Watch Nine Inch Nails perform on "Dance Party USA" c.1989

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I like how he admits they went as a joke and made fun of people before performing on the program (Hell I remember making fun of USA dance party from home, judgment is like a teenage past time right ??? it was like the low budget midwest version of American bandstand), but growing up in the 90s I always thought 9 inch nails was a little too serious and really kind of corny. Now I certainly did like the red hot chili peppers and beastie boys which were pretty goofy as well, immensely more really, but at least they seemed to revel in it. The high-fidelity white man rap was cringey even then! :laughing:


Promotion is promotion, whether you claim you’re doing it as a joke or not.

From this vantage point it doesn’t seem like such a mismatch, not that much different than the stuff that was already on the Billboard Top 40 at the time except that the vocals were a little distorted/affected.


As far as Trent Reznor 80s television experiences my heart will always be with his time in Slam Bamboo.


As someone who’s listened to that song probably 1000 times, it’s obvious that was a total play of the album version.

Too bad he didn’t bring his friends Marilyn Manson and the Jim Rose Circus along with. Some of the craziest shit I’ve ever seen at a concert.


really puts this thing he wrote into perspective:

It was the summer of ’86. I’d dropped out of college and was living in Cleveland trying to find my way in the local music scene. I knew where I wanted to go with my life but I didn’t know how to get there. A group of friends and I drove down to Blossom Music Center amphitheater to see the Black Celebration tour. DM was one of our favorite bands and the Black Celebration record took my love for them to a new level.

I’ve thought about that night a lot over the years. It was a perfect summer night and I was in exactly the right place I was supposed to be. The music, the energy, the audience, the connection… it was spiritual and truly magic. I left that show grateful, humbled, energized, focused, and in awe of how powerful and transformative music can be… and I started writing what would eventually become Pretty Hate Machine.

Many times, particularly when we’re playing an amphitheater, I’ll think of that show while I’m onstage and hope someone in the audience is in the midst of a perfect summer night feeling how DM made me feel so many years ago.” – Trent Reznor


There’s actually a pretty large amount of footage from his time as a musician in that period, because Slam Bamboo wasn’t his only modestly successful band. One of the other bands he played with, Exotic Birds, was also making the rounds and gave Reznor his first movie appearance.


i get that he’s pretty dismissive of the Pretty Hate Machine years, but i loved that album and played it incessantly. i thought it was inspired at the time, and really i still like it a lot. i feel it holds up better than some of his other later stuff, but i think it’s because it’s so honestly raw, not just raw for shock or theatrical value.


I think he’s probably made peace with the PHM days–he was selling PHM gear the last time I saw him live (which was probably 5-7 years ago at this point), and he did the 2010 remaster, which is also excellent.

That and With Teeth (weirdly?) are the two NIN albums I come back to again and again.

I’m partial to the downward spiral, mostly for nostalgia. I biked down to Milwaukee’s East Side to buy it at a record store.


I lived in Cleveland at the time and it seemed that Slam Bamboo and Exotic Birds were playing every week at clubs like Peabody’s and The Phantasy. The guitar player in the Dance Party clip left NIN and went on to form Filter. They had a couple hits called “Hey Man Nice Shot” and “Take a Picture”.


Which record store…Atomic?

I lived in Milwaukee about the same time (Wauwatosa) - a friend and I went to the Riverside Theater and saw Hole, Marilyn Manson, and NIN. Awesome show, although neither of us were prepared for Marilyn Manson - we kept looking at each other wondering how much weirder it would get.

The Downward Spiral is still my favorite NIN album…although Broken is close, and PHM not far behind.

Good times…

The Exclusive Company on Brady and Prospect (May have had a different name then). Awesome that you saw NIN at the Riverside. I saw them at the Mecca in ‘94.

Long Live Summerfest and 102.1 Milwaukee’s Alternative Radio.

Saw that tour in Los Angeles in 1994. Truly disturbing and amazing stuff for a concert. I don’t think the UAmp was ever the same after that.

Yeah I don’t remember that store name. I do miss Summerfest, but we haven’t lived in that area since '97 although we come back to visit every couple years. Been in CA & CO ever since, although Milwaukee still feels like home.

Back when I lived there the only alternative radio was WMSE if that’s still around…

Yep! Saw them on that tour in 94 (iirc?) Total craziness.

I was immensely disappointed that this was a lip sync. Could tell within a second or two :confused:

I’ll admit to unabashedly singing along with every word of that song whever it comes on in the car. Hell, any song off PHM, for that matter.

Let’s just not talk about that week I listened to something I can never have on endless repeat…

PHM is an important, milestone album but for pure listening pleasure I’d pick Spiral any day of the week over PHM.

oh, i do think that most of Downward Spiral holds up. i saw them for that tour, with Bowie. one of the best shows i’ve ever seen.

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It’s cut off in this clip, but the band sampled the host saying “that was nine inch nails… woo!, They’re good!” and stuck it on the end of the US release of the Head Like a Hole single


Same for me. When PHM came out I bought it immediately and my first thought was something along the lines of pop music with the distortion turned up. That’s not to say I didn’t like it. But I saw it as part of a process of industrial music being mainstreamed which was not what I wanted to see. When The Downward Spiral came out I had to walk back a few, maybe unkind words about Trent. I’ve enjoyed his work since then. Since those days, I don’t worry so much about genres and pop versus non-pop. if I like it, I like regardless if I am “supposed” to. All of that is just record company marketing BS.