Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN (stylized as NIИ), is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Trent Reznor was the only permanent member of the band until the official addition of English musician Atticus Ross in 2016.
Reznor recorded the band's debut album, Pretty Hate Machine (1989), while working overnight as a janitor at a Cleveland recording studio. After feuding with the label TVT Records about promotion, Reznor signed with Interscope Records and released the EP Broken (1992). The following albums, The Downward Spiral (1994) and The Fragile (1999), were released to critical acclaim and commercial success.
Reznor chose the name "Nine Inch Nails" because it "abbreviated easily" rather than for "any literal meaning". Other rumored explanations have circulated, alleging that Reznor chose to reference Jesus' crucifixion with nine-inch spikes, or Freddy Krueger's nine-inch fingernails. The English letters NIN are also noted for their resemblance to the modern Hebrew characters of the Tetragrammaton. The Nine Inch Nails logo first appeared on the music video for their debut single, "Down in It". The logo was designed by Reznor and Gary Talpas, inspired by Tibor Kalman's typography on the Talking Heads album Remain in Light. Talpas, a native of Cleveland, continued to design Nine Inch Nails packaging until 1997.
Following a hiatus, Nine Inch Nails resumed touring in 2005 and released their fourth album, With Teeth (2005). Following the release of Year Zero (2007), Reznor left Interscope after a feud. Nine Inch Nails continued touring and independently released Ghosts I–IV (2008) and The Slip (2008) before a second hiatus. Their eighth album, Hesitation Marks (2013), was followed by a trilogy consisting of the EPs Not the Actual Events (2016) and Add Violence (2017) and their ninth album Bad Witch (2018). In 2020, Nine Inch Nails released two further installments in the Ghosts series, Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts.
Reznor and Ross typically assemble a live band to perform with them. Not including sporadic band hiatuses, the band has varied over the decades, with the most recent lineup consisting of Robin Finck (initially joined in 1994), Alessandro Cortini (initially joined in 2005), and Ilan Rubin (initially joined in 2009). Nine Inch Nails concerts since 2005 often employ thematic visual elements, extensive use of special effects, and elaborate light shows; songs are often rearranged for performance, and elements of songs that are not scheduled to be performed in their entirety are occasionally assimilated into other songs.
Nine Inch Nails have sold over 20 million records and have been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning for the songs "Wish" (1992) and "Happiness in Slavery" (1996). In 1997, Time named Reznor one of the most influential people, and Spin has described him as "the most vital artist in music". In 2004, Rolling Stone placed Nine Inch Nails at No. 94 on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. They were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 (their first year of eligibility), nominated again in 2015, and were inducted in 2020.
Nine Inch Nails has issued eight major albums, which have generally received both critical and commercial acclaim. Historically, NIN releases have been assigned a "Halo" index number. For example, the album 'With Teeth' is also known as Halo 19. With the inclusion of the 'Broken' EP, the band's primary releases are:
1. 'Pretty Hate Machine' (1989)
2. 'Broken' EP (1992)
3. 'The Downward Spiral' (1994)
4. 'The Fragile (Left)' / ''The Fragile (Right)' (1999)
5. 'With Teeth' (2005)
6. 'Year Zero' (2007)
7. 'Ghosts I-IV' (2008)
8. 'The Slip' (2008)
9. 'Hesitation Marks' (2013)
10. 'Not the Actual Events' EP (2016)
11. 'Add Violence' EP (2017)
12. 'Bad Witch' (2018)
13. 'Ghosts V: Together' (2020)
14. 'Ghosts VI: Locusts' (2020)
Nine Inch Nails has also produced a number of EP's, remixes, and provided contributions to various movie soundtracks, including 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider', 'The Crow', 'Natural Born Killers', 'Lost Highway', and 'Tetsuo: The Bullet Man'. Trent Reznor additionally provided the soundtrack for the massively popular id Software game Quake, a release inspired by ambient music. His team up with Atticus Ross resulted in the critically praised soundtrack to the film 'The Social Network', with the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross duo winning an Oscar for Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards
In 2002, a live album (their second live release, the first being the video 'Closure Documentary') entitled 'And All That Could Have Been' was released on DVD & CD. The Deluxe version of the CD came packaged with a mini album called 'Still'. That release featured several previously released songs in a stripped down, near-acoustic format along with several other new compositions.
