Billy Corgan Says He 'Easily Could Have' Had The Same Fate As Chris Cornell

By Katrina Nattress

December 8, 2020

No one will truly know just what was going on in Chris Cornell's head when he took his life in 2017, but Billy Corgan has a theory based on a feeling he's had "a thousand times."

“I’ve stood in front of that mirror a thousand times — just like he did,” the Smashing Pumpkins frontman recalled in a recent interview (via Consequence of Sound). “You know, kind of an OK gig, you ain’t getting any younger. They weren’t playing the arena, they were playing the theater. I’ve been on those s**t tours. You have to be an older band to know what I mean by that. I know there’s a lot of people who would love to play for 2,500 people, but when you’ve been at the top and you’re somewhere on the other side. Whether they were going to have a comeback, or they were just out doing whatever they were doing.”

“I’m not judging them, what I’m saying is that I’ve been there many nights where even during the highest highs you look in the mirror and think, ‘Is this worth it?’ And I couldn’t in a million years tell you why it’s not worth it. Something inside of you is just like, ‘This is not what I signed up for’ or ‘Everybody else thinks this is great, but it’s not great to me and I don’t know what to do about it,’" he continued. "In my version of reality, he made a decision in that moment that took his life. I’ve been in that exact spot a thousand times, so it made sense to me — even though suicide is obviously the thing that makes no sense.”

“I’m one of the only people who can say I know what that feels like it,” Corgan added. “Am I wrong? Am I making up a fantasy. It’s completely possible, but that’s my version of what happened.”

“There was a period of my life where everywhere I went I was recognized — and just one day it stopped. It’s kind of a haunting feeling," the singer-songwriter admitted. "And if you’re insecure, which most artists are, you start to think you did something wrong or you haven’t done something right. And that’s when people around you start getting in your head.”

“I’m not trying to write Chris Cornell’s story,” he emphasized. “I’m just saying I know what that feels like — to have done so much and still kind of come up feeling hollow. That’s my version of what happened; that easily could have been me. I’m not trying to make it about me, I’m saying I know what that feels like. You’re in the cool boutique hotel after a so-so gig and you’re like, ‘What the f**k is this? I didn’t sign up for this. This is not the stuff of teenage dreams.'”

“I’m sure someone will be mad at me about it, but that’s just my version of it because that’s the only version I know," Corgan admitted. "I know what that feels like and that’s where I went. We sit here from the outside and we say, how does somebody like that walk themselves off the cliff? I can only go to the thing I know where I’ve been on that same cliff edge and where I didn’t make that choice, but I know the feeling.”

Photo: Getty Images

Chris CornellBilly CorganSmashing PumpkinsSoundgarden
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