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Billy Corgan Edit Profile

also known as William Patrick "Billy" Corgan Jr.

musician , Producer , writer , songwriter

William Patrick "Billy" Corgan Jr. is an American musician, producer, lyricist, writer, and poet, best known as the frontman and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins.

Background

Corgan was born in Elk Grove Village, Illinois as the oldest son of William Corgan Sr., a blues/rock guitarist, and Martha Louise Maes Corgan Lutz. His parents had one more child, Ricky, before divorcing in 1970. His father was soon remarried to a flight attendant, and Corgan and his brother went to live with them in Glendale Heights, Illinois. During this time, Corgan alleges he was subject to much physical and emotional abuse by his stepmother. Corgan also developed a protective bond with his younger half-brother, who had special needs as a child. When Corgan's father and stepmother separated, all three children would live alone with the stepmother, with both of Corgan's birth parents living separately within an hour's drive.

Education

Corgan, who grew much faster than his fellow students, was a strong athlete in elementary school. In addition to being a member of his Marquardt Middle School baseball team, he collected baseball cards (amassing over 10,000) and listened to every Chicago Cubs game. However, by the time he began attending Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream Illinois, he had become only an average athlete. He decided to start playing guitar when he went over to a friend's house and saw his friend's Flying V. Corgan gave his savings to his father, who bought him a used Les Paul knock-off. Corgan, Sr. steered his son stylistically, encouraging him to listen to Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix, but offered little other support, and the younger Corgan taught himself to play the instrument. His musical interests in his formative years included hard rock like Guts-era John Cale, heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, and mainstream rock like Queen, Boston, ELO, Rush, and Cheap Trick. In high school, Corgan discovered alternative rock through Bauhaus and The Cure.

Corgan performed in a string of bands in high school and graduated as an honor student. Despite grant and scholarship offers from a number of schools, including the University of Michigan, and a tuition fund left by his grandmother, Corgan decided to pursue music full-time.

Career

Formed by Corgan and guitarist James Iha in Chicago, Illinois, in 1987, the band quickly gained steam with the addition of bassist D'arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. The band's direction has largely been driven by Corgan through his confessional lyrics, grandiose production values, and virtuosic musical interplay, notably with Chamberlin. In three years, The Smashing Pumpkins had transformed themselves into a major label success. Strong album sales and large-scale tours propelled the band's increasing fame in the 1990s, while Chamberlin's drug problems escalated until he had to be fired. The Pumpkins continued as a three-piece until Chamberlin rejoined the band in 1999, then broke up in 2000. Corgan started a new band with Chamberlin right away, called Zwan, and after their demise, he released a solo album (TheFutureEmbrace) and a collection of poetry (Blinking with Fists) before setting his sights on reforming the Smashing Pumpkins.

The new version of that band, consisting of Corgan, Chamberlin, and a revolving tour lineup, released an album in 2007 and followed it with extensive touring over the next year and a half. Chamberlin left the Smashing Pumpkins in March 2009, while Corgan has continued to record and tour with a new lineup.

In summer 2009, Corgan formed the band Spirits in the Sky to play a tribute concert to the late Sky Saxon of the Seeds. He then toured with the band, composed of ex-Catherine member and "Superchrist" producer Kerry Brown, the late Electric Prunes bassist Mark Tulin, Strawberry Alarm Clock keyboardist Mark Weitz, frequent Corgan collaborator Linda Strawberry, flautist Kevin Dippold, "Superchrist" violinist Ysanne Spevack, new Pumpkins drummer Mike Byrne, and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, playing covers and new Pumpkins material at several clubs in California. At the end of the tour, Corgan, Byrne, Tulin, and Brown headed back to Chicago to begin work on the new Smashing Pumpkins album, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. The current lineup, which includes new bassist Nicole Fiorentino, toured through much of 2010, then spent 2011 recording the "album-within-an-album" Oceania and mounting tours of the US and Europe.

In 2011, Corgan formed an independent wrestling promotion called Resistance Pro. Two years later, in 2013, he starred in a commercial for Walter E. Smithe Furniture, using the platform to promote his wrestling company. In 2012, opened a tea house in his native Highland Park called Maddam Zuzu's.He is currently at work on his spiritual memoir, entitled "God is Everywhere from Here to There".

Albums with Smashing Pumpkins include Gish, 1991, Lull, 1992, Siamese Dream, 1993, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, 1995, Adore, 1998, Star Profiles, 1998, MACHINA/The Machines of God, 2000, Zeitgeist, 2007; other recordings include Rocket, 1994, Disarm, 1994, Pisces Iscariot, 1994, Bullet with Butterfly Wings, 1995 (Grammy award for Best Hard Rock Performance, 1996), Zero, 1996, Tonight, Tonight, 1996, The Aeroplane Flies High, 1996, The End is the Beginning is the End (Grammy award for Best Hard Rock Performane, 1997); solo albums include The Future Embrace, 2005; contributor to compilations, Light Into Dark, 1988, 20 Explosive Dynamic Super Smash Hit Explosions!, 1991, Singles Soundtrack, 1992, No Alternative, 1993, No Toys for O.J., 1995, Ramson Soundtrack, 1996, Sweet Relief II, 1996, OnXRT0Live from the Archives Volume, 1996; composer (films) Stigmata, 1999, Graceful Swans of Never, 2001, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, 2004, When a Man Falls in the Forest, 2007, actor & composer Spun, 2002.

Politics

While Corgan typically avoids discussing US politics, he said after the 2008 presidential election, "I'm very proud of my country right now for doing the right thing."

Interests

  • Politicians

    Lyndon LaRouche

  • Artists

    Pablo Picasso

  • Sport & Clubs

    Professional wrestling

  • Music & Bands

    Rock.

Connections

father:
William Corgan Sr. - United States - guitarist

mother:
Martha Louise Maes Corgan Lutz - United States

wife:
Chris Fabian - United States - artist

In 1993, he married his longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend, art conservationist and artist Christine Fabian. They were married at a small ceremony at his house in Wrigleyville. Rumors circulated that Corgan and Courtney Love rekindled their romance during the Pumpkins' 1994 Lollapalooza tour, after Kurt Cobain's death. Corgan and Fabian separated late 1995, and divorced in 1997. Corgan refused to discuss the subject in interviews, saying "There is not and will not be any public record on my marriage – that's one thing I have to draw lines around." He nevertheless described the circumstances of his marriage in his online Confessions, in 2005

ex-girlfriend:
Yelena Yemchuk - Ukraine - photographer

In late 1995, he started dating photographer Yelena Yemchuk, who later contributed to several Smashing Pumpkins videos and album art. He continued to date Yemchuk until around 2004. According to Corgan, his breakup with her contributed to the themes of his 2005 solo release, TheFutureEmbrace. In 2008, Corgan said, "I've had a bad marriage and seven bad girlfriends in a row", a perspective he attributes to his dedication to music.

girlfriend:
Jessica Origliasso

She is an Australian singer-songwriter, actress and fashion designer.

Ex-girlfirend:
Emilie Autumn - musician

In 2005, Corgan dated musician Emilie Autumn for a number of months. The pair collaborated on multiple occasions during this time, with Autumn providing vocals and violin on his solo album and costume for a supporting music video.

Ex-girlfirend:
Jessica Simpson - pop star

In 2009, Corgan was linked with pop star Jessica Simpson. He started dating Jessica Origliasso from The Veronicas in 2010 and was still dating her until early June 2012 when the pair broke up. "It's one of those things. It's really difficult when you spend so much time apart", said Origliasso of the split.