Trent Reznor is probably a happier camper now that Rush has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Turns out, the Nine Inch Nails frontman is a huge fan.
“Yeah,” Reznor said when asked by CBC Q’s host Jian Ghomeshi regarding his love of the Canadian rock icons. “Mid, probably 12, 13 years old. Every male friend I knew that played in a band were air drumming to ‘YYZ’ and Rush and every guitar player was trying to play those parts.”
“We call it YYZed, but yeah,” Ghomeshi jokingly interjected.
“I can forgive you for that,” Reznor said with a laugh. “It was just part of being in a band. You know it was kind of like if someone was going to try out for your band you’d have them play ‘Spirit Of The Radio’ or something. That was just the language that everyone spoke back in that world. But you know it stuck with me — and I’m not saying that love for them with any kind of irony or anything — I thought it was really good music that guided me through a period of my life and I still listen to.”
In a wide-ranging roughly 30-minute interview, Reznor — whose side-project How To Destroy Angels performed in Toronto last Thursday night (April 25) — touched on an array of subjects including his admiration for David Bowie, who he’s worked with in the past.
“I would love to be looked at some day — and I’m not ever saying I’m at this level — but I’d love to be mentioned in the same breath as a Bowie or an Eno,” Reznor said. “Those are the people that I admire artistically, their career trajectory, the integrity throughout their career, the bravery of their career. I aspire to be something like that. I’d rather be lumped in that category than the lucky guy that had a silly single with a bad word in it 20 years ago that somehow is still bugging us and hasn’t gone away.”
Reznor, who said Bowie declined an offer to join him on the last Nine Inch Nails tour for a handful of dates, said Ziggy Stardust was a huge source of inspiration, particularly his “Scary Monsters” album.
“To me it was like finding this artist that seems to have not only created one larger-than-life identity, but while it was getting bigger threw it out and created another one and then threw that out and created another one,” he said. “And seemingly skipping from genre to genre and style to style fearlessly. Not putting his career first.”
When speaking on the balance between art and commerce, Reznor described 1994’s Woodstock show as being done only for financial gain with the musician describing the event as “corny.”
“It was Pepsi sponsors Woodstock with a Pepsi logo, but they were going to pay us a lot of money,” he said. “But if we did that show we could afford to put this elaborate production on the rest of the tour. The idea was I always wanted to put a good show on.
“We played Woodstock and it happened to be a great show, it happened to be that time where we were at the right place at the right time culturally. And it just happened to work. I knew on stage this was one of those important, unable to replicate, you can’t plan for it [moments]. It just felt like we were at the right place, but we only did that for money. It wasn’t because I thought it was a good show or I was proud of it.”
How To Destroy Angels wraps up its North American tour tomorrow night in Maryland. Meanwhile, Reznor recently released the 1997 rock doc “Closure” onto Tumblr and is gearing up for a forthcoming Nine Inch Nails tour, who are slowly but steadily fleshing out their plans with festival dates, including a co-headlining slot at New Orleans Voodoo Fest alongside fellow alt-rock survivors Pearl Jam.