Trent Reznor on Kanye West: He’s ‘dangerous, it feels like he might implode’

Trent Reznor

This is a very rare opportunity for me because we hardly ever have an occasion to write about Trent Reznor. His reputation just doesn’t gear itself towards coverage on gossip blogs because he’s not exactly papworthy. Or at least, Trent hasn’t met any gossip-type controversy since he broke the hearts of a million fangirls after marrying his Playboy bunny, Mariqueen Maandig, and quickly set about impregnating her twice. Did you know that his son’s name is actually Lazarus? Of course it is.

Regardless of Trent’s clichéd penchant for naming children, I still harbored so many “feels” for the Rez. Ever since 1990 when I first heard “Head Like a Hole” on my local college/alternative radio station, he’s been my precious. That sounds really creepy, right? Well, I swiftly got over it about a month ago when I heard the first single, “Came Back Haunted,” from the upcoming NIN album. The second single, “Everything,” came out just a few day ago. Ironically, “Everything” isn’t all that and is especially bizarre from a guy who used to publish under his “Nothing” label. The damn song sounds like a Huey Lewis tune — seriously, he totally ripped off Huey at 0:10 in this audio version. Can you hear it?

In the interest of promotion (because NIN is offically back with a music label, Columbia, even though he hates corporate music), Trent covers the September issue of the illustrious Spin magazine. The cover itself has not been released yet, but Trent has covered the magazine a zillion times already if you want to travel back in time. In this interview, he talks about lots of stuff, including his feelings on Kanye West. He describes ol’ Yeezus as being on the verge of implosion, which makes me think of Kanye’s recent incident where he assaulted a paparazzo, but I don’t think Trent’s talking about a negative form of implosion here:

Kanye West

Everyone copies him: “I got hints of being influential back in the dark ages of late ’90s,” Reznor said, humbly, while speaking to SPIN for our upcoming September cover story. “But the bands I would hear it in bummed me out so much that I can’t listen for that anymore. I did notice [my influence] post-Social Network. I started hearing a few things that made me think, ‘Okay, I bet you’ve heard our score.’”

He loves Yeezus: “I know [Kanye] a bit. He’s come out to shows and we’ve had some humorous — I’ve listened to him talk backstage a few times. I can’t say that we had a conversation. I find him an interesting character. Yeezus, I really love it. I think the sound of it is cool. I can’t endorse what he’s saying lyrically, but I will say that in terms of the role of the dangerous entertainer in 2013, nobody is beating him at that game. It feels like he might implode. Even if it is calculated to some degree, it feels rough on the edges in a way that I can appreciate. I’m glad he’s out there. Consistently he’s put out ahead-of-the-curve sh-t. He’s definitely a talented guy.”

[From Spin]

I can’t really tell why Trent is talking about Kanye here other than simply answering the questions that were posed to him. He probably admires Kanye in a sense for his anti-commercial Yeezus, but there’s no way in hell that he envies Kanye’s descent into Kardashian hell. There’s a sadness in Trent’s words too because it’s obvious that he no longer possesses the fury to write cutting edge music himself. Along with Atticus Ross, he can score movies like no one’s business, but NIN’s new singles are homogenized, pre-packaged, pop music. A kinder, gentler Reznor. Nothing special at all. Of course, I don’t begrudge him for going corporate and deciding to no longer give his music away for free (which is what he did after giving Interscope records the finger in 2007). Reznor is a family man now, and he has mouths to feed.

As mentioned above, Nine Inch Nails’ eighth album, Hesitation Marks, will arrive on September 3. Did you know that NIN is now 25 years old? That makes me feel positively ancient.

Trent Reznor

Kanye West

Trent Reznor

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN

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80 Responses to “Trent Reznor on Kanye West: He’s ‘dangerous, it feels like he might implode’”

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  1. Pinky says:

    “Atticus Ross” reminds me of the name “Atticus Finch,” and that in and of itself was worth the read.

    As far as the main topic goes…Who?

  2. sirsnarksalot says:

    NIN was music for angsty 19 year olds. It’s impossible for them to still be out there at their age and not be more than a novelty act or pathetic like Madonna. I loved them back in the day, but that was a looooong time ago.

