Trent Reznor opens up about the impact that drugs had on his life

'It wound up creating chaos and destroying things'

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has spoken out about the ‘destructive’ impact that drink and drugs had on his life.

Reznor, who has been sober for years, has previously admitted that he went through one of his darkest periods of addiction and self-destruction when he toured the 1994 album ‘The Downward Spiral’. Now in a new interview, he’s discussed how giving up alcohol and drugs have improved his creative outlook.

“I had romanticised the idea of what drugs and alcohol’s role in my life was,” Reznor told Kerrang. “I’m not saying it didn’t provide great moments of great escape and relief, and easing of pain, but it wound up creating chaos and destroying things – destroying creativity in my case.


“There was an awkward adjustment of learning how to live without that, without those things, those people, those crutches and habits. Once I got on stable ground and started to understand how my brain worked without all that, musically at least, I can do more because I can remember what I did. I can think deeper about things.”

Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails

However, Reznor also admitted that sobriety did not necessarily impact on the darkness of his output.

“I’m inspired by how I feel, and I attempt to be as honest as I can be about those feelings,” he continued. “‘Not The Actual Events’, for example, was I think one of the ugliest records I’ve written in a long time, certainly sober. I’m allowed to go down some dark holes that I realised, in sobriety I hadn’t allowed myself to.

“I don’t mean I’m using drugs, but I was allowing myself to think deeply about things I’ve felt, and things part of me still feel.”


Reznor had previously revealed that David Bowie helped him overcome addiction when the pair toured together in the ’90s.

“It reminds me, when I was in the throes of that [addiction] was when we toured with Bowie, and this was the Bowie that had come out the other side and was happily married. I was nearing the peak of my addiction, and his role to me was kind of mentor, big brother, friend, and also he’d give me kind of shamanish advice.”

Nine Inch Nails recently released the ‘Add Violence’ – the second in a trilogy following ‘Not The Actual Events’

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