Mental health is a topic that’s certainly come to the forefront more in the music industry in recent years, and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan shared his thoughts on the subject, stating that he feels the music industry was very late to the game on the subject and pondering what could have been for certain artists if better support systems were in place.
Corgan was a guest on Audacy’s WFAN Sports Radio in New York, appearing on the Boomer & Gio show when the subject on his own happiness at this stage in life came up following discussion of growing up with an abusive childhood.
“I don’t know if you can be happy in the music business because the music business is sort of designed to mess with your head,” explained the singer.
He then told the hosts, “I think the music business in particular has been very late to the game with mental health and artists. You spoke about Jimi Hendrix. We lost Jimi Hendrix at 27 years old to addiction and think of all the music that Jimi Hendrix didn’t make. We’re still talking about Jimi Hendrix 54 or 55 years after his death. I get lost in there because it’s so sad to me.”
The vocalist continues, “The music business has been slow to understand that when you find a needle in a haystack, which an NFL top level quarterback is, the NFL has figured it out but the music business hasn’t because the music business is based more on exploitation, which goes back to more of its 20th century roots, but I think the 21st century of the music business should be a legacy of finding artists young, fostering them and making sure that they go on to create great music for generations to come.”
Corgan then related it to his own generation of musicians with the staggering comment, “Think of all the people my generation has lost just to addiction and suicide alone. It is a travesty that there wasn’t more support systems around those artists. I don’t mean to throw shade at anybody. I just know how the business works. It’s one of exploitation.”
The singer remains one of the artists who has been able to stay active since arriving on the scene in the early ’90s and that’s not something that’s lost on him. “I feel blessed, so that’s the start of every sentence,” says Corgan. “I would just like people to say he made it through, and if that inspired them to try harder, great. I’m not trying to be that role model, but I don’t want to be on the other end of the casualty list.”
Smashing Pumpkins just announced their new Atum three-act rock opera that is set to roll out in three stages over the next half year. The first installment arrives Nov. 15, with acts 2 and 3 coming Jan. 31 and April 21 of 2023. Pre-orders are available here and you can also look for Smashing Pumpkins back on tour next month with Jane’s Addiction. Get your tickets here. Check out more of Billy’s chat with the Boomer and Gio show below.