Billy Corgan has recently opened up in an interview with Howard Stern about his previous struggles with mental illness. Whilst discussing recent the celebrity suicides of Chris Cornell, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman revealed that he’d previously struggled with suicidal thoughts.
Corgan said the time after the release of the band’s first album Gish, he discussed these battles publically, however, he’s since endured with mental struggles.
“Yeah, many times. That period after the first album is sort of the most public period I’ve talked about it, but I’ve thought about killing myself many times. There were maybe three times in my life where I was like right there.”
“I didn’t know what to do, anybody who has experienced this I’m totally empathetic, I was having massive panic attacks. I would be in the shower, and my heart would start racing, and I was like, I’m losing my mind. Now I understand. It’s the worst.”
He also describes admitting himself to a medical clinic at the height of his struggles, saying it was the “worst place to go” while being in that headspace. Corgan also shed light on the notion that success doesn’t erase mental strain, saying people often struggle with empathy towards those who seemingly “have it all”.
“So later that day he sent me to a hospital, a clinic. It was the worst place to go, a clinical setting. The woman sits down, she’s very sceptical, it’s a hospital, and she goes, ‘So what’s the problem?’ I said, ‘I’m rich and famous, and I want to die. That seems to be a problem.”
“I’m not asking for any sympathy, so anybody listening don’t take this the wrong way, but when you have success, and you have wealth, people who don’t have that can not imagine why you would want to kill yourself. So if you try to talk to somebody, even just as a human: ‘Oh, you’re lucky.’”
The Smashing Pumpkins recently released the new song ‘Solara’, featuring Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin. The track marks the first time the band’s original lineup have released new music in 18 years.