Smashing Pumpkins’ & Complex drummer on how art for art’s sake can make the world a better place. One of rock’s greatest drummers who devotes himself to change through education.
[00:00:00.00] Now -
Oh, there we go.
[00:00:02.13] Yes, now we're in recording mode.
Nice, this thing is awesome.
[00:00:06.17] Yeah, well, we'll see what the quality is like, we'll find out afterwards, but it is basically using web-based recording so it is recording both sides of our conversation rather than transmit it all over the web so it is using whatever memory - It is kind of like a streaming rotating recording in our browsers.
Yeah, it is awesome, I mean, I was talking to my daughter about, you know, she has got some class projects and she is always trying to get people to interview and I said 'Look, you know, with this mechanism you can send out a hundred e-mails and ask people, you know, if they want to be interviewed.' and then they say 'Yeah, next time you're in town, you know, hit me up.' thinking that you're never going to be in town, you can say 'Well, look, I got this send recorder thing, we can actually do it tomorrow morning'.
[00:00:47.00] So we're guinea pigs for your daughter which is well we're doing, I love the fact that your family will benefit as well.
Yeah, now it looks good.
[00:00:54.12] Well, Jimmy, thank you so much for coming onto 'Born Optimistic', it was so cool to meet you in Dublin there recently at the Tech Summit and I knew when I met you I was like 'I have to get this guy on the show, he has got so much to say.' so thank you so much for making the time.
Thanks, yeah, it is an honour to be here.
[00:01:12.08] I wanted to start with, like, the show is called 'Born Optimistic' so where are you on the spectrum of optimism?
Well, I'm a %100 optimistic, I'm just, you know, my life is a, you know, it is really, kind of, born of optimism, I mean, I think, you know, to become a successful musician you have to be - You have to subscribe to that optimism and you have to buy into it every day, every minute because that doubt will just consume you, right, you can't operate on your heels, you can't be, you know, thinking 'Aw, what if this doesn't work out?', you know, failure, it is got to be, kind of, failure is not an option type of thing and that is - I really try to keep, you know, that front and centre with everything I do just because, I mean, I think for me, you know, optimism really gets into being creative by getting into kind of a creative based existence where, like, pessimism, you know, is really kind of subscribing to a fear based existence and I think for an artist, like, it is not good for me or as business guy or as a father, as a husband or just a human being, I mean, it is just not good for me to live in that fear, right, I think one of the single biggest problems we have in the world right now is that people are operating and living a reactive life that is based in fear, right, and optimism is this kind of other life that is rooted in creativity and problem solving.
[00:02:48.04] And did you always feel this way or can you think of different things that happened as you were growing up that influenced this world view?
No, I think it is a journey, you know, I think you have to see enough data to realise that, you know, pessimism and fear just don't get you anywhere, I mean, whether you're - I mean, no matter what you're doing, right, or if you're a - Like, my son is a gymnast, right, and we talk about, you know, going in on the balls at your feet and really not worrying about the other guy, just going in and doing what you do and I think that - It is healthy for me to watch him do that all the time, I mean, he is young and he is, you know, he understands the competitive nature of confidence and how then impacts his experience so - Then but for me, I mean, I've had, you know, significant things happened to me in life that, you know, on paper are things that would take people down and take them down for long periods of time, but when I look at my life in the aggregate, I mean, I'm a big believer in, like, like Saint Augustine, right, if you read the trials of Saint Augustine or, you know, there is a ton of experiences that lead up to that epiphany that he has, right, well, I think that is the point of, kind of, keeping your eyes open and not getting consumed in this - In the past or the future and just living in present time and saying 'Okay, my experiences add up to this', right, and I think if I look at my experiences through life, you know, as long as I've remained - As long as I've remained a participant in the journey that is my life then I can look at things with optimism and know that they're building into a whole that I may not understand at that present moment, but is going to, you know, provide fruit (at) later.
[00:04:36.19] Sorry, are you tapping the table there as you're talking, there is a rattle coming through on the mic?
Oh, yeah, I'm sorry, I've just got a small cat that is in here.
[00:04:46.23] Oh, cool, cool, no worries, no worries.
Yeah, sorry about that.
[00:04:48.16] No, no, no problem, so just going back -
(That will be) Willy Boy, my new cat.
[00:04:52.25] Willy Boy, welcome, welcome, Willy Boy, I look forward to his YouTube videos.
[00:04:58.11] So, Jimmy, you mentioned Saint Augustine, we have churches named after him here, but I actually don't know the story, I was _ of the way you were talking about, then I was like 'I don't actually get the reference.' so could you give me a tiny _ summary of Saint Augustine's story?
Yeah, sure, yeah, sure, so Saint Augustine was a scholar, you know, young scholar who really used his education to, kind of, thwart the teachings rooted in spirituality, you know, only to experience things in his life that really, kind of, kind of, proved them wrong, right, and he ended up being kind of a devote Christian and living his life in service, you know, and he just - At some point the switch flipped for him where he went to this, kind of, he went from this kind of self serving opportunist to realising that the greatest gift that one can do - That one can give or the biggest contribution one can make is to be of service to others so that is, you know, that is really where optimism, you know, kind of hits that high point, right, when you can use optimism to have that realisation that, you know, your biggest contribution is in the service that you're giving to others, right, whether it is your kids or your family or, you know, the universe in general, I mean, not to get, you know, overtly spiritual or, kind of, metaphysical about it, but I feel like at this point - And I don't, you know, I'm not a billionaire, I don't have a ton of, you know, I'm not super rich, I'm not, you know, I'm not that guy, I mean, I've gotten a lot from my career and I feel like I've gotten enough to warrant, you know, a time and a percentage of my life in giving back.
[00:06:38.24] But it is interesting referencing the saint in the context of optimism because we were both raised Catholics, but I think we may have had slightly different experiences because optimistic, like, I don't think I got my optimism from my Catholic upbringing, I mean -
Yeah, I know you, yeah, I mean, I got a lot of the fear from my Catholic upbringing, (you're right) and -
[00:07:03.01] That is what I was checking on because I was like 'Hang on, referencing a saint?' because for me Catholicism was all about, you know, all the bad things that will happen if don't do X, Y and Z and the good things will only happen when you die and go to Heaven.
Yeah, yeah, well, that is, you know, I think that is - I think those beliefs are, you know, at least to me they're a bit anachronistic, but Saint Augustine generally, you know, he had a unique experience in that, I mean, I don't think it is the dogma that I'm talking about that is attached to, you know, Catholicism or the Catholic Church, it is just purely the experiences of one individual that are really indicative of that journey in, you know, dark to light and that epiphany related to, you know, being optimism about how you can - How good will and service can (foam) in change.
[00:07:53.27] For sure, for sure, and tell me about your upbringing, I mean, can you think of particular people or incidents that surrounded you that were really inspiring and influential, like, who did you really look up to growing up when you were forming your personality and finding your way in life?
