Billy Corgan Says Pearl Jam and Nirvana’s Early Success Drove Him to Contemplate Suicide

March 1, 2017

Appearing on the Why Not Now? With Amy Jo Martin podcast, Smashing Pumpkins mastermind Billy Corgan talked about his personal struggles in the early 90s following the release of the band’s debut album Gish. Corgan notes that while promoting the record, Nirvana and Pearl Jam overtook the airwaves with Nevermind and Ten, respectively, shaking the singer to the point where he contemplated suicide. 

“Within a short span of time I went from thinking I was very successful in my given field to all the rules have changed in my given field and everything I built myself up to be and do was no longer as relevant,” Corgan said. “The change made me feel inadequate in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.”

He continues, “I went into a very long depression where I could not write songs and really struggled through a breakthrough. Really came off the heels of a suicidal depression, I really struggled with the emotions I was feeling and I reached this mourning in my life where I was going to jump out a window or I was going to change my life. I couldn’t meditate on death anymore. I was giving away stuff and planning my eulogy and all sorts of weird, self-absorbed things.”

Corgan resolves the story by saying he came out of that depression following the band’s hit “Today” that would go on to anchor the group’s next record Siamese Dream, arguably their most successful to date.