Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch Series,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Trent Reznor, Singer, songwriter, producer, instrumentalist

Founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio, Nine Inch Nails (NIN) is commonly referred to as an industrial rock act though NIN defies genre convention, drawing musical inspiration from hardcore industrial bands like Skinny Puppy and Throbbing Gristle, while incorporating solo piano ballads, synthpop variations and even elements of drum & bass into their sound. Trent Reznor is the only official member of the project although backing musicians are employed for live performances.

As a studio engineer and fresh out of the bands The Innocent and Exotic Birds, Reznor started his own project borrowing John Malm Jr. from Exotic Birds as his informal manager. At the time, Reznor worked as a janitor and assistant for Right Track Studios. There he recorded his first demos. Unable to find like-minded individuals that suited his artistic needs, Reznor played all the instruments himself except for the drums and went on to support Skinny Puppy at several concerts.

Reznor’s aspirations for NIN included a 12-inch single on a small European label, but he signed with TVT records and recorded nine tracks in November 1988. These tracks were later included in NIN’s first full length album release in 1989. There was much speculation about the project’s name, perhaps alluding to the nine-inch nails used for the crucifixion of Jesus or, it was speculated, meant to allude to Freddy Kreuger’s nails from the horror franchise Nightmare on Elm Street. Reznor himself disputed any literal meaning claiming he chose the title because it abbreviated well and made a good logo.

In 1989, Reznor collaborated with Adrian Sherwood and Mark “Flood” Ellis on the production of the album Pretty Hate Machine, including the now classic NIN singles “Head Like A Hole” and “Down In It.” This album was one of the first independently released albums to ever achieve platinum status. The original music video for “Down In It” sparked controversy when the helium weather balloon used to film the last scene, where Reznor lies seemingly dead and covered in corn starch while other band members walk off screen in weird costumes, escaped its mooring and ended up in a farmer’s field. The farmer took the camera to the FBI suspecting marijuana surveillance footage. The FBI thought the footage was related to gang violence or possibly even a snuff film.

In 1990, NIN hit the road for The Pretty Hate Machine Tour Series, opening for Peter Murphy and The Jesus and Mary Chain. This tour developed into a world tour that continued through the Lollapolooza tour in 1991. Reznor’s onstage antics became increasingly aggressive resulting in smashed equipment and ecstatic fans.

After disillusion with the TVT record label and trying to record music under various pseudonyms to get around the label’s insistence that NIN assume a more synthpop sound for their follow-up album, Reznor and Mark Ellis started recording in secret. TVT eventually traded NIN over to Interscope, which encouraged Reznor to make the music he wanted to and also helped him set-up his own label, Nothing. In 1992, Reznor released Broken, Nothing’s first album, an EP featuring six songs and two bonus tracks. Heavier and harder than the band’s previous album, two of the tracks off Broken, “Wish” and “Happiness in Slavery” won NIN two Grammy awards for Best Metal Performance, the first two of twelve subsequent Grammy nominations.

Having moved into an LA residence famous for being the site of the Tate Murders (perpetrated by cult leader, Charles Manson) controversy continued to dog Reznor when the music video for “Happiness in Slavery” was universally banned. The footage featured Bob Flanagan naked on a machine which pleasured, tortured and eventually killed him. Continuing along these graphic lines, Reznor’s videos for “Pinion” and “Help Me I’m In Hell” featured a toilet flushing into the mouth of a person in bondage and a young man kidnapped, tortured and killed respectively. Although these videos were never officially released, they were circulated amongst covert tape trading groups at the time.

Living and recording at his LA home dubbed Le Pig, Reznor chose to record rather than tour and began work on The Downward Spiral released in 1994. Influenced by Bowie and Pink Floyd, The Downward Spiralfeatures a range of moods as the music seems to follow the psychological development of a central character. The most successful NIN’s album to date, the album’s success was anchored by the singles “Closer,” “Hurt” (nominated for a Grammy and later covered by Johnny Cash), “March of the Pigs” and “Piggy.” The video for “Closer” directed by Mark Romanek received heavy rotation on MTV2 after extensive editing, the original considered too graphic once again for most watchers. The video is an industrial take on the lab of a 19th century mad scientist complete with animal cruelty, religious symbols including a monkey suffering crucifixion, graphic sexual images and a variety of S&M/bondage paraphernalia. Reznor himself dons an S&M mask while swinging in shackles, which only added to the controversial content.

Reznor embarked on the Self Destruct Tour, culminating in a mud-drenched Woodstock ’94 performance. The Downward Spiral album and tour garnered NIN both critical acclaim and a horde of new fans, catapulting the relatively unknown industrial act onto the mainstream charts with significant, but censored, radio play. After the tour, Reznor took a break from NIN, working on several soundtrack projects. Reznor produced the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers directed by Oliver Stone, developed the music and sound effects for the first person shooter video game Quake and produced the soundtrack for David Lynch’s Lost Highway. The soundtrack for Lost Highway spawned the single release of “The Perfect Drug.” The video, again directed by Romanek, features a father mourning his dead son in a Gothic mansion while losing himself to absinthe addiction, perhaps prophetic of Reznor’s later battles with alcoholism and drug addiction.

In 2005, NIN released their long overdue fourth full-length album, With Teeth, written in the shadow of Reznor’s battle with alcoholism and substance abuse. Singles include “The Hand That Feeds” and “Every Day is Exactly The Same” but the album was generally slammed by critics as being unoriginal and lacking in signature Reznor creativity.

