Jimmy Chamberlin Complex

Out of the Pumpkins' shell

Billy Mohler (left) and Jimmy Chamberlin make things Complex.
Billy Mohler (left) and Jimmy Chamberlin make things Complex.

Nearly a decade ago, exceptionally talented skins man Jimmy Chamberlin was the black sheep of the Smashing Pumpkins family, finally getting drummed out of the group (and publicly shamed by his bandmates) after a particularly egregious 1996 run with Racehorse Charlie that resulted in the overdose death of Pumpkins touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin. These days, however, he appears to be doing the best of the lot. Billy Corgan's recent Jewel-encrusted book of poetry is hastening ol' baldy's slide into irrelevance; James Iha may or may not be in this week's lineup of the interminably boring A Perfect Circle; and D'Arcy Wretzky has fallen off the face of the planet. (Various reports have her still attempting an acting career or working as a masseuse.) In 2004, Chamberlin put together a striking new outfit with help from multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Billy Mohler. They released the excellent, fittingly titled Life Begins Again earlier this year. The album's spacy, jazz-infused grooves get even rawkier live, when the Complex (expanded to a quartet for touring purposes) veers from fusion-style power rhythms to serrated post-rock shiftiness to the sweeping bombast of Mellon Collie-era Pumpkins.

 
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