Bowie’s 74th birthday is set to be marked tomorrow (January 8) with a special livestream event that Reznor will take part in, while Sunday (January 10) marks five years since Bowie’s death in 2016.
Speaking to Consequence of Sound, Reznor reflected on his memories of listening to and working with Bowie as he gave his latest tribute to the late musician.
The Nine Inch Nails frontman recalled how he would listen to Bowie’s records when he was growing up, cementing Bowie in Reznor’s mind as the “best archetype for someone who has a fantastic voice and was kind of an actor pretending to be a rock star, in a way”.
“[It] seemed to give him the ability to reinvent himself in ways that just felt like it would take a lot of courage to have had success at something and then throw it away and try something new,” Reznor said.
Recalling how Nine Inch Nails later opened for Bowie on his ‘Outside Tour’ in 1995, Reznor remembered how he got to saw Bowie in person “and be terrified and intimidated” before then finding “an actual human being behind it that did impossibly live up to whatever you projected on him”.
“What really left the biggest impression on me was there I was in a bad state of addiction and kind of going down the toilet. And [Bowie] was on the other end to have come out of it,” Reznor continued.
“There were the few kind of big brother / fatherly times where he’d call me aside and kind of get on my shit: ‘You need to get your shit together.’ It doesn’t have to end up down there. He didn’t say this, but look at where he was. He was happy. He was still taking chances.”
Reznor concluded by saying that he “still thinks about that dude all the time, and I still listen to him constantly”.
“I’m grateful that our lives intersected, and I’m grateful for, whether he knew it or not, how much he helped me in those dark times before I chose to get my shit together,” Reznor added about Bowie.
“And I can hear his voice. He penetrated through the layers of bullshit that I’d built around myself. I’m grateful for that.”
Bowie’s widow Iman paid tribute to the late musician in a recent interview, saying that he “is in our hearts and minds on a daily basis”.