NIN followed up the mediocre success of With Teethwith their 2007 offering, Year Zero, a concept album critical of the US government’s approach to politics. The album’s story is set in 2022, in an America ravaged by terrorism now operating under a Christian theocracy while distributing a drug designed to make the masses apathetic. Rebel movements from 2022 travel back in time to warn 2007 Americans of the coming apocalypse. This album met with critical acclaim but failed to perform in the charts. Although Reznor planned to create a movie adaptation of the album, that idea has since been superseded by HBO and BBC interest in developing a miniseries for TV.

In 2008, Reznor released two albums – Ghosts I-IVand The Slip – under creative commons license, making them available for free download on NIN’s official website. The albums were surprisingly popular, receiving over 5 million downloads. Since 2009, Reznor has officially put NIN on indefinite hiatus while working on side projects including How to Destroy Angels with his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross. Reznor and Ross worked together on the soundtrack for the film The Social Network, winning a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Score 2010. Reznor and Ross again collaborated on the score for the 2011 film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Trent Reznor appeared fleetingly in the 1987 Michael J. Fox movie Light Of Day, where he’s part of a Synth-Pop band who aren’t much good.

Trent Reznor married Mariqueen Maandig in October 2009. They have two sons, Lazarus Echo (born October 10, 2010) and Balthazar, (born December 31, 2011). Reznor settled on his boys’ names ahead of their births, but admitted to Scotland’s The Daily Record that he would have had a battle on his hands with his in-laws if he’d had a daughter. “With those names, the boys are going to have to learn how to fight,” he laughed. “The in-laws are fine with it. The children were going to be stuck with those names regardless. But if there was a female, we were going to have a punch-up for sure.”

In 2009, before privacy was a major concern to most users, Trent Reznor released a Nine Inch Nails iPhone app with an innovative feature: Nearby, which let fans find other fans using the app in their area. The app didn’t work very well and never caught on.

Stabbing Westward frontman Christopher Hall credits Nine Inch Nails for getting his band and other industrial acts signed to major labels. “They had amazing songs that were super edgy to be on the radio and made everyone feel edgy and dirty,” “When that happened, every record label in America – and this is what they always do, they’re reactive as opposed to being proactive – they looked around and said, ‘Where can we get one of them?'”

Filter frontman Richard Patrick was a touring guitarist for Nine Inch Nails from 1989-1993. His only recorded contribution is a guitar drone that can be heard at the end of “Sanctified.”

Speaking on the podcast Stop! Drop & Talk, Patrick cited comments from Trent Reznor as the motivating factor for him quitting Nine Inch Nails.

“The final straw was Trent goes, ‘Hey, listen, Rich, I know you need some extra cash. Listen. Down at the end of Cielo Drive, there’s a little pizzeria, and they need drivers. So maybe you can go make some extra cash over there,'” Patrick explained. “And I’m, like, ‘Wow!'”

At that point Patrick had already written Filter’s’s debut single “Hey Man Nice Shot” and had interest from several labels.

Nine Inch Nails entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. At the ceremony (virtual, due to coronavirus), the Rock Hall made it clear that Reznor was the group, but inducted six other members as well:

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste won the Oscar for best score for the jazz-infused Pixar feature Soul, which featured the contrast of New York’s jazz scene with original compositions by Batiste, and the ethereal Great Before, scored by Reznor and Ross.



Chris Vrenna
Danny Lohner
Robin Finck
Atticus Ross
Alessandro Cortini
Ilan Rubin

Ross, Cortini, and Rubin didn’t make any contributions to NIN in the ’90s.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio, Nine Inch Nails (NIN) is commonly referred to as an industrial rock act though NIN defies genre convention, drawing musical inspiration from hardcore industrial bands like Skinny Puppy and Throbbing Gristle, while incorporating solo piano ballads, synthpop variations and even elements of drum & bass into their sound. Trent Reznor is the only official member of the project although backing musicians are employed for live performances.

As a studio engineer and fresh out of the bands The Innocent and Exotic Birds, Reznor started his own project borrowing John Malm Jr. from Exotic Birds as his informal manager. At the time, Reznor worked as a janitor and assistant for Right Track Studios. There he recorded his first demos. Unable to find like-minded individuals that suited his artistic needs, Reznor played all the instruments himself except for the drums and went on to support Skinny Puppy at several concerts.

Reznor’s aspirations for NIN included a 12-inch single on a small European label, but he signed with TVT records and recorded nine tracks in November 1988. These tracks were later included in NIN’s first full length album release in 1989. There was much speculation about the project’s name, perhaps alluding to the nine-inch nails used for the crucifixion of Jesus or, it was speculated, meant to allude to Freddy Kreuger’s nails from the horror franchise Nightmare on Elm Street. Reznor himself disputed any literal meaning claiming he chose the title because it abbreviated well and made a good logo.

In 1989, Reznor collaborated with Adrian Sherwood and Mark “Flood” Ellis on the production of the album Pretty Hate Machine, including the now classic NIN singles “Head Like A Hole” and “Down In It.” This album was one of the first independently released albums to ever achieve platinum status. The original music video for “Down In It” sparked controversy when the helium weather balloon used to film the last scene, where Reznor lies seemingly dead and covered in corn starch while other band members walk off screen in weird costumes, escaped its mooring and ended up in a farmer’s field. The farmer took the camera to the FBI suspecting marijuana surveillance footage. The FBI thought the footage was related to gang violence or possibly even a snuff film.

In 1990, NIN hit the road for The Pretty Hate Machine Tour Series, opening for Peter Murphy and The Jesus and Mary Chain. This tour developed into a world tour that continued through the Lollapolooza tour in 1991. Reznor’s onstage antics became increasingly aggressive resulting in smashed equipment and ecstatic fans.