Yeah, sure, well I think, you know, like everybody I had, you know, the benefit of a lot of teachers along the way and I think my eight grade teacher Mrs. (Fink), you know, was really one of these people that really believed in me, she saw, you know, cracks in my upbringing and really did her best, you know, to, kind of, co-raise me with my parents, yeah, I went to the same Catholic school for eight years, you know, with the same 25 kids, with the same priest and, you know, obviously, the same parents, I was the youngest of six kids so the Church, you know, had a real _ understanding of my situation, you know, my parents drink a bit, they weren't the best of friends, the relationship that they had was somewhat caustic, you know, so for me it was about, you know, those around me that were really, you know, throwing me lifelines and I think, you know, Mrs. (Fink) was my first and second and eight grade teacher and she really, you know, was instrumental in teaching me the value of work, the value of being accountable and really, you know, gave the confidence to, kind of, go and, you know, become a musician and really, you know, take some chances, you know, other teachers were - Of course, my parents, I mean, you learn a lot from your parents, but generally, those lessons don't take root until they're long gone or you have your own kids -
[00:09:40.29] So Mrs. (Fink), like, she basically was it like an intervention, like, did she -
No, she was just somebody that really, you know, was a genuine caring, you know, teacher, I mean, she was just somebody that really loved her job and her and I had a great relationship, it was, kind of, you know, she knew that I had had experiences as a young person that were probably above my pay grade and really did her best to kind of, you know, keep me interested, keep the child light burning in me, you know, but there were other people around me as well, I mean, I had a great drum teacher at eight years old Charlie Adams who really, you know, instilled in me a love of learning and a love of practising, my brother Paul is a great drummer as well and, you know, there was, you know, as far as musical upbringing, you know, there was tons of music in my family so that was kind of the - Probably the consistent - The thing that was consistent through all of us was just a love for music, like I said, I mean -
[00:10:44.23] Did your dad play clarinet?
That is right, yeah, my dad played clarinet, my brother was a drummer, my sister played piano, my other sister was not a musician, but was just consumed with music and really was probably the - One of the single biggest driving forces in my love for music and really exposed me to - And she passed away about ten years ago, but -
[00:11:06.27] Oh, my God, I'm sorry, I didn't know that.
Yeah, we were really close, she was the next oldest to me, she was seven years older than me so - But her, you know, her record collection was, kind of, my university, right, where she would say - You know, she would sit me down and say 'I want you to check out Jim Gordon or Steve Gadd, great drummers.' and, you know, I think it was kind of a contest in my family because I was the youngest for my brothers and sisters to try to get me to like their music the most so in one room I could be forced to listen to Beach Boys and then the next room I would be listening to Steely Dan and then my dad would grab me and force me to listen to 'Sing Sing Sing' by, you know, Benny Goodman so -
[00:11:49.11] You were like everybody's little project.
Exactly, you know, including, like, wearing, you know, dresses that my sisters were trying to make, you know, so it was, kind of, (sub to nuts) that experience, but again, I mean, I think, you know, looking back I guess retrospectively, you know, the teachers are, you know, those smaller moments in your life, you know, that you kind of tuck away for later.
[00:12:16.19] So at what age did little Jimmy Chamberlin choose the drums?
Yeah, I think just because my brother was a drummer -
[00:12:26.20] How old were you, when did this happen?
I started playing when I was eight, yeah, and my brother had been playing, you know, what I thought was very successfully for many years and really just nothing more than kind of older brother, you know, adulation got me behind the kit and then once I experienced, you know, that journey of - I was, you know, hooked on it and I just couldn't get enough.
[00:13:01.18] So, like pretty much straight away you were like 'This is what I want to do, this is what I want to be!'?
I mean, I guess it was the only thing that I could - It was the only place where I could envision a life outside of my situation, you know, and I think that is why arts are so important to kids, I mean, if kids don't play athletics and they're not into academics, you know, a journey in the arts, it creates, you know, - Often times a young person's first experience with giving, right, I mean, I knew that at eight years old the more I gave to my instrument the more I would get back and I think that is an important lesson for a young person, but secondarily it also creates this, kind of, spiritual upper mobility in that when I was playing my drums I could dream about a life outside of my predicament, right, where I didn't have to go get a job and raise kids and be miserable like the people around me or get a job that I'd, you know, work Monday through Friday just so I can drink myself into a stupor, you know, on Saturday and Sunday, you know, there was a lot of that and if you grew up in the Catholic Church, obviously, there was a lot of that where, you know, it was okay - You know, the fish fry would happen on Friday during Lent and everybody would get pie-eyed, then it would carry through the weekend and then everybody would stagger back to their jobs on Monday -
[00:14:25.09] So do you feel that you had a grim upbringing?
You know, I don't want to, you know, mischaracterise it as 'a grim', I mean, it was definitely, you know, there was some abuse going on, certainly not sexual, but physical and mental abuse going on, my dad was a, you know, very, you know, he was a warrior, I mean, he was a guy who worked really hard and he had, you know, I guess high expectations, but on the other hand, my dad loved his job and he loved going to work and I think the - Probably the single biggest lesson I learned from him was, you know, life is too short to do something you hate so he was one of the few people in my environment that really got up with a smile on his face every day, loved going to work on the (railroad) and came home just loving it, in fact, when he retired after 40 years he went back to work on the (railroad) as a consultant just because he (could) -
[00:15:22.19] And, obviously, that the fact that he was a musician and, you know, your brothers and sisters musicians, like, the idea of you wanting to be a musician was it something that was resisted at home?
Well, I don't think, you know, none of them, with the exception of my brother, nobody was really making a living as a musician so it really, you know, there was an expectation to find something else to do besides trying to be a musician, I mean, and when I, you know, decided to leave home and start playing professionally, I mean, I won't say that there was any resistance, but there was certainly some, kind of, wait-and-see doubt, you know, or, you know, 'Give him a couple of years and he will come to his senses.' and that, of course, never happened, I never did, I still haven't come to my senses.
[00:16:07.16] And what age were you when you left home and, kind of, set out into the world, what age were you then?
I was pretty young, I mean, I was, you know, fifteen, sixteen playing and making enough money to, kind of, support myself, but, you know, with that I was, kind of, back and forth, you know, living in house, living out of the house, I'd say I probably left for good around seventeen, but then again, you know, kind of popped back every once in a while if things weren't going well, but my parents divorced after 33 years of marriage when I was fifteen, yeah, another Catholic thing, you know, it was like -
[00:16:48.09] Not divorce, yeah, don't get divorced.
- Was don't get divorced even - No matter how much you hate each other's guts and then as soon as I left the house within five minutes they were divorced, you know, it was, like, _
[00:17:01.06] So you were like the last of the baby, it raised their baby, so it would -
[00:17:07.15] The baby had left the house so they didn't have to hold it together anymore.
I mean, it was literally like, you know, 'Hey, man, I was only gone for five minutes, what happened here?', you know, but a - But, yeah, it was definitely the best thing for both of them, I mean, they were, they were, you know, just not happy and really not sleeping in the same room and _
[00:17:27.06] And how did they cope then - How did they cope without each other after being together for so long, how did all that work out for them?
