Nine Inch Nails

By Pelle Almgren for High Score on October 1, 1996

Nine inch nail? More like three... This is the notorious scandal-beauty Courtney Love's snappy (sorry) comment on Trent Reznor's "joystick" in an American newspaper, after their short romance ended. (Translator's note: In the Swedish version of the article, the author jokes around with a word in an untranslatable way. The Swedish word used by the author is "avsnoppande" - here translated into "snappy" - can also mean "snipping off the tip of". One could also interpret the word as a junction of the two words "av" and "snopp", where the first word means "off" and the second is one of the many names for the male genital.) Love doesn't deny herself anything, and neither does Trent Reznor. What Love has become for grunge, Trent is for the heavy industrial music. Using a tough image, lyrics about S&M, homo-erotics and fetishism, and beautiful, bizarre videos, Nine Inch Nails' only standing member Trent Reznor has quickly become the face of alternative music in the USA. A well-known fact is that the value of getting headlines is quite high, and Reznor has got them. When the album The Downward Spiral was to be recorded, he rented the house in Los Angeles where the Manson gang's massacre on Sharon Tate, among others, took place in the 60s. Of course this raised a roaring outcry among the American press, but Reznor still says he wasn't aware of the history of the house. He only wanted a studio with atmosphere... Getting on the billboards is one thing. People screaming their heads off without any artistical abilities to back them up tend to vanish as fast as they appear, but behind Reznor's many poses is a very talented musician and producer. He is - for example - a commonly hired remixer and has worked with so broadly apart artists as David Bowie, Megadeth, Queen and Ministry. He also made parts of the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers and Seven. About a year ago, there were slightly denser clouds in the constant storm around Trent Reznor, and the reason had nothing to do with either sex, drugs or booze. No, something as terrifying as Reznor's period in the 80s with the soft hardrockers The Innocent had been discovered. Pictures of Reznor in the obligatory tight tricots and sprayed poodel hairdos of the time circulated the press. It was implied that Reznor was a fake and a traitor to the alternative audience. He calmed that storm as well, shrugged and said that he in fact wasn't too proud of that period in his life, but couldn't see why he would loose fans over such a trifle. Possibly, the most exasperated fans disappeared, but the USA-tour this winter with David Bowie showed that NIN's position within the world of music is stable. Bowie himself has said that his latest record Outside was influenced by Reznor, and many thought that NIN clearly outshined Bowie on stage. Unfortunately the group didn't come along when the the tour continued on to Europe and hasn't played in Sweden yet. (Translator's note: No, they haven't... Gaaaaah!!) Maybe in order to re-establish his image, Reznor recently told the press that he was going to rebuild an old undertaker firm into a studio. That's where he'll record the artists he has signed to his own record company Nothing Records. For example, there's Marilyn Manson, a band that looks like a group of zombie-transvestites and almost sounds like it too. Pretty good, actually. Nine Inch Nails' latest album, The Downward Spiral of -94, was a great success and is recommended. Closer is fantastic. The release date of the next record isn't set. Reznor is a man working with a thousand projects at a time, and the fact that he is the one to create the creepy, suggestive sound effects to the already creepy, suggestive Quake feels like the right thing. Also entirely right is that the NIN logo is placed on the ammunition boxes you can pick up here and there in the game. Trent Reznor undoubtedly owns a certain explosive force. Strange, though, that id Software only mentions NIN's participation briefly on the back of the package for Quake.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

View the NIN Hotline article index