resonator guitar, which was very reasonably priced, much to Jimmy's delight. Then he went and took a bathroom break.

I used this time to gather my thoughts, realizing that the store would be closing any minute and that I probably wouldn't be able to talk to Jimmy again any time soon. I thought to myself, "Self, you should ask Jimmy to play a Zwan or Pumpkins song on guitar with you. That would be unreal." But then I started panicking, thinking, "Shit, what song will I be able to play all the way through without fucking up?" So I grabbed the yellow strat that Jimmy had been playing and started going over songs. My hands were still shaking from when Jimmy had walked in. I started playing "I Am One," and I finally calmed down a little. Mid-verse, I looked up and saw that Jimmy was standing a few feet away, watching me play. He smiled and walked over towards the banjos, which he strummed. Then he asked the guy at the counter if he could walk behind the counter to look at the nicer archtops. Eventually he ended up over by the drum set they were setting up, and he sort of took the reigns. He tuned his floor tom and adjusted a couple of things. Meanwhile I hid behind the banjos, contemplating whether or not I should ask Jimmy to come jam. A few minutes later he walked out of the store. I'm glad that I didn't ask Jimmy to play with me; I would've sounded like even more of a goober than I am. At that point I was surprised that I hadn't been kicked out yet, but shortly thereafter the guy at the counter told me they had to close.

I walked outside, head still reeling from my close encounter with Jimmy Fucking Chamberlin. Of course, standing about ten feet to my right is Jimmy. He's talking to his friend, and they go into a comic book store in the same shopping center. I walk past the comic book store to a vending machine (a likely story!), where I buy a ginger ale. I walk back, glancing into the comic book store in non-stalker mode. The windows are tinted. Damn. Since I have nowhere to go, I decide to just plop my dumb ass on a bench near the Music Loft and wait for a while. Jimmy and his friend walk out a little while later and head to the other end of the shopping center. I grab the book I'm reading ("The Spectrum of Consciousness" by Ken Wilber, so far so good) from my car, as well as my camera the items I had brought for Jimmy to sign after the clinic. I start reading, but I can't stop thinking about all the things that I should have said to Jimmy. I should have told him how much I admire him and asked him about Zwan, drumming, the meaning of life. I should have just been happy with the fact that I met my hero, but you always want a little bit more, ya know?

I look up from my book to see Jimmy and his friend heading back towards the Music Loft. Jimmy gives me a nod, which I return too eagerly, and he heads for the door. The door is locked, so Jimmy and his friend knock on it for a while. I hear them mumbling. Jimmy poked his head out from the entranceway to give me a smirk and roll his eyes. That made me feel better about all the stuff I hadn't said to him. I smiled, sat back, and started reading my book.

That didn't last long, because as it turns out, Greensboro is hot as balls. Big, sweaty balls. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was beating down on me mercilessly. I was sweating like a little bitch, and I eventually had to get in my car and crank up the A/C. I could still see the door to the Music Loft in case anyone else showed up to get in line, or in case Jimmy came out again. A short while later, a guy with a book sat down on "my" bench with a book. He didn't necessarily look like a Zwan/Pumpkins guy, but the book indicated that he was there to wait for something. It was too hot to get out of my car, so I sat for a while longer, but eventually decided to go sit on a bench a good bit further away from the Music Loft, since "my" bench was occupied.

I was getting into my book when I saw that Jimmy had just walked out of the music store. The guy on the other bench didn't seem to react. Jimmy spotted me and gave me a nod again, which I returned more casually, this time. The fact that Jimmy had become a fixture in my afternoon had lost its shock value, despite the fact that it remained ridiculously awesome. I didn't want to bother him, though, so I started reading. Seconds later, I look up and see that Jimmy has walked over to me. He asks me what I'm doing. I tell him that I don't really know what there is to do in Greensboro, so I'm just reading. He asks what I'm reading, and I show him my book, which he picks up and looks at. He nods approvingly. (I'm hoping he doesn't realize that I'm reading it because it's one of the books that Billy recommended on the O-boards ages ago. I'm such a goober!) So as it turns out, I'm just having a conversation with Jimmy. No big deal. We talk about drumming, and playing guitar. He smokes a cigarette. I remain relatively calm, considering the circumstances. I'm just having a one-on-one with a casual acquaintance, and he happens to be the greatest drummer on earth. It definitely happened, but it seems so surreal now that I'm thinking about it. I just wanted to enjoy the moment, but I felt that it was my duty to the Zwan community to prod for a little information here and there, so I did. Some of what I found out is just a confirmation of stuff that's already been mentioned in less concrete form, but here it is:

