He is one of the influential figures in the alternative world of the 1990s. He is a guitarist, keyboardist, and bassist, singer, producer, and songwriter. His name is Billy Corgan and we have some facts to tell you about him.
(Photo: Daniel Karmann/picture-alliance)
1. He was born on March 17, 1967 as William Patrick Corgan, in Illinois, USA.
2. His father William Corgan was a jazz and blues guitarist.
3. In 1970 his parents divorced and his father married shortly afterward. Corgan and his brother moved in with the father and Corgan noted that during those years he was physically and mentally abused by his stepmother.
4. Corgan's childhood was not easy. He testified that he experienced severe depression in his youth, to the point that he used to cut himself to deal with the pain.
5. In 1976 his stepbrother named Jesse was born. He was diagnosed with various disabilities, including cerebral palsy and Tourette Syndrome. Corgan used to care for, guard, and protect him in his youth.
6. In the early 1980s Corgan and his friends made a short film called "Alien 1/2". The film was influenced by the Ridley Scott's "Alien" movie.
7. Corgan excelled in sports in elementary school, but in high school, he abandoned sports and became interested in music.
8. He decided to learn to play the guitar after visiting a friend's house and seeing a Gibson "Flying V" guitar.
9. His first guitar was an imitation of Gibson Les Paul, which his father bought him from his savings.
10. Although Corgan's father shaped Corgan's musical taste, encouraging him to listen to Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck, he never taught him to play the guitar. Corgan had to teach himself to play the instrument.
11. Corgan's musical taste ranges from Hard Rock to Classic Rock and New Wave. He used to listen to artists like: "Queen", "Boston", "ELO", "Rush", "Bauhaus", "The Cure", John Cale and more.
12. Already during high school Corgan was involved in a number of bands, one of which was called "The Marked".
13. The name "The Marked" came from the birthmarks that Corgan and the band's drummer had on their bodies.
14. Corgan's birthmark is quite large. it's on his left hand as can be seen on the cover of Corgan's solo album "TheFutureEmbrace".
15. Corgan used to write reviews for albums and bands on his school's magazine. In these reviews, he actually predicted the success of bands like "U2", "R.E.M" and "Metallica".
16. He graduated high school with honors. Several institutions offered him scholarships and scholarships, including the University of Michigan.
17. His grandmother left him savings for higher education but Corgan chose to invest the money in music. He moved in 1985 with his band "The Marked" to St. Petersburg, Florida, to try his luck.
18. The band failed and disbanded, then Billy returned to live with his father in Chicago, where he began working in a record store.
19. In the years 1987-1988 he was a partner in the band "Deep Bletue Dream", in which he met Wayne Static who would later form the band Static-x.
20. While working at the record store, Billy met guitarist James Iha and the two began working on materials and recording demos that Corgan later defined as gloomy goth-pop recordings.
21. During this time Corgan played bass, Iha played guitar and the third member of the band had a drum machine.
22. He later met bassist D'arcy Wretzky in a local live show of "The Dan Reed Network".
23. This is how "The Smashing Pumpkins" was founded, when Korgan, Iha and D'arcy play in local clubs accompanied by a drum machine.
24. In preparation for a live show scheduled for the band at the "Chicago Metro Club" on October 5, 1988, the band recruited drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.
25. The addition of Jimmy Chamberlin led the band in a heavier musical direction.
26. The debut album "Gish" was released in 1991 and showed a combination of musical styles like Psychedelic Rock and Heavy Metal.
27. In a performance of the band at the Reading Festival in 1992, Corgan was so frustrated by the sound, that he broke the guitar and threw it on the audience, it landed on the head of the band's record company manager.
29. Despite this, "Siamese Dream" was an album borne out of great pain. It almost led to the band's demise and earned Corgan the nickname perfectionist and control freak after rerecording the guitar and bass parts of Iha and D'arcy.
30. In 1994, the band released the compilation album "Pisces Iscariot", which included unreleased tracks.
31. In 1995 the band released their third album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". This is the band's artistic climax. An ambitious masterpiece spread over two discs and three vinyl albums.
32. The album was nominated for seven Grammy Awards that year and had sales of nine Platinum albums. The song "1979" from it became the biggest hit of Corgan and the band.
33. On November 11, 1995, the band made an appearance on the "Saturday Night Live" television program. Corgan first appeared in it with a shaved head. The last filmed video of Corgan with hair is in the clip for the song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings".
