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Billy Corgan

As the guitarist/singer/head-songwriter for the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan was one of alt-rock's leaders and focal points for much of the '90s. Born on March 17, 1967, in Elk Grove, IL, Corgan's first true exposure to music came from his father, Bill Corgan, Sr., who was a blues guitarist. After his parents divorced at an early age, Corgan moved from one relative to the next, and by age 14, he began playing guitar himself (citing such hard rock bands as Cheap Trick and Van Halen as important early influences). In 1985, Corgan formed his first real band, a goth metal group called the Marked. After gigging around the Chicago area, the Marked soon relocated from Illinois to St. Petersburg, FL, in pursuit of greener musical pastures. However, the change of scenery did little to improve the group's fortunes, and so the Marked disbanded and Corgan moved back north, into his father's house in Chicago.

Working at a record store, Corgan began putting the pieces together for his next band, which would be the Smashing Pumpkins. He befriended guitarist James Iha and bassist D'Arcy, and the three started to play in bars and clubs around Chicago with a drum machine in place of a real drummer. But from the advice of a friend, Corgan checked out local jazz fusion drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who immediately landed the gig with his powerful, John Bonham-esque drumming style (one of the quartet's first shows was opening for Jane's Addiction). Like the Marked, the Pumpkins merged a dark alternative sound with metal, but also gave it a psychedelic and experimental twist. Several independent singles led to a deal with Caroline Records, who issued their debut, Gish, in 1991. A woefully underrated guitarist, Corgan's wild, Jimi Hendrix-esque playing was an integral part of the early-Pumpkins sound.

With each subsequent album (1993's classic Siamese Dream, 1995's double-album Mellon Collie), the Pumpkins grew in popularity, until they were one of rock's top dogs by the mid- to late '90s. A very proficient songwriter, Corgan contributed Pumpkins songs to movie soundtracks (Singles, Lost Highway, Batman & Robin), supplied the musical score for such movies as Stigmata and Ransom, and produced albums for such other artists as Ric Ocasek, Hole, and Catherine. After the Pumpkins split in 2000, many assumed Corgan would automatically pursue a solo career, but shortly after playing several shows with New Order as a sideman/guitarist in the summer of 2001, Corgan announced his next project would be a new band. Called Zwan, the group featured Corgan joined by former bandmate Chamberlin on drums, as well as Matt Sweeney (from Chavez) on guitar and David Pajo (Papa M/Slint) on bass. Pajo soon moved over to guitar with the additional of bassist Paz Lenchantin (formerly of A Perfect Circle), and the quintet released their debut album, Mary Star of the Sea, in January 2003. However, by September Zwan had disbanded in a cloud of bandmember angst and frustrated ego, and Corgan announced that he would finally take the plunge as a solo artist. The following year found him popping up at Chicago-area spoken word nights, and in October 2004 he issued the poetry collection Blinking With Fists (Faber and Faber). At the same time he was working on the solo debut with collaborators Bjorn Thorsrud and Bon Harris (Nitzer Ebb). The ambitious, very personal Future Embrace appeared in June 2005. Guests on the album included drummer Chamberlin and the Cure's Robert Smith. ~ Greg Prato & Steve Bekkala, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Smashing pumpkins rock. Got to meet and greet with the pumpkins up in Phoenix and watched and listen to a warm up before the show. Got to talk to Billy and one of the coolest dude ever.
Report as inappropriate
You guys and gals are terrible. I'm from Chicago and am a friend of his. I may be a little biased but all in all the largest ego in the world. Yes but that's what makes it greatly unique. I was at the last pumpkins show at Metro guest list of course. And it was a like a religious experience.
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@blank
I just saw them live at chastain in my opinion the sp r better then ever the show was amazing
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The fake SP is touring. People dressed like the band because Corgin dose not play nice. This is is bad as Zwan and Adore. I really don't miss Billy I miss the real Pumpkin's.
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skirtsoplain
Why are people missing him? The SP is touring and releasing new songs right now! I saw them rock out hard in August last year at Sunset Strip Music Festival. Go to smashingpump k i n s . c o m
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not-here
Corgan captured the esscence of music choreography in nearly every song he wrote. A talent rarely seen in today's rock groups. I do miss hearing the the pumpkins.
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yeah his voice his terrible my a**! Theres a reason hes sold millions of albums and that is because there is only one Billy Corgan and his unique approach to music. Corgan is a rock DEMI_GOD!
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miss_m
It's a shame his voice is so terrible
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sure do miss him
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mbyoung18
pretty gosh dang suite
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i love smashing pumpkins but the fact that people can stand his voice is hillarious
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only two good songs? what are you retarded?
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i think billy is very talented as both a songwriter and an instrumental i s t . vocalist? not so much. when he sings very softly i can stomach it but when he sings in that wail-- nails on a chalkboard! :/
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everyone's a critic. artists that are successful have a uniqueness to them which fits effortlessly . the ones that dont succeed are those that try to scavenge from an established style and claim it as their own. put it this way, if you hear an artist and can immediately identify who it is, they've put their footprint into your head so effectively they're gold and typically are successful. that's why mr. corgan is, he's patented his style and its obvious and annoying if someone even trys to mirror
Report as inappropriate
I like him and the Smashing Pumpkins, but his voice a little annoying.
Report as inappropriate
he does have a unique weird good irritating voice.
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YEAH ash1097 ur right, only 2 good songs that he wrote: Cherub Rock, and Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Report as inappropriate
billy corgan sucks!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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knorthey
Personally, I love his voice. It's unique.
Report as inappropriate
I do love the music, but his voice is a tad irritating.
Report as inappropriate
Drink more bleach, you'll come up with better insults.

Love the pumpkins.
Report as inappropriate
Goth-Ann Don't you mean his voice just sucks
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has anyone heard the soundtrack he made for the movie spun? its amazing
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One of the most influential artists ever
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The voice just sucks me in.

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