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Thread: What's your story behind getting into Nine Inch Nails?

  1. #1
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    What's your story behind getting into Nine Inch Nails?

    I'd love to hear some stories on how some of us were introduced to Nine Inch Nails and what got you hooked?


    It was 1995-1998 for me I was into grunge & alt rock (Nirvana, Green Day, RATM, Metallica, NOFX...) and I was unwilling to stray from my culture. I had heard NIN a few times (mostly MOTP and Dead Souls; and unbeknownst to me at the time Quake) and I thought it was cool but I wasn't hooked.

    In my small city there were three key things which contributed to the "industrial/goth" movement among the schools and scenes.


    1. The Crow
    2. Trent Reznor
    3. Marilyn Manson



    I noticed the scene growing but I stuck to my skateboard, grungy clothes, and Rancid.

    Then it happened...with nothing to do one evening my friend said "lets watch this boxset", I was hesitant and afraid I would be bored... but whatever.... its the 90's... My friend had a TR Closer To God poster on his wall (black and white; sexy TR). I think at the time I wasn't interested in NIN because I thought the music would be unintelligent and boring loops, most of my friends were into NIN by now and my friends were just stupid teens so... I can't trust them and their tastes.

    By the end of Closure my mind had cracked and shifted.

    The biggest impact was HLAH music video, it was so creative and had so many elements. The entire production was shocking, interesting, truthful, very thought provoking, and smart.


    It all took off from there, quickly. My first album was Broken and HMIAIH was my first addiction. NIN was, and is, an entire thing of it's own.
    Last edited by snaapz; 10-02-2020 at 10:18 AM.

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    Love this idea!

    I was about 11 years old, 1993ish, and my older parents and lack of a lot of friends meant I had no exposure to music. I think the first two CDs I owned were New Kids On The Block and MC Hammer.

    Then I made some new friends in the apartment complex where my dad lived. They were in the 13-15 range, and one of them, Joe, had an older brother who was 16 or 17 and had gotten him into music.

    So from there I started getting exposed to NIN, Tool, U2, Erasure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and other bands. Joe had made himself a mixtape with most of those bands (excluding Tool, who I wouldn't really get into for another 5-10 years). The first six tracks of the tape were Head Like A Hole, Terrible Lie, Down In It, Sanctified, Something I Can Never Have, and Sin. I would walk around that summer with that tape on my Walkman, sometimes listening to it half a dozen times in a day.

    From there, I started building my CD collection: RHCP's Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Erasure's Wild, and Pretty Hate Machine being the standouts which would go on daily rotation. Whether it was because Joe was so obsessed with NIN or whether it was because the music just spoke to me, I quickly became hooked.

    When The Downward Spiral came out, I bought the cassette, and after reading the lyrics, my mom made me return it. To her credit, she let me exchange it for Broken and was fine knowing I was going to just copy TDS from a friend and listen to it anyway ("I just don't want to be the one to buy that for you").

    And the rest is history. Something about being able to draw that logo, the fact that the music/aesthetic was just the right amount of dangerous (things like Manson, Ministry, and Tool were a little too scary for me at that age), and feeling like someone knew what I was going through when I was angsty, depressed over a girl, or whatever all worked together to make NIN quickly become my favorite band — something that a quarter century later, I can't ever see changing.

  3. #3
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    When With Teeth came out, my best friend started listening to it constantly. It seemed like every time I got in his car, The Hand That Feeds or Only was blaring. I teased him about listening to "angry white boy music", but as time went on, I started to get into it more. By the time Year Zero came out, I was hooked, and now I'm probably a bigger fan than he is.

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    Late 2002. Friend (now former) mentioned them, some weeks later I bought TDS. Six weeks later after listening to TDS constantly I decided to look NIN up online. Bought Broken/Fixed and TF. I always loved synth based music, but NIN was something else. I liked the honesty of the lyrics, loved the adventure of every record. Didn't think I'd ever get to see NIN live so when WT came out and I got to see them at the Brixton Academy in 2005 I was ecstatic and addicted for life. Several records, shows, new friends later I still get excited about new music and shows.

