Billy Corgan has opened up about the poor state of mental health care in the music industry, believing there is a lack of awareness and resources for artists struggling with mental illness.
Earlier this week, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman appeared on New York’s WFAN Sports radio, where he gave an interview about the Boomer & Gio program. At one point on the show, Corgan was asked how happy he now feels as an adult, after going through an abusive childhood.
Speaking frankly, the singer-songwriter said (per strong wire): “I don’t know if you can be happy in the music industry because the music industry is kind of designed to confuse your head. I think the music industry in particular has been way behind the game with sanity and artists.
Corgan then named Jimi Hendrix – who died of a drug-related incident aged 27 – as an artist who died young in a preventable situation due to mental illness. “Think of all the music that Jimi Hendrix didn’t make,” he said. “We are still talking about Jimi Hendrix 54 or 55 years after his death. I get lost in this because it’s so sad for me.
He went on to note that music’s problem with mental health is systemic, with the industry lagging behind to catch up. “The NFL got it, but the music industry didn’t,” he said, “because the music industry is more about exploitation, which goes back to its roots in the 20th century. .
“I think the 21st century of the music industry should be a legacy of finding young artists, nurturing them, and making sure they continue to create great music for generations to come.”
Returning to the idea that artists tend to die young from mental illness-related situations, Corgan continued, “Think of all the people my generation has lost solely to addiction and suicide. It’s a travesty that there weren’t more support systems around these artists. I don’t want to overshadow anyone. I just know how the business works. It is a question of exploitation.
Noting his own longevity in the music industry – particularly as an artist who has long been open about his struggles with mental illness – Corgan said he “felt[s] blessed” to be where he is today: “I just wish people would say he succeeded, and if that inspired them to try harder, great. I’m not trying to be that model, but I don’t want to be on the other end of the victim list.
Corgan’s interview preceded the Pumpkins’ “intimate club performance” in New York, which took place yesterday (September 22). This was a warm-up show for their upcoming North American tour with Jane’s Addiction, which kicks off in Texas on Sunday, October 2.
Also this week, the Pumpkins released a rocking new song titled “Beguiled” and officially unveiled their long-teased 12th studio album. Entitled “ATUM” (pronounced “autumn”), the ambitious rock opera – a follow-up to 1995’s “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness” as well as the two-disc “Machina” from 2000 – which will be released in three acts during the next seven months.
Each act will feature 11 tracks, with the first set to be released on November 15. The second act will then arrive on January 31, with the final set to land on April 21. The song “Empire” will also appear on the disc. ‘, which the Pumpkins made their live debut in Chicago this week.
The word “ATUM” came before the release of the Pumpkins’ latest album, “CYR” in 2020, when Corgan revealed his ambitious vision for the album’s concept. He then confirmed last March that he and the Pumpkins had started recording, and in July guitarist Jeff Schroeder said the band was “about halfway” through the process. Then, in April, Schroeder confirmed that production on the record was complete.
The following month, Jane’s Addiction and the Pumpkins teamed up to perform ‘Jane Says’ together during an appearance on the Howard Stern Show. Corgan then joined Porno For Pyros (which, like Jane’s Addiction, is run by Perry Farrell) in an appearance at this year’s Lollapalooza, where they teamed up to cover Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks.”
In July, Corgan held a fundraiser for the victims of the Highland Park mass shooting. He performed a series of new tracks at the event, including a song inspired by the tragedy titled “Photograph.”
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