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I Am One: Corgan now the last Pumpkin standing as longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin departs


Ladies and gentleman, Jimmy Chamberlin has left the building. According to a press release, the longtime Smashing Pumpkins drummer has “left the group.” Chamberlin joined the Pumpkins in the late 1980s and played on every release save 1998's "Adore." For those keeping track at home, the Smashing Pumpkins are now down to just one original member: chief songwriter and driving creative force  Billy Corgan. Per the same release, Corgan will “continue to write and record as Smashing Pumpkins with plans to head into the studio this spring.” No reason was given for Chamberlin's departure.

The Los Angeles Times' Randy Lewis spent time with Corgan and Chamberlin in December, when the band taped an episode of "The Chris Isaak Hour" in Hollywood.  According to Lewis, the two were getting along well and Chamberlin talked about those who would buy tickets for the group's concerts and then bad-mouth them. "A lot of people just need something to hate," Chamberlin told Lewis, "and they seem to have found it in us."

Regardless of why Chamberlin decided to walk away, the larger question now becomes this: Can there be a Smashing Pumpkins without Chamberlin?  His distinctive, powerful and damn-near perfect drumming helped define the band; arguably more than former member James Iha or original bassist D’arcy Wretzky.

But without Chamberlin, can you really call any forthcoming record a Smashing Pumpkins release?  Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis wondered earlier this week "what's going on in Billy's head," a question many have been attempting to answer lately.  Sure, it's his band, but at a certain point, Corgan must know that older fans retain a strong connection to the original lineup. 

I, for one, wouldn't mind another Corgan solo record (his 2005 solo release, "The Future Embrace," is underrated), as long as it is billed as such. As much as I like the new band, especially Jeff Schroeder's guitar work, to continue on as Smashing Pumpkins without Chamberlin seems wrong somehow. Count on a heated weekend of discussion over at smashingpumpkins.com (some fans are already incredulous, others despondent).

Cry, complain and discuss in the comments below.

*Update/correction: Jim DeRogatis was incorrectly spelled as Jim DeRegatis in an earlier version of this post.

-- Charlie Amter

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (6)

Well, the cure is all Robert Smith... why does the pumpkins have to be different?

I Loved The Band!

Trough all it went through, I hope this is just temporal, because this really just sucks. Adore could have easily been a hit album if they still had Jimmy or if they would have put "Let Me Give The World To You" on it.

Still... Jimmy is a god of music, and if he never comes back to the smashing pumpkins, i will always be really sad.

May the pumpkins live forever even after the death of the greatest band to ever live.

Jimmy, Come Back... is all i really have to day.

Jimmy is the human metronome... Joliet's finest... Now let's hear some more Jimmy Chamberlin Complex.

Cheers to you Jimmy

"But without Chamberlin, can you really call any forthcoming record a Smashing Pumpkins release? "

Jimmy didn't play on Adore and it's one of the band's best albums. It's not like Billy doing an entire album by himself is unprecedented. I'm sure studio drummers will be brought in for future work, just like with Adore.

Jimmy is irreplaceable and his absence will undoubtedly alter whatever would have come out of the band, but as Adore proved (at least to me), that doesn't automatically mean it'll be garbage. Jimmy is one of the greatest drummers to ever sit behind a kit but Billy is one of the greatest and most prolific songwriters. He hasn't always endeared himself to the press (or even his own fans) at times, but most of that has come as a result from constant backlash against him for wanting to constantly evolve the band. He made a lot of enemies from people who wanted him to keep making Siamese Dream or MCIS over and over. I respect him more for that, not less and I wouldn't even be talking about the band in 2009 if he had followed the desire of the masses.

My favorite band of all time. But I think now that they're finished.

Adore being my favorite pumpkin-album and chamberlin not being a part of it, to me the pumpkins are still the pumpkins until there's a press release about billy corgan leaving the group


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