-Jimmy still plays guitar a little bit, and he's been writing some songs. He's hoping to release a solo record next year. He'll play drums and Mike Garson will play piano (Jimmy says that Mike is one of his best friends). It will be instrumental and will most likely be a bit fusion-y.

-Jimmy's still having fun in Zwan, and so is Billy. They're just taking a short break.

-Paz probably won't be replaced for the Djali Zwan. In fact, Jimmy says that the Djali Zwan record might just be him and Billy.

Aside from that, Jimmy commented on the heat in the South and how "everything sticks." He asked me if it was gonna get any cooler, and I told him that I wasn't too sure, but that I hoped so. I saw that his cigarette was starting to come to its natural end and realized he'd probably be going back inside soon, so I asked him if he'd sign something for me. It's the Siamese Dream booklet, which I had gotten signed by D'arcy, James, and Billy in Pittsburgh on the Arising! tour in 1999. I had never gotten Jimmy's signature. I explained this to him, and he signed it "All My Love, JC." He smiled at me and said, "There, now your life is complete!" I laughed and told him that I had gotten what I came for and that I would skip the clinic and head back to Atlanta. He laughed and went back inside. I must have been glowing like a...I don't know what! But I was happy.

After Jimmy walked back in, the guy on the other bench got up to look at the poster on the door, and I remembered that I still had another ticket to unload. I went over to him and asked if he was waiting for the clinic. He said, "No...but, dude, was that guy on the poster the guy who just came out and talked to you? The guy from Smashing Pumpkins?" And I said, "Yup." And he said, "That's fucking weird. But no, I'm not here for the clinic. Well, maybe I'll go." I offered him my ticket, but he declined and said maybe he'd come back later. He left a little while later, and I went back in my car to cool off. Two guys (one of whom is GoldenHummer) showed up a little later. I figured these guys were there for the clinic, so I got out of my car and went back to my bench to read. Jimmy walked out to his rental mini-van a little later with the Yamaha rep so they could go get something to eat before the clinic.
Things were pretty uneventful until 6:15 when the doors opened.

My fellow Zwan/Pumpkins hardcore mothafucka Kenny (HolyZwan), from Salsbury, NC, showed up as doors were opening to pick up his will call tickets. I grabbed two seats in the front. The place filled up pretty quickly. About 200 people in all. They played MSOTS over the P.A., and at 7:00, Doug Baker came onstage to introduce Jimmy. When Jimmy came out, there was lots of enthusiastic cheering. He's the man, after all.

Jimmy sat down at his drum set with an extra mic for talking to the crowd. He explained that he had only done a few clinics, so he was still new to the whole thing, and that he was nervous, so we should forgive him if he stuttered or messed up. He cracked his first Jimmy joke of the evening by saying, "I usually have a big bald guy in front of me," to which someone in the crowd replied with, "Billy is a god." Not to be upstaged, Jimmy said, "Yes he is, but he's not here to hold my hand tonight." He explained his game plan for the evening: play some songs from MSOTS, talk about songwriting and arranging, answer some questions, and basically discuss anything else that we wanted to discuss...race cars, girls, whatever. He said he wanted to just go ahead and play a song called "Lyric" so he could stop being nervous. "This is how you play 'Lyric'...hopefully." Jimmy had a metronome to help keep time, and he wore headphones while he played and the CD played in the **********. You could hear it, but obviously the drums were the main thing. There was a problem with the mix in Jimmy's headphones, and then the CD started skipping, so there were a couple false starts. But that was fine by me, because I just got to see Jimmy play the beginning of "Lyric" that many more times. Obviously the drums to that song are incredible, but look the fuck out. Jimmy's drum part is monstrous and getting the chance to focus in completely on the drums while Jimmy just pounded...wow. It was a treat.

