Trent Reznor on David Bowie: ‘it feels like the loss of a mentor’

Reznor says Bowie helped him to get sober

Trent Reznor – lead vocalist with Nine Inch Nails – has talked about David Bowie‘s role in helping him to get sober, and described the late artist as “a fatherly figure”.

In an interview with Rolling Stone for their Bowie tribute edition, Reznor also talked about his obsession with Bowie, and interpreting the singer’s cryptic lyrics.

Reznor said: “By the early Nineties, as I found myself onstage with an audience, I was in full-obsession mode with Bowie. I read into all the breadcrumbs he’d put out – the clues in his lyrics that reveal themselves over time, the cryptic photographs, the magazine articles – and I projected and created what he was to me.

“His music really helped me relate to myself and figure out who I was. He was a tremendous inspiration in terms of what was possible, what the role of an entertainer could be, that there are no rules.”


Reznor also highlighted Bowie’s role in getting him sober, linking the experience back with the ‘Outside’ tour, which saw the pair travel around North America together, and get to know each other.

Reznor said: “There were a number of times where the two of us were alone, and he said some things that weren’t scolding, but pieces of wisdom that stuck with me: “You know, there is a better way here, and it doesn’t have to end in despair or in death, in the bottom.”

“A full year later, I hit bottom. Once I got clean, I felt a tremendous amount of shame, of my actions and missed opportunities and the damage that I’ve caused in the past. And I thought back to the time when we were together a lot, and I wonder what that could have been like if I was at 100 percent.

“The “I’m Afraid of Americans” falls into that category of me at my worst – out of my mind and ashamed of who I was at that time. So when I see that, I have mixed feelings – grateful to be involved, and flattered to be a part of it, but disgusted at myself, at who I was at that time, and wishing I had been 100 percent me.”

Two weeks after Bowie’s death, Blackstar continues to dominate the UK album charts, while a host of music’s big names have paid tribute to the star.