A Betrayed Rock Icon

Trent Reznor in Nine Inch Nails can't forgive Marilyn Manson

By Martin Carlsson for Noje Magazine on October 1, 1999

London. Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor, 34, has become the industryrocks� icon and been chosen to one of US most important person�s. But he has felt really bad the last few years. When his friend Marilyn Manson betrayed him he sank down in a deep depression. Now Nine Inch Nails is back with the acclaimed "The Fragile". N�jes Martin Carlsson got as the only swede an own chat with Trent Reznor.

Minneapolis, march 1995. By a coincidence I have been invited to join a party after Nine Inch Nails concert. The backstagearea looks as chaotic as the damaged stage that the band has just left. After a while I get lost into a room all decorated in black. The roof is covered by net for hens and there also hangs lollipopps and condoms which impatiently are awaiting to be used.

The nights contempt Jim Rose Cirkus Sideshow are talking, and especially Mr Lifto (known for lifting an iron with his dick) makes sure to maintain his vulgoimage. He exposes himself for a couple of young girls to get them to repeat the procedure. Before no-one knows, the girls the least, the girls are naked and trying to defend themselves against mr Lifto. It is humiliation in the name of rock�n�roll and in a corner tonights king are sitting and watching silently. Trent Reznor looks troubled.

London, october 1999. Trent Reznor still seems broken. He has been hit by the flu and threw up all yesterday. Interviews has been cancelled or reduced to round-table discussions, but at last I get an own chat with the shy american.

Trent apologizes, he looks ashamed. After all I was there, witnessing the sexual perversions that has become so mentioned after the tour for the album "Downward Spiral".

"That tour went on far too long," Trent explains. "A degree of insanity turned up. Every night was a bizarre occurrence and one was surrounded by childish behaviour everywhere and then one do things which one normally wouldn�t do just to keep sense in that situation. Everybody tried to outdo each other. What you saw wasn�t especially extreme compared to other things which sometimes occurred."

"I was in the periphery and observed everything that took place. I was there, thus I take some of the blame. But afterwards some people, among them Marilyn Manson, has pointed out me as the ringleader. That�s incorrect! It was never my intention that someone should be hurt or used in a grotesque way. But I can�t put the blame on someone else, you saw with your own eyes what happened.

Trent Reznor had reached the bottom, without really being aware of it. He went on into the studio to produce Marilyn Mansons breakthrough-record "Antichrist superstar" and then collapse. Trent got into a depression when his grandmother, who had raised him, died. The situation got worse when his best and O N L Y friend, Manson deceived him in his book "Long hard road out of hell".

"Distorted reality" "Manson distorted reality and painted a very unfair picture of me," Trent claims. "I didn�t say anything for years, but it is important that I give my version to explain how I got into a deep hollow after being involved with Manson and how it has affected my new album. But I will sleep as good at night again if I never mention his name again."

In 1997 Time selected Trent Reznor to one of Americas 25 most important persons.

Nice, sure, but Trent felt more paralysed the more the world around was screaming after the follow-up to Nine Inch Nails masterpiece "Downward spiral". He isolated himself in his studio in New Orleans, often apathetic and without belief in the future. Two painful years later the double-album "The Fragile" was ready.

"On Downward Spiral I began on top and sank down into swamp while "The Fragile" starts on the bottom and then sees a brightening," Trent describes.

You often talk about your loneliness. From where do you think it comes?

All my life I have felt that I doesn�t fit in anywhere. Maybe it depends on that my parents got divorced when I was small. Before the recording of "The Fragile" I pondered a lot upon my loneliness. I had reached a point when I got everything I wanted and people flattered me to such an extent that it was impossible to handle a common conversation. I felt more alone than ever before, which aggravated my general condition.

You have nobody you can turn to?

It has become a pure Moment 22. I absolutely don�t want to feel alone, but I am fighting in despair to not let anyone into my life. The guy you saw in the corner backstage wanted so badly to feel affinity with these people , but he was in the middle of an emotional tumult. I created a circus around me, but I�m not really that guy. This record deals a lot with my attempts to repair myself. I have got to know myself better and now I am ready to take my art and my life in hand.

Is it impossible for you to experience love?

I suppose so, since I don�t love or are beloved by anybody, with the exception of my dog (smiles askew). I don�t let anyone come close to me, which is an excellent way to avoid feeling love. That is one side of me which I strongly dislike.

So there is no use for girls to flirt with you?

Well, I have always sabotaged my relationships. I don�t know what mechanisms are put at stake , but I seem to always escape into my work. During the last two years I have worked throughout the twenty-four hours until I have collapsed and I can�t demand that somebody want to live with me under these circumstances. That I have forgotten to be a human being is a different thing.

Do you force yourself into a depression to feel creative?

Not consciously, but unconsciously I think I cheat myself to believe that if I live in destitution it leads to great art. I hope that I won�t have to repeat the same procedure in the future.

Just recently you went to therapy for the first time. Did you learn anything about yourself?

Yes, above all that if one is depressed one doesn't take things in hand and that one must admit to oneself. That was the last I wanted to hear, but when I had accepted it I felt much better. Everything isn't my fault, I feel that I can love myself.

The big quote on the left side (page 16) says:

"I will sleep as good if I never mention Marilyn Manson's name again."


Name: Michael Trent Reznor

Background: Played in a number of bands before he 1988 founded Nine Inch Nails.

Breakthrough: With the hit "Head like a hole" from the second album "Pretty hate machine". The broad breakthrough came with the album "The downward spiral" 1994.

Film: Reznors band problems participated in "Light of day" with Joan Jett and Michael J Fox 1987. He has furthermore written soundtrack to "Natural born killers" and "Lost highway".

Topical: With new album "The Fragile" which got five wasps by N�jes Martin Carlsson.

Tour: Will unfortunately not come to Sweden, but plays in Copenhagen the 23rd november.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

View the NIN Hotline article index