Hello and Welcome to the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex Website. This will be a work in progress over the next few months so please bear with me. Ultimately it will be a place to go to get answers to questions concerning record release dates, touring info, band personnel. I also, time permitting would like to use the site as a forum for answering your questions personally, as well as selling cool merchandise. In addition I will be putting up downloadable pieces of music from time to time.
Ok, so what is The Complex? Well the Complex is my new band. I’ll tell you how it happened. About a year ago, a dear friend of mine (and yours} asked me what I thought about doing a solo record. I said, well i think it’s a great idea but I’m not so sure anyone else does. He said, “I think you’d be surprised”. Well it turns out He was right and after a couple of phone calls the next thing I knew I was on a jet to NY to meet with my friend Merck(who also happens to be the president of Sanctuary Records Group). After about ten minutes of me telling him I had no Idea what I was going to do but I knew it was going to be cool,He agreed to give me a record deal. Now I was screwed! The next thing I remember is walking down Lexington Ave. wondering what the hell had just happened. Did you just agree to do a solo record? Ah, well, yes, I think you did…….. That day started a new chapter in my life that has been nothing short of miraculous!
The first thing i did when I got back to the beautiful Chelsea Hotel was call my wife, Lori, of course. Then I called Corgan and said “thanks for the suggestion, but now what do i do!” Billy said. “relax, just do what you do and it will be great.” Next I called Billy Mohler and told him to get ready ’cause we’re gonna make a record. I should now probably backtrack a bit and tell you all about Billy Mohler.
About three years ago when Zwan was looking for a bass player, we thought it would be a good idea to go to L.A. We were put into contact with a gentleman by the name of Barry Squier. Barry is kind of an institution when it comes to putting bands together. He pretty much knows everyone in town, along with every band they’ve ever been in, where they live, what they like to eat, etc. barry put out the word and the response was daunting. He weeded through the applications and found about thirty or so possibles. The next step was to invite them, one by one into a room with us to chat about themselves (what they’ve done, who they know, etc.). I know this sounds kind of weird, and it was, but I guess this is how they do it in LA. I won’t go into specifics but let me just say that it was a colorful bunch with the parameters falling somewhere between the circus and the militia. Anyway, out of the thirty or so interviews we picked six that we liked and invited them to play with us over the next few days. Mohler was great, we hit it off musically from the first note. Not only was Billy my first pick but him and I also became instant friends. Our musical tastes were very similar. He was a jazzer turned rocker. He had played with some of the greats (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock). I knew instantly that our musical destinies were intertwined. If not now, someday. He was playing with a pretty successful band at the time and making money and we really weren’t in any position financially to tell someone to quit their paying gig and come play with us for nothing. So we went our separate ways for awhile keeping in contact from the road. Fast forward to that day in NY. I call Mohler and arrange for him to fly and meet me in Chicago to start writing. That was Jan. 2004. We worked for a day or so and it was immediately apparent that this was going to be a lot of fun. We had to cut that session short because my daughter, AudreyElla caught a little cold.
Over the next six months I was in Record Contract Limbo. These things can take a long time. Around the end of May it looked the deal was just about done. so I started making the arrangements to go to LA to write, rehearse, and record. I called my dear friend and fellow drum bro, Charlie Paxson to see if we could use his rehearsal space to write the record. He said no problem and in fact let me use his brand new kit to practice on! Charlie’s spirit and vibe are such a big part of this record. I thank God everyday that their are still people like him around. Real Music People. I owe him, BIG!
I figured we would write and rehearse through June and start to record sometime in July. Then tragedy struck, Mohler got offered a slot on Lollapalooza with his other band.(it was cancelled sometime during the recording) They would have to leave July 8th. and would be gone for 2 and a half months. My deadline for handing in my record was August 20! Never one to panic, I panicked. What was I going to do? We had a few ideas but no songs and a very limited amount of time. It’s hard to describe the next few weeks as anything but dreamlike and magical. Through prayer, meditation, friendship, respect, love and hours and hours of work (and tons of Japanese food and coffee) it was starting to happen. We were putting our vibrations out there and the universe was talking back to us. Weird things were starting to happen. I stopped worrying and as my faith in the music grew so did everything else. Everyone around me stopped being just people and started becoming a part of this piece of art that Mohler and I were creating. People were marveling at the amount of sheer man hours we were working. Our confidence in each other grew tremendously as did our respect for one another. I was working 18 hours a day and by the end had stopped sleeping entirely. And I’d like to say that this record was done without so much as one sip of alcohol or any other drugs for that matter (except coffee). In order to make this work on schedule we had about three weeks to write, rehearse, and arrange and a week to record. Not a problem, in fact the last album I recorded only took about a year.
