William Patrick "Billy" Corgan Jr. (born March 17, 1967) is an American musician, songwriter, producer, TV writer, and poet, best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins. 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. Three years after their first studio album release, Gish, 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 until their break-up in 2000. Corgan started a new band called Zwan, and after their quick demise, he released a solo album (TheFutureEmbrace) and a collection of poetry (Blinking with Fists) before setting his sights on reforming Smashing Pumpkins.