I discovered one of my great guilty musical pleasures — Nine Inch
Nails — in early 1990, when that first album, Pretty Hate Machine was
a few months old. It’s one of a handful of albums around that time that
made me go “Who is this? I must have this!” after hearing only a few
songs (Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish and Nirvana’s Nevermind and Ween’s Pure Guava come to mind).
Trent Reznor is one of my musical heroes, as he proved that you could
play synth and still not sound wuss-a-riffic (before I was the Accordion Guy, I was a synth guy). Prior to Trent, most
people’s image of synth players weren’t terribly positive (Paul
Schaffer, you hurt a lot of keyboard players everywhere), and that went
double in the proto-emo-rock scene of 1992 Kingston, Ontario, where my
buddies Karl Mohr, “Craigertronic” and I were the three synth guys in
the small town of a thousand guitars. He made it cool to smash a
keyboard onstange, something I managed to do only once (after my wonky
Yamaha finally died during a gig).
Trent made my DJ career (1989-1994) at Crazy Go Nuts University stand out. While
the other campus pubs were cranking out the pap of the day — Marky
Mark’s Good Vibrations and Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For
You) and more Color Me Badd than you can shake a stick at — you
came to Clark Hall Pub to hear Nine Inch Nails, along with Ministry,
Public Enemy, Sonic Youth and Jane’s Addiction.
I was the drunk guy dancing right by that stage when Nine Inch Nails
played Lollapalooza ’91 here in Accordion City. Maybe not the only drunk guy, but I
was there. And drunk.
Trent also played in indirect part in my accordion career. The first
number I played on accordion in front of a large crowd was Head Like a
Hole, which I did with Karl Mohr in front of the stunned goth masses at
the now-defunct Sanctuary Vampire Sex Bar (the story appears here).
Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming album, With Teeth, is due to be released on
May 3rd. It’s expected to be a more song-oriented album; Der Trentster
said in a recent Rolling Stone interview that “It’s going to be twelve
good punches in the face – no
fillers, no instrumentals, just straight to the point.” My face awaits!
As a fan, I present to you something I stumbled across — a crappy MP3 recording of the first single off the album, The Had That Feeds
[3.9 MB MP3, enclosure]. It’s a catchy basic little rocker whose really
fat bassline should sound good in the full-fidelity version. Enjoy!