Billy Corgan may be known by modern-day tweens as a borderline weirdo who dates the likes of Jessica Simpson, maintains an inter-spiritual website, and does stuff on Twitter (but, hey, what sentient being doesn’t do that, from a tween’s point of view?), yet back in the ’90s, Corgan was renowned for making great music as the lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins — a band that is currently in the process of releasing an 11-EP magnum opus called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. Today is Corgan’s 44th birthday, and to both celebrate and educate we bring you 44 facts about his life.
1. In the early ’80s, while still in high school, Corgan wrote music criticism for his school’s newspaper. He accurately predicted that the next big bands would be U2, REM, and Metallica.
2. Corgan once said, “I got the feeling that [my dad] didn’t want me to play guitar. He told me later, he didn’t think I’d have the dedication and perseverance.”
3. While playing a set plagued with technical trouble at the Reading Festival, a frustrated Corgan broke his guitar and threw it into the crowd. The guitar ended up hitting Smashing Pumpkins’s record company president in the head.
4. As a youth, Corgan battled depression and cut himself to deal with the pain.
5. Corgan often frustrated bandmates James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky by recording their parts for upcoming albums himself.
6. During an interview with Pitchfork, Corgan said, “It’s hard to realize you can have any kind of relationship with God you want… and so I now have a punk rock relationship with God.”
7. On Corgan’s LiveJournal, he wrote that while young he once made out with a woman who turned out to be a man and was deeply embarrassed about the hickey he received during the brief encounter.
8. When the Smashing Pumpkins first started, Corgan was the bass player.
9. Corgan once worked at a Chinese restaurant as the dishwasher.