After disillusion with the TVT record label and trying to record music under various pseudonyms to get around the label’s insistence that NIN assume a more synthpop sound for their follow-up album, Reznor and Mark Ellis started recording in secret. TVT eventually traded NIN over to Interscope, which encouraged Reznor to make the music he wanted to and also helped him set-up his own label, Nothing. In 1992, Reznor released Broken, Nothing’s first album, an EP featuring six songs and two bonus tracks. Heavier and harder than the band’s previous album, two of the tracks off Broken, “Wish” and “Happiness in Slavery” won NIN two Grammy awards for Best Metal Performance, the first two of twelve subsequent Grammy nominations.

Having moved into an LA residence famous for being the site of the Tate Murders (perpetrated by cult leader, Charles Manson) controversy continued to dog Reznor when the music video for “Happiness in Slavery” was universally banned. The footage featured Bob Flanagan naked on a machine which pleasured, tortured and eventually killed him. Continuing along these graphic lines, Reznor’s videos for “Pinion” and “Help Me I’m In Hell” featured a toilet flushing into the mouth of a person in bondage and a young man kidnapped, tortured and killed respectively. Although these videos were never officially released, they were circulated amongst covert tape trading groups at the time.

Living and recording at his LA home dubbed Le Pig, Reznor chose to record rather than tour and began work on The Downward Spiral released in 1994. Influenced by Bowie and Pink Floyd, The Downward Spiralfeatures a range of moods as the music seems to follow the psychological development of a central character. The most successful NIN’s album to date, the album’s success was anchored by the singles “Closer,” “Hurt” (nominated for a Grammy and later covered by Johnny Cash), “March of the Pigs” and “Piggy.” The video for “Closer” directed by Mark Romanek received heavy rotation on MTV2 after extensive editing, the original considered too graphic once again for most watchers. The video is an industrial take on the lab of a 19th century mad scientist complete with animal cruelty, religious symbols including a monkey suffering crucifixion, graphic sexual images and a variety of S&M/bondage paraphernalia. Reznor himself dons an S&M mask while swinging in shackles, which only added to the controversial content.

Reznor embarked on the Self Destruct Tour, culminating in a mud-drenched Woodstock ’94 performance. The Downward Spiral album and tour garnered NIN both critical acclaim and a horde of new fans, catapulting the relatively unknown industrial act onto the mainstream charts with significant, but censored, radio play. After the tour, Reznor took a break from NIN, working on several soundtrack projects. Reznor produced the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers directed by Oliver Stone, developed the music and sound effects for the first person shooter video game Quake and produced the soundtrack for David Lynch’s Lost Highway. The soundtrack for Lost Highway spawned the single release of “The Perfect Drug.” The video, again directed by Romanek, features a father mourning his dead son in a Gothic mansion while losing himself to absinthe addiction, perhaps prophetic of Reznor’s later battles with alcoholism and drug addiction.

In 2005, NIN released their long overdue fourth full-length album, With Teeth, written in the shadow of Reznor’s battle with alcoholism and substance abuse. Singles include “The Hand That Feeds” and “Every Day is Exactly The Same” but the album was generally slammed by critics as being unoriginal and lacking in signature Reznor creativity.

NIN followed up the mediocre success of With Teethwith their 2007 offering, Year Zero, a concept album critical of the US government’s approach to politics. The album’s story is set in 2022, in an America ravaged by terrorism now operating under a Christian theocracy while distributing a drug designed to make the masses apathetic. Rebel movements from 2022 travel back in time to warn 2007 Americans of the coming apocalypse. This album met with critical acclaim but failed to perform in the charts. Although Reznor planned to create a movie adaptation of the album, that idea has since been superseded by HBO and BBC interest in developing a miniseries for TV.

In 2008, Reznor released two albums – Ghosts I-IVand The Slip – under creative commons license, making them available for free download on NIN’s official website. The albums were surprisingly popular, receiving over 5 million downloads. Since 2009, Reznor has officially put NIN on indefinite hiatus while working on side projects including How to Destroy Angels with his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross. Reznor and Ross worked together on the soundtrack for the film The Social Network, winning a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Score 2010. Reznor and Ross again collaborated on the score for the 2011 film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Hesitation Marks, the band’s eighth studio album, was released in August 2013 through Columbia Records, reaching number three on the Billboard 200. After teasing a release in early 2016, Nine Inch Nails began releasing a trilogy of new releases: the EPs Not the Actual Events in December 2016 and Add Violence in July 2017, followed by the band’s ninth studio album, Bad Witch, in June 2018. On March 26, 2020, the band released the albums Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts.

Trent Reznor appeared fleetingly in the 1987 Michael J. Fox movie Light Of Day, where he’s part of a Synth-Pop band who aren’t much good.

Trent Reznor married Mariqueen Maandig in October 2009. They have two sons, Lazarus Echo (born October 10, 2010) and Balthazar, (born December 31, 2011). Reznor settled on his boys’ names ahead of their births, but admitted to Scotland’s The Daily Record that he would have had a battle on his hands with his in-laws if he’d had a daughter. “With those names, the boys are going to have to learn how to fight,” he laughed. “The in-laws are fine with it. The children were going to be stuck with those names regardless. But if there was a female, we were going to have a punch-up for sure.”

In 2009, before privacy was a major concern to most users, Trent Reznor released a Nine Inch Nails iPhone app with an innovative feature: Nearby, which let fans find other fans using the app in their area. The app didn’t work very well and never caught on.

Stabbing Westward frontman Christopher Hall credits Nine Inch Nails for getting his band and other industrial acts signed to major labels. “They had amazing songs that were super edgy to be on the radio and made everyone feel edgy and dirty.” “When that happened, every record label in America – and this is what they always do, they’re reactive as opposed to being proactive – they looked around and said, ‘Where can we get one of them?'”