Yeah, pretty swimmingly, I mean, they seemed to, you know, they seemed to have found like a whole another second effort after that, my mom, you know, lived on her own and had a great group of friends that she, of course, went to bingo with, you know, and my dad got remarried to somebody who miraculously didn't fight with -
[00:18:00.05] Because, you know, in Ireland it takes five years to get divorced, like, literally, the legal process is five years from start to finish.
Yeah, well, in America it is not so - I mean, if you want to get the marriage annulled or anything like that in the Catholic Church then that takes a long time, but, as far as you know, finding a lawyer to just cut the cord it doesn't - That is not a lengthy process.
[00:18:24.10] It is, like, so few people actually get divorced in Ireland still, so little Jimmy Chamberlin who, you know -
Well, I think that is why I waited so long to get married, right, I didn't get married until I was thirty seven, thirty eight and I've been, you know, happily married ever since.
[00:18:44.16] So it was a big commitment, it means you take it really seriously.
Well I just didn't want to repeat the cycle, right, I mean, that is the thing, you don't - The idea of raising kids or being a child that is raised is to move on and evolve the process, I thought, you know, Lori's parents, you know, were a lot like my own although they didn't - They weren't involved in the Church, but they were nevertheless divorced, you know, alcoholic, and so when we had Audrey, our oldest child, you know, we had to take a good look at ourselves and say 'Look.', you know, we were both drinking at that time, I mean, not so much her, but I was still drinking, and we just had that moment where we just said 'You know what? I just don't - I just, I just - This isn't my life, I don't want to do this, I don't want to repeat the past, I want to create some distance between, you know, this kind of a - You know, this kind of a life that my family has created that, you know, that (weren't keeping from) and put some effort into creating a life that we don't want to escape from.' and I think that was, you know, that was a big - That was a big (lynch) for sure.
[00:20:06.14] And can you remember, Jimmy, at what did you have your first drink?
I think it was probably nine or ten years old, maybe eve younger, you know, there was always booze in our house and, well, I mean, I can tell you that I had, you know, whiskey way before that because when I got sick, you know, my dad would sit me on his knee and give me a shot of Jameson or whatever the hell he was drinking, you know, VO or, you know, whatever the - Whatever type of _ he was drinking _, you know.
[00:20:38.23] Or if you had a toothache, you know, like, cotton wool and (gifted) whiskey, like, shoved in your mouth.
Yeah, and, you know, you go sleeping, wake up the next day and wonder what the hell happened to you, but, you know, early on, I mean, it wasn't just a, you know, a lifestyle in my family to drink, it was an expectation to not just drink, but to drink well.
[00:21:05.06] You're a big man, you can take it, it is like showing your manhood.
Yeah, yeah, make your mom proud, you know, but, you know, it is the same with Lori too, I mean, her family was very much, you know, drinking was a huge part of their, you know, existence or relationship with their friends, the relationship with their kids -
[00:21:26.29] So you have this power, I mean, I don't know at what age you got big and, kind of, you know, filled out, but I have this image of, you know, the powerhouse, teenage Jimmy, you know, the engine room pounding the drums fuelled by what, whiskey? Is that the deal?
I mean, I didn't drink when I played so that is, you know, drumming is, drumming is the type of thing where it is like - It is like soccer, right, you can't go out in the field drunk, I mean, you can't go play for (men and you) if you're pasted, right, so, you know, a lot of that stuff happened afterwards, I mean, I would maybe have a beer during a concert or something before I got into the Pumpkins, but with the Pumpkins there was no - You couldn't, I mean, you just can't play that stuff with any - You got to be on top of your game, it is like playing a pro basketball game, you can't just, you know, but obviously, you know, that once you become that kind of super athlete of the drums, you know, your ability to, you know, destroy yourself afterwards, you know, certainly gets pretty impressive.
[00:22:28.08] I'm very curious as to how the Pumpkins began and how all that came into your life, like, what was the genesis of that?
Yeah, just again, I mean, you know, going back to optimism, just that whole experience was just rooted in, you know, allowing things to happen for you and having, you know, the willingness to invest in good outcomes for yourself both mentally and spiritually. I think, you know, looking back at the millions of things that had to happen for that phone call to come or for that me and Billy to meet up, I mean, there is just - That is when you say when you see people that are trying to plan their lives and you look at a life like mine and you just realise that there is no way that anybody is smart enough to plan or is crafty enough to plan, you know, all of those things happening that would add up to a journey like that which is why I think, you know, even today, you know, I'm willing to kind of take a backseat and just kind of participate in my life and allow the great things around me to happen as opposed to just trying to continuously manipulate things so I - The Pumpkins was - The way that gig came out was I was playing with a guy, this guy Dave Zukowski in Joilet where I lived. Dave worked at a record store in Chicago. A guy, a friend of Billy Corgan's came into the record store and knew Dave and knew Dave because Billy Corgan's old band The Marked had recorded at Dave Zukowski's recording studio so Nick came in and was talking to Dave about the Pumpkins, about this potential gig at the Metro, about how they were looking for a drummer and Dave and they really weren't having much success in finding somebody who could play the songs and Dave just poked his head up and he said 'Well, I know a guy that can listen to the tape one time and come and play the gig tomorrow.' and Nick said 'Well, can you connect me with him?' and that is really how it happened, I didn't know Billy from Adam and he didn't know me, we were living completely diametrically opposed lives at that point and it was just through this kind of guy walking into a record store and, you know, making a comment about the Pumpkins looking for a drummer and this guy Dave knowing me that the next thing I know I had a demo tape in my hands of these, you know, eight or nine songs that were pretty damn good, although they had, you know, pretty rudimentary drum parts the song writing was pretty damn good so, you know, if you couple that with the fact that I had always wanted to play the Metro and always wanted to, kind of, bust into Chicago as a drummer I saw it as a really, just a really good opportunity, if nothing else just to play the Metro and to play some gigs in Chicago so that is how the relationship started and then from the first practice, I mean, it was - I mean, something happened that day that changed everybody's life, the way we played together, our understanding of music, what we were attracted to, the license they gave me to be my own musician in that band, I mean, it was kind of a perfect storm and it, you know, of course, led to some, you know, just fantastic work.
[00:26:07.11] I'm always thinking it is really amazing, now, for me a band is almost like a socialist cooperative, you know, you have all these adults coming together and _ a lot (in with) each other, their fortunes depend upon each other, but you came as a stranger into this already existing group and, yet, you were the last one left standing, yourself and Billy were the last two original members left towards the end.
