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Billy Corgan and Wayne Static Were In a Band Together In the ’80s

Duane Prokop/Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Their hair couldn’t have been more different, but for about a year in the ’80s, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and the late Wayne Static of Static-X were in the same band.

Back then (between 1987 and 1988), however, Static (born Wayne Wells) was the bigger local rock star in Chicago. He was the frontman of Deep Blue Dream, a band Static described in an interview as being “much more melodic and hippied and poppy and nothing at all like Static-X.” They were routinely selling out shows at Chicago clubs while Smashing Pumpkins were just starting out.

Memories of Deep Blue Dream resurfaced following the death of the 48 year-old Static last weekend when Corgan tweeted his condolences:

The collaboration first began after Static, who was then a bartender at a nightclub called the Avalon, caught an early Pumpkins show and asked Corgan to play guitar in Deep Blue Dream. “(Corgan’s band) was horrible but Billy just shined,” said Static. “The way he played guitar was just incredible. I went up to him after a set and asked him if he wanted to join my band and he immediately said yes because we were a popular band at the time … He actually played in both of our bands for about a year.”

Corgan (who still had hair back then) was so much the apprentice in the relationship that he even had a nickname that, had he been a rapper, might have led to an entirely different career. “The funny thing is we used to call Billy ‘Little Wayne,'” Static said. “He played the same amp as I did — the Roland JC120 — and he had a smaller version. Mine had two 12-inch speakers and his had two eight-inch speakers. His hair wasn’t quite as long as mine [either].”

Static, however, was not a fan of Corgan’s singing voice — not for Deep Blue Dream, at least. “He would try to sing backup but his voice was just horrible,” said Static. “We wouldn’t let him sing. We’d be like, “Stop trying to sing. It sounds horrible. It just doesn’t fit. He’s got one of those voices where like when he sings on his own, it’s got a charm to it and it really works with his songs. But it didn’t work with my songs.”

After Smashing Pumpkins joined up with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, the band started to take off and Corgan had to make a decision. “Billy came to me one night and you could tell he felt really bad,” said Static. “He was all sick and everything and he was like, Man, I can’t do it anymore. It’s just killing me. I practice seven nights a week and [play] all these shows and I’m just too busy and I’m sick and I just can’t do this anymore. So I have to choose my band.”

Although Static was disappointed to lose his guitar player, he later recognized that Corgan chose wisely. “He obviously made the right choice because they went on to be huge and my band broke up.”

Corgan did, however, make at least one lasting impact on Static’s career: When Deep Blue Dream needed a drummer, Corgan introduced Static to Ken Jay — one of his co-workers at a record store — and Jay went on to move to Los Angeles with Static and joined Static-X when they formed in 1994.

Static-X — ‘Push It’ Official Music Video

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Next: Wayne Static Passes Away at Age 48

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