Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails photo by Wilson Lee

A few days ago I read a very compelling Spin cover story that featured Trent Reznor. Though I’ve yet to listen to the new Nine Inch Nails album, since 2012 I’ve become familiar with their catalog. His honesty is always refreshing…

“Twenty years and hundreds of performances down a crooked road, Trent Reznor still often chooses to say goodbye to his crowds with “Hurt,” the last track on The Downward Spiral, and the song that in its lean, confessional intensity is Hesitation Marks‘ most direct emotional precursor.

“When I was younger, to hear people singing that song, or any song, back to me? Holy shit, what a great feeling,” says Reznor, leaning forward. “Over time, that feeling corrupted me. I didn’t feel interesting enough to deserve it, and then I reinvented myself as a caricature. Money creeps in, people want to sleep with you, you distort. Add alcohol and drugs, and things go south fast. A song like ‘Hurt’ is reinterpreted by who I am now — and I like that person a lot more.

“The person you’re talking to now is the real me — the smart, together me from high school,” Reznor continues. “I feel so much younger than I am. I wish I could change some things about the path it took to get here, but I feel lucky that I’m not as caught up in anger as I was.”

Then a sinister glimmer flashes across his hazel eyes, and Trent Reznor does what he’s always done. “Believe me,” he says, offering that old unsettling reassurance. “There’s still no shortage of things that piss me off.”

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