Well, and I still, I still very much am a stranger in that band, I never really - Aside from musical contribution, you know, culturally, I never really fit in with those guys, I mean, I was a blue collar kid from Joliet who had no understanding of fashion or what it meant to be cool and, you know, I joined a band where, you know, we had a bass player who is a fashionista, a guitar player who is an artist and then, you know, Billy was, you know, obviously this kind of hippie child, you know, wearing a black turtleneck and a medallion with purple hair, I mean, when I showed up to the audition I think I was wearing a pink t-shirt and, like, rolled up jeans and some work boots and I had, like, a yellow drum set and they - And I remember D'arcy and James were like 'Look, I don't care how good this guy is, he can't be in the band.' and, I mean, it was - So I can honestly say that was purely through my musical ability that I got that gig and had absolutely nothing to do with anything else, I mean, those guys didn't drink, you know, Corgan had never even drink a beer and here I come from Joliet with my, you know, sports car because I had been working as a carpenter so I had saved a little bit of money, I had a nice car, I had a jazz drum set that was, you know, an hommage to Tony Williams, one of my heroes, and I had no desire to be in a band that sounded, you know, like R.E.M. or anything like that, I was very much listening to jazz fusion and very progressive, super complicated, difficult music to play, but nevertheless, I mean, when Billy and I started talking about what we wanted to do or what we could do now that I was in the band because before that they were using a drum machine so now, you know, Billy, who I found out later, was also a fan of progressive music and really, in spite of his efforts to appear cool, was as much of a nerd and geek as I was when it came to, like, listening to that stuff, we realised that we could combine that understanding of music and our technical ability to become this just juggernaut of, you know, polyrhythmic, psychedelic rock and that is when things got really interesting.
[00:28:54.27] Because I was just thinking about the other day (I was) speaking to you and I was, like, you know, for me it is, like, these Pumpkins were, like, this melding of, like, Nirvana and The Smiths, it was like that aggressive sound, but yet with all the sensitivity, like, did you know what you were creating, did you know who were you trying to connect with, did you know how you were trying to make people feel right from the start?
We knew how we wanted to make ourselves feel and that is a great reference point, I mean, I think, you know, Mike Joyce and the way he played with The Smiths - Is it Mike Joyce, right? Yeah. Joycie the Drummer was just an incredible inspiration to me just because of the sensitivity and power that he played with, right, and the grandeur that he played with that I think, you know, Morrissey was never able to capture later, you know, those early Smith's records were face melting, I mean, just in the production and the way he played the drums, I mean, just the accents, the dynamics, you know, and Nirvana was, kind of, the punk rock version of that, but more so, I mean, we were more into, like, we would talk a lot about Mahavishnu Orchestra, right, or _ or Cole Porter or Irving Berlin or - You know, how do you, how do you take that, you know, ideology or production value and really couple it with a real fundamental understanding of song crafting and, you know, creating drum parts that are super compelling and marrying that with harmony and narrative in a way that takes the listener on these journeys and we invested a ton of time in the process and really enjoyed it, I mean, we were, you know, at least Billy and I were so hard on ourselves to come up with these parts that were just unmistakably hooky that it just became - That was really the fun part of it.
[00:30:53.18] Yeah, like, just to get the songs that just never leave you, you know, I'm just wondering was there anything you were rallying against or anything you were trying to, like, did you see yourselves as opposed to anything that was going on, like, what was the world you were coming out of like versus the way you imagined the world should be?
Well, that was it, I mean, it was really - It really was a rallying against what was going on because, you know, in the current popular music the drums were very simple, there was no guitar solos and nobody was really rocking out, right, like, nobody was playing this, kind of, forceful, polyrhythmic, you know, loud, dynamic music, it was all basically like Bauhaus or Love and Rockets or that type of stuff which was cool, but not really the way we grew up in Chicago, we grew up in Chicago listening to Chicago Radio, you know, the stuff like Heart and Boston and Cheap Trick and those types of bands so we wanted to take the cultural movement that was, you know, what was, kind of, grunge and make it our own through our own experiences in Chicago and I think that was what is great about living in Chicago is that you were insulated from those other influences and you got to, kind of, operate in this vacuum of (nei abate) that, for better or worse, made you so different from everybody else just because, you know, it was either an overt understanding of everything or a lack of understanding, but nevertheless, you could use it as a lever and as a tool to create thing that was different.
[00:32:30.13] And what kind of things did you learn from being in the Pumpkins?
Oh, man, you want the G rated version, the PG version, the R version or the X version?
[00:32:41.06] Oh, no, this show is tagged 'Explicit' on every platform, give whichever you want.
Yeah, I mean, I'll just say I learned it all, man, I learned it all, let's just say there isn't much that I don't know, in for better or worse, but really, I mean, you know, I learned - I mean, I learned a lot from my band mates, I learned how to have integrity, you know, from Billy, I learned how to be, you know, how to value what you have ownership of, how to really have respect for yourself, I mean, it is funny, you know, you kind of grow up to a certain point, but then when you get in a band, like you said, you, kind of - It becomes this kind of socialist, you know, club for, kind of, malcontents, but nevertheless you learn how to, kind of, re-grow up (within) the context of that, I think, you know, D'arcy, D'arcy probably summed it up the best that I've ever heard, when they asked her one time what was it like to be a girl in a band like the Pumpkins and she said 'It's like being married to three guys that you would never even date.'
[00:33:58.12] Oh, perfect, oh, my God.
And that is really, that sums it up, right, that sums the experience up because the music - The music becomes so consuming and so powerful that even though you may hate somebody in the band or you may not have any respect at one point for another member of the band, the music is so valuable and has so much authority over you that all of that stuff in a normal relationship that would just, you know, collapse the relationship in an ensemble like the Pumpkins were, at least for Billy and I, the music was so important, there were so many things that were overlooked, I mean, so many personality, you know, inconsistencies and things that were just like 'Okay, we just got to deal with it because _ serve the music, we just got to forge ahead.' and that, I mean, that went all the way, you know, through my own, you know, abuse and my own behaviour issues to where, you know, I was, you know, completely off the rails in 1995/96 (World), you know, my pension for escapism had reached an all time high and then with the passing of my father and, you know, culminating, you know, combining that with, you know, being in one of the biggest bands in the world, I mean, I just had a complete meltdown, but nevertheless, the band was still telling me '(Your) things are great, like, things are okay, we can still go on.' and then, obviously, when Jonathan passed away they had, you know, very - I guess they had choices, but the choice they made was to move on without me which was, you know, opinions aside, that is just a way it went down, but up until that point, I mean, literally, if you know, the day before we had played a show, I mean, _ (just) like, so you're making all of these concessions for people that are so far beyond any concessions you would make in a normal relationship, I mean, it just makes your head spin, right, where you just - And when you talk to normal people that are outside, you know, your world and they're looking in they're going 'You guys are crazy, man, what is going on, you're living in a house that is burning down.'
[00:36:20.12] And what is your definition of normal, is it just -
(It is relative _ subjective)
[00:36:28.01] Wow, and you'll have to excuse me, who is Johnatan, sorry I -
Jonathan Melvoin, so the keyboard player that overdosed on heroin in New York when I was fired from the band so, you know, that was a huge episode, but up and to that point it is not like things like that hadn't been going on, I mean, there was rampant abuse on both sides and certainly I was - Although I was the biggest offender I certainly wasn't the only offender so, you know, it is -
[00:37:01.15] So were you blamed, were you blamed for what happened to Jonathan, were you in somewhat made feel responsible?
No, I wouldn't say that I was, you know, blamed, I mean, I think, you know, he was a drug addict in his own right as we all, kind of, were in that band, you know, but nevertheless, I mean, I was there and, you know, that was _ as a big _
[00:37:31.03] Oh, my God, yes, like, and with your dad as well, I mean, death is just this thing that how we react to it is still, kind of, so primal really, isn't it?
