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Trent Reznor

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Leader of Nine Inch Nails and Grammy and Oscar Winner

Trent Reznor, the founder and leader of the two time Grammy Award winning multi-platinum selling band Nine Inch Nails, is a multi-instrumentalist, song writer, film music composer, and record producer.  A one man band he wrote produced and performed all of the songs on Nine Inch Nails early releases. He became a superstar in 1990 when the second Nine Inch Nails album “Pretty Hate Machine” started its two year stay on the Billboard charts with the hit "Head Like a Hole" and became a multi platinum seller. Nine Inch Nails's "The Fragile" album (1999) and "With Teeth" album (2005) both debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. The Nine Inch Nail releases “Broken” (1992), “Downward Spiral” (1994), and “The Fragile” were platinum sellers and “With Teeth” went Gold.  Reznor won his first Grammy for Best Metal Performance for the song "Wish" from EP “Broken: in 1992. He won a Grammy again 1996 for Best Metal Performance for his song "Happiness in Slavery."   Putting a live band together Nine Inch Nails became major concert draw appearing on the 1991 inaugural Lollapalooza tour. They were a sensation at the 25th-anniversary Woodstock concert and toured with David Bowie in 1995.

With the help of Interscope records Reznor founded his own Cleveland-based Nothing label. He signed Marilyn Manson and produced tracks several of his albums “Portrait of an American Family” (1994), “Smells Like Children” (1995) and the platinum selling “Antichrist Superstar” (1996).  Reznor also signed and the Saul Williams albums “The Inevitable Rise” and “Liberation of Niggy Tardust”  His first work in movies came when he produced the soundtrack for the film Natural Born Killers (1994), followed by the soundtrack for David Lynch's Lost Highway (1997).  In collaboration with Atticus Ross he composed the score for film The Social Network winning the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Original Score and the Academy Award for Best Original Score.  The duo also composed the score film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.  Among his many honors Time magazine in 1997 named Trent Reznor one of the most influential people in America.

Reznor also became a leader in viral marketing and digital distribution of music.  In 2007 Nine Inch Nails launch a viral marketing campaign by hiding USB key chains containing unreleased songs in the restrooms of the concert venues where they appear.  One of the files on the key chains was an audio file that contained a secret phone number in audio wave form that could be revealed with a spectrum analyzer.  The phone number was for an answering machine filled with conspiracy theories recordings. This created a strong buzz about Nine Inch Nails on internet forums, websites, and Wikis that preceded the release of the album Year Zero.  In 2008 Reznor made the Saul Williams albums “The Inevitable Rise” and “Liberation of Niggy Tardust” available as a digital downloads. He then released his solo album “Ghosts I-IV” as a digital download.  After his contract with Interscope Records expired in 2008, Reznor founded a new label The Null Corporation. He released the Nine Inch Nails “The Slip” as a free digital download.  A month and a half after its release, “The Slip” had been downloaded 1.4 million times. 

Spiking Up in Mercer, Pa.

Michael Trent Reznor was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania on May 17th, 1965. Having the same first name as his dad, he is called by his middle name. Trent began studying classical piano at age five with Rita Beglin.  Learning saxophone and tuba he was a member of the Mercer Area Junior/Senior High School marching and jazz bands directed by Dr. Hendley Hoge.  He also starred in his high schools musical theater productions as a singer in the roles of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. His classmates voted him "Best in Drama".  Graduating from Mercer High school in 1983 he enrolled at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa, majoring in computer engineering.  

Early Bands

While he was attending Allegheny College, Reznor joined the new wave band Option 30 as the lead singer and keyboard player.  They played shows three times a week at clubs in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Northern Ohio and recorded the album entitled “Option 30” in 1983.  After his first year of college he dropped out to become of full time musician.  Moving to Cleveland in 1985 he joined the band The Innocent as keyboardist and recorded with them on their album “Livin' in the Street”.  He quit The Innocent after three months.  In 1986 Reznor joined the synthpop group Exotic Birds and also played keyboards with the band Slam Bamboo. Slam Bamboo and Trent appeared in the 1987 Michael J. Fox Movie “Light of Day” as the fictional group “The Problems” backing Joan Jett on their song "True Love Ways.  The Exotic Bird sbroke up in 1988.  The Exotic Birds manager John Malm became Reznor's manager and co-founded Nothing Records with Trent. 

Recording at Right Track Studios

Reznor became an assistant engineer and janitor Cleveland's Right Track Studios.  With the permission of the studio owner Bart Koster Trent began in 1988 recording his own techno industrial music after hours.  Using a Macintosh computer, three keyboards, a cheap sampler, Reznor played all the instruments himself except for drums.  On drums he enlisted his friend Chris Vrenna of Erie, Pa.  Chris and Trent met in high school when Trent sold him a drum machine and they later played together in the Exotic Birds.  Trent sent his Right Tract demo tapes to about ten record labels receiving offers from several.  

Pretty Hate Machine

Trent Reznor signed with TVT Records who released the first Nine Inch Nail album “Pretty Hate Machine” in 1989.  He assembled a Nine Inch Nails touring band with drummer Chris Vrenna and guitarist Richard Patrick.  They toured with Skinny Puppy, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Peter Murphy.  The single "Down in It" hit the Billboard dance and modern rock charts and MTV played the "Head Like a Hole" video.  “Pretty Hate Machine” stayed on the Billboard charts for over two years, never reaching higher than 75, it sold over 1 million copies going platinum.   

Grammy Winning "Wish"

Adding keyboardist James Woolley in 1991 Nine Inch Nails toured on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour, greatly expanding their fan base.  Nine Inch Nails released the platinum selling EP “Broken” in 1992 winning a Grammy in 1993 for the song "Wish" in the Best Heavy Metal Performance category.  

Hit Singles and Albums

The second Nine Inch Nail full album “The Downward Spiral” with the hit sing “Closer” entered the Billboard 200 chart in 1994 at number two becoming the band's biggest selling U.S. release.  They continued to tour for several years.  After a five year battle with alcohol and drug addiction Reznor and Nine Inch Nails released the double CD album “The Fragile” in 1999.  It debuted in September 1999 at number one on Billing and sold 228,000 copies in its first week.  They hit number one on Billboard again in 2005 with the release “With Teeth”.  “Year Zero” was released in 2007.  The latest Nine Inch Nail album “The Slip” was released in 2008 as a free download.  

In 2009 Reznor wrote on the NIN.com website that NIN would disappear for a while and stop touring.  Since 2009 Reznor has pursued his film scoring career working on the films the Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  His label The Null Corporation released the soundtrack for the Social Network.

The Music of Trent Reznor
Head Like A Hole -Woodstock 1994

Social Network Score

Trent as Jr High Sax Player
Trent's First Band-The Options
Oscar Winner 2010