Nine Inch Nails entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. At the ceremony (virtual, due to coronavirus), the Rock Hall made it clear that Reznor was the group, but inducted six other members as well:

Chris Vrenna
Danny Lohner
Robin Finck
Atticus Ross
Alessandro Cortini
Ilan Rubin

Ross, Cortini, and Rubin didn’t make any contributions to NIN in the ’90s.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Industrial Metal Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Nine Inch Nails began in Cleveland in 1988 while Reznor was working at a recording studio. He wrote, arranged, performed, and produced the majority of the material, bringing in other musicians for live performances. The band quickly gained popularity with its debut release, Pretty Hate Machine (1989), which eventually sold more than three million copies in the United Statesand signaled a breakthrough into the American mainstream for industrial music. After a drawn-out legal battle with his recording company, TVT, Reznor set up his own label, Nothing Records, and released the EP Broken (1992), which earned a Grammy Award. Reznor signed glam shock rocker Marilyn Manson to the Nothing label, and the two fed on each other’s successes throughout the 1990s.

Reznor’s second full-length release, The Downward Spiral (1994), bowed at number two on the Billboard album chart. On the strength of such singles as “Closer” and “Hurt,” the album soon surpassed the band’s debut in sales. (An emotional acoustic version of “Hurt” later became a surprise hit for country legend Johnny Cash .) Nine Inch Nails appeared as a headliner at the 1994 Woodstock festival, and “Happiness in Slavery,” a single recorded at that performance, earned Reznor a second Grammy. In 1995 Nine Inch Nails opened for David Bowie on his North American tour, but a new album was slow to follow, and much of Reznor’s time was spent in the production studio with label mate Marilyn Manson.

Friends became enemies in the late ’90s as Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson exchanged verbal blows. Reznor produced Marilyn Manson’s ‘Antichrist Superstar’ album, but shortly after, the two butted heads as Manson jumped ship from Reznor’s Nothing Records label to Interscope.

“He and I are two strong personalities that could coexist for a while, but things changed,” stated Reznor. “I think fame and power distort people’s personalities,” Manson fired back. The two have since buried the hatchet, with Manson appearing in Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Starf—ers Inc.’ video and joining NIN onstage in Madison Square Garden.

Nine Inch Nails arrived on the music scene like a wrecking ball and left a wave of destruction behind. Frontman Trent Reznor released explosive and confrontational music that bowled over fans and enraged critics as he battled infamy, drug addiction, and a string of vicious controversies. During the ’90s, Nine Inch Nails were one of the biggest bands on the scene, and they continue to tour and release music today.

Despite weathering controversial press Reznor managed to keep a level of privacy and an air of mystery by focusing on the music. Because of this, surely there are things you didn’t know about Nine Inch Nails.

In 1995, Trent Reznor toured with David Bowie, and the two performed several of each other’s songs together. At the time, Reznor was dealing with severe cocaine and alcohol addiction. After Bowie’s death on January 10, 2016, many celebrities came forward with stories to share about the musician, including Reznor.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Reznor spoke at length about his time with Bowie and revealed that Bowie, who suffered addiction problems in the past, regularly gave him advice without being mean or judgmental. One time while on tour, Bowie reportedly said to Reznor, “You know, there is a better way here, and it doesn’t have to end in despair or in death, in the bottom.”

Reznor was able to maintain sobriety shortly after. Years after the tour, Reznor went to a Bowie concert in Los Angeles and went backstage to thank him for helping him with his drug problems. Reznor said of the encounter:

I’d been sober for a fair amount of time. I wanted to thank him in the way that he helped me. And I reluctantly went backstage, feeling weird and ashamed, like, “Hey, I’m the guy that puked on the rug.” And again, I was met with warmth, and grace, and love. And I started to say, “Hey listen, I’ve been clean for… ” I don’t even think I finished the sentence; I got a big hug. And he said, “I knew. I knew you’d do that. I knew you’d come out of that.” I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it. It was another very important moment in my life.

Reznor wrote the song “Hurt,” which he included on NIN’s 1994 album, The Downward Spiral. In 2002, producer Rick Rubin contacted Reznor and asked what he’d think about Johnny Cash remaking the song. Reznor said he would be flattered for Cash to do his version, and two weeks later, he received Cash’s cover song in the mail.

Later, Reznor recalled, “I listened to it, and it was very strange. It was this other person inhabiting my most personal song. Hearing it was like someone kissing your girlfriend. It felt invasive.”

“Hurt” went on to be one of Cash’s final hits, earning him commercial and critical acclaim. NME named Cash’s music video for the song the greatest of all time. Reznor, recalling watching the video for the first time, stated:

Tears started welling up. I realized it wasn’t really my song anymore. It just gave me goosebumps up and down my spine. It’s an unbelievably powerful piece of work. After he passed away, I remember feeling saddened, but being honored to have framed the end of his life in something that is very tasteful.

On April 20, 1999, 17-year-old Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old Eric Harris carried out the Columbine High School massacre in Jefferson County, CO. When it was over, they had killed 12 students and one teacher and injured 21 others in the attack, and injured three others who were attempting to leave the school.

After the shooting, both Klebold and Harris took their own lives by shooting themselves. The teens left journals behind detailing their plans for the school massacre, as well as video footage of the two talking about explosives and weapons, and showing them at target practice.

In the daily planner he left behind, Klebold makes many references to Nine Inch Nails songs, including “Piggy,” “Something I Can Never Have,” “Hurt,” “Closer,” “The Perfect Drug,” “The Downward Spiral,” and “Happiness in Slavery.”

