If you didn't walk away with at least a pair of autographed Zildjian drumsticks on Thursday, time spent waiting to meet your childhood inspiration might have felt fantasized.

He was 23 minutes late, prompting the mumbles of, "Is he coming?" to reverberate among rows of variably sized golden cymbals.

If his tardiness promoted anything at Marshall Music, it was sales for Zildjian, a family-owned cymbal, drumstick and mallet manufacturer based in Boston, which sponsored a promotional event in Lansing as part of its Zildian on Tour marketing campaign.

More valuable than sales, however, may have been the wave of relief that went through the faithful when Jimmy Chamberlin, former drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins, appeared next to the signing tables.

"He's bringing people in; people are excited. A little girl had to hold back a scream," said Marshall Music Co. sales associate Seth Newton.


Fans waited in clusters, clutching copies of �Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness� and �Zeitgeist,� the Pumpkins� final album before Chamberlin left for good; new cymbals and sets of drumsticks to be signed.

Unlike the Zildjian merchandise, which was marked down 60 percent from list price for the event, Chamberlin�s advice was 100 percent free for visitors.

�You've got to wake up every morning with a pen in hand and take the time to write,� Chamberlin said. �The essence of writing is to be a core human being; whether it's Emily Dickenson or Kirk Cobain, there's something that resonates in all of it.�

Drummer Randy Gelispie also made an appearance, but to find cymbals, not sign autographs. The MSU Professor of Jazz has played with such jazz icons as Ray Charles, Wes Montgomery and Sonny Sit.

"I came because Zildjian brought some prototype cymbals in,� Gelispie said. �The ones I bought were low pitch 22s. Cymbals are a personal touch, that particular cymbal 10 other drummers might hit it and not like it.�

Ogling in the conglomeration of stardom, Chad Martinsen, an East Lansing resident and member of local band Sudden Impact, revealed he was more excited for Gelispie than Chamberlin, along with his new splash cymbal. "It's small and unique sounding,� he said. �I use it a lot for the type of music I play."