Billy Corgan: Nirvana, Pearl Jam Success Caused 'Suicidal Depression'

Smashing Pumpkins singer notes that breakthrough from rough period inspired hit song "Today"

Billy Corgan detailed how the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam led to a "suicidal depression" before writing and recording 'Siamese Dream.' Credit: Manuel Nauta/NurPhoto/Rex

Billy Corgan made an appearance on the self-improvement podcast Why Not Now? hosted by Amy Jo Martin to reveal how much the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam affected his mental health (via Spin). His struggles during that period inspired the hit song "Today."

In 1991, the Smashing Pumpkins released their first album Gish, but its release was overshadowed by the explosion of grunge led by Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. "Within a short span of time, I went from thinking I was very successful within my given field, to all the rules had changed in my given field," he explained to Martin. "Everything I had built myself up to be and do was no longer as relevant as it needed to be. I went into a very strange depression because I felt like something had been not taken, but the change made me feel kind of inadequate in a way I wasn't prepared for."

Corgan then detailed his life during this period, where he found it difficult to write songs and slipped into a "suicidal depression." He contemplated jumping out his window and began to engage in "weird, self-absorbed things" like giving away his possessions and plotting his own eulogy.

"I woke up one morning, and I kind of stared out the window and thought, 'Okay, well, if you're not going to jump out the window, you better do whatever it is you need to do,'" he revealed of his breakthrough. "That morning I wrote, I think it was the song 'Today,' which people would probably be fairly familiar with. It's the ice cream truck video song. It's sort of a wry observation on suicide, but in essence the meditation behind the lyric is that every day is the best day, if you let it be."