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Watch Billy Corgan pay tribute to his father with a set of Christmas songs at his Chicago tea shop

Billy Corgan
(Image credit: Geo Folkers / YouTube)

Following the death of his father, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan played a set of Christmas songs with his family on Saturday (December 18) in tribute. Earlier that day, Corgan announced that William Corgan Sr. had passed away after suffering a heart attack.

Appearing Saturday (December 18) at Madame Zuzu's – the vegan cake shop Corgan owns in Chicago, Illinois – the frontman was joined by his partner Chloe Mendel and their two kids, as they honored William Corgan Sr. with a new rendition of Do You Hear What I Hear?, as well as two holiday originals, titled Evergreen and The Magi and the Shiny Bright.

“All I've ever known is music and that started with my father,” Corgan explained in a video tribute. “He truly loved music and inspired me to not only be a musician of accomplishment but also to love all types of music.

He added: “In the beginning, he really didn't understand what I was doing musically, and then he came around and he became my biggest fan and supporter. [He'd] oftentimes compliment me on my music, my lyrics [and] my shows. And so I lived long enough and he lived long enough for us to have that and share that...

“My father had his own struggles with music and had a very complicated and oftentimes bitter relationship with the music business. He assumed that I would have the same. 

“I've certainly achieved a lot of success, and it all started with him. Watching him play in basements, at soundchecks and at empty stinking bars.”

Confirming that the annual Christmas show at Madame Zuzu's was still going ahead, Corgan added, “The show goes on, that's what my father believed in.”

William Corgan Sr. was a strong supporter of The Smashing Pumpkins, and even joined the band onstage at several shows, including their set at the Funshine Music Fest 2013.

Proceeds from the December 18 show benefitted Chicago no-kill animal shelter PAWS.

In a 2018 interview with USA Today, Corgan revealed his tentative plans to make a Smashing Pumpkins Christmas album. When questioned on whether the record would either comprise covers or originals, he replied: “It would be a mixture.”

“It would be probably lean more acoustic,” he said. “I would think it's a bit weird [to make] wild Christmas records. Although, I also like Jingle Bell Rock, which is basically 1950s rockabilly. But I don't know. When I think Christmas music, I tend to think something you want to put on and sit around the tree with the kids and not rock out to. I don't see us doing a rocking-out Christmas album.”

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.