After "Lyric," Jimmy discussed arranging songs. He explained how with Zwan and the Pumpkins, Billy usually brings in a guitar idea and they just mess around with it. He emphasized the importance of playing a song as many different ways as possible. Jimmy used "Declarations of Faith" as an example of a song where the arrangement made a big difference. Jimmy said that Billy brought in the guitar idea, which he sang for us "poorly": "Da da da da da...." He said they kicked around that guitar riff for a while without much luck, mostly playing it against a more standard 2-4 beat (almost like a "Zero" beat). He showed us the wrong way to play "Declarations of Faith" and the CD skipped once or twice, but I think he only wanted to play part of it anyway, so he cut that off after the first chorus, I believe. He and Billy weren't feeling the song the way they were playing it (although to tell you the truth, I think it still would've sounded pretty good, just not as good). But anyway, Jimmy woke up one morning thinking about "DoF," and then thought about "Tonight, Tonight" by the Pumpkins ("Anyone remember those guys?"). The idea of orchestral drums a la "Tonight, Tonight" seemed like it might work over "DoF," so Jimmy figured he's allowed to rip off his own part again. He suggested the idea to Billy, asking him if he remember the drum part to "Tonight, Tonight," to which Billy replied (and yes, Jimmy did an adorable Billy impersonation), "Yeah, how could I forget!" So they tried out the orchestrated drums and it gave the song new life. And as Jimmy said, it's still a work in progress, but once you record a song, that's sort of the definitive version. So then he started to play "DoF" the right way, but the CD started skipping and Jimmy said, "Ok, I don't think the CD thing is gonna work." He looked pretty upset, which sucked, but I thought it might result in the clinic being a little more improvised, which seemed cool. The people at the store said they could get him another CD player, so he said, "Let's just take some questions until these people get their S-H-I-T together."

I tried to remember as many questions as I could:

Q: "Do you have any training in orchestral percussion, and how important do you feel it is to have that training?"
A: Jimmy said that he'd talk about his ********** a little bit. He started playing drums when he was 8 years old, and he took lessons from his neighbor, Charlie Adams, who went on to play with Yanni. "He also dated my sister." He came from a musical family. His brother played drums and his father played clarinet, and he basically grew up in a "big band" environment. He didn't really listen to rock and roll until he was 16, when he got into the drumming of Ian Paice and John Bonham. I believe he also said that he hasn't read sheeet music for about 18 years.

Q: Which drummers do you listen to now?
A: David Garibaldi, Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones...the greats. As for current drummers, Danney Carey (who's a good friend of his), Stepehen Perkins ("Perk"), Matt Cameron, Matt Chamberlain, and Chad Smith. Jimmy said that he feels like he grew up with these drummers and that they sort of opened the door for more interesting drum work in rock music.

Q: Any information on the Hal Leonard instructional book that you're working on? (my question)
A: "Hey, Zwan Man." It's on the backburner, because he and Billy are going into the studio to record the Djali Zwan album in September.

Q: Do you still speak to James and D'arcy?
A: "Yeah, I do." He mentioned that James is playing in A Perfect Circle. He also said that he and Billy both think it would be kind of hokey to do the reunion tour type thing. But he spoke about how he had lunch with Billy a few days prior to the clinic, and that when Jimmy jokingly brought up the "reunion tour," Billy gave him a look like, "You shouldn't rule it out." "My palms started sweating." But Jimmy said that he thinks it would be fun to do a reunion with the Pumpkins, but that it won't happen for a long time if it does happen.

At that point the new CD player had been hooked up and Jimmy asked if it would be alright with us if he played the whole song again, since that's what he wanted to do. Hell yes it would be alright. So he ripped through "DoF" and it was amazing. It's my favorite song on MSOTS, probably, and a lot of credit has to go to Jimmy for making it so amazing.

