Smashing Pumpkins Drummer Reveals How Eddie Vedder Taught Him Grunge


Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin revealed on Twitter yesterday that Eddie Vedder taught him all about Grunge fashion. A photo of Chamberlin on the Pumpkins’ 1991 tour with Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers was posted, and Jimmy responded, “I was teaching Ed how to do a paradiddle and he was teaching me about flannel.”

Chamberlin recently told the Drummer’s Resource Podcast that the Pumpkins are discussing touring later this year, amidst rumors that the band’s original lineup will reunite. Chamberlin said, “We’re talking about doing some touring later this year.”

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan discussed his 90’s commercial success following a breakthrough moment in his life when he was 25 in a new Why Not Now? with Amy Jo Martin. He also revealed that Lollapalooza 1994, headlined by The Smashing Pumpkins, was the biggest Lollapalooza ever.

“For me, this is obviously more of an artistic idea, but I had refused really up until that point to just be myself. I had equated me being myself with failure, yet I was so boxed in the only way to succeed was I could be myself. That was the crossroads moment, the only want to move forward was I had to accept something about myself that heretofore I had been unwilling to accept, and I was out of options.”

He added, “What’s crazy is from that moment I went on a dizzying run of success, that album was quadruple Platinum. The band ended up headlining the Lollapalooza festival, which at that time was a moving festival. We headlined the biggest Lollapalooza festival that there ever was, and then after that was the Mellon Collie album, which went on to be one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

So I went on this sort 4, 5, 7, 10 year, depends on who you ask, run of creativity, and it really started in that one moment of, this is the only way forward. But it was only because I was so blocked, obviously in an artistic way, but also personally, I was so blocked that once I sort of released the organic forces in my being, and I would say that to anybody, that’s really the measure of true spirituality, is unlocking your own resources, not somebody else’s.

It’s amazing what happens, it really was, and is, truly transformative, because once I did that, I had this sort of magic totem that was all my own. It wasn’t somebody else’s, it wasn’t like I read somebody’s book, and it got me 3 months down the road, and I ran out of the book, and had to find another book.”

He later discussed being accused of selling out, “I know in the 90’s when I achieved success, I was made fun of for driving a Mercedes Benz. Not that anybody would want to do this, but you could literally go back to SPIN magazine in 1994, and there is a piece making fun of me for driving a used Mercedes. Because it was seen as some sort of sellout that I got a nice car, which at the time was the safest car on the road, which is why I bought it. But it was seen as a betrayal of my assumed values because I was from the street.”

  • Lucky Neko

    Kurt Cobain’s “Grunge Look” was out of neccessity back then, being too poor to buy new stuff so he had to opt for second hand store finds. I believe he is more genuine, knowing that flannel is not taught or even associated with some sort of image, and it was just overblown and commercialized. Oh God, I think KC would’ve cringed at the thought of Vedder teaching about grunge if he were alive, lol!

    • nomad

      Eddie was poor, too. Most photos of PJ back the show them wearing mostly t-shirts. Is that authentic enough? Anyway, I think Jimmy Chamberlin was just having some fun with his tweet. I don’t think he had a horse in the “Kurt vs Eddie” race.

    • Contrarian

      Most of the Metalheads and Stoners I hung out with in the 80’s wore flannel, t-shirts and old jeans long before “Grunge” ever existed. But Kirk made an obvious attempt to be Hipster. Retro from the 60’s and 70’s was getting trendy and that’s why he did it.

  • Anonymous501

    Actually he said biggest lollapalooza. I think he was right… It took a few lollapalooza’s for the festival to get a reputation. ’92 probably had the best lineup but the word wasn’t out there yet. By ’94 it was immensely popular and I imagine the attendance increased significantly.

    • Dysnomia

      Just writer’s embellishment not letting the truth get in the way of a joke, ride it with me brutha. Feel free to judge my joke separately 😜

  • Phoenix Soaring

    Billy has been money obsessed for 17 years now.Not that it’s not ok to want money and stability.We all do. And I know being a musician that he is reliant upon the music,new albums,reissues,tours,dvds,merchandise and archival material to sustain his life financially but everything I have heard from the solo album,Zwan and the latest Pumpkins albums seems like this desperate attempt to remain relevant musically and replicate success of the 90’s and get another breakthrough all the while ranting and complaining about the industry and bad mouthing fans and band mates on infowars.That ambition to replicate success and the mainstream is also not bad but I get the feeling he has an unhealthy obsession with it and in turn his releases have sounded bland,calculated,overproduced and stuck in a rock synth box because of his obsession for another breakthrough.The music lacks humility,connection,emotion and humanity and leaves one with a cold feeling.He has lost touch with music and his fans or whatever is left of them while other songwriters have taken the mantle from him as one of the greats.There is no risk in his music.It’s just all so predictable to me and sounds like he never changed or moved on.Hearing him in the 90’s there was a diversity in his music ranging from heavy,to pop,to folkish,acoustic,synth,piano ballads and other things that were spread over albums,b sides and other sources.I don’t hear that risk in his music.Maybe he doesnt need to take it.But in my opinion that attitude and approach has pretty much left him irrelevant when his objective the past 17 years has been the opposite.