And Harris references Reznor in one of his journal entries, stating, “Who can I trick into my room first? I can sweep someone off their feet, tell them what they want to hear, be all nice and sweet, and then ‘f— ’em like an animal, feel them from the inside’ as Reznor said,” referring to the Nine Inch Nails song “Closer.”

Days after the Columbine massacre, authorities shared Harris’s and Klebold’s journals with the public, and the music they listened to and video games they played received a public backlash. Some people even went as far as blaming the school shooting on the teens’ interest in music and violent video games.

On May 4, 1999, the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing regarding violent content aimed toward minors by the television, music, movie, and video game industries. During the hearing, senators explicitly criticized Nine Inch Nails.

In 2012, director David Fincher reached out to Reznor in regards to the movie The Social Network. Fincher wanted Reznor to score the film. Initially, Reznor turned down the requestdue to his hectic touring schedule, but then he changed his mind and agreed.

Reznor collaborated with Atticus Ross on the composition, arrangements, performance, programming, and production of songs. They earned several awards for the score, including an Academy Award for Best Original Score in February 2011 and a Golden Globe Award in January 2011.

In 1987, Reznor left the band Exotic Birds to work on his own music. By 1988, he was working as a janitor at Right Track Studios. Reznor asked his boss if he could record his demos while the studio was not in use, and his boss obliged.

Reznor was unable to find a band to work with that had the particular sound he was looking for, so, inspired by the artist Prince, he began playing everything himself, aside from drums – keyboards, drum machines, guitars, and samplers. He also used a Macintosh Plus computer.

Reznor’s demo earned him a record contract with TVT Records, and the songs turned into a platinum album, 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine. Critics credit the album with helping to create an entirely new genre of music, “Industrial Metal.”

n 1995, former senator Bob Dole, former education secretary William Bennett, and former secretary of Pennsylvania and civil rights activist Cynthia Delores Tucker went to the annual Time Warner shareholders’ meeting in New York to air their grievances. The social conservatives took issue with specific bands that had signed with Warner Music. During the meeting, Tucker demanded Michael Fuchs, head of the Warner Music Group, read the lyrics aloud to the Nine Inch Nails song “Big Man With a Gun.”

I am a big man
(Yes I am)
And I have a big gun
Got me a big old d*ck and I
I like to have fun
Held against your forehead
I’ll make you suck it
Maybe I’ll put a hole in your head
You know, just for the f*ck of it

Fuchs refused to read the lyrics. Tucker repeatedly referred to NIN as a gangsta rap band during her speech. Afterward, Newsweekreported on the meeting, also referring to “Big Man With a Gun” as a rap song.

To promote the 1992 album Broken, Reznor worked with Peter Christopherson to create a short film of the same name that featured songs from the album. The 20-minute film is considered a horror musical and was made as a snuff-style film: The beginning of the video starts with an execution via hanging. The movie was never officially released due to its extremely graphic subject matter, but it leaked and became popular in the VHS tape trading days.

In December 2006, the film leaked on the Pirate Bay website, with many assuming Reznor was responsible for putting the film online. In 2013, the movie was uploaded onto Vimeo and posted on the official Tumblr page for NIN. Vimeo promptly removed the video, citing a Terms of Service violation. This pushed the film back into the underground until 2016, when it was uploaded to Archive.org under fair use laws.

Nine Inch Nails ran into several issues while creating a music video for the 1989 song “Down in It.” During filming in Chicago, the band used several Super 8 cameras, including one connected to a weather balloon filled with helium. While filming a scene featuring Reznor lying on the ground and appearing dead, the ropes holding the camera snapped, and the camera floated away.

More than a year later, Reznor’s manager informed him that the camera had landed 200 miles away in a farmer’s field in Michigan. The farmer, believing it held surveillance footage of marijuana fields, gave the camera to his local police department. Police reviewed the video and, thinking it was a snuff film, turned it over to the FBI. The FBI also believed it was a snuff film, possibly involving a ritual gang slaying.

Eventually, the FBI learned the alleged dead man in the footage was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Hard Copy later did a segment on the FBI’s investigation of the Nine Inch Nails video.

The address 10050 Cielo Drive in Beverly Crest, CA, is synonymous with the Manson Family – the home where the brutal murder of Sharon Tate occurred. Rudolph Altobelli, a music and film talent manager, rented the house to Tate and Roman Polanski in 1969. After Tate’s murder, Altobelli moved into the home and stayed for more than 20 years. But the last resident of the original house before it was demolished in 1994 was none other than Trent Reznor.

Reznor rented the mansion in 1992 when he was 28 years old and used the location to record The Downward Spiral. Many believe the move to the Cielo Drive home was intentional on Reznor’s part, perhaps as a way to garner publicity for his upcoming album at the time, but Reznor insists that was not the case.

In fact, Reznor claims he was interested in the home due to how spacious it was, and after looking at several properties, he figured the location was best for an in-house studio. Reznor later found out about the house’s haunted history when a friend mentioned it to him, and they looked at photos in the book Helter Skelter.

In the Nine Inch Nails logo, the last N appears backward. The 1980 album Remain in Light by the Talking Heads inspired Reznor to do this. In the Talking Heads logo, the A letters in their band name appear upside down.

NIN’s catchy logo appears in many projects Reznor has been a part of, including the 1996 video game Quake. Reznor created the soundtrack for the game, and the NIN logo features on the ammo box for the nailgun. In the 2011 film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, viewers can spot a man wearing a Nine Inch Nails sweater with the NIN logo. Reznor, along with Atticus Ross, composed the score for the movie.

In the 2019 Marvel Film “Captain Marvel,” you can see the main character, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel sporting a Nine Inch Nails shirt.