After he played the song, he said that he wanted to talk a little bit about emotions. He discussed the importance of feeling the song and not just playing the parts, and how a drummer should use the drums to convey where the songwriter is coming from emotionally. If the song is asking for forgiveness, the drums should sound like they're asking for forgiveness. If the lyrics are a "love letter, hate mail, telling someone to get their car out of your driveway," etc, the drums should reflect that. He explained that whenever possible, he records with lyrics in front of him. He used "Endless Summer" as an example of capturing the emotional content of the lyrics with a drum part. When Billy first showed him the title of "Endless Summer," it made Jimmy think about his last day of his junior year of high school, and the summer that followed, which felt to him like an endless summer. Memories of his first girlfriend, his first beer, kissing girls on the golf course ("it sounds perverted but it's really not"). As a result, he tried to make the drums sound breezy, and he was pretty happy with the end result. He said that it's one of his favorite songs to play from the new record. It sounded great when he played it, needless to say. It's amazing how much we as listeners take for granted in Jimmy's playing, even when we think we're giving it our full attention. He's such a brilliant musician.

After he finished, he mentioned that the Yamaha rep (whose named eludes me) wanted Jimmy to talk about the music business a little bit. Jimmy said something like, "A lot of you are probably in bands that are gonna get signed and be huge (rolls eyes)." He said that there's more to the music industry than just playing music, and that it's the responsibility of musicians to be aware of how the business works. He said that a lot of his friends are broke despite being great musicians, just because they let the industry swallow them up. He gave the example of James Brown's drummer from back in the day (the name eludes me once again), who basically "invented every rap groove" that we hear today. Jimmy went to visit him and he was living in a small two room house, which Jimmy thought was sad for a man who had contributed so much with his drumming. Jimmy made it clear that he wasn't equating success with money, but that in his opinion, if you go out on the road for 14 months at a time and you're away from your family, you should be compensated for that. He went on to define success as a drummer as being happy with what you're playing, "whether you're David Gariabldi or the guy from the Violent Femmes." He recommended a few books regarding the business that were good to read, but the only one that I can remember is "This Business of Music."

He took a few more questions at this point.

Q: Do you chart your drum parts?
A: No.

Q: Did you ever re-record the drum parts for Adore?
A: Billy and Jimmy (possibly other Pumpkins as well?) recorded some demos. They made new arrangements for "Ava Adore," "Pug," and "The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete." For "Pug," which they re-worked with a different "3-5" ending, Billy told Jimmy, "See, if you had been around, it would've been a better song, jerk." He said that he and Billy were friends while he was out of the band, and that he takes complete responsibility for what happened. He really loves the songs that they re-arranged.

Q: When is Zwan touring and will they come to Greensboro?
A: "Definitely. First stop (rolls eyes)." He went on to say that they wouldnt' come if it was always this hot in Greensboro. Someone else asked Jimmy where he was from. He said that he was from Chicago, so the guy in the crowd said, "Ah, nice and cool." Jimmy said, "No, it's hot there too. I just like to complain. It takes up time...complaining."

Q: You have great use of flams in your playing, especially on "Muzzle." What exactly are you doing between your hands and your feet?
A: Jimmy wasn't entirely sure about which part the guy meant, but he guessed right. Jimmy asked the guy if he meant the part that begins with "I knew the distance to the sun," and the guy said yes. Jimmy told us about how Billy came to him with the idea of a tom groove over that section, which didn't make sense to Jimmy. He said that guitarists usually don't come up with good drum parts. He disagreed with Billy, but Billy was persistent and it wasn't until after he recorded the part that it made sense to him. Jimmy told us it had been 30 or 40 or 50 years since he played the part, so that we should give him a break ("I'm older than you think"). Of course, Jimmy played it flawlessly. Gave me a whole new appreciation for the song. He said afterwards that the part grew on him, but that all the drummers in the audience were probably thinking, "That's not right."

