Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan discussed his 90’s commercial success following a breakthrough moment in his life when he was 25 in a new Why Not Now? with Amy Jo Martin. He also revealed that Lollapalooza 1994, headlined by The Smashing Pumpkins, was the biggest Lollapalooza ever.
“For me, this is obviously more of an artistic idea, but I had refused really up until that point to just be myself. I had equated me being myself with failure, yet I was so boxed in the only way to succeed was I could be myself. That was the crossroads moment, the only want to move forward was I had to accept something about myself that heretofore I had been unwilling to accept, and I was out of options.”
He added, “What’s crazy is from that moment I went on a dizzying run of success, that album was quadruple Platinum. The band ended up headlining the Lollapalooza festival, which at that time was a moving festival. We headlined the biggest Lollapalooza festival that there ever was, and then after that was the Mellon Collie album, which went on to be one of the biggest selling albums of all time.
So I went on this sort 4, 5, 7, 10 year, depends on who you ask, run of creativity, and it really started in that one moment of, this is the only way forward. But it was only because I was so blocked, obviously in an artistic way, but also personally, I was so blocked that once I sort of released the organic forces in my being, and I would say that to anybody, that’s really the measure of true spirituality, is unlocking your own resources, not somebody else’s.
It’s amazing what happens, it really was, and is, truly transformative, because once I did that, I had this sort of magic totem that was all my own. It wasn’t somebody else’s, it wasn’t like I read somebody’s book, and it got me 3 months down the road, and I ran out of the book, and had to find another book.”
He later discussed being accused of selling out, “I know in the 90’s when I achieved success, I was made fun of for driving a Mercedes Benz. Not that anybody would want to do this, but you could literally go back to SPIN magazine in 1994, and there is a piece making fun of me for driving a used Mercedes. Because it was seen as some sort of sellout that I got a nice car, which at the time was the safest car on the road, which is why I bought it. But it was seen as a betrayal of my assumed values because I was from the street.”