Asked my radio broadcaster Howard Stern earlier this week if Cornell’s death “triggered anything inside of you”, Corgan responded: “Oh, yeah…I’ve stood in front of that mirror a thousand times – just like he did” [quotes 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 theatre. I’ve been on those shit 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,” he said.
Chris Cornell. CREDIT: Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Corgan added to The Howard Stern Show: “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.”
He continued: “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.’ 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.
“There was a period of my life where everywhere I went I was recognised – and just one day it stopped. It’s kind of a haunting feeling. 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 added. “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.”
You can watch more clips and read more about what Corgan had to say to Howard Stern – including the future of The Smashing Pumpkins – here.
“All I want is just for everybody to get along,” he said. “America, like the UK, works best when everyone is moving in the same direction. The division is not helping anybody.”