Q: I saw you playing with the Pumpkins once and you were either bored or trying to piss off Billy, but you were changing all your fills and crashes, and just completely altering your drum parts. It was cool, but you looked like you were either really bored or trying to piss of Billy.
A: Jimmy said that it's possible that he was bored or trying to piss off Billy, although it didn't exactly ring a bell with him. He said that the band always tried to change things up live so that it wouldn't be boring, because the Pumpkins got bored with stuff very quickly. He said that we also should keep in mind that the band members are just human beings. Sometimes a family member has just passed away and the show must go on, or someone's got the flu, or the band's fighting. After all, he said, when you spend 10 years together in a van down by the river, there's gonna be fights. He told us about one fight where Billy went for Jimmy's throat, so Jimmy took the keys from the ignition and dropped them down an open sewer hole. He said that was a pretty good fight.

Q: What do you do when you have to come up with a part for lyrics that you don't like? It must happen sometimes.
A: "You mean when the lyrics are about you?" Everyone laughed, but Jimmy told us that it happens more than we think, which incited more laughter. "What's worse is when you think they're about you but they're not." He went on to clarify his earlier discussion about lyrics. His example was that if he were to tell you about falling out a tree and breaking his arm, you might not know exactly what it felt like to fall out of a tree, but you'd at least know where he was coming from on a general level.

Q: Do you play any other instruments?
A: He also plays guitar, bass, piano, and he tried trombone, which his neighbor didn't appreciate. Drums are a lot harder than guitar, he joked. He said that sometimes when he's watching Billy and Matt Sweeney play guitar, he think to himself, "I can't believe these guys are getting paid as much as I am." He mimed some guitar playing, which was really funny. "They're not even sweating!" After the laughter died down, he said that in all seriousness, he thinks all instruments are equally hard. He added that he generally doesn't play guitar much when he's on tour, because playing guitar tightens the muscles that need to relax when he plays drums.

Q: What do you use for bass drum technique?
A: He plays heel up. He said he grew up on "Good Times, Bad Times" (the Led Zeppelin song) type drum parts, which require pretty quick bass drum pedal movement. He gave a real quick demonstration of fast bass drum playing that left my jaw somewhere in the lap of the guy's across the aisle. I've always questioned how Jimmy can play certain songs without double bass ("Rock On" being the example that shoots into mind first). After hearing his demonstration, I no longer have any doubts that it is indeed single bass drum pedal. But I still have no idea how anyone can play that fast with one foot. It sounded like he was rolling, for God's sake.

Jimmy briefly explained that when Zwan went to record "Ride a Black Swan" ("I like to call it "World Goes Round," but on the album it's called "Ride a Black Swan"), they wanted to get a laid back feel for the verses and then get the chorus to pick up the pace. At first they tried having Jimmy play at a slower tempo for the verse and a higher tempo for the chorus, but that didn't work. They ended up by starting the verse at 138 beats per minute and gradually increasing by increments of .2 bpm until they reached 139 bpm in time for the chorus. After the chorus, the song drops back down to 138 and starts to increase again. Jimmy said it took him a long time to get it right in the studio. I can't say that I blame him. That's such a seemingly impossible thing to get accurately. A difference of .2 bpm is so minute, but obviously it achieved the desired effect. I'm pretty sure that for the clinic demonstration, Jimmy just kind of played the increase in tempo by feel, since the metronome couldn't really be increased that precisely. He played "World Goes Round," and it was definitely something to see.

After the song, Jimmy said his bit about Yamaha drums and how they were the best drums in the world. He said that in 1992, he went to see the head of Yamaha drums (one more name I can't remember) and told him, "I'm going to play these drums whether you give me an endorsement deal or not, because they're the best." The Yamaha guy let Jimmy try out a few of the different sets, and he was surprised to see that Jimmy actually had some chops. Jimmy said that he was just expecting some worthless typical rock drummer, and the fact that the Smashing Pumpkins had "the stupidest name" in the world didn't help. But he ended up letting Jimmy take a set or two with him, I think. They became good friends. Apparently the Yamaha guy played drums on "Name That Tune," so Jimmy would joke with him whenever he got mad, "Of course you're mad, you've never finished a song in your entire life. You only get to play the first five bars."

