I read this article a while ago and it was so difficult to read about a musician declining. It has bothered me for over a year. Here is the article that sparked it all off…
Seriously where is he? Is he ok? Can you just write an article like this and NOT have a follow up one? Maybe there is and I have missed it? Isn’t there some journalistic moral code here that should be adhered to? If you don’t know who he is I will use this quote and photo to help summarise. I have seen a lot of music and in my opinion he is in the guitar cannon of legends such as CC deville, Joe Perry, Slash, Richie Sambora… I like a lot of 80’s guitarists….
“ He shows up, he looks shitty, he’s got junk equipment, he looks like he’s just got up and I want to punch him. And then Aaron starts playing and on the first note it’s like, ‘You’re the guy’. He wasn’t trying to be me, and play like I play. He played and chaos came out. It immediately made the band turn into something else.”
—Trent Reznor, New Zealand Herald
After reading this a few years back now, it left me absolutely distressed, sad and confused. I even wrote to Spin with no response to see if they had any follow up on the mental health of Aaron North. I feel very strongly about mental health and even more so about this case which I will get to later. More so I feel a little confused about the lack of empathy among the people he worked with/was engaged with considering the many struggles they have gone through. I am sure there are lots of missing pieces but… I will rant on that later.
I suppose it seems odd to empathise with a guitar rock (god) of many bands and with undeniable talent,but on this occasion I really do. I don’t know him personally but that doesn’t mean I can’t relate or that I find this situation any less upsetting.
You see, I love Nine Inch Nails. I spent most of my money as a very young teenager buying every version of all their cds/halos. I will always have a deep appreciation for the many incarnations of the band and the ever evolving Trent Reznor. To be honest I didn’t know who Aaron North was I had never been into his former band The Icarus Line. The best line up for me was during 2005-2007. Dream line up if you will – consisting of Jerome Dillon ( A Perfect Circle) Jeordie White/TWIGGY Ramirez ( Marilyn Manson), Alessandro Cortini and of course Trent Reznor and Aaron North. I have never to this day seen such an amazing concert than when this group was touring. The Beside You in Time concert DVD is phemonemal. I saw so many shows during this time frame. I was even lucky enough to receive Aaron’s guitar pick and go backstage ( a total random fluke of events) but all I did was stand in the corner very quiet, not wanting to intrude and looking at Aaron North. I just was in sheer awe. No one wants to be that girl but alas there were those girls straddling Jeordie White. I mean sure, if i had more esteem I probably would of I mean hellooooooooooooo it’s Jeordie White/Twiggy Ramirez ah. He’s only been in all my favourite bands sigh.
Trent Reznor did not come out as this was his early days in sober land. It was also during this time frame that my days of lining up for hours at a gig, hoping they would do a sound check for spiral members (fan club) and standing in agony against a metal railing, being dehyrdrated ,subjected to all sorts of body odours and invasion of personal space days had to come to an end. I have no regrets about that it’s just that now I simply could not do that and don’t do that anymore.
What I find interesting is that both Jeordie White and Trent Reznor have struggled with serious demons, suicide. Dave Grohl – well that’s evident with his experiences. I don’t understand the apparent lack of forgiveness,understanding and compassion. They wouldn’t have been delightful to be around during these times and yet managed to have help/support to rebuild. For people that have experienced it and popped out the other side of the spiral, to abandon him seems particularly off to me? Perhaps he really did something horrific that everyone is struggling to accept? Again I don’t know and I don’t really want to think those thoughts of people being that devoid of empathy. I mean I get it, a lot of rockstars (let’s just use that word) become totally narcissistic dicks. I get it. Money, drugs, bed behaviour, womanising… it’s not ok and that makes me angry but still… Reading between the lines of the Spin article I guess there were some pretty hard things going on with him but hopefully he is ok and hopefully he is repairing himself. I don’t know why it bothers me but it does.
I’ve never been captivated by a live performance as much as I have when he was playing.
See for yourself… my favourite song, with my favourite line up, with my favourite guitarist, ever. I hope your headspace is better these days because the world needs good guitarists !