The single “Closer” still boasts the filthiest chorus to ever get bleeped on rock radio, and its deliriously grotesque, Joel-Peter Witkin-inspired video was all over MTV despite containing constant edits that suggested images had been deleted by censors. ’ That part, the upward track, the roller coaster taking you up is pretty fun,” Reznor remembers.
For a band that wore arm-length fishnet gloves and black lipstick, they played so hard and fast that punks and heshers alike were pummeled into respectfulness. Undaunted, Reznor revived David Bowie’s career in 1995, touring with and remixing songs for his hero.
Reznor’s scores for Oliver Stone’s tour, and after witnessing some backstage antics, she publicly impugned Reznor’s manhood (“More like Three Inch Nails”). With Jane’s Addiction broken up and Beck and Radiohead still trying to prove themselves as more than one-hit wonders, Reznor ran neck and neck with Billy Corgan as the most important modern-rock artist of the ’90s who wasn’t Kurt Cobain.
The man behind Nine Inch Nails has a large-ish headlike Gary Oldman’s Count, pale skin with very little pink in it. Gargoyles and skulls haunt the foot of a wide staircase leading to a…tricked-out coffin? “Actually, there are a bunch of old, broken video games up there,” he says with a shy laugh. “I have weird social anxiety,” he explains as we sit on the black leather couch in the studio’s control room.
He’s dressed in black: T-shirt, cargo pants, and sneakers with orange piping. Trent Reznor doesn’t really suck blood or ball gags. I’ve already been shown much of the interior, its hidden spaces, many of them cold and empty.
“I couldn’t bear it.” There’s been a lot of debauchery on and around this very couch. I’d party like everyone else did, but suddenly you’re supposed to be a big rock star, and I didn’t really feel like I was that person.
“This is the room where the [Marilyn] Manson guys and I decided we were going to build tents and watch the first three movies at eight in the morning while the drugs still lasted,” he remembers. Manson’s then-bassist Twiggy Ramirez] almost burned the place down lighting fireworks. And with a few drinks in me, I thought I could be that person.“Every time, it’s a different reason,” Reznor says.From his debut album, 1989’s EP on the sly, and founding his own imprint, Nothing Records, at Interscope.Maybe you’d recognize his voice if you heard him sing. The one who articulated your pain, saved your life even. “Let me give you the tour,” Trent Reznor offers after opening the large wrought-iron gate and waving me into the foyer. I’ve been summoned here not to close some shady real estate deal or dally with undead babes, but rather to talk. I don’t want to mess with his anonymity, but in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings they call this “sharing.” Opening up and humbly interacting with your neighbor.But to his neighbors, and to most others in this new century, he’s been Boo Radley, Charles Montgomery Burns, Bad Ronald, the behind his curtain. I feel a bit like Keanu Reeves’ Jonathan Harker at the beginning of . Trent Reznor may or may not have been to a few of these.If I had some drinks and someone said, ‘Hey, you wanna get some cocaine?