Billy Corgan Asked If He’s Dealing With Depression After Chris Cornell’s Death


Smashing Pumpkins frontman William Patrick Corgan was asked in a new Radio NZ interview if he is in a good place right now or if he is dealing with depression in the wake of Chris Cornell’s death.

Speaking about survival in the music industry, it’s Mental Health Awareness week in New Zealand and it’s the one year anniversary of the New Zealand Music Foundation’s Wellbeing Service, which provides support specifically to people in the music industry.

You’ve spoken openly about battles with depression through your life. And one of the things that struck me after Chris Cornell was that no one is immune from that. Age and status aren’t defences against serious depression. Are you in a good place William?

Yeah, I had a son, he’s almost two years old now. I wouldn’t say he’s changed my life but he’s certainly smartened up my priorities. And yeah, life’s very good. I’m blessed, happy and feel really good.

It’s a huge issue in the music business though isn’t it and perhaps it’sbecause – as you were saying, in the music business you’re either at the top or you’re nothing.

Yeah it’s a very difficult business and I say this with humility, it’s the same reason we go to the movies, we like the fantasy and we don’t always want to hear what the fantasy costs. Right now in the news, there’s this massive sexual abuse scandal going on in Hollywood and you’re hearing these horrible stories about these vulnerable young women or somebody in their thirties who’s put in this position.

Power and the seedy side of Hollywood that you hear whispered about and you know it’s there, but you don’t always know where it’s coming from. It’s very very difficult because you know it’s not always an easy thing to do to turn to the public and say ‘hey can you suspend your fantasy for a minute, let me tell you about the real cost of being on tour.

Let me tell you about the real cost this rock and roll dream has had on my life.’

When I was younger I had a hard time understanding why people weren’t more empathetic and they would always say, ‘Well you’re lucky.’ and I would always think, “What does that mean? Lucky? What because somebody’s stalking me? Because I had to call the police or something?”

I had a hard time wrapping my head around it and what I learned over time was that they were right – I am lucky. And it’s not always meant to be public what the struggle is, because in essence in an equitable way everybody struggles.   Like you were saying before, everybody goes through struggles, everybody goes through depression and trying to tell somebody that my struggle is more valuable or more deep than yours or the next person, that’s where it gets a bit weird.

So you have to walk an interesting line where you have to be yourself, you have to know who you are in the business and you can’t let the weirdness of the business get to you and at the same time you can’t expect people to understand because it’s probably very very hard for them to relate to what the business is like from the inside out.