Sound, throb, and a long low wail of pure, hard pain...Nine Inch Nails.
The world's most disturbing rock band is in effect one man singer and songwriter Trent Reznor. Since stealing the show during the original Lollapalooza tour in 1991, NIN has limned the hard edge of the techno revolution. In Reznor's desperate, combative persona and disarrayed melodies the musical community has finally found a band that appalls, confounds, and undeniably attracts. Horrified yet entranced, NIN's fans are like moths drawn toward the disfiguring flame of their music.
From a well of previously unpublished research, Huxley has carved out the history of this improbable hero: Reznor's rise as an Appalachian outcast to dyspeptic sex symbol; his connections to Courtney Love; and his relationship with his spasmodically fixated fans. Ricocheting wildly between goth rock and industrial grunge, Nine Inch Nails has achieved a legendary sound. Here, Martin Huxley digs hard and deep to unearth the truth beneath the ultimate noise.
Pseudonymous rock biographer Huxley (Aerosmith, AC/DC) seems to have limited the research for this complacent look at what's behind the curtain of relentless, yet oddly tuneful synthetic beats, scratchy guitars and doom-laden vocals, to major music magazines. Most of the milestones, scandals and anecdotes of singer-songwriter-producer Trent Reznor's rise to (relative) fame and fortune will be familiar to even the most casual readers of Rolling Stone or watchers of MTV. The well-publicized feud between Reznor and rock widow-turned-actress Courtney Love is here, as are brief descriptions of Reznor's rural Pennsylvania childhood ("Reznor recalls his first childhood role model being Steve Austin, TV's Six Million Dollar Man") and uneventful college years. However, aside from the limited discussion of the band's genuinely compelling videos, the book's most engaging passages for rock aficionados--in which Reznor describes his innovative recording techniques--will probably bore the adolescent reader for whom the rest of the book seems to have been written. If the short, uninspired biography has become an unofficial, necessary prelude to rock canonization, Reznor should take hope from this defiantly complacent look.