As we see in the film, shortly after Carol crash-lands on earth in her black and green Kree supersuit, she realizes that she’s in need of 1) transportation, and 2) an undercover outfit, so that clever young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury has a more difficult time tracking her down. Rather serendipitously, she finds both in a strip mall parking lot: she steals a motorcycle from a sexist biker who asked her to “smile” for him, and then expertly steals a full outfit off a fashion store mannequin. Rather than putting her in “neon spandex or something equally silly,” Hays said they settled on grunge being Carol’s preferred aesthetic.

Thus, Carol’s now-iconic outfit of a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt, loose-fitting jeans, a black leather jacket, and a flannel tied around her waist was born. Does it mean Carol is humming “Hurt” just offscreen? According to Hays, not exactly.

One thing is for certain, Reznor has kept things interesting over the years. He’s explored industrial dance tracks (‘Down in It’ and ‘Sin’), worked through some thrashier moments (‘March of the Pigs,’ ‘Wish’ and ‘Head Like a Hole’), and dug deep into the soul for some deeply emotional catharsis (‘Hurt,’ ‘Something I Can Never Have’). He’s questioned both political (‘Capital G,’ ‘The Hand That Feeds’) and religious (‘Terrible Lie’) leaders, and all the while sustained a loyal following always anxious to see where he’s taking things next.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “The 90’s Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Released on March 8, 1994, Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral” was the band’s mainstream breakthrough despite being a seedy and twisted concept album about the destruction of man. Borrowing influences from David Bowie’s “Low” and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” it brought us into the deep, dark depths of Trent Reznor’s artistic mind. 

“The Downward Spiral” saw Nine Inch Nails shed the electronic impetus of their debut release, “Pretty Hate Machine,” to include denser sound elements rooted in industrial rock, techno and heavy metal. 

At the time of its release, NIN’s album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified quadruple-platinum. “The Downward Spiral” established Nine Inch Nails as a force within the 90’s alt-rock scene and beyond, and remains widely regarded as the band’s best work. 

The album was written and recorded at the “Tate House,” the site of the murder of famed actress Sharon Tate by members of the Manson Family in 1969. Located at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, Reznor spent 18 months living in the house. He dubbed the studio where he worked “Le Pig” in reference to a message that was scrawled on the front door of Sharon Tate’s house.

Trent Reznor originally intended to record “The Downward Spiral” in New Orleans. He moved there after the album came out, and remained for a decade. Ironically, this was when he began his own downward spiral into alcohol and drug addiction.

The process of setting up a studio inside the Tate House took the band so long it delayed the release of the album.

“The Downward Spiral” was primarily recorded in a Mac computer.

In 1993, while still working on the album, Reznor came into contact with Patti Tate, Sharon’s sister. Patti accused Reznor of exploiting her sister’s death by living in the Tate home. The encounter deeply affected Reznor. Upon his moving out, the house was demolished.

Two songs, “Just Do It” and “The Beauty of the Drug,” were written for but subsequently cut from the final version of “The Downward Spiral.” The latter was eventually leaked on the “Disturbed” bootleg.

British artist Russell Mills created the cover artwork for “The Downward Spiral,” which featured his painting “Wound.” Other artwork and sketches from the album, including “Closer” and “March of the Pigs,” have been displayed at the Glasgow School of Art.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Cool Movie Soundtracks Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Like prom dresses and middle-school diaries, soundtrack albums are potent, often awkward reminders of a particular time and place — cultural artifacts that stir myriad memories for those who lived through the era but impossible to understand if you didn’t. The early Nineties were filled with best-selling soundtracks, everything from Dazed and Confused to Pulp Fiction, each of them catering to a specific slice of the listening public. For some fans, the period’s preeminent soundtrack belonged to 1994’s The Crow; like the movie that inspired it, the collection drips with a moody, eyeliner-smeared darkness that’s so of its time, it makes listening to it today comparable to leafing through old graduation photos.

Nine Inch Nails, Dead Souls. Album: The Crow Soundtrack (1994)

“Dead Souls” is a cover of a Joy Division song, frequently played live. It appeared in the 1994 film The Crow and was released on its soundtrack. It was also the tenth track (before “A Warm Place”) on the Japanese version of The Downward Spiral. In 2004, it was included as the fifth track on the second disc of the 10th anniversary The Downward Spiral Deluxe Edition.

The Joy Division original was recorded in 1979 and released on their compilation album Still. In commentary for The Crow with producer and musical supervisor Jeff Most, it is revealed that Nine Inch Nails were originally supposed to perform in the film instead of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. While this song appears on The Definitive NIN – The Singles, it was never released as a single or promo.

“Dead Souls” is often considered to be about a schizophrenic man, as evidenced by the lyric “a duel of personalities” and the other lyric “they keep calling me”.

Dead Souls” is a regular in setlists. In the With Teeth: Summer Amphitheater Tour, Peter Murphy joined NIN on stage to sing this song at the live radio show on July 1, 2006, and at the last show of the tour on July 8, 2006. On the Self Destruct Tour, Reznor would sing “The Becoming” lyric, “god damn this noise inside my head,” after the end of this song. It would then transition with the sound of wind into a performance of “Help Me I Am In Hell.”

Lyrics:

  Someone take these dreams away
    That point me to another day
    A duel of personalities
    That stretch all true reality
    
    They keep calling me
    Keep on calling me
    
    When figures from the past stand tall
    And mocking voices ring the hall
    Imperialistic house of prayer
    Conquistadores who took their share
    
    They keep calling me
    Keep on calling me
    
    Calling me

Psychedelic Lunch

Trent Reznor took to his Twitter Account to announce new music for the first time in a while. Heres what he had to say.

