There aren’t that many things that are constant in life. I’ve narrowed it down to breathing, day and night,nature and especially music. They are always there and accessible. Even if they depart in true rock star fashion there is now, in this digital era, no way we will never be without access to their music.
Over the years my music tastes go through “phases” but there are some bands/musicians/songs that never leave you. Some that you always go back to. It doesn’t seem to matter where I am in life, I will never ever stop appreciating Nine Inch Nails.
In 1989 when Pretty Hate Machine was released I was 7. Probably a little too young to really appreciate bands like NIN, Depeche Mode and The Cure but thanks to my siblings who are 10 and 9 years older than me I was at least exposed to them. It wasn’t until my angsty teen years around 12/13 that I really got into NIN. I spent all my money on CD’s. I had them all – now of course they are files.I’ve seen them countless times with different reincarnations. I’ve been backstage. I wore my tour t shirts until they had holes in them. You get the idea. Now at 33 that’s a solid journey of 20 years.
In my late 20’s I ended up roaming the Garden District of New Orleans. I knew he lived around here once upon a time but it wasn’t an active quest. I was on a historical walking tour and it was so hot I had lost all concentration on what the guide was saying. “Trent Reznor’s curtains were…” … were what??? That swiftly grabbed my attention. What? I asked him politely to repeat what he said. He mentioned that once on this tour someone got Trent Reznor’s curtains. There was a big garbage pick up and the new owner hated them – or so the story goes. Probably fabrication (haha) but anyway…Gosh how insane I thought to myself. Curtains? Really? Of all the things? The point of the story was we were actually standing out the front of his former residence. In the hazy heat I just stood there curious looking at it with all sorts of questions and thoughts floating around taking it all in. Some of the group made mutterings like ” who?” and then someone in the group blurted out “oh he’s a gothic, drug user you know depressed and angry” – I nearly jumped to defend the position and then I stopped myself. Unfortunately, it was true. I couldn’t really refute it and it wasn’t my place to. Just how much I don’t think anyone knew until he publicly discussed it. You can read about that harrowing tale here
(Just as an aside – the above story only perplexes me about Aaron North and just what went on there for everyone to seemingly cast him aside? What did he do? Mental illness so what? Look at Trent carrying on like a pork chop from the above tales… what about the Marilyn Manson era and the antics involved there? Obviously the story has many,many missing pieces to it but it will always bother me)
I’ve always known exactly who and what NIN songs are about….sadly. There are certain people in my life that I swear were the subject matter for such songs…Let’s just call NIN a coping mechanism throughout the years.
No doubt many people feel he captures the essence of what we can’t articulate. Only Trent Reznor, Maynard Keenan and Robert Smith seem to outperform all others in this area in my opinion. They are successful because they are a perfect blend of genuine musical talent and ability, fused with writing skills. They all must rank rather high on the EQ scale. Yes EQ not IQ (although I am sure they are up there on that one too)
One day I will write about all those dirty dark corridors, all the people that are in them and all the debris and dark emotions that they entail. All the hurt, all the anger, all the depravity and the deep,deep sadness. Until that day I can only assign NIN songs to them!
I will leave you with some of my favourite visuals of them…him…NIN.
” The more I give to you. The more I die”