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    Went to a local weekly geekmeet (BBS-related weekly meet up... we took over a section of a Boston Pizza for cheap pasta and refilled beverages) and a girl I knew from school (who has the same birth day as me but one year older) pulled me aside and told me I had to listen to what she was listening to, so she put her headphones on me and pressed play... it was Mr Self Destruct... the next day when I had a chance I picked up the CD... and I still have it. Pretty sure it was in March of '94 but might have been April.

    Oh to be 16 again...

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    Saw them live just after With Teeth came out. I was obviously familiar with them previously but was never huge into them before that. Seeing them live blew me the fuck away.

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    I was a bit late to the party in 1997.

    A cousin had a copy of the downward spiral, and he was trying to shock me and had me listen to closer. I ended up trading him my copy of veruca salt's eight arms to hold you for his copy of the downward spiral.

    I listened to that whole thing front to back a billion times late at night, and then started picking up other NIN cd's at different record stores. I didn't have the slipcase, the cover, the lyrics book or anything. I ended up looking up all of it on the internet. By the time the fragile came out I was totally hooked.

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    1994...wrapping up 8th grade I was big into metal (Metallica, Sepultura, Pantera) and watched MTV to find new bands. I think I saw the video for closer around the end of that school year and was like "holy shit!". By the time I started my freshman year I owned TDS and liked it but wasn't head over heals. I made friends with a new student my Freshman year and he had all the NIN CD's. We would sit in his room and listen to them, I remember thinking the packaging for Broken and Fixed were super cool. It took me until after my class graduated from high school ('98) to really truly appreciate NIN. I liked them before and owned all their albums in Cassette form but it took me a bit to really get into the music. I was completely hooked by early '99 which worked out perfect for the release of The Fragile later that year.

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    I had bought Fixed at some point...must have been 1993 or 1994. Now I know what you're thinking: "WTF Fixed was your intro to NIN?" Um...yeah. And it was as simple as I was browsing in National Record Mart and bought it because I recognized the band name and the cover looked cool. I had no clue it was a remix EP. Took it home and listened to it...I remember thinking "Wow I've never heard anything like this." and some remixes (Wish, Slavery, Throw This Away) were more accessible than others (Fist Fuck, Screaming Slave) but overall I liked what I heard.

    Sometime in the spring of 1994 (freshman year in high school) I borrowed TDS from a neighbor and I was hooked. I listened to it non-stop for 3 or 4 days. I gave it back and immediately bought my own copy and then PHM and Broken shortly after that. The leadup to The Fragile was what really grabbed me...bought it on release day and it's been my favorite album ever since. First live show was Fragility 2.0 at UIC although I can't remember if it was the first or second show and can't find my ticket, purchased at Carson Pirie Scott.

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    1990, 4 years old in the back seat of an old Audi, my parents insert the PHM cassette into tapedeck of the car. I actually remember that moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fadeout54321 View Post
    We would sit in his room and listen to them, I remember thinking the packaging for Broken and Fixed were super cool.
    The Broken package was mindblowing, at least to me. I remember seeing for the first time, it sitting open on my friend's desk and thinking it was some deluxe extra special version of the EP. TDS was equally cool and unusual with it's slipcase and maxi jewel case. I was very into an artist thoughtful enough to go the extra mile when presenting their art. It really made an impression on me.

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    My older sister paid me $5 to clean out her car when I was 12, in 1990. I found a tape of Pretty Hate Machine under one of her seats. When I tried to give it to her, she asked "What's this?" I told her where I found it and she said she's never seen it or heard of them before. She told me to feel free to keep it and gave me the $5. This was one of my major life-diversion moments.

