Nine Inch Nails

Perhaps more than any other group, Nine Inch Nails helped popularize industrial music with mainstream audiences, especially in America, where band leader, founder and all-around driving force Trent Reznor has arguably become the genre’s most recognizable figure. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 17, 1965, Reznor taught himself multiple instruments and trained as a studio engineer prior to recording Nine Inch Nails’ first demos, virtually single-handedly. These became the foundation of 1989’s official debut, ‘Pretty Hate Machine,’ which gained release through independent TVT Records and steadily marched its way to platinum sales, while Reznor and his hand-picked band mates built a large following through relentless touring, including the 1991 Lollapalooza Festival. 1992’s ‘Broken’ EP was unveiled as a stop-gap while Interscope Records extricated Reznor from his TVT deal, so it was 1994’s ‘The Downward Spiral’ that truly elevated Nine Inch Nails to global stardom, with its state-of-the-art industrial art-rock and controversial music videos backing smash hits like ‘Closer’ and ‘Hurt.’ Simultaneously, Reznor further complicated his busy schedule by mentoring and producing new age shock rocker Marilyn Manson across a trio of platinum-selling releases (culminating in 1996’s iconic ‘Antichrist Superstar’) before experiencing a very public falling out with his protege. But at least this finally allowed Reznor to focus again on Nine Inch Nails, which consolidated its career longevity with 1999’s much delayed (and thus highly anticipated) double album, ‘The Fragile,’ which debuted at No. 1 and paved the way to more extensive touring. But another six years would pass before Nine Inch Nails’ next studio effort, ‘With Teeth,’ which saw Reznor emerging from serious substance abuse issues to embark on a period of unparalleled prolificness and technological innovation behind the marketing of fast-recorded followups, ’Year Zero’ (2007), ‘Ghosts ‘ I-IV’ and ‘The Slip’ (both 2008). The latter pair also saw Reznor exiting Interscope and suffering diminished sales, as a result, but the artist’s reinvigorated creative drive and good health carried Nine Inch Nails forward as one of the world’s most popular tour draws and an enduring musical force, as evidenced by 2013’s warmly received ‘Hesitation Marks’ album.

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