Hard man Trent Reznor cancelled a concert-after being told that his dog had died. The tragic accident happened while Nine Inch Nails were playing a show in Columbus, Ohio- ironically, the hometown of the world's greatest canine comdey author, James Thurber. Minders were walking Maise, a golden retriever, round the third-floor balcony of the arena when she jumped a railing and plunged to her death. Reznor promptly pulled the next show and flew to Miami in hopes, said a spokeswoman, that "the warmer weather might cheer him up."
"The scariest band on the planet"
That's Nine Inch Nails as reviewed by Adam Ant after he and eternal sidekick, guitarist Marco Pirroni, guested with them in Worcester, Massachusetts, and New York (where Adam and Trent Reznor were snapped backstage with alternative circus "ringmaster" Jim Rose). Adam might be biased, though, as Reznor seems to have become a kind of one-man Adam& the Ants preservation society. Having already covered an early Antly song, You're So Physical on the Nails' Broken album, Reznor mugged up two more old B-sides, Red Scab and Beat My Guest, to sing on stage with his fromer wild frontiersman hero and avowed formative influences. "It felt like the Marquee in '77, the way punk *should* have gone," quoth the nostalgic Ant. Might also have its uses in strirring up interest for his upcoming album, 'Wonderful, and March tour, his first for years, in th erowdy if od-lagular company of not only Pirroni, but ex-Ant and Bow Wow Wower Dave Barbarossa and ex-Rut Dave Ruffy as twin drummers and recent Morrissey co-writer Boz Boorer on guitar.
nin piece from article on woodstock...
"The genuine musical highlight of the whole weekend was Nine Inch Nails. Essentially a one-man band, Trent Reznor, daubed in mud and barking mad, led his band through some stuff that left the listener both frightened and scared. Reznor has hit upon a mesmerizing formula for combining alarming guitar with psycho-unsavoury keyboards. The result is initially parpingly disconcerting and ultimately trouser darkening."
"Trent Reznor's Natural Born Killers: Rewriting the rules for soundtracks."
"Our killers awoke before dawn. Crash of thunder. Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) is mad at her partner-in-slaughter, Mickey (Woody Harrelson). Acting weird, he reminds her that "this is the 1990's", that a man demands "choices, a little bit of variety". She is confused, mad at the psycho-hick delivery boy who delivered her from dead-end domestic abuse and promptly "married" her, cut palms clasped, on a bridge, so she lets rip at him. As she does so, the distressed synth-hum and delicate, haunted house piano of Nine Inch Nails' Something I Can Never Have swell up around her: "What you talkin' about, variety? Hostages? You wanna fuck some other women now? (Doooommmmm-m-mm) Why'd you pick me up? Why d'you take me out of my fuckin' house and kill my parents with me? (Ding, ding, ding, da-ding ding) Ain't you committed to me? Where we fuckin' goin'?"
A rattlesnake rattles, Trent Reznor's haunted voice takes over: "I still recall the taste of your tears..."
One day, all film soundtracks will sound this way.
Oliver Stone's one-man mission to exorcise the 1960's is now, we may assume, accomplished, but it merely tickled rock culture. His one all-out attempt at putting rock'n'roll on the big screen was The Doors. For music-lovers, that one collapsed when Kyle MacLachlan (as Ray Manzarek) miraculously "came up with" the keyboard intro to Light My Fire and the rest of the guys raced back form the beach to rock it into shape. It's ironic, then, that Stone's first stab at adapting the 1990's (a decade, after all, to which he cannot claim sole salvage rights just yet) meets rock'n'roll head-on and manages to make vivid sense of it.
NBK- to sidestep all the inevitable furor over its brutality for a moment- is a film about two senseless serial killers on the run and turned, by tabloid television, into American folk heroes. (One fan, in a snatch of dialogue from the fictional American Maniacs TV show included on this fabulously all-in album, states "If I was a mass murderer, I'd be Mickey and Mallory!") It is a uniquely made film-spliced together like an 18 cert jeans advert or an MTV trailer, deliberately staged, arbitrarily styled- if rather less original in plot terms, echoing Bonnie & Clyde, Badlands, Wild At Heart and, more recently, Kalifornia. Its soundtrack album, however, rewrites the rules.
"Produced, conceived and assembled" by the man who trades as NIN, Trent Reznor, the Rolling Stone cover-endorsed post-grunge genius-in-waiting and widely agreed big hit of ill-fated Woodstock 2, this soundtrack couldn't be further from the form's obligatory sounds-of -the '60s compilation or sweeping orchestral score (both of which have their benefits, either commercial or aesthetic).
