Billy Corgan Reveals Why Grunge Singers Really Had Drug Issues

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Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan looked back at Grunge era material, and described what he’s seen in artists struggling with drugs and alcohol in a new Forbes interview.

Steve Baltin: Are you surprised to see then how much the material is still relevant to your life today?

Billy Corgan: Yeah, it’s a lot of surprise because intellectually I look back and it’s very messy. I’m kind of all over the place, it’s very scattershot. But musically there’s a very clear message that runs through everything. And that surprises me. It’s one thing to get up onstage and play an old song. Fine, I’ve done it. It’s another thing to stand there in front of a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden and think, “Wow, these songs still really ring true. It’s kind of wild.” Cause then of course I reflect on the man that I was when I wrote them. I can’t say I have a lot of respect for him a lot of times but somehow he did that right. It’s a lot of feelings that go with it. There’s pride and then there’s like, “Wow, what a mess.” But there it is. There’s at least some testament to what that mess added up to.

Then artists also times, if their life sort of goes into something that resembles sanity, they may not have as much access to the unconscious language and that’s why there’s this never ending battle in the arts with drugs and alcohol and weed and whatever else because people are always trying to scrape through to that inner world that rings through to the public in maybe ways their normal day to day personality doesn’t.