    The music gods have been kind to me my whole life. Who else got paid to discover NIN and get their music for free? haha

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    I watched MTV as a kid. We would turn it on in the living room at 6am when my parents were still asleep and I was waiting on the school bus. I remember Head Like a Hole video being in heavy rotation in the early 90's but I wasn't there yet. I kind of liked it, thought it was weird. Couple years later March of the Pigs comes out, Crow comes out, there is this guy in my high school physics class who is super into them. I buy TDS for my brother for his birthday in June of 94 and we sit and listen to it. Up until then I was all Nirvana and Alice in Chains. I remember hearing Closer on the CD and thinking that it was some super-weird disco creepiness, and I kind of liked the creepiness but wasn't sure about the disco (which reminded me of my parents's music). After a while it grew on me, especially the Crow, which I dressed as that Halloween. My friend introduced me to Broken, to Pretty Hate Machine which seemed to be talking about my own romantic obsession at the time, and just over time it all grew on me. There wasn't really a moment, just a slow evolution. What first seems alien to me came to eventually speak for me, seemed to give language to feelings and thoughts I was processing at the time.

    Around 1998 I took a hard turn, left my whole life behind, and went a very different direction. Got rid of all my music, everything (stupid). In 2014, on a whim one night, I pulled up the song Ruiner while I was processing some heavy stuff. It sucked me back in. I found Hesitation Marks and it really spoke to me - it felt like Trent Reznor and I had both grown and changed since the old days, but it all happily lined up somehow. Then I went back again and dove into all I had missed. The Trilogy was amazing. Feels as good as anything he did back in the 90s to me. All of it is just amazing. I am sad I missed Year Zero and the Fragile and so many moments that can't be recreated now, but I am glad to be on the ride again.

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    I knew of Nine Inch Nails as a kid, but I never really thought it was my thing. My best friend loved them (his AIM username was Halo79), but I never really gave them much of a chance. He worked at Coconuts, the one record store in town. When he heard a new album was coming out at the end of the 90s, he was hyping it up a lot, counting down the days until Halo 13 was due to come out. I gave in and bought it, since it was inexpensive enough, being a single. I enjoyed it enough to buy more. I've always been a collector of things, so thanks to the numbering system of NIN releases, thus began the obsession.

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    Guess it was... late '98-ish, so I was twelve years old. Big into video games and loved discovering Quake and other things I wasn't "ready for yet", noted NIN's amazing contribution and caught "The Perfect Drug" video on MuchMusic late at night around this time, and I was intrigued. About six months later, there were rumblings of a new NIN single hitting radio... I heard it on CFNY over my Walkman's tuner, in a rocking chair looking out the window of my friend's living room, and it sounded SO DIFFERENT — I was even more perplexed/confused than before. Bought The Fragile on the week of release and haven't looked back. Full-on fanboy for over twenty-one years, now.
    Last edited by botley; 10-03-2020 at 08:52 PM.

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    It was after I started playing Quake as a kid that I learned that NIN did the music to the game. I didn't know that it was only the first game - not the mission pack games (Scourge Of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity) or Quake II - so I assumed that NIN did the music to all of the games while I initially listened more to the soundtracks of the mission packs and Quake II than to that of the first game (dismissed by one of my brothers as being too repetitive). It didn't help that the soundtrack to Quake II sounded more like Broken than the soundtrack of the first game did.

    Anyway, the first proper NIN song I heard on the radio was Head Like A Hole, not very long before my dad found Pretty Hate Machine at a Goodwill. I didn't go very far outside of classic rock territory at the time, resulting in NIN being one of the only "modern" bands I was into. Not too long after that, I found Broken at a pawn shop. I remember seeing in an ad that The Fragile was going to drop soon and wanting to get that album for Christmas. I did get it for Christmas... in 2007! By then, I had already decided a few years earlier that NIN was my favorite band while listening to the TDS cassette all the way through while I was becoming old enough to understand it. I probably would not have understood The Fragile (or NIN in general) if it were my first experience with NIN as a kid. NIN's status as my favorite band was officially cemented when I went to a show on the With Teeth tour, with that show being my first concert.

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    It was 1990, and I was 11 years old. My older sister was dating some skater, and he copied PHM to tape for her. Her obsession at the time was more Depeche Mode, so I asked to borrow the tape. And I never really gave it back.

    When Broken came out, I had to wait until it was in a used CD store due to the warning label/ age restriction. I loved the music because I was picked on a LOT as a child, and I could never figure out why. (Because children, like people, are assholes.) I had a lot of anger, and while this was a departure from PHM, I absolutely dug it.