  3. Mayda says:

    Yeah, “anti commercial” kanye, who signs a deal with NIKE and has a kid with kim kardashian.

    These people are all so full of shit.

  4. Meaghan says:

    I was so happy to see a Trent article! He is so talented and sexy, I love him so much. I’ve been to 3 NIN shows and he never ceases to amaze me with his talent. I bow down to him and ill say it, LOVE his baby name. Lazarus is a cute name and I don’t think it falls into the usual celeb crazy names, but I am totally biased and he can do no wrong in my eyes.

    Also about the angsty comment, he has made a huge name for himself outside of NiN and has done some AMAZING soundtracks! But this new one sucks. Very disappointed. .

  5. pantalones en fuego says:

    D-zamn Trent. Lookin’ good.

  6. V4Real says:

    I still love the older music of NIN but yeah, this new one sounds like he channled the 80′s.

  7. Mimi says:

    Kanye is one of the most overrated people in showbiz history ever. I don’t get it why he is treated like someone special. Someone who needs special handling. He is an asshole.

    • Dawn says:

      ITA. And as you listen to his lyrics he comes off as such a total phony, talking nonsense about the Hamptons when most of his good friend live there (Jay Z, Anna etc.). Imma gonna say that there is an upcoming youngster ready to push him out to pasture. Kanye West likes to sing like he’s tough and then he lives his life completely differently…Kimmode KrapTrashian for god’s sake. He’s ready to immplode alright.

    • BB says:

      @Mimi – Because Kanye West has sold millions of records, he has packed stadiums and has more Grammy’s than Michael Jackson. You could ask the same question about Jay Z or Beyonce, they are treated special just like Kanye West. You may not think he is talented, but someone does.

    • April says:

      You obviously don’t listen to his music. It might not be your cup of tea but that doesn’t make him less talented. ALL of his albums are critically acclaimed and have won numerous awards.

      No one cares about his personality besides people that come gossip blogs. He’s here to provide music, not be the most likable guy in the room.

  8. RPG says:

    Is it me or does he get sexier as he gets older? Kinda like the Rod Stewart effect.

  9. LB says:

    I don’t like the new stuff but he will always have my respect for his early music which I love to blast during workouts. Head Like a Hole is in heavy rotation this week.

  10. Tracy says:

    Wow, everything it is not.

    Maybe it’s hard to still write super angry and angsty music when one becomes as happy as Trent has seemed lately. I’m happy for him but selfishly sad his music has gone down the toilet.

  11. PrettyLights says:

    He’s playing in my city in November and tickets are sold out and going for over $100 for crappy seats. I’ve seen him twice, once in 2004 and in 2009, and both shows were amazing. I want to go but after listening to this I’m pretty disappointed…it does look like Trent’s turned into a family man. Nothing wrong with that, but I wonder if he still has the same angsty dark charisma on stage that he used to.

  12. Emily C. says:

    Trent Reznor purposefully makes bad albums when he thinks he’s getting too popular. I’m serious. My first boyfriend was the biggest NIN fan ever (early 90s too, before “Closer” when NIN exploded), and he followed everything he said and did (pre-internet, not so easy), and Reznor said that in at least one of his interviews.

    Head Like A Hole is one of the greatest songs ever. Always applicable to the current times, sadly. I have mixed feelings about Reznor because of the aforementioned boyfriend thing — love lots of his music, but he reminds me of my first breakup and it was bad, so.

    Oh, and Kanye’s a douche, but I thought we already knew that.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thanks – “Closer” is the song I was thinking of but couldn’t get the name..just that bit of the song that everyone remembers. I was the right age for this phase of 90s music…shocked that it’s 23 or so years ago now :)

      Gotta love someone who calls out Kanye.

  13. bns says:

    I have never been able to get into Nine Inch Nails and, believe me, I really tried. Oh well.

    I agree with his comments about Kanye’s talent, though.

  14. duchessofhazard says:

    It sounds like something from The Cure.

