August 17, 2005
Hobnobbers, Inc.

Looks like Trent Razor and his merry minstrels have decided to stop being so goddamned lazy and play some more shows for us. I almost forgot they were even on tour. I swear, just when you think they've dropped off the face of the earth, they keep popping up in some other weird place with weird new haircuts. Eventually, once they're done touring Ethiopia or wherever the hell, they'll be coming back home to Jesusland to kick off the proper fall tour with some other bands that I don't really care a whole lot about.

If you're one of the Real NIN Fans? who spent $60 of your parents' money on a Spiral fan club "premium" membership, you're probably pretty excited about the prospect of going to one of those meet 'n greet things. At long last, you'll finally realize your lifelong dream of shaking hands with Jeordie White just minutes after he walks out of the bathroom! Did he wash his hands or didn't he? The mystery is half the fun!

But before you go traipsing off to the special designated meeting area / janitor's closet to enjoy a few fleeting seconds of forced, uncomfortable small talk with the members of Nine Inch Nails, there are some things you should be aware of first. Sure, there are the basic rules as outlined in the emails sent to Spiral members. You can bring one guest. You can bring one personal item to have signed. No ejaculating in Trent's hair or eyes. But there are also some unspoken rules that most would consider to be common sense, but since I recognize that many of you who read this page are mind-bogglingly stupid, I'll go over them so as to prevent you from humiliating yourself in front of the bestest band ever. You can thank me later (just kidding, don't talk to me).

1. Conversation

If Trent happens to be feeling sober friendly enough to acknowledge your presence when you attempt to engage him in conversation, be careful. While most things are okay to talk about, you should be aware that there are a few touchy subjects that, if brought up, will cause him to fly into an uncontrollable rage. Sure, ten years ago this wouldn't have been much of a problem, but now that he can bench press a stack of Buicks, I wouldn't recommend it. These touchy subjects include, but are not necessarily limited to (you may want to print out this list and bring with you for handy reference):

• his hair
• his use of Old Spice cologne
• his girlfriend
• his boyfriend
• his alcoholism
• that time he almost died from heroin
• that time he almost died from choking on a McNugget
• that time he almost died while trimming his nose hair
• his dogs, including Maise, Daisy, or any dogs he may potentially own in the future
• Option 30
• the Fragility tour
• John Malm
• Nothing Records
• TVT Records
• his car
• the mustard stain on his pants
• the Outside tour
• growing up in rural Pennsylvania
• Marilyn Manson
• Woodstock '94
• Lollapalooza '91
• the Broken movie
• The Bob Newhart Show
• Johnny Cash
• Tori Amos
• Super Mario Bros.
• Tapeworm
• Still
• Dale Earnhardt
• the Meathead Perspective

Just try to avoid bringing up any of that stuff and you should survive the encounter without sustaining any life-threatening injuries. Also, please be respectful and do not address Alessandro as "you dago motherfucker". Only the other band members are allowed to do that.

If for some reason you decide to talk to any of the non-Trent members of the band, here are some of their interests, to help break the ice:

Jerome: wine, his solo project N3ArLy, bowling, Aaron North

Aaron: kicking things, messing with Texas, Gilmore Girls, Jerome Dillon

Jeordie: Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Voltaire, Valtrex

Alessandro: lasagna, The Sopranos, Martin Scorcese, Microsoft

While you're awkwardly mingling with the band, you may spot other familiar faces nearby, such as Leo Herrera, Atticus Ross, or Zombie Jeff Ward. Do not approach them or attempt to interact with them in any way. Talking to you losers is not in their job description; they aren't getting paid to deal with this shit. Just leave them the hell alone.

2. Autographs, Photographs, What Have You

I suppose you'll want to have some sort of physical evidence that you met Nine Inch Nails and are therefore better than all your stupid friends. Therefore, you are permitted to bring one (1) "personal item" with you so the band can scribble illegibly all over it and make it look all shitty. Of course, "personal item" is a very vague term, so I'll help clarify what is and isn't acceptable to bring to the meet 'n greet to have signed.

