“I’m not at peace with the world. I’m frightened of it more so now than ever.” Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan on our “complicated” world, and why wrestling is more honest than the music business

Billy Corgan
(Image credit: Timothy Norris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has a lot on his plate right now. In adding to preparing his band for their upcoming UK arena tour, the 57-year-old musician recently launched his own reality TV show, Adventures in Carnyland, and has a wrestling company (National Wrestling Alliance) and a tea-room in Chicago to manage.

“My therapist used to say to me, 'The worst thing for you is to sit and ruminate, you have to stay busy',” Corgan reveals in a new [paywalled] interview with The Times, adding, “my serenity is the best fuel for making art and leading a happy life.” Not that the demons which have driven his life's work have entirely disappeared.

“I’m not at peace with the world!” he insists. “I’m frightened of it more so now than ever. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve had a very lucky life. Portraying that I’m a victim of something is not very attractive. I would rather be a figure of inspiration than one that ends up in a meme as a sort of tragic character.”

On the subject of his reality TV show, which also features members of his family, the Smashing Pumpkins' leader admits that he finds it “a bit weird to open yourself up”, but says, “We live in a very complicated world and getting people’s attention is complicated.”

As an example of how complicated life can be, Corgan now views the world of wrestling as more authentic and honest than the music business.

“Wrestling’s honesty is in its artifice and music’s dishonesty is in its pretence that it’s not artifice,” he tells The Times. “Music is mass psychosis. We pretend: ‘Gee, guys, it’s so nice to be in Cleveland.’ Total malarkey. Everybody in music is a complete assassin.”

Smashing Pumpkins will kick off their first full UK tour since 2013 on June 7, at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham, with Weezer in support.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.