Wednesday, 9/20/23

From the vaults of Rob Sheridan

Rob Sheridan, before founding Glitch Goods or creating High Level, was of course the force behind Nine Inch Nails' art direction for 15 years, his work spanning eras from The Fragile through Hesitation Marks.

Along the way, he's picked up a few things, and lately he's been unpacking some old boxes and turning up a few surprises - new-old-stock merch, printer proofs of album art, tour posters he designed, and promotional lithographs. Everyone who's subscribed to his Patreon not only got a sneak peek, but got first dibs. That's not to say that what's left is slim pickings; to call them rare would be underselling how unique they are. Keep in mind that before you click through - the prices reflect this. Rob's an independent artist, not a collector.

See a list of what's available over on eBay, including signed artwork from Hesitation Marks, The Fragile, Things Falling Apart, the Gone Girl score, and one of my favorite NIN posters from the Fragility tour - designed by David Carson, I distinctly remember unrolling this one in my apartment in York, Pennsylvania and doing a double-take at what looked at first like damage. There's even a pristine ABSOLUT NOTHING poster, with about as close to direct provenance as you could hope for:

This is an original ABSOLUT NOTHING poster from my personal collection that I had framed 20 years ago. I know this poster has been something of a legend amongst fans/collectors who have wondered its origin, and in that regard I am no different. I got this poster from the NYC Interscope/Nothing Records office circa 2001/2002, I had seen the design around and was happy they had one sitting around that I could have. This was not an official NIN poster, at least not in the sense that it was designed (or to my knowledge even approved) by us in the NIN camp.

The story continues in the listing, but don't expect the mystery to be solved. Back in 2002, we chased down a tenuous link to Research Chemical Propagana, but have yet to nail down exactly who designed and printed these infamous posters.

Good luck, and happy bidding!
Tuesday, 9/12/23

NINLive quits Twitter

There's been change brewing at ninlive.com for a while. Of course, it's been an amazing resource for documentation of the concerts Nine Inch Nails has performed, with audio and video recordings going all the way back to 1988, with hundreds of these resources getting updated with alternate recordings or higher-generation sources of classic footage. The inimitable Ryan Jonik has been a one-man archiving machine, coordinating with the community to locate every last recorded minute and share what can be shared, so folks can revisit their favorite concert, or for fans who don't have the good fortune to have been to a show, give them a taste of what it's like seeing and hearing NIN translate studio albums to visceral concert experiences.

One important step towards this next iteration of the NIN Live Archive is a refocusing on the platform itself. Every time a new recording goes live, Ryan opens up an HTML editor, copies and pastes and edits some code, and uploads that to his server. It's a lot of work, and it also means that all of the information he's collected over the years sits unorganized in thousands of separate files. When it's ready, the new NIN Live Archive experience is going to be updated to be a more modern site: dynamic pages populated by a database. In many ways, the information stays the same - but with the data being organized into a database, this offers new opportunities when it comes to perusing the vast collection of recordings, and related information. I suspect it will also make Ryan's ongoing side quest so, so much easier.

And with a focus on the dot com, we see a retirement of the Twitter account.

It's time to put this to bed. Been a great run on Twitter. This is one of the first social media accounts for ninlive (or some may remember it as RITC). Lots of great things came out of it. NIN followed the account, I met the band from one tweet, countless interactions with other fans talking about our favorite band. And most importantly, found a lot of new sources for the archive. This account will stay up for posterity. If for some reason you need to find a tweet. The archive is still open at ninlive.com where you can download live recordings from 1988-2022 and beyond. There will be some updates to it in the coming months that I think all will be excited for.


It's a bold move! We still get more interaction on Twitter than any other social network, regrettably. It's like the Walmart episode of South Park, which I realize is older than some of the fans I saw at the 2022 shows, but I digress. I haven't bugged Ryan for a behind-the-scenes tour yet, and I don't want to hype you up too much, but I'm looking forward to the next generation of NINlive.com.

Analog Motion - Rob Sheridan's early NIN photography

As someone who's allergic to subscriptions, there are three things I subscribe to online. There's Adobe's Photoshop + Lightroom bundle - my penance for having pirated Photoshop since version 4. There's Webworm by David Farrier, who was a NIN forum dork like so many of us well before he became the guy who made Tickled (watch it without spoilers, you only get once chance) and Dark Tourist on Netflix, among other things. And finally, I'm a member of Rob Sheridan's Patreon, where you can find all kinds of stories and assets from someone who's famously generous in sharing pretty freely.