Acceptable Personal Items
• ticket stub
• NIN CD (as long as it's a good one)
• NIN photograph from a magazine
• your precious Spiral membership card
• arm (preferably your own)
• one of those crappy posters
• corned beef sandwich

Unacceptable Personal Items
• loaded automatic weapon
• hubcap stolen from tour bus
• that black & white picture of Trent where he's crouching and wearing the fishnets and looking all mopey - you know the one
• head of Rob Sheridan
• ebola virus
• livestock of any kind (this includes goats)
• Jewel's Pieces of You CD

Naturally, as always is the case, there will be some who blatantly disregard my warnings and request the band to sign their exposed buttocks. While this is discouraged, I know there's nothing I can do to prevent it from happening. Therefore, I ask that you at least consider each ass cheek as one personal item, and do not request the band to sign both of them. Be warned, however, that Jeordie has a very unique way of "dotting the i".

The band members may also begrudgingly allow you to have your photograph taken with them. But don't just whip out your camera and start snapping pictures, or you will be severely beaten. Instead, politely ask the band member if you may get a picture with them. When they say no, fall to your knees and tearfully beg. This occasionally works, and they will oblige your request to avoid causing a scene. But of course, once again there are certain rules that apply to having your picture taken with Nine Inch Nails, and once again this calls for a bulleted list.

• You only get one chance. If the camera won't turn on or the flash doesn't work, tough shit, asshole.
• The band, particularly Trent, will not smile under any circumstances, even if the photographer is a clown with no pants.
• The band, particularly Trent, will not pose with you in any way that might possibly suggest that you are friends. In fact, they will intentionally try to look distanced and uncomfortable (not that they have to try that hard)
• Any attempts to make "rabbit ears" or "devil horns" behind the band member's head will be met with dire consequences.
• Trent's Napoleon complex will not allow him to have his photograph taken with anyone taller than him (i.e. 95% of the earth's population) unless arrangements are made for Trent to appear taller in the picture. Frankly, it's usually better to not even bother.

3. Dinner

You might not be aware, but one of the totally awesome perks of being a Spiral premium member is that you get treated to a delicious buffet-style dinner before the show. There will be roast beef, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, you know, that kind of shit. So bring your appetite, unless you're a vegan, in which case you shouldn't even be there in the first place. Pussy.

Needless to say, there are even more rules that are to be observed during dinner.

• Trent is first in line at the buffet table, then the rest of the band, then the band's friends, then the road crew, then the road crew's friends, then the event staff, then the event staff's friends, then the janitor, then the janitor's friends, then the Real NIN Fans?. You all can fight over what's left.
• No one may eat until Trent has said grace. Being that he is a very religious man, this may take a while.
• No elbows, feet or genitals on the table.
• That stuff in Trent's flask is iced tea. Seriously. So don't even ask.
• A strict "he who smelt it dealt it" policy will be in effect throughout the duration of the meal.
• The band will not play until all the dishes have been washed, and they'll be damned if they're the ones that are going to do it.

4. Getting the Fuck Out

Once the meeting, greeting and eating is over, the band is officially done socializing with you "regular" people. Besides, they have to go get changed into their stage clothes, and Trent needs some time to mentally prepare for his 90 minute whine-a-thon. At this time security will round up all the Real NIN Fans? and herd you out the door, back to your roped-off Spiral fan club member concert-watching area where the rest of us can throw rotten fruit and vegetables at you. If you have any last-minute questions, comments or assassination attempts, or if you want to personally ask Trent for your 60 bucks back, this is your last chance. Dawdlers will not be tolerated, and will be immediately ejected from the premises and banned from all future Nine Inch Nails concerts. That may sound a little extreme, but being "extreme" is what Nine Inch Nails is all about. Well, that and scoring with hot chicks.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope these pointers will help to enhance your Nine Inch Nails meet 'n greet experience. Unfortunately I will not be attending any of these meet 'n greets as I cannot afford to be a Real NIN Fan™, due to the fact that I am a grown-up with bills to pay, food to buy, and drugs to score. But I'll be waiting for you with a rotten potato.


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