  15. Kiddo says:

    That new song seems to tip its hat to Elvis Costello, in the vocals, at the beginning.

  16. Darkladi says:

    Oh Trent how I did love thee.

  17. Jayna says:

    I love NIN and I love Trent. His wife is gorgeous, so striking. He was a class act when Johnny Cash did a cover of Hurt He talked about it, and said at first he didn’t get the cover. And then they sent him the music video, and he said he had chills. He said the song was no longer his, that Johnny’s interpretation of it made Hurt Johnny Cash’s song.

    I agree with him about Yeezus. Lyrically, ugh most of the time except a few songs, but sonically, soundscapewise, samplingwise like with Nina Simone,etc., wow, it’s powerful, and I tip my hat to Kanye doing something so out of the box. As a punk rock fan, an EDM fan, a Daft Punk fan, I am so impressed with the stark industrial electronica sound of it.

  18. chops says:

    *that makes me feel positively ancient*

  19. TherapyCranes says:

    I never got the obsession all my friends had with NIN. I listened to the music but it never sang to me. Same thing with Kanye. To me this article is about two guys that used to be relevant and one is jerking the other one off.

  20. Allie says:

    Dear Trent,

    You’re too happy and sober to keep making music under the name Nine Inch Nails.

    Please stop before going the way of Metallica.


  21. Thiajoka says:

    Good god, I’m so old. Well, this was disappointing–the headline made it seem like Trent was all Kanye-bashing when in fact he seems to get that some of it is just publicity-generated.

  22. NerdMomma says:

    I just have to say this… I don’t know if his wife ever posed for playboy but I don’t think that’s the best descriptor for her. She’s a singer and has fronted a couple of bands.

  23. TheTruthHurts says:

    As a hardcore NIN fan from back in the day, I strangely like this new track & sound for Reznor. It’s completely different and so much time has passed with him doing the traditional NIN style. Now as a grown up, it’s really fun to hear this change, and it’s awesome.

  24. Ginger says:

    I still LOVE NIN and Trent too. As far as his capitalizing on his music instead of giving it away for free goes? Well, why shouldn’t he capitalize on his immense talent? I see no problem with that. ITA that the music is no longer the same as in the beginning but I’m older and wiser now too so I really don’t care. He is around the same age I am so it’s like we’ve grown in the same trajectory. As for his wife, it doesn’t break my heart despite my crush on him…because he’s a talented musician and composer and an interesting man, so OF COURSE he’s going to marry a gorgeous woman and have gorgeous babies. I still have never had the opportunity to see NIN live. I wanted to this time when they rolled through Vegas but the shows sold out so fast that I wasn’t able to get a ticket. BUT the radio station I listen to was giving away tickets for a while (tried in vain to win but didn’t) and I’m sure they will give away more towards the show dates in November…hoping to try once more to win some!

  25. Jennifer12 says:

    I remember seeing him at (I think?) the Ritz way back in 1990 or so. I just thought he was a complete genius and worshipped him and I believe I attempted to propose to him from the mosh pit (didn’t work). I can still sing along with Pretty Hate Machine, but I don’t know…. didn’t think he’d end up married to a Playboy Bunny and ripping off Huey Lewis.

  26. pzc says:

    I just don’t care about NIN without Robin Finck.

  27. Helen Graham says:

    It’s fine if he implodes, which hopefully will only affect Kanye. I’d be more worried if he exploded and hurt innocent bystanders. Kanye really annoys me. He’s just not as intelligent/talented/well-spoken as he THINKs he is and that attitude always drives me bonkers!

  28. LeeLoo says:

    I haven’t written on here in forever. New job, marriage, etc is eating up a lot of my time. But Bedhead, you and I have similar feelings towards Trent. I’ve had a crush on him since The Fragile days when I was a sophmore in high school.