Well, I mean, especially when you're in, you know, the - When you're in the throes of, you know, achieving or experiencing success at the highest level, you know, everything that you and everybody else has worked for so hard and then, you know, you get these things that just, you know, want to take you down _, you know, just goes into survival mode _
[00:38:05.13] But even in the middle of your addictions and your excesses you were still one of the more rooted members of the band in terms of keeping the show on the road.
I mean, I guess, I mean, the thing about me, right, is I can always play, right, I mean, I have always played at the highest level, you know, no matter what was going in my life and I think I learned that early on as a child, right, my experience at my house was very caustic like I said, there was a lot of volatility yet I was able to, you know, carve out enough quite time for myself to practice, you know, four or five, six hours a day so I think I learned that - I learned to, you know, operate at an extremely high level in spite of the mayhem and I think, you know, that is probably one of my biggest, you know, skill sets today, I mean, I don't drink or use drugs anymore, I'm, you know, super straight guy and not that I'm some, you know, twelve-step program, (it was) just for me it was just a choice, right, I didn't go through any - I didn't exchange one mechanism for another, I just chose to stop and that is, you know, that was very much - On my mother side, my mom had drink for 30+ years being married to my father and literally this is crazy but the day my dad left she never drink again, I mean, it was like, yeah, remove the problem and the problem goes away, right, it just, it was like a magic trick, right, I mean, she was, like, I mean, how do you suddenly do that, but just -
[00:39:48.05] I can't (tell what I'm) thinking the fact that you grew up in such a (turmoilous) household, but you were playing this instrument that literally allowed you to drown out what was going on around you.
Well, I think so, yeah, I think the drums are, obviously, loud enough to where you don't have to listen to people yelling at each other constantly, you know, but again, I mean, there has to be, there has to be a spiritual drowning out as well and I think, for me, I mean, there came a point in my life later on after I had been dismissed from the band where I thought 'Okay, music is going to take me down and music, you know, can potentially be my adversary or can potentially be my enemy.' and it took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that that just wasn't true and I even quit playing for a while and now I feel like I've gotten back to the point where, you know, I do have an accountable relationship with my instrument, it is that accountability with my instrument that really keeps me grounded, you know, before this interview I practiced for an hour in my studio, I practiced for an hour, I have a session from eight o'clock till nine o'clock every morning where I practice (and exist), it is an amazing thing to have, but yeah, I mean, you learn, again, you learn that this thing can either kill or can save you.
[00:41:12.06] It is funny, you talk about the drums almost as if it is a relationship.
But it is, I mean, it is, it is the longest relationship I've ever had and it is the one that is, you know, consistently been truthful to me and really, for better or worse, worse in all has exposed - Has never exposed anything but the truths to me and that is - Once you can wrap your head around that you can really see not just the, obviously, the musical value of the instrument, but really the life lessons that something like that can teach you, right, because it really is a - It really is a relationship of giving where you have to be of service to the instrument, you can't have an expectation, you can't go in saying 'I'm not getting enough from my drum set.', I mean, there is guys, there is guys - What kills me is there is people out there that really go like - That have this expectation as they move through life yet they're not giving, right, and they say 'Well, like, I deserve more than this.' or 'I'm not getting -' - And if you have an altruistic relationship with your instrument you also have an understanding of the fact that you don't get anything without giving, right, if you're not getting what you think you deserve then you're not giving enough, it really is as simple as that.
[00:42:46.00] Absolutely _ and do you feel an automatic kinship with all musicians or an extra one with drummers?
I feel like kinship with anybody who has dedicated themselves to their instrument and it is really moving things forward and it doesn't have to be a drummer, it could be, you know, Zamfir, you know, master of the pan flute and, you know, I don't care, I know what it takes and I know, you know, bullshiters when I see them, I know guys that are talking the talk and not walking the walk, I know guys who are pretending to be, you know, musicians and not practicing, I know guys that are, you know, (phony) as we used to say in the Pumpkins, but I also know guys, like, you know, I mean, I was just talking to Steve Smith, the drummer from Journey and Vital Information yesterday, just released an incredible book on matched grip drumming and, you know, here's a guy that is had super success, super stardom in the band Journey, but has just continued to evolve on the instrument and guys like that are an inspiration to me, I think that is the point, right, whether there is an evolution and the evolution isn't a product of trying to second guess the market, right, I mean, there is guys that will - Like, Terry Bozzio, right, who played with Zappa, he is out there playing this, kind of, multitimbral, harmonic, percussive, orchestral, symphonic pieces that he is composed with, you know, with no other expectation other than 'I'm going to try to do this and maybe some people will show up.', right, so, like, on the other hand, there is guys that are out there just trying to (your) second guess the market and trying to fit into, you know, whatever the kind of current niche is or trying to have success that goes beyond a relationship with their instrument or their craft, right, and I think as you get older that stuff becomes much less attractive then, say, going and playing a night at Andy's Jazz Club where you know guys are going to be sitting three feet from your bass drum and there is going to be five drummers (in _ different) row and you better be ready to deliver, man, or you're going to look like a schmuck.
[00:45:12.11] (Yeah,) the biggest idiot ever because -
(What) not the biggest idiot, just like somebody who doesn't give a shit.
[00:45:17.24] Yeah, yeah, what I really, really want to talk to you about today, what can go right back to the start of this is what I will just call 'Wisconsin', like, I'd like you to explain this entire story to me from the start and your whole motivation for it because when we spoke about it briefly when we met in Dublin you just blew my mind.
