Being in the professional music business takes a toll on mental health. The climb through the music industry’s ranks can be tough to the artists’ mental health. The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan recently highlighted the concerning issue during a recent interview with Boomer and Gio of New York’s WFAN Radio by noting just how many of his peers lost their lives to suicide.
Billy Corgan opens up on suicide
It is needless to mention how several popular musicians from Corgan’s generation took their own lives – Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington are some of the names and that’s even before death from substance abuse like Layne Staley or Mother Love Bone’s Andrew Wood taken into the account.
As Corgan argues, the music industry is far behind in this aspect when compared to other avenues of entertainment, even though history has given it plenty of reasons to take this matter much more seriously (via Loudwire):
“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.”
Giving the example of Jimi Hendrix, Corgan went on:
“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 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.”
He then called out the lack of “support systems” that would have prevented the tragic loss of life to suicide within his generation a “travesty”, Corgan said:
“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.”
Corgan believes “blessed” for being able to count himself among the early ’90s artists who remain active even today:
“I feel blessed, so that’s the start of every sentence. 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.”