    Trent is my hero and it wouldn’t matter if he was Trent Reznor the plumber or Trent the musician. Like myself, Trent has dug himself out of some serious holes in his life only to come back stronger and it has only taught him to work harder and figure out how to live a happy life. The fact he has used these life experience to share with others has made life and going through life a lot easier for me and a lot of other people. His music has literally saved my life and kept me from getting myself too strung out on drugs or from having done something really stupid. Because of that and the empathy I have for him. I have never begrudged him a damn thing because he is the one celebrity that I can actually see as a human being if that makes sense. He’s a working class guy that found success and worked pretty hard on several different levels to become successful.

    Now I can’t stand Kanye. I think he’s a misogynistic and I don’t know if he is playing a character or actually believes the things he says but is way too full of himself. On that note, I actually find Trent’s opinion of Kanye to be rather interesting. It’s honest but kind. I do think that Kanye may see himself as a rap version of Trent Reznor but he has neither the talent or the personality to back that up. It should also be noted that Trent learned early on how to avoid making himself a paparazzi target but Kanye has made some poor choices. No matter what you think of some of the choices Trent has made, you realize he has never made a thoughtless uncalculated decision and that is something Yeezy needs to figure out.

  29. Nance says:

    “I started hearing a few things that made me think, ‘Okay, I bet you’ve heard our score.’”

    Is Social Network score was that innovative / creative ? I don’t know, I like it, but this is a synth score, this is not really a new thing (even now with Clint Mansell and all), if he says people copy him then tell us who and how. It’s funny because, in that score he’s ripping off In the Hall of the Mountain King and ELO did it much much better and it was in the early 70s.

  30. Crabcake says:

    I’ve always gotten the sociopath vibe from this one.

  31. dcypher1 says:

    Omg I used to have the biggest crush on him when I was 13. He still looks good but he ain’t the same Trent from 1994 in his downward spiral era. He was soooo hot then its making me nostalgic. I remember when I saw nin in 94. That was an amazing show. Trent will never be that Trent again and it makes me kinda sad cus he was a rock god in the 90s.

  32. Ella says:

    Bedhead, I mean this as a compliment, but I sometimes wonder why you write for a gossip site! Every once in a while you get to write about someone like Trent Reznor, Russell Brand, and (I think) Jack White, and you seem so excited by writing about people who are more edgy/interesting rather than the usual tabloid fixtures. On one hand it seems a bit sad that the only reason to write about someone like Trent is when he mentions Kanye West, but then I have to remind myself, I AM reading a gossip site so I can’t really complain!

    Anyway, I was never a HUGE Trent fangirl, but I’m from the right era to remember his heyday well. You bring up an interesting point about how he no longer has the fury to write music that is powerful the way NIN once was. And that makes me wonder, why do so many musicians insist on clinging to the music of their youth (other than the obvious, money)? Trent could be an example of someone who has moved gracefully beyond it by going into film scores, if he didn’t insist on continuing NIN. He probably has enough money to be comfortable without ever resurrecting NIN again, and he’s respected as a serious composer. Why isn’t that enough? A band like NIN just does not fit with being 40+ and happily married with children. It was a great band for its time, when Trent was young and angry. But at this stage, it’s just doing the band’s legacy a disservice to continue churning out sub-standard material in the present day.

    As for his Kanye comment, I like that he isn’t all “I hate rap, I hate modern music” the way some older rock stars are. He seems open minded enough to appreciate different artists regardless of genre.

  33. Bex says:

    Trent’s thoughts on Kanye, “eh”. I still am not into Yeezus.

    I do have to say that I wouldn’t call Trent’s wife a Playboy bunny but she’s more a legitimate singer who happened to be featured in the magazine. Uh, yes – naked. I don’t think she hung out at the mansion and queued up to ride Hef or anything while waiting to bag a rich, famous husband. I think she’s pretty cool, love her look.

  34. Bogz says:

    Nice to know you are a fellow NIN lover, and you are right about “Came Back Haunted”. But I will always LOVE Trent!

  35. Esmerelda says:

    Umh, Trent. Love him. I just wish he would retire NIN already and just focus on film scores and producing.
    NIN is over and done. And Trent is too clever to persist in his rockstar persona. Trent, please, you’ll never be Blixa Bargeld. Just quit.

  36. Helvetica says:

    I love that Trent loves Kanye.

    It’s fun!