The last point he made during the clinic was the importance of good nutrition for drummers. He said that a lot of drummers today in bands bigger than Zwan have "piss-poor technique" and that it can cause a lot of problems, such as carpal tunnel and various other joint related problems. Proper training allowd Jimmy to avoid bad habits, such as not sitting up straight. Jimmy said that he does yoga, stretches, meditates, and takes a lot of vitamin supplements in order to stay in shape for drumming. He takes magnesium and calcium supplements to allow his muscles to tense up and relax properly. He explained that relaxation is the key to drumming, and talked about his two cats as an example of relaxed muscles. When you pick up a cat, it's like a sack of potatoes, completely relaxed. Drummers have to achieve that level of relaxation in their muscles at the right times. I think it was also around this time that Jimmy mentioned an invitation David Garibaldi had given him to take some lessons in September. Jimmy said that he was extremely flattered by the offer, and that he would definitely be taking him up on it. He closed the clinic by playing "Mary Star of the Sea," which he described as a "drum extravaganza." He had the Yamaha guy controlling the CD player fast-forward to 7 minutes and 50 seconds into the track. "Jesus, I" sounded pretty cool at high speeds. As if the drums on the album aren't sick enough, Jimmy had to sweeten the drumming up even more. It was probably the highlight of the clinic, and he was receiving cheers mid-song after particularly impressive fills. It was great.

Jimmy thanked everyone for coming out, said that he hoped we learned something, and then went backstage for a breather. There were some raffle prizes given out - t-shirts, hats, a cymbal, a snare drum, and two bass drum pedals. I got nothing. Then Jimmy came out to a table by the front of the store to sign autographs. Everyone in attendance was given a pack of Yamaha promotional brochures and a Yamaha poster of Jimmy (and Timmy Doyle). A lot of people got that signed, but a lot of people had other stuff. I saw vinyls, box sets, drum sticks, etc. I got Jimmy to sign the poster and my MSOTS booklet, which already has Sweeney's lovely signature on the front. I told him that I really liked what he had said about connecting to the emotional content and lyrics of the song, and I told him that he's the greatest drummer in the world, which he is, regardless of whatever anyone else (including him!) has to say to the contrary. Kenny and I waited around until after Jimmy was done signing stuff to get pictures with him, and then we said our goodbyes.

Four days later, my mind is still reeling from my eventful trip to Greensboro. I didn't think it would be possible to admire Jimmy any more than I did before this clinic, but sure enough, he's impressed me even more, as a drumming god and as a regular guy trying to stay out of the North Carolina heat. I hope he does more clinics in the future, but more importantly, I hope he never stops playing. Three cheers for Jimmy Chamberlin.

I've read it all.
I am happy for you

The Gaddrow
08-20-2003, 08:58 AM
Wow. Thank you. Reading that just made my day.

smashingjj
08-20-2003, 09:31 AM
i see how people get happy reading that shit. I won't spend any time, I'm happy already.

Ugly
08-20-2003, 10:38 AM
That was a good read, actually. Very fanish, but informative. Though if I had to press for questions, Id ask about Djali and Metro DVD stuff.

Speaking of which, whats up with Sweeney not recording on Djali? I guess all the interband love got a little too sticky.

Injektilo
08-20-2003, 11:26 AM
hey, that was great. I'm quite impressed.

pumpkinxyu
08-20-2003, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Ugly
That was a good read, actually. Very fanish, but informative. Though if I had to press for questions, Id ask about Djali and Metro DVD stuff.

Speaking of which, whats up with Sweeney not recording on Djali? I guess all the interband love got a little too sticky.

oh, i forgot to add the definitive answer to the Metro DVD mystery. jimmy had said at one of the other clinics that it won't be coming out until 2006, because the band wants to put it out themselves. that sounds kind of weird, but i heard him talking to someone else during the autograph session, and the reason they're not putting out until 2006 is because Virgin still has the rights to certain songs and stuff until 2006, so the band can't legally release it on their own until then. so there should be no more bitterness towards billy for not putting it out there. he tried to get Virgin to put it out, but they're a bunch of bastards, so now he's gotta wait.