Sure, so I guess the start is about six years ago I went to a - I was on this label Dangerbird, I had a solo project - Not a solo project, I was doing a project with this guy Migraine who is a great songwriter and through that process we had signed a deal with this label Dangerbird Records that was ran by this guy Jeff Castelaz. Jeff is a friend of mine from Milwaukee, Jeff, unfortunately, had a son who died of cancer and had, kind of, post his son's death had dedicated a good portion of his life to raising money for cancer research so he was putting on this event in Milwaukee and invited me to come up and just, kind of, check it out and I knew some of the musicians that were playing and it was, basically, a fundraiser. Well, one of the guys that was playing was this guy Cory Chisel and Cory was playing with his now girlfriend and the mother of his baby Adriel, the piano player, and I was just so blown away by what this guy was singing and just so taking it back with this strength and power and beauty and the music that I asked Jeff to introduce me to Cory after the show and so I went down and met Cory and I found he was from Appleton, Wisconsin and so immediately started talking about fishing because I'm a big fisherman, I have a boat and I fish in Wisconsin all the time and Cory and I just hit it off and it was one of those things where you meet somebody and there isn't really a lot to talk about other than, kind of, you know, kind of fishing and some other stuff, but we both knew at that point that there was going to be - That at some point there was going to be a vehicle for us to work together and I was always scratching my head because I'm not a big, kind of, American - His music is very much rooted in kind of Americana, Bob Dylan, that type of stuff, I'm trying to think of some of the other artists that he is into, but, you know, you know, that type of Americana which is not really my thing, but nevertheless, you know, Cory and I became friends and just, kind of, stayed in touch over the years and Cory many years later had a baby, he knew that I had kids and we had spent a good amount of time talking about just raising kids, the current state of education, those types of things and Cory, you know, really was, kind of, almost interviewing me as far as, you know, what my concepts, what my ideology were around, teaching kids, learning (bob art), right, and how to teach - How we were taught to play an instrument versus how we were taught to do mathematics, so we had this, kind of, tangent going for about three years just around, basically, raising kids, in raising kids not rooted in fear, raising kids to be creative beings, not reactive beings, so about a year ago Cory was living in Nashville and he was, kind of, caught up in that Nashville scene and was just kind of had enough of it and called me and said 'Look, you know, Nashville has turned into this, kind of, poserland, it is really not for me, I mean, I go back to Appleton and see what I can come up with and maybe just try to get back to my roots.' so he went back to Appleton and he had an opportunity as he was looking for some place to live he had an opportunity to invest in what was an old monastery that was founded in the early 1900 by one of the oldest orders of Franciscan monks and it was just kind of sitting there, it was a 33 thousand square foot facility with a beautiful 14 acres of grounds on the Fox River, it really wasn't being used other than the - The monks were still there in residence, but the building was - The building itself was being unused, but the monks were living off site in their own little, kind of, I guess commune, but still, kind of, working in and around the refuge, now, the monks were also, in addition to being Franciscan monks, they were also artisans in their own right so over the hundred years this group of monks had built all the doors, they had laid all the stone, they had done all the ironwork, so this place was just, kind of, sitting there, Cory went out and looked around for some co-investors and put together a group of people that enabled him to go and buy the monastery, so now rather than, kind of, living in Appelton, he owns this 33 thousand square foot monastery and over the last year he has been doing artist resident scenes where, you know, he will invite bands or painters or solo songwriters to come and spend anywhere from two weeks to a year at the monastery and engage in this, kind of, workshops so in addition to the quarters in the monastery there is also a recording studio that he has put in there, there is a radio station that broadcasts from the monastery and when artists come they get the opportunity to use this studio, to broadcast on the radio station, but also exposure to the many artist friends that Cory has coming through the facility as well, so fast-forward to about, well, January 1st I get a text from Cory and he said 'Hey, you know, I got the monastery, kind of, up and rolling and I want to talk to you about, you know, maybe doing some things in and around education up here.' and it was just one of those things where - I had just been talking to my wife about what 2017 was going to look like, right, I've doing - I had an (Asian/Aegean) and some speaking things were rolling in, we were talking about maybe doing a Pumpkin tour later on in the year, but nothing that really - Nothing that was really making me go 'Wow, this is going to be amazing.', right, so as soon as I got that text and - From Cory and he said 'You know, I'm thinking about or I want to start some educational programs.' I knew that this was going to be - It is just one of those things where you - I called him immediately and he said 'Look, there is nobody else in the world that I can think of besides you to come in and conceptualise a curriculum for education in and around the city of Appleton.', now, to kind of rewind for a minute here, in addition to buying the monastery Cory had put together a couple of festivals called 'Mile of Music', right, in Appleton and, basically, 'Mile of Music' was a festival that takes place along this corridor in downtown Appleton, but in addition to, in addition to having musical artist perform he also had peripheral, kind of, workshops going on, curriculum and really was trying to point his flashlight at this, kind of, truth based initiatives that would, kind of, go out into the community and create awareness in and around this, kind of, non-fear based thinking and this all stuff that Cory and I had been discussing over the past four years. Another thing that he did was he got the community to come to the table and invest in food programs for the homeless and those food programs then evolved into educational opportunities and then employment opportunities for the homeless and then over that two year period of him being back in Appleton the community started to come together and come around - Come to the table around these events and in doing so the company - Or the city of Appleton experienced a drastic decline in any type of crime or abuse or any type of theft and they started to attribute this success to these truth-based programs that Cory was, kind of, (curriculing) around the peripheral of this 'Mile of Music', so now we've got a community of Appelton, Wisconsin -
[00:54:08.08] So just to pause there for a second, you're banging the table as you're talking which is coming through on the mic.
Oh, I'm sorry, yeah.
[00:54:14.15] No, no, no problem, so can you just explain when you talk about 'truth-based' music projects what do you mean by 'truth'?
Again, I just mean non reactive, right, I just mean - I'm talking about music for music's sake and art being quantified purely for art's sake, right, and not getting into this, kind of, destination based creativity where, you know, there is commercial - You know, there is a commercial destination to it, I'm just saying anything that evolves out of truth and not fear, right, so if you want a journey in art and that journey is based on the fact that you will truly want to an artist and you don't want to be a big celebrity, I mean, you know, those types of things or it can be simply having the courage to find and be patient enough to find a job in a life that is, kind of, worth living, right, you know, any of those, kind of, mechanisms are what I'm talking about because in today's world, I mean, when you look at kids today they are exposed to so much fear, I mean, in the current educational system in America the first thing kids start thinking about is 'What if I don't get a good grade? What if I don't make it to the next class? What if I don't graduate eight grade? What if I don't get into a good high school? What if I do shitty in high school and I don't get accepted to college? What if I don't get good grades in college and I don't get a good job? I'm going to be miserable, right?', I mean, those are all fear-based initiatives and that is how the general public generally lives their life with this, kind of, idea that if things don't go right the shit is going to hit the fan, right, well, that is - I mean that is really, kind of, counter to the artistic process so if you can engage more in the artistic process where you're saying 'The universe knows best, I'm going to be a vehicle for the experience that is going to become my life and I'm going to allow the great things that are going to happen to me to happen?', that is a different experience then this, kind of, holy shit moment after holy shit moment that kids are experiencing today, so, really, the idea with these programs is to help let people off the hook and to celebrate, get them to identify and celebrate what is truly unique and powerful about their identity, right, and that is where the, kind of, truth-based versus fear-based comes in.
[00:56:45.29] And when you have people in a very uncertain climate, (I think one of these at the moment) _ uncertainty and fear and it is all used to stir things up, but when you're saying to pursue a truth-based agenda and someone says 'Well, hang on a minute, how is that going to pay the rent and put a roof over my head?'?
Yeah, well, you know, I can just point to my own experience and say, you know, having the confidence to allow things to happen to you, you know, will open up doors that you can never imagine, I mean, in my experience - My experience in the Pumpkins is a great example of that, like, nobody and anybody who has had, you know, a life of, you know, somewhat a surprising life of great things happening to them will tell you that it wasn't of their own manufacturing, right, I mean, guys, you can manufacture a life as a doctor and you can manufacture a life, but there is so much more to a life, right, I mean, there is so much more to a life that will happen as long as you're investing in (an honesty)-based ideology.
[00:57:48.05] So you have this quest for truth or be guided by truth at the core of what you want to in Appleton, so what have you defined, what's your plans for what you're going to do there?
