William Patrick Corgan Jr. was born to Bill Corgan and Martha Corgan on March 17, 1967, St. Patricks Day. He was born in Chicago, his father being a blues musician and his mother a flight attendant. Billy grew to be a "four-track-cassette making geek" who played guitar in his spare time while working at an old record store and then at a pizza place as a delivery boy. He played guitar up in his bedroom, learning scales and progressions.
In high school in 1985, Billy formed a band called Hexen. YouTube has videos of 4 of their songs, a guitar solo, and a guitar/bass duet. Billy also had a band called Coat of Eyes with Greg Bates, with at least 1 tape full of songs. After meeting Ron Roesing and Dale Meiners, he renamed his band The Marked, since both Billy and Ron had large birthmarks. They moved to Florida, minus Greg, who was still in high school, as Chicago had "too many goth bands" at the time. The Marked had little success, so they broke up and Billy moved back to Chicago and lived with his father.
In Chicago, Billy met James Iha, which started the basis for the Smashing Pumpkins. The two played their first show as The Smashing Pumpkins in July, 1988, with James on guitar, Billy on bass, and a drum machine. Billy then met D'arcy, who joined on bass. One of their shows was seen by Metro owner Joe Shanahan, who said he'd book them if they hired a real drummer, so they found and hired Jimmy Chamberlin, and the band was complete.
After the Pumpkins split in 2000, Billy wasted little time before forming Zwan with former Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and 3 other members. Zwan released only 1 album before disbanding, after which Billy worked on a solo album. Surprisingly, though, on the date of his solo album's release, Billy put out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune, publicly stating that he wanted to work again under The Smashing Pumpkins. 2 years later, the band would re-form with Billy and Jimmy, and new members Jeff Schroeder (guitar), Ginger Reyes (bass) and Lisa Harriton (keyboards). After finishing their tours for Zeitgeist, the first album since the breakup, Ginger, Lisa and Jimmy departed, and Nicole Fiorentino was brought in on bass, and then-19-yr-old Mike Byrne on drums. As of 2014, Billy is recording 2 new albums primarily with Jeff in the studio, and guest drummer Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe.
Other than the Pumpkins, Billy has acted as co-writer, producer, and guest musician for a large number of bands, including the Frogs, Hole, Marylin Manson, Tommy Iommi (Black Sabbath), Lisa Marie Presley, Scorpions, etc. He has appeared on several soundtracks as a solo artist, including "Ransom" and "Stigmata". Billy has been known to credit John Lennon, Judas Priest, David Bowie, Blondie, the Cure, and My Bloody Valentine as musical inspirations. He also takes an interest in the music of Radiohead, Spiritualized, the Frogs, and Garbage. In the early 21st century, Billy branched out further by writing a book of poetry, founding a pro wrestling company, and opening a tea house.