Billy Corgan: 'Nirvana And Pearl Jam's Success Left Me On The Brink Of Suicide'

  • 28 February 2017

The singer has been open about his personal struggles in the past, but he has only now explained just how close he came to ending his life before his career took off.

In a candid chat with Amy Jo Martin on her Why Not Now podcast, Corgan admits he felt his early achievements with the Smashing Pumpkins and their debut album Gish were overshadowed by the "massive" popularity of Pearl Jam's Ten and Nirvana's Nevermind classic, which hit retailers just a few months later.

The sudden shift in media attention delivered a blow to Corgan's ego, leaving him suffering from writer's block, which in turn led him to the brink of suicide.

"Within a short span of time I went from thinking I was very successful within my given field, to all the rules had changed in my given field," he explained. "Everything I had built myself up to be and do was no longer as relevant as it needed to be. I went into a very strange depression because I felt like something had been not taken, but the change made me feel kind of inadequate in a way I wasn't prepared for."

"I went through a very long depression where I could not write songs, and really struggled for a breakthrough, which I've talked about a few times," he continued. "It really came off the heels of, like, a suicidal depression; I just really struggled with the emotions I was feeling... It was like, 'I'm either going to jump out a window, or I was going to change my life. I know that sounds very dramatic, but that's literally what happened."

Luckily for the musician, he soon experienced an epiphany, which inspired him to write the Pumpkins' track Today from their 1993 breakthrough album Siamese Dream.

"I woke up one morning, and I kind of stared out the window and thought, 'OK, well, if you're not going to jump out the window, you better do whatever it is you need to do'," he recalled. "That morning I wrote, I think it was the song Today... It's sort of a wry observation on suicide, but in essence the meditation behind the lyric is that every day is the best day, if you let it be."