Former Nine Inch Nails keyboardist James Woolley dies aged 50

Woolley was a member during classic album ‘The Downward Spiral’

James Woolley/Facebook

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Former Nine Inch Nails keyboardist James Woolley has died, aged 50.

Woolley was a member of Nine Inch Nails from 1991-94, when the band released influential album ‘The Downward Spiral’ and mini-album ‘Broken’.

News of his death was revealed on Facebook by Woolley’s ex-wife Kate Van Buren, with whom the musician had three children. Van Buren didn’t reveal the cause of Woolley’s death, saying: “I wanted our friends to know. Please keep the Woolley family and all his loved ones in your prayers.”

Before joining Nine Inch Nails, Woolley played in Die Warzau, featuring NIN drummer Chris Vrenna. Woolley replaced Lee Mars as keyboardist in 1991, playing on the first Lollapalooza tour and the later shows for Nine Inch Nails’ album ‘Pretty Hate Machine’.

Although he played with Nine Inch Nails in the studio for ‘The Downward Spiral’ and appeared in the videos for the singles ‘Wish’ and ‘March Of The Pigs’, it’s not thought that any of Woolley’s contributions went on to ‘The Downward Spiral’.

Woolley left Nine Inch Nails in 1994 for family reasons, replaced by Saw soundtrack composer Charlie Clouser.

Following his departure from Nine Inch Nails, Woolley played in 2wo with Judas Priest singer Rob Halford and Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5, before forming his own band VOID. VOID didn’t release any albums, with Woolley suffering from severe spinal problems.

Woolley also worked on sound effects for The Simpsons, with Van Buren joking: “Those fart sounds were authentic.”

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