Yes, so we've already started so we're doing a series of speaker programs that is going to start in June, we're having everybody from, you know, Shaman Durek to Anita Moorjani, you know, those types of people come in and talk about their life experiences and really to kind of demonstrate the point that, you know, there is, there is - For those of us that have the courage to, kind of, engage the universe there is an amazing life out there and not to get all mystical and magical and certainly you've got to pay the bills and certainly we want to be pragmatic about stuff, but there is a way to be pragmatic and still allow for things to happen and not be pragmatic in fear, to be pragmatic on the balls of your feet. We're also doing - We're doing workshops with everything from science programs to guided meditation, bird watching, bee keeping, those types of things to really get the community, kind of, back rooted in the Earth, rooted in nutrition, we're doing health-based programs that get people aware of, you know, how what they're putting in their body really has a lot to do with the way they feel about themselves, about the way they wake up in the morning, you know, yoga, those types of things and we're doing musician's workshops as well, we're having guys like myself, guys like Cory, you know, come in and guide young people through the process of creativity and then we're doing community outreach stuff as well, we're going to, you know, the businesses around Appleton and talking about our experiences and talking about - Get the similarities between a journey as an artist and a journey in anything that involves looking for things of high quality in your life.
[00:59:52.17] And, obviously, when you start doing something things happen, things happen when you do things, so what is happening now, who has come out of the woodwork now you've actually started all this?
Everybody, I mean everybody, I've got, you know, Shaman Durek is coming out to do some guided meditations, I've got tons of people from Chicago that have enlisted, I've got you, obviously, I've hit you up, you know, Matthew Luhn I want to get out there, that we did the panel, the Pixar panel, just, you know, anybody and everybody who is got something interesting to say about, you know, the value of taking chances and having the confidence to know that life is, kind of, better than it is, right, and having the confidence to know that, you know, we do have control through our own, through our own, kind of, spiritual energy of the good things that happened to us.
[01:00:45.28] It is really funny, the funny thing, one of the main things (from the) Catholic upbringing is the language and stories and references that you have as a result and the phrase that is running through my head is 'There but for the grace of God go I' and if you look back to your upbringing, the upbringing that you describe and then you look at your life and all the different things that have happened to you and now you can reach out to people who are just a whisker away or a bad decision away from their entire life taking a path for better or worse.
Well, that is it, right, and I think, you know, part of the Catholic journey was - And if you look, you know, beyond Catholicism and go back to (saint Gnosticism) or some of the other, kind of, deeper theologies, you know, the idea with a spiritual journey was to really become more like the Christ, right, and that was, and that was - You know, Jesus’ teachings were really about teaching guys to have that experience, teaching women to have that experience, teaching them to be more like that and opening themselves up to that experience and really what you want to do is you want to expose people, normal people who are working, you know, day-to-day jobs to people who have had that experience that get closer to that type of gratification and to understand, kind of, what the mechanisms are to get you closer to that, I mean, I do some teaching at this place called The Cove School which is ES spectrum disordered kids, right, and it is all - Some of the kids are autistic, some of the kids have other issues, but, you know, these kids are generally going through life with people looking at them, you know, kind of strangely or - They're used to people not understanding what is going on and often times what I'll start the lesson with is having these kids just tell me about some of their favourite people, right, and you'll get anything from Ben Franklin to Yogi Berra to David Bowie, right, or, you know, you name it, these kids will come up with it and once you start getting these kids to think about, you know, homogenisation and identity and you start to tell kids, like 'Well, what if David Bowie was everybody else?' and, you know, you start to get them to wrap their heads around the power and the celebration of identity and I think, as adults, we need to hear that message as well, I mean, I think we get, you know, sucked into a world that is super homogenised, that is super cookie cutter, that is super comparable, you know, we're measured by everyone's yardsticks but our own, we're valuing our life as a measurement against other people's lives, (here) we're constantly held up to other things, other people, we live in a completely narcissistic world where it's about getting things, you know, your value is predicated on how much you have or when you look at somebody else who is driving a nice car you think it like 'How did they get that? How much did it cost? How do I get that?', it is, like, that is really not what it is about, it is about the uniqueness in every individual and their ability to celebrate that uniqueness that gives the world the power and really when you look at this kind of fear-based media influence it is all about homogenization, the more homogenised they can make the world the more they can have holistic influence on the masses, right, but the more we can get people to think about celebrating their identity and the more they can think about the things that are unique about me or the things that give me power and the less I act like other people the more powerful I am, the more we can start to get the world to go in the right direction.
[01:04:31.22] And who are you targeting to be the recipient of what you're doing in Appleton, like, what kind of people are you reaching out to try and get to come and immerse themselves in what it is you're creating, have you profiled it or - How do you get people to come where they're finding you, how is all that working?
Yes, so, like I said, we've got the radio station and everybody in the town is aware of what we're doing, we met with a lot of the big CEOs, the CEO of 'Oshkosh', the CEO of 'Crate & Barrel', the owner of the Green Bay Packers, we've got a lot of high level business guys investing in this stuff because they know the value of this stuff, they know the value of a happy workforce, they know the value of people that are investing in themselves, they know - They can quantify, right, and they can also quantify the value of education, I mean, when you teach people that literacy can be their way out and there is a whole world waiting for them in a library, all they got to do is open a book, I mean, everybody from, you know, an artist like the Pumpkins because, you know, art, art has always depended on the people that consume it, I mean, art will only be as sophisticated as the people that consume it or it only can be, it is the same with consumer behaviour, I mean, consumers will only be as educated or, you know, a Target's bottom line is going to be predicated on the intellectual capacity of its consumers as well, the more intellectual capacity a consumer has the more intellectually they can be marketed to, I mean, there is value across the board, some of it vulgar, some of it not so vulgar, but nevertheless there is so much value in education, an education that is rooted in identity and rooted in things that strengthen people as opposed to weaken people it is really what we're on about at the refuge.
[01:06:27.00] It feels like social engineering.
But it is social engineering that allows people to make their own social template, right, it allows people to determine and celebrate what they feel is unique about themselves and to teach people not to use other yardsticks to measure their success, it is like being a musician, right, people look at me and they say 'Oh, you're a successful musician.', well, okay, maybe I'm a successful musician, but not for the reasons you think I'm a successful musician, I'm not a successful musician because I live in a big house and I drive a Porsche, right, I'm just not, that is not why I'm a successful musician, I'm a successful musician because I get my ass out of the bed in the morning and I come and practice from eight o'clock till nine o'clock every goddamn day, right, that is why I'm a successful musician, those are my parameters for success, other musicians, like my brother, he plays three, four nights in a band, he doesn't live in a big house, but you could argue that he is just as successful as I am, it is the idea that this, you know, there is these self-directed and self imposed quantification mechanism that really get us out of what it means to celebrate our own uniqueness and identity as an individual human being and that what I'm trying to do is just get people to really look at their value because, you know, everybody is so unique, there is nobody like anybody else in the whole world and the idea in the current, kind of, construct is that everybody, you know, wants to be somewhat similar and I'm saying well, that is a dead end, we need to celebrate our differences as opposed to (impart) _
[01:08:06.21] Yeah, when I used the phrase 'social engineering' I don't see that as a bad thing, I see it as a good thing, you're trying to nudge (some) _ along certain directions, but everything you're describing to me I'm, kind of, going 'Oh, my God, if this can happen in Appleton, why not Dublin? Why not Prague? Why not London? Why not New York?'
