Trent Reznor Calls The Grammy Awards ‘An Utter Waste Of Time’

"We weren't expecting ... that level of insult"

Late last month, as you may recall, Trent Reznor blasted the producers of The Grammy Awards for the way they treated his Nine Inch Nails performance at the close of the Grammy Awards this year. During NIN‘s finale performance (which also featured Lindsey Buckingham, Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age), producers cut off the end of the supergroup’s performance so that they could air commercial ads. Reznor‘s response was, F***k you. In a new interview that Trent gave to promote NIN‘s upcoming tour of New Zealand, he talks at some length about the Grammy Awards debacle and he makes very clear that he will never perform on the Grammys ever again. The rest of the interview is really a great read … Reznor also talks about Beats Music, 40 unreleased demo songs that may one day see the light of day and he talks a bit about the musical score he is working on for the new David Fincher film Gone Girl. Click below to read a lot of great new information from the one and only Trent Reznor.

Let’s get the Grammy Awards talk out the way first:

On The Grammys this year: it was an utter waste of time. And I’ll speak for a second on this. When this came up as an option, ‘Hey, the Grammys would like you to play’, you know, quite frankly it was flattering. I’m not a fan of the Grammys, as I’ve vocally expressed in the past, I don’t think I’ve ever sat through an entire broadcast. I know I’ve never attended one. But the way my head works is, to try to approach it from, ‘Okay, if we did do it, what could be the upside?’ And Josh [Homme, Queens of The Stone Age] and I spent a long time talking about the pros and cons. You know, ‘Do we want to be on a shit show on TV? No, not really. Do we want to be affiliated with the Grammys? No, not really. Would we like to reach a large audience and actually do something with integrity on our terms? Well, yeah. Let’s roll the dice and go into it with the best intentions, with a performance we think is worthy and might – you know – stand out from the crowd. Or it might not!’ But what we weren’t expecting was that level of insult [laughter]. In fact we walked off stage and I thought, ‘Hey, that actually went pretty well’, and I look at my collaborator Rob Sheridan, who I run into, and he’s like, ‘Oh my god man, you won’t believe what they just did’, and… ‘What?’ ‘They cut this thing off in the middle and put a Delta commercial on’. ‘What?’ We had no idea. You know, and it was just… I can look now and say I should have expected something like that, you know? But, more than anything it was just insulting. I invite my friend Lindsay Buckingham to come up on stage and it’s just ‘You know what, you’ve invited me into this place, f**k you. F**k you guys’, you know? So, lesson learned. And the other thing is if we hadn’t have done it, I’d be thinking, ‘Well, what would have happened it we would have done it?’ You know. So I don’t regret that we did it, but would I ever – in any situation – ever consider possibly patronising that event in any form? Absolutely not.

And here is other great new info from Reznor about a bunch of really exciting things:

On the Gone Girl score: So Atticus [Ross] and I have been working – we essentially had the month of January off, so we spent that whole month together working on Gone Girl stuff, which was a shift – you know it always takes me a bit to shift from ‘playing live mode’ to the kind of quiet, different part of your brain that’s used sitting in a quiet studio, trying to think more, ah, compositionally.
Plus with this one, always the first part of any work we do on a film isn’t so much traditional composing as it is trying to decide what instruments to use, what kind of sonic power to dive into. Is it more organic? Is it more electronic? Is it clean and crisp, is it decayed and rotting? Is it happy or sad, or what degree of tension is it? How prominent a role is the music going to play in the film?
So a lot of that time was spent trying to answer those questions. We’ve written a pretty good sized first batch of stuff that we’ve turned over that they’re excited about.

On The Fragile reissue: We’ve done a lot of the work for [The Fragile reissue]. Really what it’s come down to is with all the other stuff going on, the Fragile thing in particular, I want to make sure I get it right. You know, we’ve mixed everything in surround, it sounds amazing, we have a great package ready to go. I just stumbled across 40-or-so demos that are from that era that didn’t turn into songs, that range from sound effects to full-fledge pieces of music, and I kind of feel like – something should happen with that. And I think it has something to do with that package, and I just need the bandwidth to kind of calmly think about it, and decide how much effort I want to devote into that and what to do with it. I have a lot of ideas that could eat up immense amounts of time and I’m trying to weigh out – just think it through. I don’t want to pull the trigger on something and go, ‘Man, I should have done it in this way.’ And I just haven’t had a chance to be in a calm place where I can think it through completely and make that decision.

AHHH! I am so jealous that the folks in New Zealand, Australia and Japan are getting to see NIN very soon. I know it sounds greedy but I wish I could attend every single NIN show in the world. But, I’ll just have to wait for their return to the US later this year. I’m really glad that Reznor went on the record regarding the Grammy Awards. It’s clear that he really didn’t want to perform on the show and decided to just give in and give it a shot … then to see how badly he was mistreated, I can totally understand his anger (especially when you see rehearsal footage that shows how amazing the performance would’ve looked had it aired unmolested). Lesson learned, I suppose. As for his talk about those demo songs from The Fragile recording session … OMG. I would KILL to hear some of that unreleased material … in any way I can. I know an anniversary remaster of The Fragile is on the way so I’ll just have to hold my horses but yeah, just hearing him discuss the existence of all of that music that we’ve never heard just makes me want to lose my mind. This is a really great interview, the interviewer really hit all the right points of discussion. You can read the full text of this interview HERE. It’s really worth your time.

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  1. Sam

    Check your subheading, Trent, I think it’s missing a word!

  2. DJ

    It saddens me when an artist I love and respect and admire (and lust after) thinks the world should stop and reschedule itself for him and then continue to whine about it almost a month later.

    Dude, do your homework!! They cut people off at the end of award shows all the time. Why would he think it’s different for him? When you close a show like that, you run the risk of being cut off. I’m no entertainer and I know that!

    Is what the Grammys did wrong? Yes!
    Is Trent right at being upset when it happened? Sure!
    Are we really surprised that it happened? NO!!!!

    That being said, I’m looking forward to new music (something a little more interesting than the basicness of Hesitation Marks) and the re-release of the Fragile.

  3. OG Emily

    You know, for someone who doesn’t care about the Grammys, he’s complaining an awful lot about it.
    It pains me to say because I’m a NIN fan, but Trent just needs to get over it. His initial tweet was childish enough, and now revisiting it a month later just looks whiny.
    You performed at the end. The end usually gets cut off. Expect it and deal with it.
    I mean, for a second I felt bad for him, then he childishly tweeted and I’m like, “he’s an artist, let him vent, we’re done.” But to stamp your feet about it again a month later? Unnecessary.
    On the plus side, NEW MUSIC!

    • @OG Emily — “revisiting it a month later just looks whiny.” Well, to be fair he was asked about it by the interviewer and this was the first time he actually explained his perspective since the show aired. I think his response is particularly important because he famously said he would never perform on the Grammys … then he did and felt disrespected. I expect this will be the last time he talks about it.

    • OG Emily

      Thanks Trent, I peeped that too and took it onto consideration, but it still comes off as whiny to me. I think it’s because I have such respect for Trent that I’d hope he’d be above it. What the Grammys did … It’s happened before. The end gets cut off. We know this. Trent just sounds like a petulant child when I want him to sound like the mature gifted rock god we know he is.

    • @OG Emily — I feel you.

  4. I’m actually surprised he didn’t say anything about the people streaming out while they were playing.

  5. i think the grammy’s are a waste of time too… I watch cause it’s a concert… i don’t think the prestige of the award has been there for a long time. When an artist is introduced as a 3x grammy winner, i just think.. oh you were popular doing that year.

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