As the guitarist/singer/head-songwriter for the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan was one of alt-rock's leaders and focal points for much of the '90s. Born on March 17, 1967, in Elk Grove, IL, Corgan's first true exposure to music came from his father, Bill Corgan, Sr., who was a blues guitarist. After his parents divorced at an early age, Corgan moved from one relative to the next, and by age 14, he began playing guitar himself (citing such hard rock bands as Cheap Trick and Van Halen as important early influences). In 1985, Corgan formed his first real band, a goth metal group called the Marked. After gigging around the Chicago area, the Marked soon relocated from Illinois to St. Petersburg, FL, in pursuit of greener musical pastures. However, the change of scenery did little to improve the group's fortunes, and so the Marked disbanded and Corgan moved back north, into his father's house in Chicago.