Here's a factoid to keep in your back pocket for rock & roll trivia night: Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and Static-X's late singer-guitarist Wayne Static were in a band together back in the Eighties in Chicago.
Said band was called Deep Blue Dream, and Static — who went by his birth name, Wayne Wells, at the time — was the frontman and the bigger local rock star. In a 2014 interview with Ultimate Guitar, Static described the group as "much more melodic and hippied and poppy and nothing at all like Static-X." Deep Blue Dream would regularly sell out Chicago clubs; meanwhile Corgan was just getting started with Smashing Pumpkins.
The two Chicago musicians connected after Static caught an early Pumpkins show and asked Corgan to join his band as a guitarist. "[Corgan's band] was horrible but Billy just shined," Static recalled. "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 would, of course, come to eclipse Static when it came to rock stardom, but at the time he was very much the underling. "The funny thing is we used to call Billy 'Little Wayne,'" Static pointed out. "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]."
Corgan would later recall that Static encouraged him to leave Smashing Pumpkins; the future nu-metal icon certainly didn't let his new guitarist sing in Deep Blue Dream. "He would try to sing backup but his voice was just horrible," Static said. "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."
Corgan only played with the group from 1987 to 1988, and he never appeared on any of their recordings. After the Pumpkins enlisted drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and started to gain some traction, Corgan decided to focus on his own band. "Billy came to me one night and you could tell he felt really bad," Static remembered. "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.'"
Static was bummed to lose "Little Wayne," but the Smashing Pumpkins frontman would somewhat make up for it by introducing his former bandmate to his new longtime drummer: Ken Jay, a co-worker of Corgan's at a Chicago record store, who would not only play in Deep Blue Dream but also Static-X. Plus, with the benefit of hindsight, Static had to admit that Corgan made the correct call: "He obviously made the right choice because they went on to be huge and my band broke up."
For his part, Corgan remembered his time with Static when news of the Static-X frontman's untimely death broke in late 2014. "I am shocked to hear that Wayne Wells (Wayne Static) has passed away," the Smashing Pumpkins bandleader tweeted. "I played with him in his first band, Deep Blue Dream, in 1987/88."
Wayne Static told Billy Corgan to leave Smashing Pumpkins
This is wild: Wayne Static of Static-X told Billy Corgan to drop The Smashing Pumpkins and join HIS band full time. Check out this exclusive clip from Covino & Rich. CC: Steve Covino Rich Davis SiriusXMPosted by Sirius XM Turbo on Friday, December 4, 2020