About this time I started to think that the record is going to sound pretty funny if it’s just bass and drums. We had written the album with guitar and piano in mind. I knew that Billy Corgan was going to play some guitar on the record but I needed a lot. I asked Mohler if he knew any guitar players that didn’t sound like guitar players, who played jazz but could rock out, who were expert professionals, who were totally cool and fun to hang out with, who would be into joining our all work and no play circus and who would basically do it for free. Mohler knew the guy!
Enter Sean Wulstenhulme. 22 yr old guitar god from Arizona. From the first note Sean played I knew he was our guy. I basically told him that I didn’t want a conventional guitar approach and let him go. At once he exhibited a thoughtful, mature, sound usually reserved for people twice his age. His angular guitar playing was exactly what I had been hearing in my head. I told Sean that we had about four days and then we were going into the studio. Without batting an eye he said “cool,show me the songs”. Over the next four days what Sean brought to the music was incredible. His approach to the instrument was innovative, if not profound. The music that Billy and I had written spanned a lot of genres and Sean was able to adapt whether it be the prog-rock changes of Ode to Darryl or Streetcrawler or the poppiness of Love is Real or the trance vibe of Green Buffaloes.
The next step was lyrics. Now I have to tell you that I have never actually sat down and tried to write lyrics to a song before so the work was somewhat terrifying to me at first. I have always had the luxury of sitting behind the drumset whilst the singer tried to explain his or herself. I called some friends and asked for advice as far as procedure goes (words first, melody first) and got some good advice. Then I took a deep breath, a long look around me, and an even longer look inside, and started writing. The words coming out of me had a voice, a familiar voice, someone I knew. I remembered being in NY shortly after 9/11 working with Billy Corgan on some stuff and running into Rob Dickinson(THE Rob Dickinson) in a grocery store in Soho. I remember storing that chance meeting in the back of my mind. I e-mailed Merck and asked him if he knew how to get a hold of Mark Lanegan. Mark is one my all time favorite singers and I have always wanted to work with him.( I found out later that He was in Europe at the time).He said “no, but Rob Dickinson is in LA right now recording his solo record, why don’t you give him a call, here’s his number”. Now that is just too weird but certainly no weirder than anything else that was happening to me at this time. I had learned by this time that there were bigger forces at work on this thing and to just let the cosmos put things in my lap. The less I struggled the easier it was. The more I made myself available to the vibrations around me, the more cool shit continued to happen. I was staying with my brother in law Corey the whole time I was working. And he was just dumbfounded at the rate of progress we were making and the way things just kept lining up. I’d like to take this opportunity to say what a cool dude Corey is. I could not of made this record without his help. He provided me with a musical environment (his loft is a studio) and another set of ears that I truly respect. Corey is a great songwriter in his own respect and it was an honor to help him out on his songs while he helped me out on mine.
So, I called Rob up to see if he would be into it. We met that night and I gave him demos and lyrics of the songs. The next day he called and said he liked the material and when did I want to record. I went in search of a studio and naturally the first place I walked into was it. Lawnmower Studios in Pasadena. I talked to the engineer Ed and not only was he super cool but he was a fan of my past work. Ed told me that the studio was closing down but after talking to the owner they had decided to keep it open for one more month to accommodate me. I booked the studio starting on June 22 till the 29. We went in and immediately started recording. Everything about the experience was positive. Everyone was super-motivated and in good spirits. The drum sound was amazing and it was really easy to record. Some studios take a while to get used to the sound but Lawnmower was perfect. Ed the engineer is a genius and was super into it. God bless him for hanging in there 12 to 14 hours a day. The sounds he got were incredible, and it was just nice to be around him. Everyone who came around was instantly swept up in the good vibe mania. So, the record was written, arranged and recorded in about 35-40 days. Not bad! That’s pretty much where we left it. I am now back in Chicago packing up my house. Oh, I forgot to mention that during the recording Lori and I sold our house in Long Grove and bought one in LA. I am going back on the 20th to put some piano and other miscellaneous instrumentation on, and then strait into mixing. I am very happy with the way things turned out and will let you know when it will be released. (as soon as I know). I’m sure some of you have lots of questions and I will try to answer as many as I can, but as you can imagine I’m pretty swamped with the record and moving and all. JC
My Smile is a Rifle by John Frusciante (live, acoustic)
Videos like this are why John is one of my biggest inspirations…even when its just him alone on a stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar he puts every inch of himself into performing, you can see he doesn’t hold back any of his passion.
wish he would go back to doing shows like this :(