Sometimes that means I get early access to what he's working on before he shares it, but the latest thing he's put out there is a collection of "failed" photography from when he first joined Nine Inch Nails on tour. Shot on film in 35mm in challenging lighting conditions, these had laid abandoned for two decades, discarded for "better" photos that we'd see on the contemporary nin.com tour pages, or in the Fragility Tour book, and other places. Resurfaced, the way that the 'incorrect' exposures captured the light and motion of what was happening on stage actually fits really well, in my opinion, with the lucid, artistic imagery of The Fragile era.

Rob has shared these photos across a variety of social media platforms - I'll withhold my lament on that topic for another day - but I think the best place to check them out is on his trusty Tumblr account. Or maybe on Bluesky. Or, skip the platforms, and go straight to rob-sheridan.com.

Hotline Image
Thursday, 8/31/23

Fitting in my new skin, just tell me what to do

Meta-update! This website has a new look and feel on the homepage, and I spent time over the last few weeks creating a pretty good collection of homepage covers and tabletops for the covers to sit on, which I'll be cycling out manually with some regularity, until either I or some AI code assistant come up with a clever way to automate the scheduled release of new "covers" for this old blog.

Little things you might not notice if I didn't point them out:
  • The website cover art is different depending on the device you're viewing.
  • This website is a PWA - this means it's designed to be stupid fast, and on certain devices, you can install it on your homescreen, which gives you kind of an out-of-browser experience. This also hints that my day job is in ecommerce.
  • I turned off analytics years ago. My opinions about online stuff have shifted a lot - I'm glad you're here, but I don't need to know how often you visit or what your favorite pages are, I'd rather the site be FAST
  • The archives are up for revamping next! At the moment, you can only access the site archives by using our Site Search - which is fully operational again. But sometimes you just want to browse, and though I've had an idea of how to approach that for a while, it's only been with recent advances in public AI tooling that I've felt motivated enough to execute on that vision.
  • This website will outlast all the social networks, but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore them. So I've got accounts on Bluesky, on Threads, on Instagram, and even on Facebook. I'm a bit of a masochist, and I don't believe that syndicating the same content everywhere is interesting, so you'll see they're all different. I don't know which one will win this round, but it's not Mastodon (which I do like), sorry.
  • Somehow, the RSS feed here still works - although by announcing that, I surely will have broken it within a month's time.
  • Lastly: 2024 is going to be a year of giveaways - and maybe an art project or two. Probably all done through the website, with later announcements on social media. I plan on deaccessioning some interesting stuff - stay tuned.

In a testament to my marketing prowess, I will press the "Publish" button on this page at 1:35am on a school night. One of the downsides to running a static site generator built in 1999-era Perl is that I can't be bothered building out modern content management tooling like, oh, scheduling. But you found your way here, and that's what matters.

Netflix shares a teaser trailer for Fincher's The Killer

Last Christmas, we heard that alongside the work Trent and Atticus were doing for Empire of Light and Bones and All, they were scoring a new film by David Fincher, The Killer. The news broke on Soundtracking, a podcast hosted by Edith Bowman with a name that gives you a good idea of what it's about.

Ever since then, very little has been shared about this new film, directed by the guy who brought Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, among others, to life on the big screen.

Well, a couple of days ago, the first trailer dropped, and there's no comp track here - that's another energetic, multi-layered, signature soundtrack piece by the composers behind HBO's Watchmen, Disney/Pixar's Soul, Gone Girl, and Netflix's Mank. Among other things.

Have a watch and a listen below, join the discussion at Echoing the Sound.

Friday, 8/04/23

Brushing the cobwebs off

I don't know when I made updates to the site that broke Site Search, the Article Archive, and Permalinks (click the headline on any of the front page news stories for a standalone page), but they were really easy to fix. When you visit theninhotline.com, pretty much everything works now. And now I'm tracking changes through Github, so I can see exactly when I make a mistake like this again next time. If you don't know what that means, don't worrya bout it, and if you do know, yeah, shame on me for taking this long to put my old Perl and PHP codebase into source control.

I'm still posting to our Twitter account, but I've started an account at Threads too, but trading one billionaire's platform for another isn't the solution, which is why I'm putting some fuel back in this machine. Before I get to the fun part - following through on my original vision of the rebooted home page as a kind of art project - I still have a few other functionality updates I want to tackle. And I tell you what, revisiting old Perl code with the help of ChatGPT and similar tools is kind of a game changer.
Sunday, 6/18/23

Trent Reznor on Rick Rubin's podcast Tetragrammaton

A solid 2 hour interview between friends Trent Reznor and Rick Rubin. Some come away from the podcast excited about what's next for Reznor. Others say he just retired nin in the interview. Listen and decide for yourself.
Tuesday, 5/02/23

Tony Hawk casually namedrops a new Reznor Ross score

Earlier this year, my father was visiting and brought along a white cardboard box that had been sitting at his house for at least two decades. You see, a former colleague of mine was posting on Facebook about how he had gotten into collecting comic books, and I remembered that I had, at one point, the entire first series of black and white Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics by Eastman & Laird. As I remember it, the first three or four were reprints - maybe a 3rd print of the first and second issues, 2nd print of the third and fourth. Maybe I could trade them in and get something nice for myself.