Friends-

WEIRD TIMES INDEED…

AS THE NEWS SEEMS TO TURN EVER MORE GRIM BY THE HOUR, WE’VE FOUND OURSELVES VACILLATING WILDLY BETWEEN FEELING LIKE THERE MAY BE HOPE AT TIMES TO UTTER DESPAIR – OFTEN CHANGING MINUTE TO MINUTE. ALTHOUGH EACH OF US DEFINE OURSELVES AS ANTISOCIAL-TYPES WHO PREFER BEING ON OUR OWN, THIS SITUATION HAS REALLY MADE US APPRECIATE THE POWER AND NEED FOR CONNECTION.

MUSIC – WHETHER LISTENING TO IT, THINKING ABOUT IT OR CREATING IT – HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE THING THAT HELPED US GET THROUGH ANYTHING – GOOD OR BAD. WITH THAT IN MIND, WE DECIDED TO BURN THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND COMPLETE THESE NEW GHOSTS RECORDS AS A MEANS OF STAYING SOMEWHAT SANE.

GHOSTS V: TOGETHER IS FOR WHEN THINGS SEEM LIKE IT MIGHT ALL BE OKAY, AND GHOSTS VI: LOCUSTS… WELL, YOU’LL FIGURE IT OUT.

IT MADE US FEEL BETTER TO MAKE THESE AND IT FEELS GOOD TO SHARE THEM. MUSIC HAS ALWAYS HAD A WAY OF MAKING US FEEL A LITTLE LESS ALONE IN THE WORLD… AND HOPEFULLY IT DOES FOR YOU, TOO. REMEMBER, EVERYONE IS IN THIS THING TOGETHER AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN SOON.
BE SMART AND SAFE AND TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.

WITH LOVE,
TRENT & ATTICUS

HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN LISTEN RIGHT NOW:
FREE DOWNLOAD FROM US
YOUTUBE

ALBUMS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON ALL STREAMING SERVICES TONIGHT

New Nine Inch Nails Ghosts V – VI

William Frederick Rieflin was an American musician. Rieflin came to prominence in the 1990s for his work mainly as a drummer with many notable groups including Ministry, the Revolting Cocks, Lard, KMFDM, Pigface, Swans, Chris Connelly, and Nine Inch Nails.

Rieflin died on March 24, 2020 from cancer at the age of 59.

Rieflin’s passing was confirmed by King Crimson founder Robert Fripp. In a post to social media, the guitarist explained that Rieflin’s wife, Tracy, called him with the news. “Tracy told Toyah (Fripp’s wife) and me that the day was grey, and as Bill flew away the clouds opened, and the skies were blue for about fifteen minutes. Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you.”

Rieflin’s career began in his hometown of Seattle, where he drummed with a variety of local acts, including punk rock group the Blackouts. The band’s final EP was produced by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, with whom Rieflin became friendly.

Following the Blackouts’ disbandment, Jourgensen recruited the drummer to join Ministry. Rieflin played on the band’s 1988 album The Land of Rape and Honey, a landmark release in the industrial music genre. He continued as a member of the group through the mid-90s, contributing to five of the band’s LPs.

In a 2011 interview with Modern Drummer, Rieflin recalled his departure from Ministry. “When I started playing with Ministry in ’86 it was all very computer, synthesizer, and noise based. Those records were pretty interesting for that time, and we had a lot of fun doing them,” the drummer explained. “And then Al got more interested in guitar rock music like on [the 1992 album] Psalm 69. I’m just not interested in that metal guitar rock; it bores the crap out of me. I have been known to say, with great pride, that my last act in Ministry was to refuse to play on their version of (Bob) Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay,’ which appeared on [1996’s] Filth Pig. When I left Ministry, I didn’t have a plan per se. My first concern was getting the hell out of there. My second concern was, ‘Well, what now?’”

“What now” turned out to be a run of material with a wide variety of artists, including German industrial group KMFDM, New York experimental band Swans and folk group Angels of Light. Rieflin also played on Nine Inch Nails’ 1999 double album The Fragile.

Also in 1999, Rieflin released his debut solo album, Birth of a Giant. It was during this time that a publicist introduced him to R.E.M.’s Peter Buck.

“When R.E.M. was preparing to begin work on what was to become Around the Sun, I was asked if I wanted to do a few weeks of recording,” Rieflin recalled. “A few weeks became a few more weeks. Eventually I was asked to do the European tour, then the U.S. tour. Then I guess they just got used to me hanging around. Perhaps at that point it was too much trouble to get someone else.”

Though he was excited to be playing with the group, Rieflin admitted he was only mildly familiar with R.E.M.’s music. “I didn’t know their records. I knew pretty much what your average radio-listening, MTV-watching American knew about them. ‘Losing My Religion’ was the first time I stopped to listen; a lot of it had to do with the video.”

The drummer would contribute to R.E.M.’s final three albums — 2004’s Around the Sun, 2008’s Accelerate and 2011’s Collapse Into Now.

Upon the band’s breakup in 2011, Rieflin was asked what he’d miss about working with the group. “Firstly and perhaps most importantly, the R.E.M.’s are a rare breed in my experience: they are all lovely guys — very smart, funny and, significantly, among the most generous and big-hearted people I have ever met,” the drummer explained to NPR, noting that he’d miss “a lot of things” about collaborating with the band.

Fripp, with whom Rieflin had previously collaborated and remained friends, announced that the drummer had joined King Crimson in 2013. Rieflin would tour with the group and appear on five of their ensuing live albums, released between 2015-18. More recently, the drummer had been absent from the group since taking an indefinite sabbatical in 2019.