Nine Inch Nails as a live band is generally understood to be a separate entity from its recording studio-based component. Occasionally, past band members are invited to participate in the process when not directly involved with recording new material, Nine Inch Nails' lineup tends to change drastically between major tours. Aside from Trent Reznor remaining on lead vocals, nothing about the live band has remained constant since its inception. Reznor cited the long gestation period between studio albums as part of the reason for these frequent personnel changes.
Beginning in late 2005, the live band featured Aaron North on guitar, Jeordie White on bass guitar, Alessandro Cortini on keyboards, and Josh Freese on drums, though all occasionally performed with different instruments. This lineup toured Europe, Asia, Australia, and America through 2007. Trent Reznor reported that he would disband the "rock band configuration" of his touring lineup after their concert in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 18, 2007, and would explore other means to perform Nine Inch Nails material on subsequent tours. Despite this claim he has regained the rock group lineup for the 'Lights In The Sky Over...' tours with Robin Finck returning on guitar and Justin Meldal-Johnsen of Beck and other projects accompanying Cortini and Freese.
Past live band members include (listed chronologically):
* Ron Musarra: Drums, Samplers
* Chris Vrenna: Keyboards, Samplers, Drums
* Richard Patrick: Guitar
* Jeff Ward: Drums
* David Haymes: Keyboards
* Nick Rushe: Keyboards
* Lee Mars: Keyboards
* James Woolley: Keyboards
* Robin Finck: Guitar, Synthesizer
* Danny Lohner: Bass, Guitar, Synthesizer
* Charlie Clouser: Synthesizer, Drums on 5 songs during the Dissonance side of David Bowie's Outside tour, Theremin
* Sean Beavan: Soundboard, Backing vocals on 5 songs
* Jerome Dillon: Drums
* Alex Carapetis: Drums
* Ilan Rubin: Drums
The September 14, 2007 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that the September 18 show in Honolulu, Hawaii would be the last performance of the current incarnation of the Nine Inch Nails live band. Trent Reznor was quoted as stating, "at this point, I want to switch things around a bit. Nine Inch Nails as a rock band configuration, we've done it and we've done it again. I see other ways I can present the material in concert, more challenging, something new. I don't want it to go stale."
A DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-DVD of live material from the 2006 With Teeth tour was released in late February 2007 entitled Nine Inch Nails Live: Beside You In Time. All three formats include 24 songs from the summer and winter 2006 tours, plus bonus material.
Information about Nine Inch Nails concerts can be found on the NIN website.
Ghosts I-IV was released on March 2, 2008. It contains 36 instrumental tracks and was recorded in ten weeks of fall 2007. Initially intended to be a five-track EP, the album is presented in the form of four nine-track EPs. The tracks do not have names, and are only identified by their track listing and position on the EPs. Ghosts I-IV also adds to the recent experimentation with digital distribution; the album is available in many different ways, including a digital download, for purchase or (partially) free, a CD set, and a deluxe edition set.
The eighth album called "The Slip" was officially released on May 5, 2008. The whole album can be downloaded for free from this website: Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
On February 16th 2009, Trent announced that he would begin his last tour. Nine Inch Nails would indefinitely end. However, it is not likely that this is the end of his music career. In his letter, he hinted that he may do something with Jane's Addiction. In addition, Reznor has said outright in an interview on the official website that he is not done making music as Nine Inch Nails, but that he is done touring.
* Trent Reznor has worked with several big names in musical collaboration outside of NIN in recent years, including time rocker artist David Bowie, Maynard James Keenan of Tool, Zach de La Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, Josh Wink, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, slam poet Saul Williams, hip-hop producer Puff Daddy & The Family, Peter Gabriel, Henry Rollins and more recently, hip-hop producer El-P and Queens of the Stone Age.
* Contrary to popular belief, Suck is technically a cover and not an original. The song was originally performed by the band Pigface on the album Gub (1991), a band which Trent worked with in the past. Trent is given vocal and writing credits and the song was later re-recorded for the Broken EP (1992) as a hidden track .
* Legendary country star Johnny Cash covered Hurt on the album The Man Comes Around.
* NIN along with Marilyn Manson, Maynard James Keenan, Phil Anselmo and other artists worked together to produce the Tapeworm Project, a side project that existed from the mid-1990s through to 2004. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.