    I did buy TDS very soon after it was released. I was 15 and full of angst, and the album for me is perfection. 1994 was a great year for music, but I probably listened to the TDS about 1x/ day after I got it.

    What was great was how my older sister took me to the Self Destruct concert later that year. She wasn't a huge fan, but she knew how much it meant to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdm View Post
    I had bought Fixed at some point...must have been 1993 or 1994. Now I know what you're thinking: "WTF Fixed was your intro to NIN?" Um...yeah. And it was as simple as I was browsing in National Record Mart and bought it because I recognized the band name and the cover looked cool. I had no clue it was a remix EP. Took it home and listened to it...I remember thinking "Wow I've never heard anything like this." and some remixes (Wish, Slavery, Throw This Away) were more accessible than others (Fist Fuck, Screaming Slave) but overall I liked what I heard.

    Sometime in the spring of 1994 (freshman year in high school) I borrowed TDS from a neighbor and I was hooked. I listened to it non-stop for 3 or 4 days. I gave it back and immediately bought my own copy and then PHM and Broken shortly after that. The leadup to The Fragile was what really grabbed me...bought it on release day and it's been my favorite album ever since. First live show was Fragility 2.0 at UIC although I can't remember if it was the first or second show and can't find my ticket, purchased at Carson Pirie Scott.
    Dude, mine was fixed and broken well. went to a friends house, and just loved that two cds were identical but one was orange and one was blue.

    He burnt me them from cd onto cassette, but at some point I got the track lists mixed up. So I had two cassettes, if I recall they were double sided as well, so four sides, with mixed up track list, I spent a year trying to figure out which track was which.

    I love those tapes, played them to death.

    One day, I went into Tower Records in Leicester Square. I’d never really been into a record store before. I must have spent 6 hours in there. Wheni realised you could browse by artist, I looked for NIN, actually saw a huge NIN section I bought the fragile immediately, then within days, bought TDS, and PHM. It also has just loads of other stuff too, I was blown away that one artist could have so many CDs. I didn’t realise most of them were bootleg CDs.

    Now I’m an Uber fan.
    Last edited by laz001; 10-04-2020 at 01:39 PM.

  19. #19
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    Borrowed a buddy’s car, he had AATCHB in the CD player; TL -> Sin. The End

  20. #20
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    Any excuse to get on the 90s nostalgia train. I'm pretty sure that Fixed was my first purchase... around about '93 I guess? I didn't have MTV in my family home (satellite TV was a thing around then, but still a luxury that other people had, fortunately including some friends of mine) but I had probably seen music videos for Head Like A Hole and Wish and was vaguely interested... I'd probably just started going to clubs and bars around this time, so may have heard other tracks there too. I had by this point discovered Ministry but was still mainly listening to a combination of UK indie and metal, so it was just a matter of time before I picked up my first Nine Inch Nails record.
    The reason I had Fixed first was that it was cheaper than Broken, or PHM, or even import singles for Sin and Head Like A Hole which I know were knocking around in the high street record store. It was probably more avante garde than anything else I owned at that point, but I was into dance and hip-hop to some extent, alongside the rock thing, plus I'd grown up with 70s Bowie, so I wasn't too taken aback by the more extreme mixes. Anyway, it's fair to say it did the job and before you know it I was picking up the rest of the back catalogue and I was all lined up to leap excitedly into the TDS era when it arrived.

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    This started it all for me:


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    Quote Originally Posted by ickyvicky View Post
    This started it all for me:

    My friends made fun of me for years after this, I absolutely LOVED this performance by TR. I said "what a performance, you can get lost in his eyes you can really feel him, deep emotions, what a performance"

    For years my friends poked fun at me ... "you could just get lost in his eyes cant you snaapz"



    Quote Originally Posted by Toadflax View Post
    Love this idea!

    I was about 11 years old, 1993ish, and my older parents and lack of a lot of friends meant I had no exposure to music. I think the first two CDs I owned were New Kids On The Block and MC Hammer....
    Oh thank god, I'm not the only one who had a New Kids On The Block tape lol... I was also about 11 years old too... loved Step By Step album.
    Last edited by snaapz; 10-06-2020 at 11:15 AM.

