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Trent Reznor Recalls David Bowie's Massive Impact on NINE INCH NAILS

"He was happy. He was still taking chances."

Trent Reznor

Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor has made no secret about how much of an impact David Bowie has had on him and his art. Now in a rather lengthy remembrance of the man via Consequence of Sound, Reznor recalls touring with Bowie in 1995. Reznor said Bowie was as much a friend and mentor to him at the time as he was a father-type figure, and speaks highly of Bowie's artistic integrity.

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"[Jump] ahead a few years and get a phone call from Bowie saying, ‘I’ve made a strange, new album with Eno that kind of reflects the Berlin era…’ Anytime someone would mention him and ask me questions, I would talk about Low and how much he influenced The Downward Spiral, and maybe it crossed his awareness to where he said, ‘You’re the only band I want to play with us. Would you be up for opening for us on an amphitheater tour?’ F**k, yes. I had just got done saying I couldn’t tour for another … We had just toured for two and a half years, and I was imploding. I needed to get off the road. Then, ‘Hey, would you like to go?’ Yes, when are we leaving? ‘How about in a month?’ Okay, I’m right there.

"But then to get to be around him for the extent of that tour and actually see him in person and be terrified and intimidated. And then find an actual human being behind it that did impossibly live up to whatever you projected on him. What really left the biggest impression on me was there I was in a bad state of addiction and kind of going down the toilet. And he was on the other end to have come out of it. And there were the few kind of big brother / fatherly times where he’d call me aside and kind of get on my shit: You need to get your shit together. It doesn’t have to end up down there. He didn’t say this, but look at where he was. He was happy. He was still taking chances.

"Nine Inch Nails were at peak popularity at that time. And Bowie wasn’t. Before the tour, he told me: ‘We’re going to go on a tour where we’re not going to play any hits. We’re only going to play this record. Nobody wants to hear that. But I need to do it.’ And I thought, ‘Well, I’m witnessing what I projected this guy to be. I’m watching him do it.’ But would I have the courage to do that? Is that courage? It really left a mark on me.

"Anyway, I still think about that dude all the time, and I still listen to him constantly. And I’m grateful that our lives intersected, and I’m grateful for, whether he knew it or not, how much he helped me in those dark times before I chose to get my shit together. And I can hear his voice. He penetrated through the layers of bullshit that I’d built around myself. I’m grateful for that."

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