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Nine Inch Nails Scared The Hell Out Of People, But Trent Reznor's All About The Music

Nine Inch Nails arrived on the music scene like a wrecking ball and left a wave of destruction behind. Frontman Trent Reznor released explosive and confrontational music that bowled over fans and enraged critics as he battled infamy, drug addiction, and a string of vicious controversies. During the '90s, Nine Inch Nails were one of the biggest bands on the scene, and they continue to tour and release music today.

Despite weathering the kind of controversial press typically reserved for hip-hop and death metal, Reznor managed to keep a level of privacy and an air of mystery by focusing on the music. Because of this, surely there are things you didn't know about Nine Inch Nails.

Continue reading to learn some of the craziest stories about Nine Inch Nails as well as Nine Inch Nails band facts.

  • Reznor Played All The Instruments Aside From Drums In The Early Days Of NIN

    In 1987, Reznor left the band Exotic Birds to work on his own music. By 1988, he was working as a janitor at Right Track Studios. Reznor asked his boss if he could record his demos while the studio was not in use, and his boss obliged.

    Reznor was unable to find a band to work with that had the particular sound he was looking for, so, inspired by the artist Prince, he began playing everything himself, aside from drums - keyboards, drum machines, guitars, and samplers. He also used a Macintosh Plus computer.

    Reznor's demo earned him a record contract with TVT Records, and the songs turned into a platinum album, 1989's Pretty Hate Machine. Critics credit the album with helping to create an entirely new genre of music.

  • Bob Dole And Other Conservatives Criticized NIN For 'Big Man With A Gun' And Referred To Their Music As Gangsta Rap

    In 1995, former senator Bob Dole, former education secretary William Bennett, and former secretary of Pennsylvania and civil rights activist Cynthia Delores Tucker went to the annual Time Warner shareholders' meeting in New York to air their grievances. The social conservatives took issue with specific bands that had signed with Warner Music. During the meeting, Tucker demanded Michael Fuchs, head of the Warner Music Group, read the lyrics aloud to the Nine Inch Nails song "Big Man With a Gun."

    I am a big man
    (Yes I am)
    And I have a big gun
    Got me a big old d*ck and I
    I like to have fun
    Held against your forehead
    I'll make you suck it
    Maybe I'll put a hole in your head
    You know, just for the f*ck of it

    Fuchs refused to read the lyrics. Tucker repeatedly referred to NIN as a gangsta rap band during her speech. Afterward, Newsweek reported on the meeting, also referring to "Big Man With a Gun" as a rap song.

  • Reznor's Short Film 'Broken' Went Unreleased Due To Extremely Graphic Content

    To promote the 1992 album Broken, Reznor worked with Peter Christopherson to create a short film of the same name that featured songs from the album. The 20-minute film is considered a horror musical and was made as a snuff-style film: The beginning of the video starts with an execution via hanging. The movie was never officially released due to its extremely graphic subject matter, but it leaked and became popular in the VHS tape trading days.

    In December 2006, the film leaked on the Pirate Bay website, with many assuming Reznor was responsible for putting the film online. In 2013, the movie was uploaded onto Vimeo and posted on the official Tumblr page for NIN. Vimeo promptly removed the video, citing a Terms of Service violation. This pushed the film back into the underground until 2016, when it was uploaded to Archive.org under fair use laws.

  • The FBI Mistook The Video For 'Down In It' As A Snuff Film

    Video: YouTube

    Nine Inch Nails ran into several issues while creating a music video for the 1989 song "Down in It." During filming in Chicago, the band used several Super 8 cameras, including one connected to a weather balloon filled with helium. While filming a scene featuring Reznor lying on the ground and appearing dead, the ropes holding the camera snapped, and the camera floated away.

    More than a year later, Reznor's manager informed him that the camera had landed 200 miles away in a farmer's field in Michigan. The farmer, believing it held surveillance footage of marijuana fields, gave the camera to his local police department. Police reviewed the video and, thinking it was a snuff film, turned it over to the FBI. The FBI also believed it was a snuff film, possibly involving a ritual gang slaying.

    Eventually, the FBI learned the alleged dead man in the footage was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Hard Copy later did a segment on the FBI's investigation of the Nine Inch Nails video.