Saturday, April 18, 2009
Posted by modernrock
more : - Biography
more : - Biography
Birth name Michael Trent Reznor
Born May 17, 1965 (1965-05-17) (age 43)
Mercer, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Years active 1982–present
Associated acts Option 30 (1982–1984)
The Innocent (1985)
Exotic Birds (1986–1988)
Lucky Pierre (1988)
Nine Inch Nails (since 1988)
1000 Homo DJs
Michael Trent Reznor was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania (halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie) to Michael Joseph Reznor and Nancy Lou Clark on May 17, 1965. Reznor was referred to by his middle name to avoid confusion with his father. After his parents divorced, he lived with his grandparents, while his sister Tera lived with their mother. Reznor has acknowledged that his sheltered life in Pennsylvania left him feeling isolated from the outside world. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, he makes reference to his choices in the music industry, as well as elaborating on his early life, stating
I don't know why I want to do these things, other than my desire to escape from Small Town, U.S.A., to dismiss the boundaries, to explore. It isn't a bad place where I grew up, but there was nothing going on but the cornfields. My life experience came from watching movies, watching TV and reading books and looking at magazines. And when your fucking culture comes from watching TV every day, you're bombarded with images of things that seem cool, places that seem interesting, people who have jobs and careers and opportunities. None of that happened where I was. You're almost taught to realize it's not for you.
However, Reznor later said "I don't want to give the impression it was a miserable childhood". At the Mercer Area Junior and Senior High Schools, Reznor learned to play the saxophone and tuba. He was a member of both the jazz and marching band. Former Mercer High School band director Dr. Hendley Hoge remembered Reznor as "very upbeat and friendly." Reznor also became involved in theater while in high school. He was voted "Best in Drama" by classmates for his roles as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. Reznor graduated from this high school in 1983 and enrolled at Allegheny College, where he studied computer engineering
Early musical projects
Reznor (far right) on the cover of Option 30's self-titled album.
While still in high school in Mercer, Reznor was the keyboardist and one of the vocalists in a local band called The Klikz. Playing local clubs and quite a few high school dances throughout the area, The Klikz had a reputation as a talented and fun cover band. The repertoire consisted of the Pop and New Wave music hits of that period in the early 1980s. Playing a host of analog synthesizers, Reznor kept his primary keyboard on a stand he had constructed himself made from a work-mate table and a Lazy Susan that allowed him to rotate the keyboard along with his frenetic dancing and singing. The Klikz disbanded before Reznor went to college.
While he was enrolled in Allegheny College, Reznor joined local band Option 30, playing three shows a week with them. But after only a year of college, Reznor dropped out and moved to Cleveland, Ohio in order to pursue a career in music. In 1985, he joined The Innocent as a keyboardist. They released one album, Livin' in the Street, but Reznor quit after just three months. In 1986, Reznor joined local band Exotic Birds. He also appeared with them as the fictional band "The Problems" in the 1987 film Light of Day.
Reznor got a job at Right Track Studio (now known as Midtown Recording) as an assistant engineer and janitor. Studio owner Bart Koster later commented that Reznor was "so focused in everything he [did]. When that guy waxed the floor, it looked great." Reznor asked Koster for permission to record demos of his own songs for free during unused studio time. Koster agreed, remarking that it cost him "just a little wear on [his] tape heads". While assembling these, the earliest NIN recordings, Reznor was unable to find a band that could articulate his songs as he wanted. Instead, inspired by Prince, he played all the instruments except drums himself. This role remains Reznor's on most of the band's studio recordings, though he has occasionally involved other musicians and assistants. Several labels responded favorably to the demo material, and Reznor signed with TVT Records. Nine selections from the Right Track demos were unofficially released in 1994 as Purest Feeling; many of these songs would appear in revised form on his 1989 debut studio album under the stage name Nine Inch Nails.