The usually insular and razzmatazz-shy Reznor was brought in by Stone to mirror NBK post-modern, cut-up barrage approach to atmospherics. To say that he has created a work far superior to anything he's done previously is no slight on his ownelectro-gothic monstrosities, PHM (1989) and TDS (1994), it's simply that this relentlessly imaginative 75-minute score does a far broader communication job than bring meaning to the study bedrooms of America's disenfrachised Cure fans.
In Quentin Tarantino's original script, he's suggested "some rockabily tunes" to gee along the action, but the film's co-producer, Jane Hamsher, herself a one-time San Francisco punk journalist, made it her "day-to-day job" to feed Oliver Stone what she considered relevant contemporary noise whilst on set. Gristle, L7 and The New York Dolls, and rockabily fell by the wayside, as indeed, did most of Tarantino's original work. The L7 track Shitlist (resurrected from the Bricks Are Heavy LP) particularly rattled his cage and made it to the soundtrack. And the, as they say, some.
Both the film and the album actually open with the comfortable-shoe Tom Waits-styled blues of Leonard Cohen's Waiting For The Miracle. Its evocation of a deserted highway (and, yes, we're getting these early kicks on Route 666- where else?) is a perfect foil for the murder and mayhem to come. In the movie, Juliette Lewis belly-dances to a diner jukebox, teasing a bunch of rednecks-her cutsey-pie "Are you flirtin' with me?" signals the bloodletting. It's not, to be fair, your bog-standard roadside jukebox: Shitlist slams into play. The ensuing carnage was actually choreographed to a playback of the scorched fem-punk anthem, illustrating the extent to which NBK music and action are synchronized. According to cult American cine-mag Film Threat, L7 "descended on Hamsher's office to read the script", agreeing to donate the track because the film, reckons L7's Jennifer Finch, "has a female character we could really get into". This level of interaction between source material and finished product is the film all over. To compare, the score for Kalifornia (Dominic Sena's serial road movie of last year, also starring an in-training Lewis) included a ragbag of found tracks which all happen to be licensed to Polygram, the film's distributors. Ho hum.
Over 27 individual "pieces" (two-thirds are complete songs, the rest collages of dialogue and atmosphere) no gaps interfere with the ebb of the film/album's procession, Reznor employing assorted sound effects and cross-fades to knit the whole shebang together.
Gunshots (naturally), traffic, vocal soundbites, radio interference and rattlesnakes keep those who haven't seen the film guessing (and those who have in flashback heaven). Irony-laden light felief from the frim assault of Forkboy by Lard, led by ex-Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra, NIN's Burn, Patti Smith's Rock'n'Roll Nigger and Dr Dre's The Day The Niggaz Took Over is provided by the choc-box country of Patsy Cline's Back in Baby's Arms. Not a new trick, counterpointing nastiness with pleasantry (Reservoir Dogs' ear-removal scene sealed the fate of Stealers Wheel's Stuck In The Middle With You on that score), but a successful jolt on a soundtrack album as relentless and rich as this one. Gobbling, as ever, like a turkey, Diamanda Galas is deftly interwoven wit Jane's Addiction's Ted Just Admit It and , later, Jsusrat Fateh Ali Khan for entirely fresh effect; the dialogue is either run as it happens (like the lenthgy exchange between Tom Sizemore's scuzzball cop and Tommy Lee Jones's prison warden over some Barry Adamson moodology) or diced to fit the rhythm of the backtrack, like Mallory's "Tell me I'm beautuful" come-on to a doomed pump boy.
That DRe and Tha Dogg Pound find their way into the tapestry is apt: the techniques used herein are more akin to the jackdaw layering of hip hop than stadard rock. Should NBK urge the listener to investigate further Barry Adamson's Soul Murder LP, or Cohen's The Future, or Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking or, hell, even some world music, then Reznor would be doing a public service way beyond his hands-on brief.
Bernard Herrmann's phenomenally eerie Vertigo score, Vangelis's groundbreaking syth-based ambience for Blade Runner, Nino Rota's timeless Godfather suite- any self appointed buff of the soundtrack genre might blanch at the notion of making shelf-room alongside these classics for a furious miscellaneous music compilation splicing together Bob Dylan singing You Belong To Me (origins unknown), talking, Duane Eddy, the Budapest Philharmonic and Cowboy Junkies, but...hey, as Mickey says, "this is the 1990s", and if you were a soundtrack album, you'd be NBK."
Trent-ly darling earned himself 5 stars for this album. cool.
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