Billy Corgan Contemplated Suicide Following Success Of Nirvana, Pearl Jam

Billy Corgan is best known as the frontman for quintessential ’90s band The Smashing Pumpkins, whose distinctive grunge sound help to shape a new genre of music.

However, upon the release of the band’s debut album, Gish, Corgan constantly compared himself to other bands who were just edging out his success. Namely, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, who also released albums in 1991.

In a new interview on podcast Why Not Now? With Amy Jo Martin, the 49-year-old reveals that in those early years of the band, he was driven to near suicide.

"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 said in the interview.

"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."

He continued, saying, "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. 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."

What metaphorically talked him off the ledge was the writing of the song “Today”, which fans will remember as a harrowing commentary on suicide.

Listen to the interview in full below: