Smashing Pumpkins Drummer Reveals If Billy Corgan Is A ‘Control Freak’

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In a new AZCentral interview, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was asked if Billy Corgan is a control freak.

Asked if he believes that reputation is or was at some point warranted, Chamberlin answers, “Absolutely not” without a moment’s hesitation.

He said when he joined the Pumpkins, he was unfamiliar with early alternative rock influences, and credited Corgan for giving him creative freedom.

“I didn’t know Depeche Mode, Love and Rockets or Joy Division,” he says. “I mean, I was listening to Weather Report and Tony Williams and Miles Davis. So I didn’t really have a road map. And I think Billy has always been extremely generous in his songwriting to let me do whatever I want and to totally trust my instincts.”

It can be easy, he says, to mislabel someone a control freak.

“Even in the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex,” he says, “it’s kind of my band. So do I want to be a control freak? No. But do I want to be in control over what the band does? Kinda.”

He later discussed the new Smashing Pumpkins album Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.

“The thing about us [Chamberlin, James Iha, and Corgan] is when we get in the studio,” Chamberlin says, “the output is insane, right? We were in the studio for three weeks and wrote 16 songs, with the idea that we would whittle it down to the best and take it to Rick Rubin and he would pick one, two or three songs to record.

“By the time Rick got done listening to the eight songs we had picked, he was like, ‘Well, these are all great. You should just record ‘em all; and by the way, I want to hear the other eight.’ ”