In a recent appearance on the podcast Why Not Now?, a self-improvement podcast hosted by Amy Jo Martin, Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan explained how the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam affected his mental health. (via Consequence Of Sound)
“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,” Corgan explains. “Everything I had built myself up to be and do was no longer as relevant as it needed to be.”
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Corgan explains how Smashing Pumpkins released their first album Gish, and while promoting their highly successful record, Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten came out—and seemingly overshadowed his band’s success, making him feel “inadequate.”
“The Smashing Pumpkins had put out one album, which was very successful, but as we were out promoting our album, the Nirvana album came out, and as everyone knows Nevermind was a massive album, and then Pearl Jam came out too at that time, and they were massive,” Corgan explains.
“So 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. 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.”
Through this depression, he found it difficult to write songs and found himself contemplating suicide.
“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,” Corgan says.
“It really came off the heels of like a suicidal depression, I just really struggled with the emotions I was feeling. I reached this kind of morning in my life where 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.”
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However, he goes on to explain that through these struggles and suicidal thoughts, he was inspired to write Smashing Pumpkins' hit song “Today,” one of the band’s biggest hits.
“I woke up one morning, and I kind of stared out the window and thought, 'Okay, well, if you're not going to jump out the window, you better do whatever it is you need to do,'” he says.
“That morning I wrote, I think it was the song 'Today,' which people would probably be fairly familiar with. It's the ice cream truck video song. 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.”
Listen to the podcast in full below:
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