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Life Begins Again

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Album Review

Though it's billed as his band first and foremost, in ways it's more accurate to call the solo debut of Jimmy Chamberlin, the brilliant jazz-into-hard rock drummer who helped make the Smashing Pumpkins deservedly famous, a collaborative effort growing out of jams with a guy named Billy. Not with Billy Corgan, though he does show up to do vocals on the gently moody "Lokicat" — interestingly, with lyrics from Chamberlin, who wrote them throughout, aside from one song. Instead, Chamberlin's partner is one Billy Mohler, a journeyman songwriter and musician who's worked on a variety of efforts before this project. Chamberlin's sonic stamp, however, is the unsurprising core of Life Begins Again, as one listen to the rolling, rapid-fire fills on the opening "Streetcrawler" demonstrates; the similar deftness of touch mixed with power is on display throughout, showing that if anything his abilities haven't suffered even after personal and professional upheaval. This said, some songs can sound, well, a lot like the Smashing Pumpkins — not constantly and entirely (guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme can crank up the feedback but even the often-brawling "Cranes of Play" doesn't turn into monstrous riff mayhem), but there's the same sense of aggro and delicious melancholia on display, more than once suggesting what a version of Adore with Chamberlin on drums might have sounded like. One of the most inspired moves on the album is the use of guest vocalists as the album alternates between instrumentals and vocal numbers. Besides Mohler (on the shoegaze-tinged "Neverwaves") and Corgan's turn, there's a guest spot by Righteous Brothers legend Bill Medley on "Lullabye to Children." Perhaps most enjoyable of all, however, are the two songs sung by Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson, whose warm, aching voice fits in perfectly on the title track and "Love Is Real." Meanwhile, among the instrumental highlights are "P.S.A.," which besides being a fine showcase for Woolstenhulme gives Chamberlin a chance to go drum crazy on the break, and the more overtly jazz jam of "Owed to Darryl."

Customer Reviews

New Beginnings

Its sad to see Jimmy Chamberlin leave the smashing pumpkins especially after James Iha and D'arcy leaving only Billy and a new band (including the bassist of white zombie), but this new band is in many ways an improvement and a step forward for Jimmy. I was fortunate enough to see the Smashing Pumpkins on their last tour (Zeitgeist) and the new members were definitely talented. It was one of the greatest shows of my life and I guess somewhat historic to see him with SP in one of his last shows with them. Jimmy is one of my favorite drummers of all time. He can compliment a guitar solo like no other and his drumming is on full display here probably more so than ever before in SP ( I know I love Snail and La dolly vita too! ) But if your heart is just not in the band and you no longer wish to make music with the band then you simply can't be a part of it, Jimmy had to move on and this is a great album and is worth your time and money. Don't expect the same old SP its great stuff though.

Drummers code for AWESOME!

This album really shows the amazing artist Jimmy really is. What sets him apart from the rest is his unique style transitioning from soft syncopated beats to explosive expressions that inspire. This album is a great piece of the influence layer for any modern drummer. Great work Jimmy - keep your eyes looking up!


Born: June 10, 1964 in Joliet, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

As the propulsive engine driving the Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Chamberlin earned respect as one of the most popular, influential drummers of the '90s. Although it certainly helped to have a singer/songwriter of Billy Corgan's caliber fronting the group, the importance of Chamberlin's drumming on the Pumpkins' music cannot be understated. His extraordinarily quick hands, furious snare rolls, and crackling rimshots recalled the likes of Ian Paice and Dennis Chambers, and yet equally important to the...
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Life Begins Again, Jimmy Chamberlin Complex
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