jczeroman
08-20-2003, 12:10 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu


oh, i forgot to add the definitive answer to the Metro DVD mystery. jimmy had said at one of the other clinics that it won't be coming out until 2006, because the band wants to put it out themselves. that sounds kind of weird, but i heard him talking to someone else during the autograph session, and the reason they're not putting out until 2006 is because Virgin still has the rights to certain songs and stuff until 2006, so the band can't legally release it on their own until then. so there should be no more bitterness towards billy for not putting it out there. he tried to get Virgin to put it out, but they're a bunch of bastards, so now he's gotta wait.

is this why we see all the 2007 stuff?

jczeroman
08-20-2003, 12:11 PM
PS: dude that was beautiful, on eof the best things I've read on here.You did a marvelous job and I am so happy you got to meet Jimmy.

two http://forums.netphoria.org/wwwboard/icons/icon14.gif http://forums.netphoria.org/wwwboard/icons/icon14.gif

And, if Djali is just Jimmy and Billy then it may end up being really good.

jczeroman
08-20-2003, 12:12 PM
Oh.... and


http://www.augustfalling.com/netphoria/5stars.jpg

Injektilo
08-20-2003, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu


oh, i forgot to add the definitive answer to the Metro DVD mystery. jimmy had said at one of the other clinics that it won't be coming out until 2006, because the band wants to put it out themselves. that sounds kind of weird, but i heard him talking to someone else during the autograph session, and the reason they're not putting out until 2006 is because Virgin still has the rights to certain songs and stuff until 2006, so the band can't legally release it on their own until then. so there should be no more bitterness towards billy for not putting it out there. he tried to get Virgin to put it out, but they're a bunch of bastards, so now he's gotta wait.

goddamn those motherfuckers at Virgin.

But i'm glad to know that the band still really wants to release the show, and at least they're planning to as soon as they're allowed to.

when it comes to getting info out of anyone in the band, its always best to ask Jimmy it seems.

Boycott Graceland
08-20-2003, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
oh, i forgot to add the definitive answer to the Metro DVD mystery. jimmy had said at one of the other clinics that it won't be coming out until 2006, because the band wants to put it out themselves. that sounds kind of weird, but i heard him talking to someone else during the autograph session, and the reason they're not putting out until 2006 is because Virgin still has the rights to certain songs and stuff until 2006, so the band can't legally release it on their own until then. so there should be no more bitterness towards billy for not putting it out there. he tried to get Virgin to put it out, but they're a bunch of bastards, so now he's gotta wait.
okay, now we know that if we want answers about anything, we have to get jimmy alone with billy nowhere in the area. i mean christ, would it have been that hard for billy to tell us that in the first place?

Travis Meekz
08-20-2003, 02:50 PM
awesome

jczeroman
08-20-2003, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by Boycott Graceland

i mean christ, would it have been that hard for billy to tell us that in the first place?

billy has to keep the mystery

Dead
08-20-2003, 04:45 PM
Well now that Billy kicked Paz's skanky ass out of Zwan and we know he tried to release the Metro DVD, I think its time to resume the Billy worshipping. :o

dishpan
08-20-2003, 06:06 PM
thank you for typing all that out. it was an awesome read

bonsor
08-20-2003, 08:19 PM
5 stars. the part about the fight between jimmy and billy - classic.

as for the bass drum technique, i've never heard it refered to as 'heel up', but i suppose that makes sense. i remember going to the kenny aronoff clinic and his foot would seriously come 2 or three inches off the pedal before slamming down on the bass drum. he also uses a very similar tom setup to jimmy. how fast would you say the 'bass drum demonstration' was?

pumpkinxyu
08-20-2003, 09:01 PM
Originally posted by ******
5 stars. the part about the fight between jimmy and billy - classic.

as for the bass drum technique, i've never heard it refered to as 'heel up', but i suppose that makes sense. i remember going to the kenny aronoff clinic and his foot would seriously come 2 or three inches off the pedal before slamming down on the bass drum. he also uses a very similar tom setup to jimmy. how fast would you say the 'bass drum demonstration' was?