To my surprise and disappointment, most of the first dozen issues were missing from the box. Looking on eBay, I was shocked to see that, in fact, what was missing was probably worth thousands of dollars somehow, since I had left them in a closet, in individual plastic baggies, some with cardboard in the bags for added stiffness.

I can't imagine anyone in my family stole them - maybe my brother or sister had some scumbag friends over, and they spirited them away when no one was looking. Given what they'd taken, it was pretty well targeted, and kind of a bummer. I have the rest of them on a shelf now, behind me, not real sure what to do with them.

Where was I? Right. It's the year 2023, I'm in my 40s, and the only comic book I ever collected way back in elementary school continues to be reborn over and over again - the latest incarnation is a highly stylized animated reimagining - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

And at about 19.5 minutes into this interview, Tony Hawk lets slip that Trent Reznor's not only got some absurd cameo in an upcoming video, but "him and Atticus are working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... they're working on the soundtrack to the movie that Seth [Rogan] was talking about."

And you know what? Listen to the music at the start of this trailer.

That's fuckin' great.
Friday, 3/10/23

NIN members featured on New Fever Ray Track, "Even It Out"

Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross return to the small screen in physical form with their involvement in the new Fever Ray release, “Radical Romantics”. Both are featured as producers and performers on the track and video for “Even It Out”. Watch: https://youtu.be/aozqSrIBpEs
Monday, 12/26/22

Trent and Atticus are guests on Soundtracking with Edith Bowman

Happy holidays! On top of all the soundtrack related news, we've got another treat today: Scottish radio DJ and TV presenter Edith Bowman's got a podcast called Soundtracking with Edith Bowman, and for their latest episode, 344, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross rejoin to talk about Bones and All and Empire of Light. It's a great conversation about process and collaboration, and working with interesting people.

You might have picked up on me saying, Trent and Atticus rejoin the podcast. That's because just about a year ago, Reznor and Ross were on the podcast to talk about Soul and Mank. This podcast is a great little gem, if you like the behind the scenes view into how movies are scored, whether from the point of view of the composers, directors, actors, and other people that are part of the process.

The links above are to Audioboom, but you can subscribe to Soundtracking with Edith Bowman pretty much wherever podcasts exist - thanks to podcasts being the almost ideal use case for RSS. Speaking of, don't forget that The Hotline somehow still has a working RSS feed as well, which can be found here (at least, until Google finally kills Feedburner - at which point, we'll find a new home for the RSS feed)
Saturday, 12/17/22

Mank vinyl to see wide release in Q1 2023

Back in December 2020, an announcement went out on nin.com about Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score for the Netflix film, Mank. In addition to the traditional streaming options, a super deluxe lossless download was made available at Bandcamp, along with a note: "Vinyl fans: we will be offering the score on vinyl early next year. The vinyl score will NOT contain the extra two hours of material."

Maybe you noticed, but when it came to manufacturing and the supply chain, 2020 was not a great year to be making statements about when products would ship. I waited months for a new washing machine. There's a new house that was built next to me that would be on pause for weeks while they waited for availability of things like... siding. Tiles. Workers.

Before long, both Netflix's Mank and Disney's Soul were nominated for numerous awards, as were the scores for both films, and Netflix made a pretty significant promotional push around this. There was a fancy coffee table book, replica sheet music from the score, and an album version of the score, packaged incredibly well as something evocative of the kind of album packaging they did in the mid-20th century.

Scores on Vinyl

I'm fortunate to have one of these, and got the thumbs up to share it on the bird website, with a note that the commercial release was in the pipeline, and would be a little different. (The art book and the sheet music I snagged on eBay for a surprisingly palatable price a few months ago)

That was nine months ago!

Just a couple of days ago, someone on Reddit posted that Plaid Room Records in Ohio had listed the Mank 3xLP for sale for $56, and they had five available. Had being the key word, as these were snatched up in no time flat. The record label was listed as Tiny Tiger Records, which I couldn't find any real reference to on Google outside of the Netherlands, which coincidentally is where some official-looking bootleg albums had been pressed a year or two ago - but Mank seemed like a very niche thing for someone to produce on their own.

