The rocker discusses his parenting philosophies in a PEOPLE-exclusive look at his 'REINVENTED with Jen Eckhart' episode
Billy Corgan does not hide his past from his children.
The Smashing Pumpkins frontman and father of two, 56, got personal on REINVENTED with Jen Eckhart in a candid conversation spanning his journey from childhood to fatherhood.
In a PEOPLE-exclusive first look at his podcast appearance, the “1979” crooner confirmed that his father once told him that the abuse he suffered as a kid was “good” because it “made [him] a better rock star.”
“Yes, that’s a quote,” he told host Jen Eckhart, adding, “It’s pretty funny, if you think about it.”
Reflecting on the way his own childhood has influenced his parenting, Corgan said, “I absolutely believe in the concept of generational trauma.”
“I mean, much of what we were taught or not taught or we went through as children — my brother and I — I think was the result of what our parents had been taught or not taught,” he said, adding that it’s “simple math.”
“Even down to the concept of ‘Yeah, I’m hitting you, but I’m hitting you less than I was hit,’ so this is better,” he said, adding that he has “heard that” from a parent before.
On whether he and wife Chloe Mendel discuss their past struggles and traumas with their children — son Augustus, 8, and daughter Philomena, 5 — the singer said, “We do talk about it occasionally.”
“In fact, I was talking to my son this morning about certain things that are sort of loosely related to what you asked,” Corgan said, adding that his philopsophy is to “dole it out where appropriate.”
“For example, I told my children some stories about where my father had beat my father and I, and my kids being kids turned that into a story that my daddy was bad, like what kids do, like he’s a villain in a superhero movie,” Corgan told Eckhart.
He continued, “We were driving down the road one day and my daughter started saying something about my father being bad or me not liking my father or something, and I said, ‘No, no. I love my dad. I love my father.’”
The “Today” crooner said he thinks it’s “important” to try to give children “a balanced sense of the conflict in that.”
“That you give them — as much as they are capable of understanding at the age of 8 and 5 — let’s call it the quantum aspect of how you can both love and have issues with someone in your life,” he added. “That it’s not so simple as dividing the world into good guys and bad guys.”
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Elsewhere in the REINVENTED episode, Corgan opened up about addiction, and how it has manifested itself in his life in an atypical way — at least for his profession.
The “Zero” rocker said he used to tell himself he was “lucky” he didn’t get addicted to “those things” while simultaneously developing addictions to “other things that you could argue were just as caustic to my life.”
“I don’t think I staved off addiction, I think I staved off the primary addictions that most people associate with being a musician,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean there weren’t other addictions, including my need to consistently work, much to my detriment.”
REINVENTED with Jen Eckhart is available now.
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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