T in the Park: Nine Inch Nails
- Mark Robertson
- 25 June 2009
Trent Reznor is abandoning social networking, but Nine Inch Nails are still one of the best acts on at this year’s T. Mark Robertson explains why
Trent Reznor has always had issues. With God, with the devil, with drugs, with the record industry, with the critics, with former paramours – and now he has issues with social networking.
Last fortnight, Reznor posted a missive on the www.nin.com forums about how he was withdrawing from the whole social networking malarkey. The impetus stems from postings on said forums, other music gossip sites and replies to Reznor’s Twitter account, in particular about his new fianceé singer/model Mariqueen Maanding. One that especially irked him was from a forum of self-confessed rock groupies called Metal Sludge.
Reznor’s long, gently ranting posting on the NIN forums in reaction went like this:
‘On nin.com, there are 3–4 different people that each send me between 50–100 messages per day of delusional, often threatening nonsense. We can delete them, but they just sign back up and start again.
‘I really don’t understand what kind of “fan” spends that kind of time and money to travel across the country seeing a band to then dedicate an incredible amount of time and energy into non-stop hate diatribes online.’
While Reznor was not the first to embrace technology, he is a seasoned early adopter. There’s the NIN iPhone app, fan song remixing facilities and best of all, tens of gigabytes of raw HD footage and sound from the band’s Year Zero Tour.
In April 2008, a post was placed on the band’s website with a message from Reznor. ‘This one’s on me,’ it said. An album, The Slip was available (and still is) as a free download from nin.com. Radiohead’s pay-what-you-like policy for early downloads of their 2007 album In Rainbows grabbed headlines, but Reznor followed this with another free album Ghosts. Sure, he’s hardly a great editor and has dug a very particular lyrical trench through his demons – drugs, drink, introspection, God, death; all your rock’n’roll faves – but built around them some varied, deftly constructed, inspired music.
When a youthful, if slightly hysterical, Nine Inch Nails showed up at King Tut’s in 1994 to promote their debut album Pretty Hate Machine, they caused a perfect storm, a sinewy synergy of electronic abrasion and quivering, delicate pop, sounding like Tori Amos doing battle with a food mixer and hegde trimmer. Reznor was initially mocked for this, but what he did – unintentionally – was invent emo a decade before the term was coined. Needless to say, this angst has proved immensely successful, selling millions of albums and filling arenas globally with something that veered towards the dark and esoteric.
So getting back to the point here: the reason Nine Inch Nails are one of the best bands on at T this weekend? The answer is simple: live, they are nothing short of amazing. There are only so many sunny chant-a-longs you can take in one weekend and Nine Inch Nails should provide the perfect soundtrack to those storm clouds gathering in a humid Balado sky.
NME/Radio 1 Stage, Sat 11 Jul.