Billy Corgan Credits Diddy for That Time He Became William Patrick Corgan

"I thought it was kind of funny how he kept changing his name. So I was like, 'Oh, I'm just gonna change my name and see what happens.'"

Photo (right): Richard Burdett

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished May 3, 2023

Remember when Billy Corgan made music as William Patrick Corgan? The all-too-brief period in which the Smashing Pumpkins leader released 2017 solo LP Ogilala under his given name clearly made something of an impression — and we apparently have Diddy and Corgan's love of wrestling to thank. 

Corgan was asked how he would prefer to be addressed these days in a recent appearance on The Mistress Carrie Podcast, where he first explained that he thinks of "Billy" as more a stage name than a short form.

"The way I see it in my brain is, Billy is like my stage name at this point; it's how everybody knows me," the frontman explained [via Blabbermouth]. "And for anybody who knows wrestling, we mostly in wrestling call people by their stage names. Even if I know somebody's real name, I'll still call 'em by their gimmick name. So, to use the term, 'Billy' is my gimmick name, 'William' is my real name. So if you call me Billy, great; I'll still respond to it and it doesn't bother me. But my friends call me William. And I've asked people to call me William, 'cause that's, I guess, what I'm comfortable with at 56."
Corgan then made sure to salute the one true moniker master — also known as Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and Love. "I kind of blame Puff Daddy," he continued. "I thought it was kind of funny how he kept changing his name. So I was like, 'Oh, I'm just gonna change my name and see what happens.'"

Corgan acknowledged how the change "turned into this weird thing," recalling, "people wrote articles making fun of me for changing my name from Billy to William, even though William's my real name. There were literally articles, like, 'Oh, he wants to be William now,' like I guess if I was being posh or something. So me being me, the wrestling promoter in me, of course I made it worse by adding to it. Now I'm William Patrick Corgan, which is my real, real name. That's what they call me in wrestling. But everybody calls me Billy. It's all good."

It sounds like Corgan has read this website a few times: we called his then-new artist name "rather proper-sounding" upon the LP's announcement, and later felt he was "hoping to be known" or "trying to convince people" he was "the artist formerly known as Billy," right up until he altered Ogilala's cover art to effectively ditch the moniker.

Perhaps the better question to ask of Corgan's WPC period and Ogilala is: what's up with the Indigenous imagery on the cover? You can hear his appearance on The Mistress Carrie Podcast below.

William Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins bandmates will share the third and final instalment of rock opera ATUM this Friday (May 5), ahead of taking it on a North American tour.

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage