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Reznor's Edge

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It's weird to see how things change. I remember when I first saw Korn. I met them with Manson, opening with them, and I didn't get it. I went, what the fuck is this? Now one can say they were a pretty important band, and now there's two generations of bands that have ripped off Korn, that ripped off bands that sounded like Korn. It's weird how your perception of things changes and how there are the bands that end up becoming iconic and the ones that don't live up to the hype. And yeah, I think a lot of bad music has come up that I think I'm responsible for...

It reminds me of a conversation I had — I was hanging out with Zack from Rage Against the Machine, and I think Limp Bizkit came on TV, and he goes, "God, this sucks!" And I said, "Well, it's your fault, man, totally your fault. You created this, dude" [laughs].

Who are your peers today?

That's kind of an elitist question, but I'm impressed by Zack. I'm impressed by Maynard from Tool. There's a lot of new stuff out that's interesting and exciting from the DFA production team, LCD Soundsystem, their work with Rapture, etc. I like Arcade Fire a lot. When I look at people that I would like to feel have been a mentor or an inspiring kind of archetype of what I'd love to see my career eventually be mentioned as a footnote for in the same paragraph, it would be, like, Bowie. The courage that he's shown artistically, just to keep trying new things. I remember when I toured with him in 1995, he called up and said, "I want to do a tour, and I think the only band I want to go out with is Nine Inch Nails — would you be up for it?" And I just got done saying I'm not touring for a long time. Yup, yeah, OK, yes, what time do you want to start? Playing the message back for people from my machine, [in British accent] "Hi, Trent, it's David Bowie." It's really him, man! But when we met for that tour, he said, "I'm gonna only play stuff off this new album I did. It's very obscure and obtuse, and it's probably going to fail, but it's something I feel like I need to do, and the audience probably isn't going to like it, but it's right for right now." And I thought, you know, either that's really stupid or, fuck yeah, do what you feel is right. Anyway, that stuck with me, and after getting to know him and becoming friends with him, it's been an inspiration not only in his music and his career but also his life. I met him when I was about to bottom out, and it was somebody that had bottomed out, and I saw that there was hope on the other end. Life wasn't about sitting around AA meetings, smoking cigarettes, reliving the glory days. His life was a shitload better than it was. Between him, Brian Eno, people like that, who really seem to have always put art first and maintained over a long period of time, doing stuff that's interesting, you know, failing on occasion but never sitting back and recycling the same crap... I admire that.

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Jonathan Zwickel

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