34. During a tour to promote the album, on July 12, 1996, drummer Chamberlin and keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin took an overdose of heroin. The keyboardist died and Chamberlin survived, but the incident led to his immediate dismissal from the band.
35. The band's next album "Adore" released in 1998 was already recorded as a trio with the help of a drum machine and a session drummers.
36. The song "For Martha" from the album was written about Corgan's mother - Martha, who passed away in 1996.
37. In 1999 Chamberlin returned to the band and in 2000 the band released the concept album "Machina/The Machines of God", which led to mixed reviews from critics and audiences due to its style. At the end of the recording of the album, D'arcy left the band and she was replaced by former "Hole" bassist - Melissa Auf der Maur.
38. Later that year the band released the sequel album to Machina - "Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music", which was released for free download via the internet. This was the band's last album in its current format, with the band performing their last show on December 2, 2000.
39. At the end of 2001, Korgan and Chamberlin teamed up with guitarist and singer Matt Sweeney, who was a longtime friend of Korgan, to form the band "Zwan". They added bassist Paz Lenchantin and another guitarist David Pajo to complete the lineup.
40. The band went live in 2002, when their (and only) debut album "Mary Star of the Sea" was released in 2003.
41. In 2004, Korgen embarked on a solo career recording acoustic folk songs related to the history of the city of Chicagoת as part of the "ChicagoSongs project 72". The project has not been released as an album to date.
42. That same year he wrote the song "Forget It"ת which entered the soundtrack to the film "National Treasure" by Nicholas Cage.
43. In 2005 Corgan released his first solo album "TheFutureEmbrace" which included a combination of electronic music and alternative. The album failed commercially and received rave reviews from various critics. Corgan later released two more solo albums, the most recent - "Cotillions" ,was released in November 2019.
44. In 2005, Corgan announced his desire to get "Smashing Pumpkins" back on track and by April 20, 2006, he had already posted on the band's official website that they indeed planning to reunite.
45. The band's first appearance after the reunion was on May 22, 2007. Along with Corgan and Chamberlin. They where joined by two new band members Ginger Rice on bass and Jeff Schroeder on guitar.
46. On July 10, 2007, the union album "Zeitgeist" was released. Since then, the band has released four more studio albums: "Oceania" from 2012, "Monuments to an Elegy" from 2014, "Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun". From 2018, "Cyr" from 2020 and of course the triple Rock Opera "Atum" in 2022-2023.
(Photo: Photo: Linda Strawberry)
47. Corgan has a hand in no less than ten soundtracks of movies, some very famous like "Ransom" with Mel Gibson and "Rampage" with Dwayne Johnson. In some, he gave only his voice and in some, he was a full partner in the writing and production of the soundtrack and the theme song of the film.
48. He has collaborated with dozens of artists, as a producer, writer, singer and guitarist. He has produced a number of songs for the alternative rock band "Catherine", he has sung on albums by Marilyn Manson, "New Order", Lenny Kravitz, Tony Iommi, "Scorpions" and many more. He has produced and written a number of songs for artists such as: "Hole", Lisa Marie Presley, "Breaking Benjamin", "Taproot", "Korn" and more.
49. In 1998, Corgan co-wrote some of the songs on Hole's "Celebrity Skin" album.
50. He remained friends with Courtney Love and later even had a relationship with her, when in 2006 he even moved in with her and her daughter Frances Bean Cobain at her Hollywood mansion.
51. Corgan also co-wrote and produced a number of songs at the time on the band's fourth and final album "Hole" called "Nobody's Daughter".
52. Immediately after the release of the album Corgan got angry at Courtney for working on the songs without his permission. After that, they began exchanging insults on Twitter and Facebook. It was so ugly and offensive and the two still don't speak to this day.
53. Corgan has a very big fondness for wrestling. In 2011 he founded the organization "Resistance Pro" which holds a wrestling competition in Chicago. In 2015 he was the lead manager of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling when his job was to create characters and write a plot to back up the wrestling fights.
54. Corgan is also very fond of baseball. It started at a young age when he was a collector of baseball cards and, it continued with his admire the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and later he even became a baseball commentator on a local radio station in Chicago.
55. In 2017, Korgan acquired ownership of the National Wrestling Alliance, which was the leading and exclusive body for professional wrestling until the 1980s, when the most famous WWF organization was established. today an independent body that holds competitions on its own.