Rieflin’s official cause of death has not been released, but session drummer Matt Chamberlain tweeted that the drummer passed away from cancer. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic was among the rockers to pay tribute to Rieflin via Twitter.

Bill Rieflin, Drummer for Ministry, R.E.M., and King Crimson Dies at 59

If you’re a die hard Nine Inch Nails fan you’ve been in luck. There’s been quite a lot of activity going on with them in the past few years with plenty of material via albums and movie scores and that’s not slowing down any time soon.

The band are currently scoring the new Watchmen film as well as Pixar’s Soul (after scoring both Mid90s and Bird Box on top of three EPs), but once everything is wrapped up we’ll be getting a new full-length album.

Trent Reznor told Rolling Stone nothing will be coming in 2019 while they wrap up the movie scores but they’re hard at work on new NIN material.

“Right now, we are finishing up Watchmen, and we’re working on the Pixar film that we are doing. And we have plans for Nine Inch Nails stuff, but we haven’t got down to doing it because literally every minute of the day for the last several months has working on score stuff. But the plan is to do stuff, yes,” says Reznor.

Later in the interview, Reznor discusses working on a Pixar film and how it relates to the idea of enjoying the process of making art. He explains a quote he heard from a director about making films for the process instead of the end result and how it relates to people asking him about the Pixar score.

“What I found in my own life is that by taking on these scoring projects, for us, it’s not, “How’d it do at the box office?” or “What was the Rotten Tomatoes score?” It’s nice if it does well. But being in the trenches, collaborating with someone new, learning from them, fighting with them, figuring out their process — that’s the exciting stuff, especially when it’s someone you resonate with,” says Reznor.

“I don’t think anybody does animation better than they do. And we end up meeting with [Pixar’s chief creative officer] Pete Docter, and he’s what you hope he would be. It feels very authentic, it feels very exciting and it’s very, very different from anything else we’ve ever done, from the way they do it to how they think about it. And we’re a risky choice for them, so that makes it very appealing. Can we do something like that? That means us working out of our comfort zone. It’s early days but it’s been really cool.

Nine Inch Nails History and Biography

Nine Inch Nails are an American industrial metal band fronted by Trent Reznor. Reznor is the only constant member as well as the main producer and songwriter. The band currently – as of of 2013 – consists of Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini, Ilan Rubin, and Josh Eustis as well as Reznor.

Forming in 1988, the band released their debut record ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ the following year. They’ve since gone on to release seven more studio albums, hitting #1 in the US twice and becoming one of the most influential acts in modern alternative music.

Nine Inch Nails and Reznor are known for their intense live performances and extensive gigging – before 2013 they’d already notched up close to 1,000 shows. Reznor is known to assemble a talented bunch of backing musicians and reimagines their tracks on stage.

Though NIN announced that they’d be calling time on their touring life in 2008, we knew it wouldn’t be long before one of the world’s best live acts made their return. That came in 2013 along with eighth record ‘Hesitation Marks’, with Reznor teaming up with an experienced crew to put together an amazing stage production that wowed lucky fans across the globe. They’ve since been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice!

Having since returned with a further two EPs – ‘Not the Actual Events’ and ‘Add Violence’ – Nine Inch Nails are well and truly back at the top of their game.

Are you excited about a new Nine Inch Nails record coming soon? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

NINE INCH NAILS TO RECORD NEW ALBUM

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine

Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails made a fan of me with the arrival of 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine. Industrial music with heart and raw human emotion was Reznor’s particular form of genius, and Pretty Hate Machine functioned on multiple levels due to the strength of the songwriting.

Head Like A Hole was the breakout single, and it was full of rage, angst, and rebellion. The video gained NIN an instant cult of fanatical followers, and Reznor’s touring version of the band started building a legacy of revolutionary live performances. Other memorable songs included Terrible Lie, Sin, Sanctified, Down In It, That’s What I Get, Ringfinger, and the monumental Something I Can Never Have (my favorite Nails song).

Reznor was critical of the album’s production, and it is certainly nowhere near the level of sound that listeners would become accustomed to with subsequent NIN albums.

I always hoped Reznor would take the time to re-record Pretty Hate Machine with state of the art sound…the songs are good enough that it would have been a project worthy of salivating over!

As it is, Pretty Hate Machine established Reznor as a force to be reckoned with, and as a sort of antidote to much of the grunge explosion that would rule the music world in the following years. For myself personally, PanterA and NIN were a welcome respite from the Seattle sound (and I loved a lot of that stuff, too) in the ’90’s, so I will take a flawed production with the quality of songwriting that was present on Pretty Hate Machine.

https://youtu.be/ao-Sahfy7Hg

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

NINE INCH NAILS: THE FRAGILE

I must confess…Trent Reznor can do very little wrong in my humble opinion. Having said that, I can still tell when he hits on all cylinders and creates a masterpiece.

Such a work is The Fragile (1999), a double album of sonic majesty and despair to rival Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

I’m not going to attempt to compare the two, but just wanted to set the tone that Trent didn’t exactly go to his happy place for inspiration.

The textures and atmosphere are nearly suffocating throughout large portions of this album but there is immense beauty, too. Some of it will rock your face off as well.

Basically functioning as a continuation of The Downward Spiral, Reznor took more time and space to do what he does best; create a musical landscape to mirror a tortured soul.

A small army of musicians and technicians contributed to the making of The Fragile, but Nine Inch Nails is, and always has been, Trent Reznor as the primary creative force.

I can’t even break this one down into favorite songs, because it is so well conceived as a continuous piece of music that it practically demands to be played (loudly) in sequence (preferably through a good set of headphones).

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind