Nine Inch Nails : Happiness Is Slavery
Part Two of Two
By Jo-Ann Greene for Musician Magazine on August 1, 1995
"There were problems in that a part of Trent's act was to throw and goad his band into throwing flour. My band, the Hundred Men, were a little bit pissed off about this and the damage they were doing to their equipment. Trent was saying this is a part of our act and we have to carry on. This is a part of our integrity and we want to carry on doing this and this should not be a problem. My band was saying it is a problem, so it was perceived that Peter Murphy wanted to throw Nine Inch Nails off the tour, which wasn't the case at all. I wanted them to stay, but I was between my guys and them.
"Trent basically used backing tracks a lot of the time to make it credible; although the band was playing, the backing tracks laid the foundation of the sound. The band was just a visual device to make it look like there was a band entity. But actually it's just Trent. The band was just bit part players in the overall scheme of things; it was very theatrical in that sense. This is part of the very manipulative way that he works, which is clever in a way, thought out and planned."
John Malm denies that NIN threw flour, although the band did wear cornstarch onstage. However, he admits the stage show was violent, and said Murphy was well aware of that. As for the backing tapes, Malm states that NIN "used tape and samplers; however 90 percent of the show was live; only things that couldn't physically be played live were on tape."
From the stage, it might appear that Nine Inch Nails was making little impact at all, although the more violent their stage act became, the more audience response they received. However, on the dance floors it was an entirely different story.
"Down In It" was followed up by "Head Like A Hole." The 12 inch single contained four remixes of the title track, two remixes of "Terrible Lie" and the non-album track "You Know Who You Are." CD buyers received the same, plus the two non album mixes of "Down In It."
The CD single also provided a home for Reznor's original demo of "Down In It." Although he wasn't happy with Sherwood's work, he'd felt that the hip-hop feel of his demo had been neglected in the mix. Now the listeners could hear what he'd actually had in mind for the song. (There's also a short bonus track, a soundbite from a NIN fan)
The video for "Head" reunited Reznor with Martin Atkins, who appeared as the band's second drummer. The day before the shoot, Atkins bought Reznor along to Ministry mainstay Paul Barker's filming for his "Faster Than Light" video (from his solo Lead Into Gold album.) And in fact, Reznor makes a fleeting appearance in the video, playing guitar. Also hanging out during the shooting were Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and band frontman Al Jourgensen. Somehow videos seem to play a large role in Reznor's life.
A frazzled Reznor saw the last of "Mr. Cheekbones," and enthusiastically took up Martin Atkins' offer to join Pigface in the studio to record vocals on "Suck", for the forthcoming Gub album. "When we put the Pigface thing together everybody was getting involved," Atkins laughingly reminisced, "and I had Trent fly in from Cleveland. (Producer) Steve Albini said, "Aaaah, keyboards, waaargh! But I told him, 'No, it's cool, I want this guy to come out and work on this.' So, Trent came out and very matter-of-factly went and sang and that was that."
But Reznor obviously had a slightly different experience, as he related to Grant Alden in Focus: "That was very unpleasant. Probably the whole Pigface sessions weren't like that, but while I was there Steve Albini was just proving how 'alternative' he is. There's a very vulnerable time when you're offering up ideas, and you're around people who are all trying to make something sound better. Then there's one jerk saying, 'That's the worst idea I've ever heard. No, we're not going to try that.' Getting off on the power, getting off on knowing that he was making me feel shitty. Someone who got pushed into too many lockers in high school."
Atkins candidly admits that the experience probably wasn't the happiest for Reznor. "A producer is many, many things and I like Steve, but there are a lot of things that Steve isn't.. Imagine Steve as a Midwestern foundry worker meets a Yorkshire working class state of mind, portrayed in a Pythonesque manner. Without saying, his attitude was, 'Who's this waste of time? Oh you want to do two takes..oh, sure.' His people skills are somewhat lacking, I have to say."
Reznor gritted his teeth and finished the recording, his vocals on "Suck" capturing the white hot fury he obviously felt at the time. Atkins next convinced Reznor to join Pigface onstage for their New York City and Philadelphia shows. Chris Vrenna also participated on several dates, including Cleveland, where Tom Lash also came out and played horns. That track's on Pigface's live album, Welcome To Mexico Assholes.
"Pigface is a hanging thing to me," Atkins explained, "that's why I wanted Trent to come out on this tour-to hang, to see another side of the music business, to see how it could be. Maybe five years ago, he didn't know how shitty it could be. I was trying to show him something in Pigface that he didn't know how cool things were for him, because he didn't know how bad things could get.
"I remember being disappointed because I thought, great, we'll hang out in the back of the bus and watch movies on the way to Philadelphia, but he chose to fly. Whatever. But it wasn't why I wanted him to come. I wanted him to hang out."
Barely off the road himself, Reznor probably just needed some downtime, and besides, he didn't have to look back very far to recollect just how bad things on the road could be. Atkins would have seen "Down In It" reached #1 in Rolling Stone's dance chart, and make the Billboard Top 20 club chart, but NIN tours were a real struggle. In fact, Reznor probably would have happily traded places and let Atkins deal with the Murphy crowd, so he could join the carnival fun of Pigface!
The New York show epitomised the Pigface circus atmosphere. "We'd kidnapped the bassist from Gwar in Richmond, Virginia," Atkins laughingly recalled, "and he came out onstage in full Gwar costume!" True trademark Pigface: The audience never knew who'd actually be appearing on their stage, and what they'd do once they arrived. For Reznor, it must have been welcome relief, and a blatant reminder of his own position, worsened, according to him, by the lack of tour support from TVT.
Somewhere around this time, Reznor joined the Ministry camp for three days in Chicago, and recorded vocals for the 1,000 Homo DJ's cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut". The DJs were a Ministry spin off comprised of Jourgensen, Paul Barker, Bill Rieflin and Mike Scaccia.
To everyone's disgust, TVT refused permission for the song's release, although it did turn up on a limited edition promotional Wax Trax! sampler. This difficult to find cassette was handed out at the New Music Seminar in the fall of 1990. The DJs were then forced to re-record the vocals (although rumors are rife that this was not done, and Reznor's vocals were merely affected) with Jourgensen taking over.
It wasn't until TVT and Wax Trax! merged and created last year's four album retrospective, The Black Box boxed set, that the original "Supernaut" finally received its official release.
The aptly named Hate '90 North American tour kicked off in St. Louis on June 21, winding around the country to end on August 24 in Cleveland. Three days later, another Ministry side project, the Revolting Cocks, arrived in town. Reznor eagerly stepped onstage with them, and then joined their tour, leaving after the Florida show a few weeks later. From there it was back to Nine Inch Nails, and Reznor's own gruelling tour schedule.
He remained on the road for much of the rest of '90, the year rounding out with the release of the "Sin" single. The two song cassingle coupled a remix of the album version with a cover of Queen's "Get Down Make Love" (While Adrian Sherwood had provided the "Sin" remixes, "Make Love" was produced by Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.) The 12-inch single and CD5 contained both tracks, with two more remixes of the title song.
But as 1990 drew to a close, Reznor had a lot to be thankful for, not least of which was proving Gottlieb wrong dead wrong. By the end of the year, Machine had already sold over 150,000 copies.
1991 dawned, and NIN was back on the road grinding through the club circuit. Line up changes in the band continued. Hames had already been replaced by Lee Mars. Tensions between Reznor and TVT were reaching the boiling point, and Reznor was determined to remove himself from the label. But it would be expensive, and the club dates weren't going to provide him with the cash needed for the upcoming battle.
Which was when Lollapalooza rang. They offered NIN ,000 to play half hour sets. Reznor could hardly believe it, his problem was solved.
However, the opening night in Phoenix was an unmitigated disaster; the power kept shutting down, leaving NIN staring at 25,000 people who were jumping to the conclusion that there entire show was on tape. Reznor, rightfully upset, then made the mistake of blaming the crew for the problem. The quote appeared in USA Today, souring relationships between the NIN-er and the technicians. Later, he discovered the outages were caused by a problem in one of the power boxes, but it was too late.
Technical problems bled into personal problems, worsened by a brief falling out between Reznor and Chris Vrenna. Vrenna left the band for a short period, and was replaced by Jeff Ward, who was tied to the Ministry camp. Ward reportedly had a drug problem, which just added to all the other difficulties. Sadly, Ward's own problems worsened with time, and he later committed suicide.
With only the cash to fight TVT to keep him going, Reznor finished Lollapalooza and went from the frying pan into the fire-England. A few dates were already booked that mispaired Nine Inch Nails with the alternative pop band the Wonder Stuff. Second on the bill was Carter USM (that stands for the Unstoppable Sex Machine, in case you were wondering) an Anglocentric dance club group.
With that in store for them, when Axl Rose of Guns 'n' Roses contacted Reznor and asked if NIN would care to open for a stadium show in Germany, Reznor agreed. He thought it would confuse people. And it did.. for the first two songs. Then the 65,000 people realized that this definitely wasn't the second billed band, Skid Row.
Reznor confided to Musician just how that felt: "There's something about the sight of every single person flipping you off in a giant stadium that makes you instantly go numb. I started laughing, then insulted them with anything I could think of. At that moment, I see this fucking link sausage come flying up onstage, and I thought, 'Okay, Germany, link sausage, you got us. So that was a penis shrinker'."
The one pitiful fan in a NIN shirt that Reznor did notice disappeared in a scuffle, and apparently never surfaced again. But perhaps the true gauge of that show was the t-shirt sales. Of the 65,000 strong crowd, NIN won over three people. Well, maybe a few more, but only three felt strongly enough about what they'd seen to buy a shirt.
Lesser men would have crawled back home and never left again; others might have spent the rest of their careers whining interminably to the press about the horror of it all, the more fragile might even have attempted suicide. But Trent Reznor took all the anger and hook and turned it into Broken.
Hopefully, this was the lowest point that Reznor will ever have to live through. The English tour had been disastrous. According to numerous press interviews, Reznor was receiving little money from TVT, although the singles and Machine had continued to sell in even greater numbers. And worst of all, Reznor had sat down with a lawyer and discovered that even Lollapalooza wasn't enough to finance a lawsuit that would take approximately two years to wind it's way though the courts.
Negotiations between the two camps continued, and there were offers from numerous labels willing to but out NIN's contract. But Gottlieb sat tight; he couldn't be forced to give up the band-laws that protect smaller labels from their bigger brethen saw to that. Reznor announced that he'd never record for TVT again, the last resort of the artist painted into a corner.
But the anger and frustration needed an outlet, and so Reznor secretly began booking studio time under a series of aliases. If the money from Lollapalooza couldn't help him get off TVT, it could at least finance a new record.
Never a prolific writer, Reznor hadn't written anything in almost two years, and now he discovered he'd virtually forgotten how. Rather than his normal practice of composing on keyboards, this time Reznor picked up a guitar and began writing songs on that. Initially, he considered stripping his music down to just guitar, bass and drums. But in the end, he decided that this approach would be counter-productive, running the risk of turning NIN into a garage band.
Once again, Flood was busy with Depeche, and he could only fit three of Nine Inch Nail's songs into his schedule. Reznor was now truly on his own, writing programming, and producing the rest. Out would tumble onto record all his emotional turmoil and fury. As he explained to Alternative Press, "Everything sucks but me, but what if you don't have yourself anymore? You've let yourself down and you don't have a permanent foundation to stand on."
That self loathing bled across the recording, at times reducing Reznor to tears in the studio, as he couldn't bring himself to enunciate the lyrics. A howl of pain and rage, Broken was a testament to Reznor's anguished state at the time.
On "Wish", Reznor's vocals are a yowl of wrath crossed with a tearing shade of pleading, "Wish there was something real, wish there was something true." The music crashes across the song, bouncing off the very walls, like a crazed slam dancer.
"Last", the song whose lyrics gave Reznor the most problems, is the defiance of a man who's lost all hope, still desperately holding out for last minute salvation, while the guitars sear the darkness.
The melancholy instrumental of "Help Me I Am In Hell" gives brief respite before the industrial roar of "Happiness In Slavery", whose lyrics contradict the song's title.
And finally "Gave Up", which seems to be aimed directly at Gottlieb: "It took you to make me see the light smashed up my sanity smashed up my integrity smashed up what I believed in.. gonna smash myself"
With it's high beats per minute, and alternating soft and crashing passages, "Gave Up", lyrics aside, leaves the listener with a ray of hope. While the rest of the EP gives the impression of careening down into an abyss of no return, "Gave Up", in contrast,is the victim a moment before he turns and slays his tormentor.
Then came the two bonus tracks, a cover of Adam and the Ant's (Reznor was a long time fan) "Physical" and a re-recording of the song Reznor had done with Pigface, "Suck". The song was stripped to the bone, then refreshed with nothing more than rhythms and a looped riff, with a chorus that nails the listener to the wall. "How does it feel?" Reznor rails. "Suck!". And that about summed it up.
While Reznor thrashed through his torment in the studio, the situation reached a standstill between TVT and Reznor. Each had backed the other into a corner; TVT wouldn't give up NIN, Reznor wouldn't record for TVT. And then came the breakthrough-it made neither party happy, but they could live (uncomfortably) with it.
John Malm explained: "Jimmy Iovine from Interscope formed a joint venture without our knowledge with TVT. When we were in Europe, I got a call from Jimmy saying we'll be distributing NIN from now on. I said, 'No you wont'!'."
However, after negotiations, a deal was struck. TVT would still own NIN, but they'd have no further control, and Reznor inked a new deal with Interscope, thus pushing his original label into the position of silent partner. Reznor and John Malm established the Nothing label at the same time; henceforth all NIN releases would bear the TVT, Interscope and Nothing logos.
Reznor handed his EP to Interscope, which entered the Billboard chart at #7. It seemed the more anguish Reznor exposed, the higher his record sales grew.
Broken was released in several formats. The cassette contained all eight tracks, six on side A, the two bonus tracks on side B, while the 12-inch carried the six tracks and the two bonuses on an included 7 inch. The CD came in two versions; one with eight tracks, the other with 99, although tracks seven through 97 were blank.
To everyone's surprised, Broken went on to win a Grammy for best metal performance with vocal. Things finally seemed to be turning around. Next up was a bit of an experiment: Reznor contacted a variety of musicians and producers and asked them to remix songs from the EP.
It wasn't a total failure, but it wasn't a success either; only half the tracks ended up being usable. Coil made the cut, as did two tracks by Jim Thirlwell of Foetus fame, but Reznor couldn't even salvage Adrian Sherwood's, although he was able to get Butch Vig's to satisfaction with Chris Vrenna's help. To showcase Reznor's disappointment with the results, Fixed was initially sold for the same price as a single. However, the record's now easier to find on import than on domestic, and priced accordingly.
Reznor had also turned his attention to Nothing, which may be tied to Interscope, but gives Reznor the freedom to sign bands and offer them complete artistic control. Bands currently signed to the label include Marilyn Manson, Prick, Pop Will Eat Itself and Coil.
Meanwhile, the videos from Broken were making the news. Initially, the game plan was for a video compilation of all the songs. Filming was already complete for "Pinion" "Wish" and "Happiness In Slavery". Reznor then contacted Coil's Peter Christopherson (who'd done the "Wish" and several more NIN videos), and asked him to shoot a video for "Gave Up", and come up with a way to tie all the videos into a package.
The end result was so intense and extreme, ending with the infamous dismemberment and castration scene, that Reznor eventually decided to shelve it. Editing it was impossible; releasing it as was would have led to a pasting by a rabid press, and his motives for making a film would have been misconstrued as wanting further notoriety. And considering his new address, that was the last thing he needed.
By this time, Reznor had already relocated from Chicago to New Orleans, which he now considers home. With touring finally at an end, it was time to start a new, full length album. To this end, Reznor decided to build an inhouse studio in New Orleans, and began searching for a house to rent. However, he was unable to find anything big enough and set far away enough from other homes. Plus, he'd be needing technical help installing the equipment, and the people he was using were all from LA.
So, Reznor flew out to California and began house hunting there. He saw over 15 homes before he found one he really liked. It was only later, when he mentioned its Cielo Drive address to a friend, that the connection was made. The friend produced an old copy of Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi's best-selling account of the 1969 Charles Manson killings, and the pair realized Reznor was about to rent the house where actress Sharon Tate and several others were brutally murdered by the depraved hippie gang in one of the century's most notorious crimes.
Reznor briefly reconsidered, and even returned to New Orleans to have another look at a house he'd previously seen and rejected, but it had been sold. He rethought again, and opted for the Tate house. Who cared? It was his favorite anyway. Well, the press for one; they had a field day.
But Reznor weathered the storm and got to work building his studio, jokingly named Pig after the blood-scrawled word left on the house by Masonite Susan Atkins. (This was to launch among the industrial community a slew of pig references, and it's surely no coincidence that two of the tracks on the next NIN album had the word pig in the title.)
The installation dragged on for three months, two months over Reznor's projected schedule. But finally, he was able to begin writing The Downward Spiral. After Broken, which had started to take form while on tour, Reznor wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the new album. The only thing that was clear was this one would be softer and less aggressive.
Reznor explained this to Industrial Nation: "I knew I wanted to make a broader scope type of record that consciously wasn't' harder, faster, meaner, tougher, and just boxing myself into a corner that way."
Initially, he began writing on his guitar, as he'd also wanted to stay away from the amount of electronic effects that had filled Machine. Instead, Reznor was now attempting to create atmospheres, and in the process wanted to strip his sound down to the bone.
For Reznor, songwriting has always been an uncomfortable examination of his inner confusion, self-doubts and psychic pain. It's an easier state of mind to fall into when one's depressed, but not someplace one would want to go by choice.
But eventually, painfully, the album began to take shape. Reznor confided to huH magazine, "The time of Downward Spiral was the blackest, bleakest.. This is never gonna get done. I hate what I do; I don't like doing it anymore. Why am I even doing this anymore?
"The problem in my head, when I was doing that record, was... being in LA, all my little devices to repair myself, I didn't know how to do there. Things like go outside and ride your bike around, get away from people, hang out in nature, go out and have a pleasant dinner, drink yourself stupid. So it got weird for a while, but then I kicked out of it. When the record was done I felt a lot better."
Once again Reznor contacted Flood and the two set to work. At the time, both were heavily into David Bowie's Low album, and Reznor cheerfully admitted that Spiral was heavily indebted to the Thin White Duke and his producer, Brian Eno, which is why he contacted King Crimson's Adrian Belew and asked him to contribute on the album.
The guitarist had played on Bowie's Lodger album, and Reznor was keen on the concept of using a musician totally out of context. However, by the time Belew came in, most of Spiral was finished. At a bit of a loss, Reznor tossed on the record's noisiest, fastest song, "Mr. Self Destruct." Belew picked up his guitar and played away, leaving an awed Reznor and Flood in his wake.
Unfortunately, not much of Belew's contributions turned up on the album, but Reznor has promised they'll reappear in later remixes or new songs.
Now, all that was left was to sequence the album. As Reznor explained to Axcess, "The order was made to work as a climax and then go down a tube. That side has to work as a whole. It adds to the A/B nature. There were a few things I wanted to do with this album: Get away from the verse/chorus, verse/chorus, middle part, end structure... Also to experiment with mood and put more effort into that than I had in the past. Music that might evoke visual images, not any specific ones. Perceptions"
And that's precisely what Spiral accomplished. More accessible than his previous releases, but with a dark, edgy atmosphere, for many Spiral would be their first taste of "industrial" music.
So far, two singles have been culled from the album. The first, "March Of The Pigs," was released as a five song CD5 featuring the album version and a remix of the title track, two remixes of "Reptile," ("Reptilian" courtesy of Dave Oglivie, and "Underneath The Skin") and a new track, "A Violent Fluid", which was a short, experimental percussion driven piece.
A British import of the single comes in a double CD pack, adding a "clean" version of the title track and "Big Man With A Gun". (Most of NIN's U.K Cd singles were released in this digipack format, as well on 12 inch.)
The follow-up was the nine song CD single for "Closer To God". This featured the title song, five remixes from the likes of Coil and David Oglivie, Adrian Sherwood's remix of "Closer To God" ("March Of The Fuckheads"), a remix of "Heresy", and an affectionate cover of Soft Cell's "Memorabilia".
A two song cassingle was also released the paired "Closer" and "March Of The Pigs Live".
In May 1995, the 11 song "Further Down The Spiral" was released featuring remixes of tracks from Spiral. Remixers included American Label head Rick Rubin (whose "Piggy" includes Jane's Addiction's guitarist Dave Navarro), Foetus's Jim Thirwell, ambient king Aphex Twin, Coil and NIN themselves. As with Fixed, quality is variable, and it's evident Reznor had to clean up some of the remixes. (The British import contains two different tracks, both remixed by NIN-er Charlie Clouser.)
Reznor had also done production work and remixes for a multitude of bands, including KMFDM, Megadeath, Machines Of Loving Grace and the Wolfgang Press. He also recorded two songs within Hollywood Records mammoth Queen reissues program. Reznor's extracurricular activities rate an article of their own at this point.
But perhaps his most unexpected appearance was singing back-up vocals on Tori Amos's "Past The Mission. Reznor was a fan of the waif-like Amos, and when the two eventually met, the immediately hit it off. So, when Amos asked him to provide vocals, he agreed, although it was such an anti-NIN situation that Reznor reportedly claims he was scared to death during the recording.
With Spiral finished, the inevitable series of tour dates followed, which would see NIN criss-crossing the country and on to Europe.
In between, NIN recorded a cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" (from their Still album) for The Crow soundtrack. The original was a melancholy number, with Joy Division's signature drone counterpointed by simple, skeletal sketches of melody. Reznor started his version faithfully, fleshing it out slightly with more pronounced drums. But a minute in, he brings up strafing guitars, which fade in and out between the verses. Reznor's vocals start at a whisper, then crescendo into the chorus, "They keep calling me." The song ebbs and flows, as the repetitive chorus builds to a shout, the slowly fades out. It was a brilliant work, easily his best cover to date.
There have been numerous incidents of NIN songs turning up in films, often to Reznor's dismay. But as TVT can do as it will with Machine-era music, Reznor had no control over their dispersal. Thus, it was no surprise that Oliver Stone included "Something I Can Never Have" in his new film Natural Born Killers. However, he also wanted to use "A Warm Place" from Spiral,and for that, permission was needed.
Reznor was contacted, and invited to a screening to approve the song's use. A nice gesture on Stone's part, and not normally done. After the more appalling uses of NIN songs, Reznor was very happy, so when Stone approached him about Nothing putting out the soundtrack, Reznor agreed. He hadn't realized what it would actually entail.
Although the songs for the film were already picked out, Reznor would oversee editing. However, he decided to take his producer title seriously, and create a soundtrack through editing, remixing and use of vocal samples that would actually paralleo the film. Stone agreed, and Reznor was given free rein over the record.
Reznor was also asked to write a new song for the soundtrack, a first for him. He struggled a bit, attempting to keep within the movies theme, without actually titling the song "Natural Born Killers".
The result was "Burn", which crossed hip-hop beats with white noise and industrialized effects. Befitting the film, the song is ominous, dripping with coiled violence, like a murderer ready to strike.
Reznor actually assembled the soundtrack album while touring Europe, setting up computers in his hotel rooms. Taking the songs from the soundtrack, he set about remixing some (as he did to "Something I Can Never Have"), editing others, splicing in dialogue and sequencing. In the process, he estimated that he must have watched the movie a good 70 times.
It might not have been the same as actually writing a soundtrack, but it was almost as creative. And the end results were equally as creative.
And meantime, the Self Destruct tour continued with the line-up of Robin Finck and Danny Lohner on guitar, keyboardist James Wooley and of course Chris Vrenna. The highlight, of course, was Woodstock '94, where NIN performed on Saturday, August 13. Covered in mud, the band's set pushed it over the top into super-stardom.
From playing large concert hall, Nine Inch Nails was catapulted into stadiums, and changed their show accordingly. Previously, frenzied crowds watched in awe, as Reznor spun like a dervish across the stage, knocking band members, mike stands, all that stood in his was, flying. Each show saw the destruction of yet another keyboard, and it was impossible to keep track of how often mike stands hit the floor.
For these larger shows, a new, more subdued NIN took the stage. The aggression and fury were gone, replaced for part of the set by a large screen upon which images flashed behind the band, and at times in front. No longer having to whip the crowd up, Reznor could now concentrate on the songs themselves.
And another treat lay in store for fans in Boston and New York. There, Adam Ant, and his guitarist Marco Pirroni joined NIN onstage for three of Ant's songs, "Physical" "Red Scab" and "Beat My Guest"
1995 has been a slower year. In May, NIN performed for the first time in Australia. And now, Reznor and Chris Vrenna are back in New Orleans, hard at work building another in house studio. Seven years after Reznor made the decision to take a stab at songwriting, Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor have become hugely successful, with all of the pluses and minuses that entails. How did NIN become so successful? Because Reznor's music have remained brutally honest. There's no facade, no false emotion... his songs are a true reflection of himself.
As he told Details, "Every day I'm saying the most personal things I could ever say. And I don't know if I want people in my head that much, but I've chosen to give that out because I realized that's what made the strongest statement, that was the most honest art I could make. But one of the prices is that there's an open raw nerve that I'm letting everybody look at."
That indeed is the price of fame, the price of success, and the price of vocalizing the emotions of an entire generation.
The author would like to thank the following people whose recollections were so important to this piece: Martin Atkins, Johan, Don Gordon, Martin Myers, Kevin McMahon, Tom Lash and Bill Rieflin.
Very special thanks also goes out to my anonymous sources in Cleveland for their invaluable assistance. You know who you are, thank you. I hope you've found that your faith in me was justified.
Appreciation is also gratefully extended to Mike Roston, Wade Alin, Mark Thomas and Brian at Formula for their assistance with the discography.
Finally, much thanks to John Malm for his assistance, and a big thank you to all at Formula. And to Dave Thompson whose help never ceases-thanks..again.
Transcribed by Keith Duemling