kenny did a clinic near me, but i didn't find out until a half hour before it started. he's quite a drummer. as for jimmy's bass drum showing-off moment, i can't really say how fast it was. it was fast enough that despite all my efforts of trying to play something even remotely similar and slowed down on my bass drum these past couple days, i haven't even come close. it sounded like he was rolling with a double bass, but crescendoing, then starting over.

the_marked
08-20-2003, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu


oh, i forgot to add the definitive answer to the Metro DVD mystery. jimmy had said at one of the other clinics that it won't be coming out until 2006, because the band wants to put it out themselves. that sounds kind of weird, but i heard him talking to someone else during the autograph session, and the reason they're not putting out until 2006 is because Virgin still has the rights to certain songs and stuff until 2006, so the band can't legally release it on their own until then. so there should be no more bitterness towards billy for not putting it out there. he tried to get Virgin to put it out, but they're a bunch of bastards, so now he's gotta wait.

What the fuck is Virgin's problem? The Pumpkins were one of their most valuable band's of the 90s, and the fans gave Virgin tons of cash. You'd think those bastards would release the one thing fans have been asking for for a long time now, and they'd still make money. It's all cause of Machina II isn't it...

Ugly
08-20-2003, 11:13 PM
Jimmy said that he does yoga, meditates . . . in order to stay in shape for drumming.

Not to sully this love fest or anything, but is anyone slightly disapointed that our hard drinkin, hard smokin, hard livin, bluecollar JC does yoga?

Corganist
08-20-2003, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Ugly


Not to sully this love fest or anything, but is anyone slightly disapointed that our hard drinkin, hard smokin, hard livin, bluecollar JC does yoga?

Well, its better than him shooting up smack I suppose.

Johnny_Swallow
08-20-2003, 11:59 PM
Jimmy leaks info....Billy gets pissed and demands to know who did it...Jimmy blames Paz...bye bye Paz.

danboyc
08-21-2003, 02:45 AM
Nice story but dude you should have asked him that even though he is a big rockstar whether or not he still jerks it once in a while. :p

BlueStar
08-21-2003, 03:39 AM
Originally posted by The Gaddrow
Wow. Thank you. Reading that just made my day.

Junebug
08-22-2003, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by Ugly


Not to sully this love fest or anything, but is anyone slightly disapointed that our hard drinkin, hard smokin, hard livin, bluecollar JC does yoga?
I had to read that part about three times myself. Noone is safe.

Awesome awesome read. thanks so much. And the part about Jimmy throwing the keys down the sewer had me laughing way too hard. I can just picture that scene. Man I love Jimmy.

List On Fork
08-23-2003, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
Jimmy says that the Djali Zwan record might just be him and Billy.

WORST IDEA EVER

this really would be DP's moment to shine

zerozwan
08-23-2003, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by pumpkinxyu
Then he went and took a bathroom break.\
hehehe

The Gaddrow
08-23-2003, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by List On Fork


WORST IDEA EVER

this really would be DP's moment to shine

Word. If Pajo <i>and</i> Sweeney aren't involved, I don't know if I will even care*.

*Who am I kidding, I know I will still be at their first show.

oclaftap
08-29-2003, 10:07 PM
wow thats awesome, congratulations and thanks for the awesome read

Reyngel
08-29-2003, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by danboyc
Nice story but dude you should have asked him that even though he is a big rockstar whether or not he still jerks it once in a while. :p


lol. he's probably got mad technique, too, being a drummer and all.

Spaldz
09-01-2003, 10:27 AM
Wow. Nice review.

Some cool stuff was said in there.

Electro
09-01-2003, 11:21 AM
He told us about one fight where Billy went for Jimmy's throat, so Jimmy took the keys from the ignition and dropped them down an open sewer hole.

i think it would be great to get billy pissed off, and then to be able to say "why dont you go play hide and go fuck yourself and then write a song about it and sell it for millions?"

bonsor
09-01-2003, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by Electro
i think it would be great to get billy pissed off, and then to be able to say "why dont you go play hide and go fuck yourself and then write a song about it and sell it for millions?" lol.

cap'n jazz
09-01-2003, 12:48 PM
whoa!