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    Some guy I played Counter-Strike with from about 2001-2003 had his name as "NIN", so I found out through him sometime in 2002. He first recommended Starfuckers and Burn, but I branched out from there and mostly focused on TF. It would take a few years before I actually had a job and then would buy music, so for a while I just had shitty mp3 files acquired from random sources. Back when you downloaded shit by individual song.
    Last edited by blassster; 10-06-2020 at 06:53 PM.

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    Was a fan of Tool and APC, saw the NIN association and became a fan around 2002 just when AATCHB was released.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snaapz View Post
    Oh thank god, I'm not the only one who had a New Kids On The Block tape lol... I was also about 11 years old too... loved Step By Step album.
    Oh yeah — I had that, and also the Hangin' Tough tape. I was a little younger, though, and my parents thought I worshipped the ground New Kids walked on — bought all the cheesy merch for me, too (action figures, comic books, trading cards...) and a concert ticket when they came to town and played the SkyDome. It was those guys and Alvin & The Chipmunks who were formative pre-NIN musical influences on me, haha (didn't hurt that both "bands" had starring roles in their own Saturday morning cartoons).
    Last edited by botley; 10-06-2020 at 07:37 PM.

  26. #26
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    I have no idea what we were listening to (not NIN) but I played something and a friend of mine was like “if you enjoy this, you should hear the Fragile”.

    I was hooked. So very, very hooked.

    this would’ve been around 03, maybe 04. I was in grade 12 I think.

    what’s funny is the only NIN song I knew was WITT because Muchmusic (Canada’s MTV) played it on repeat a few years earlier and I hated it. A lot. 15 year old me must have had broken eardrums or something.

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    Back in 94, I used to tape MTV's Headbanger's Ball and watch it when coming home back from school (I was 14 at the time). I saw March of the Pigs and was hooked. Back then, I used to go to a place where I could rent Cds and copied them to cassettes (didn't have much money to buy cds), but they didn't have TDS as it always seemed to be rented by someone else, so I went to a local small music store with my older brother and asked them to blast it through the speakers (they didn't have a cd player with headphones). They agreed and I knew I had to have this record, it changed me forever. First got PHM and Broken at the renting place before TDS though, then bought it all when I got the money.

    PS : oh; my older brother is just the coolest person. When I was 11-12, he made me cassettes with Neubauten, Suicide, The Cure, The Cramps, U2, OMD, Anne Clark, he really opened my ears and the music fed me with sounds and emotions that I could relate to, always having the feeling I didn't fit in the mold (school, family, few friends). Not surprising I became a sound engineer and a musician.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipRock View Post
    The reason I had Fixed first was that it was cheaper than Broken, or PHM, or even import singles for Sin and Head Like A Hole which I know were knocking around in the high street record store.
    It's funny you mention this because the price compared to Broken 100% played a factor in my purchase as well. I also distinctly remember Fixed being stocked in the CD Singles section where Broken was stocked with the regular albums.

    Man, I miss going to the record store. It's crazy to me that my son won't have the thrill of going to the physical music store every week.

  29. #29
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    I miss it too. Someone really needs to crack the code on the digital experience. It just doesn't compare to walking into a physical space and holding something in your hands and bringing it home. Books, CDs/vinyl, magazines, newspapers... I am VERY supportive of digital technology, i use it a lot, but I don't think it is done well yet, and we are losing our sense of community along the way.

  30. #30
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    Mine is a bit embarrassing, I was at the infamous Guns N Roses Wembley Stadium show, right at the back and I don’t remember a second of it (to be fair I don’t really remember anything of Skid Row or GNR now as it was 1991!) but my sister asked for PHM for Christmas and in 1992 she made me a C90 mixtape of one side PHM, one side Gary Numan’s Pleasure Principle and selected tracks from a James Brown best of - she’d just gone to university in London and had more eclectic tastes than where we came from. So I was a goner - I remember buying Broken that same year and playing it with a friend only to go to the kitchen to get a cup of tea when it was about to finish, then return 10 mins later to hear Physical playing

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