‘Listening to Nine Inch Nails gets you closer to God,’ Iggy Pop promises

Trent Reznor
(Image credit: Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame)

Punk godfather Iggy Pop inducted Nine Inch Nails into the Rock And Rock Hall Of Fame on Saturday, November 7. In his speech welcoming Trent Reznor’s band into the elite club, Pop described NIN as painters of “a portrait of pain, pressure, and dissatisfaction” and commented, “listening to Nine Inch Nails feels like hearing the truth.”

The full text of Pop’s speech is as follows:

“When I first heard about Nine Inch Nails and heard a little of their music I thought, ’Well who is this guy?’ So I took a look, and I saw a face straight out of 15th century Spain. I think Trent could’ve played Zorro. If he’d been alive at the right time, I think he could’ve been painted by Velasquez or El Greco, and his portrait would probably be hanging in the Prado today.

Listening to Nine Inch Nails’ music, which is so often called industrial, I actually hear a lot of funk. Just listen to Closer, and the foundation could be Stevie Wonder or George Clinton. But on top of that is a focused and relentless process of emotional destruction, which paints a portrait of pain, pressure, and dissatisfaction. It’s the soundtrack to the dark and lonely party that was beginning to play out in America at that period, so I would call it not industrial, but the sound of industro, digital ambition.

I went to the Nine Inch Nails show at the Forum in Los Angeles—the one together with David Bowie—and Trent held the centre of that room just by being a kind of dark spot hunched behind the mic. I’d seen the same thing accomplished in different ways by T. Rex at Wembley, Nirvana at the Pyramid Club, and Bob Dylan in ’65. This is the mark of the master artist—simply to connect. 

The controversial and brilliant French novelist Michel Houellebecq when asked the secret to his success said, “It’s easy, just tell the truth.” Listening to Nine Inch Nails feels like hearing the truth, so it gets you a little bit closer to God. It is my honor to assist in inducting Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

In accepting his band’s induction, Trent Reznor  hailed Nine Inch Nails fans, stating “You’re an intense bunch that can drive me out of my mind… but you’re the best.”

Reznor also thanked current and former Nine Inch Nails’ bandmates, film director David Fincher and legendary producer/record business executive Rick Rubin, among many others in his speech.

“This journey is far from over if I have any say in it,” Reznor added, “so let’s stop fucking around, and patting ourselves on the back, and get to it.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.