Imagine my delight when richardp on Echoing the Sound posted that he had the album in his hands, and it was real. I never let go of the phrase "pics or it didn't happen" and that was basically my response, and I got this in return:
Scores on Vinyl

Scores on Vinyl

Scores on Vinyl

So here we are in 2022, and I can share with you vinyl fans indeed, nin.com will be offering the score on vinyl early next year.
Saturday, 11/12/22

VetsAid Live Stream tomorrow

Sunday, November 13, 2022, Nine Inch Nails is playing the VetsAid 2022 Benefit with James Gang and Joe Walsh in Columbus, OH. If you're not able to attend in person, you can watch the live stream by purchasing a ticket here: https://vetsaid.veeps.com/events/f2d6e78d-d48a-4892-9e5b-355db45079a3. Enjoy.
Tuesday, 10/04/22

New Meathead

You fucking heard me, there's a new meathead perspective.
Friday, 9/09/22

NIN Fan Day Sept 23 with live q and a at Rock Hall

From RockHall.com and Nine Inch Nails:

Nine Inch Nails Fan Day

Ahead of Nine Inch Nails’ one-night-only performance at Blossom Music Center, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will host Nine Inch Nails Fan Day on Friday, September 23. The day will be highlighted by a 3 p.m. Rock Hall exclusive simulcast Q&A with 2020 Inductee Nine Inch Nails. Fans can view this simulcast for free on the Rock Hall’s Union Home Mortgage Plaza. A limited number of invites to view the Q&A in-person will be offered to members of Nine Inch Nails’ Discord community. Fans who can’t make it to Cleveland can subscribe to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame YouTube channel or visit NIN social media channels to view the livestream as it happens or to watch later. Additionally, a rebroadcast of the interview will premiere on SiriusXM’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Channel 310 at a later date.

Throughout the day, fans can:

  • view NIN artifacts and video on display in the Museum*

  • watch a “From the Vault” screening of the band’s 2020 Induction*

  • stop by the interactive exhibit, The Garage, to perform NIN songs with the Rock Hall house band*

  • purchase unique NIN and Rock Hall merchandise

  • hear the band’s iconic music played in heavy rotation at the Museum and on the Rock Boxes located along East 9th Street

  • take a selfie in front of our Long Live Rock art installation, which will be themed to celebrate NIN

*Fans interested in touring the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to view the NIN exhibit can purchase admission tickets onsite or in advance at rockhall.com.

For more information visit: rockhall.com.

Discuss the event and the stream on ets.org
Saturday, 6/18/22

Billy Howerdel brings Danny Lohner on tour

My first introduction to Billy Howerdel was over two decades ago, when it was announced that A Perfect Circle would be opening up for Nine Inch Nails on the Fragility tour. This new band famously featured Maynard James Keenan from Tool on vocal duty, along with Billy Howerdel on guitar - the two were roommates when they started working on what would become A Perfect Circle, and in very early live performances, Danny Lohner performed live with the band - although he soon rejoined Nine Inch Nails, and Paz Lenchantin recording taking up the bass.

Everyone's kept busy in the intervening years, but recently Billy dropped a new album, "What Normal Was", which Danny Lohner co-produced. He's taking the opportunity to tour while the weather's nice and COVID cases are low, he's put together a band to tour the US with material from this debut album being released under his name, with Danny on guitar, Nylo on keyboards, Greyson Nekrutman on drums, and Eliot Lorango on bass.

San Francisco Bay Area Concerts posted a review from the kickoff of the tour, and I love the point about this being the rare opportunity to see a band of this caliber in more intimate settings. There are dozens of upcoming shows - more details here - and it's a rare opportunity to catch Danny Lohner on stage. They're playing the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, for example - where I was fortunate enough to see A Perfect Circle perform when they toured for Thirteenth Step.

If you've been coming to this site long enough to remember us posting the initial announcement of APC opening for NIN, chances are you'll really enjoy seeing this crew up on stage, so check to see if they're playing near you and grab some GA tickets at the kind of prices you remember from 20 years ago - or go for a Meet & Greet package - Early entry into the venue, Exclusive meet & greet with Billy Howerdel, Personal photograph with Billy Howerdel, Q&A and autograph session, Specially designed Billy Howerdel tour shirt, Exclusive Billy Howerdel merchandise item, Official meet & greet laminate and On-site host. Which, now that I'm looking at that, is pretty great bang for the buck, at least in Philly anyway.