Well, that is it, right, and I think the idea here is to, you know, and it really - It is early days right now and we're still coming to grips with, you know, A, either the power we're wielding here, the reception we've had from the community which has been incredible, but also, you know, how do we template this and move it around the world and how do we create something that, you know, allows people of other cultures and in another cities to experience the same type of beautiful gift that _ individuality.
[01:09:00.06] When I, you know, obviously, everyone is looking at the news, Trump every day and all that type of stuff, you know, my attitude to people like him used to be just to ignore them, but as things get worse and worse and worse it is like, well, am I being remised by trying to ignore him and, for me, one of the real purposes of this show is to find out how to remain optimistic and it feels like you have really found a way to believe that no matter what the storm is that is going on around you in terms of your own country you've got this thing you can pour your passion and energy into.
Well, it is, you know, if you live - You live by the tribe, die by the tribe, I mean, there is really, you know, a lot to be said for these tribal beliefs that, you know, everybody is expected or forced to or tried to forced to, you know, swallow and I just refuse to subscribe to that stuff, I just don't - I don't live in that world, I don't live in a world where, you know, Trump or anybody else rules my existence, they just don't - I mean, obviously, for me, when I look at governments or anything else, I mean, I think about, you know, two things: babies dying and education, right, I mean, that is really how I _, right, who is going to kill the least amount of young people and who is going to teach the most amount of young people, I mean, that is, you know, that is really what we need to be concerned with, I mean, all this other stuff about what bathroom are you going to use and this other stuff, it is just, for me, it is just another mechanism to take your eye of the ball of stuff that - And I'm not saying that that stuff doesn't matter because it does matter, but, really, when you invest in education and you invest in peace that stuff somehow solves itself because now you've got a culture to where nobody wants to manipulate, nobody wants to own or nobody wants to control another individual so people are free to do what they want, I mean, that is - That, for me, solves all those other issues, but the fact that, you know, bombs keep getting dropped on little ones and little ones are (going) hungry and not being education _ for me, that is where it all _
[01:11:15.16] And then, you know, back to tips for remaining optimistic, have I verbalised what is you do to stay optimistic which is to pour your energy into something like this amazing refuge project in Appleton or are there other tips?
I think, you know, participating in some type of mechanism that allows you to give back will allow you to see the fruits of that labour first hand and will do nothing but create optimism because you will see people change and you will see the power that you have to change people's lives, I mean, just with one word, right, I mean, look at how you and I met in that room and our lives were changed, I mean, that is - I've never met you before, you've never met me, within five minutes of talking our lives were changed, I mean, we're not unique, I mean, you and I are just regular people, but every individual has the power to do that which is one kind word or one, you know, opening a door, I mean, it starts very simple and it gets, you know, it gets very intense at the top.
[01:12:22.16] Well, what I really love about what you're doing with the refuge is that you're codifying, you're creating a replicable system and one of the things for me when I look at how bad people progress they have a system that is very easy to understand, the people can very easily copy and I see what you're doing as a really good positive version of that so people don't have to create something from scratch that is going to make a big impact, all they have to do is copy you guys.
All they have to do is listen, right, and then make their own determinations about what has value and everybody, you know, will choose things that make their life better, I mean, that is really our goal, you know, what is our base role, you know, here on the Earth, I mean, it is really to make things better, I mean, it is if you look at, you know, animals out there in the forest where I live, I mean, they're operating in a symbiotic way that makes the forest a great place to be, I mean, I watch, you know, we have deer in our backyard, we have coyotes, we have birds, I mean, there is no doubt that they're living in a world, you know, of their own creation that has been perfected over years and years and years and, I mean, and they're all comfortable with their role because they all know that they're doing something from the smallest piece of fungus to, you know, the red tail hawk that is trying to eat my cat, I mean, you know, there is a mechanism of organisation that is rooted in, you know, truth and that truth is a consequence of, you know, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and that is, you know, that is where we seem to have stopped, I mean, we seem to have stopped this process of evolution and, you know, maybe it is because humans don't live long enough to remember history, I mean, there seems to be this, kind of, you know, process of cycling and recidivism in and around mistakes of the past, this, kind of, hoodwinkery that is going on, you know, the selective thinking, you know, and this tribal behaviour that's become rampid, I mean, if you look at Europe and look at, like, the Europe that I knew in 1988. where Denmark was still Denmark and you went to Christiania and there was no doubt that you were in Denmark or Copenhagen and there was also no doubt that you were in Madrid, by 1996, 97, if you went to the city centre of Madrid you couldn't tell if you were in Madrid or Hamburg because it had been so homogenised, there was a Hugo Boss and a Benetton, I mean, it had been so westernised and homogenised that the identity had, kind of, vacuumed out, right, I mean, that is what we're - That is what we're suffering from, it is this, kind of, cultural and - Cultural robbery and this, kind of, you know, tribal - (Going to) keep together all in one basket, (one) our job is to experience life as an individual.
[01:15:37.13] And when you think of, you know, it is obvious that the education piece is, like, a major, major part of your life right now, when you look forward into the future, when you think ten, fifteen years down the line what will success in that context feel like for you, will like, how will you know you've done a good job?
Oh, you know, I mean, I guess if I'm still doing it, I mean, it doesn't end, it doesn't end, right, I mean, I think, you know, as - I mean, that is how I feel about my instrument, I feel like I've done a good job as a drummer because I still get up to practice every morning, it is what gets me out of bed so I think I'll know that I'm successful if I'm still doing it and making it better.
[01:16:23.27] Brilliant, brilliant, I could give you one of the main reasons I'm doing this show is really to try and figure out for myself what to do with myself to make sense of the world around me and, you know, this refuge project is one of the most amazing things I've heard of for a long, long time and I just can't wait to follow what you're doing and I hope people all over the world learn from it and are inspired by it and I just wish you every single success with it.
Well, thank you and I encourage you to not only, you know, watch from a distance, but to come and be a part of it, I think, you know, you and I are in (long stepped) on a lot of this stuff and I think having somebody like you as a resource, you know, we have a radio station there that we would gladly carve out an hour a day to have an optimist session, you know, don't think that there is not a place for you in Appelton because you could come and do a residency at the refuge, you could come and stay for a year for free, the refuge will support you, it will provide you food, I mean, it is supported and subsidised by the community, you know, we don't pay for any of this stuff, the community has decided that the programs that the refuge is doing are worth investing in so all of the businesses from Appleton support the refuge, they buy all the food, they buy the vehicles, they buy, you know, they pick for the heat, I mean, it is fully supported so, you know, to come and experience a community that has that invested in itself is (to) _ and to have a program like your own that is rooted in optimism which is at a very foundation as of what we're trying to teach, that would amazing
[01:18:02.29] Well, I'll do my very best to get over there as soon as possible and in the meantime (hope you know the?) people running the station and let's what we can do using - It is not even called ISDN anymore, let's see what we can do using fast web connections in the meantime and see what collaboration we can get going. Jimmy Chamberlin, Jimmy, we've run, I've taken more of your time that I asked for, but I'm so grateful, I'm so grateful for your time, Jimmy, thank you so much.
Thank you, so good to talk to you again, Donal, I'll talk to you soon.