One of industrial music's finest hours, Nine Inch Nails' 1989 debut album Pretty Hate Machine is being reissued by Rykodisc on November 22 (not yet available in Amazon). Available only by import for several years, there will be rejoicing in the streets when Trent Reznor's explosive, corrosive, but also touching classic decorates the shelves at domestic prices once again.
NIN major domo Trent Reznor trained in classical piano from the age of five, his prodigious talents encouraged by the grandparents who raised him in the rural Western Pennsylvania town of Mercer after his parents divorced. Not openly aggressive and drawn to music and technology, Reznor was well-outside Mercer’s inner circle of football players and prom queens. However the musical Boy Scout was also drawn to the vicarious violence of comic books and movies - the beginnings of revenge fantasies at the heart of some of his darkest music. At about the age of 13, Reznor realized he could express how he felt "through a musical instrument," a fundamental relief and challenge.
After graduating from high school in '83, Reznor majored in computer engineering at Allegheny College for a year before he moved to the big city of Cleveland, Ohio. Reznor sold synths at Pi Keyboards, then worked as a janitor and programmer at the Right Stuff recording studio. Meanwhile, he played with several bands including the Urge, the Innocent, Lucky Pierre, Exotic Birds, and Slam Bam Boo, but it wasn't until he went solo and developed his own material that his talent blossomed.
Reznor revealed this process in a 1991 interview: "I had tried to write songs on and off, but I never seemed to be able to get it together. It didn't feel right. I had kept a journal of my most private and personal feelings, and I had no intention of ever showing it to anyone else, let alone publishing it. In a sickening flash one night, I realized I had to write songs from my journal. I felt naked and embarrassed, but I knew it was real, and that is what my songs were missing: emotional reality."