Published Jan 26, 2016As the tributes to the late David Bowie continue to flow, Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor has offered up a few touching memories about his onetime collaborator and tourmate via a newly published essay.
Through Rolling Stone, Reznor recalled how he bonded with the brilliance of Bowie, first via 1980's Scary Monsters collection and later by backtracking to Bowie's beloved "Berlin Period" from the mid-to-late '70s. The personal essay had Reznor noting he'd been obsessed with the musician and later blown away when Bowie asked if they wanted to tour together.
"It's hard to express how validating and surreal the whole experience of the Outside tour was," Reznor recalled, "to actually meet this man in the flesh and find out, to my delight, that he passed any expectation I had. The fact that he was this graceful, charming, happy, fearless character became a new point of inspiration for me."
Reznor remembered how Bowie went into the 1995 trip wanting to tease his as-yet-unreleased Outside LP instead of playing his big hits and was also keen on performing Low's "Subterraneans" and linking up onstage with his rising protege for performances of Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral classic "Hurt."
"I was outside of myself, thinking, 'I'm standing onstage next to the most important influence I've ever had, and he's singing a song I wrote in my bedroom,'" Reznor wrote, adding, "It was just an awesome moment."
Reznor also went on to note the positive influence Bowie had on him, noting that while he "was a mess" and "dealing with life...with drugs and alcohol," Bowie gave the rapidly climbing rock star some direction as to how to cope with the pressures of fame.
He explained: "When I met David, he had been through that. And he was content. He was at peace with himself, with an incredible wife, clearly in love. 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.'"
The piece also details the bond between the two musicians, offers some insight on their collaborative "I'm Afraid of Americans" single from Earthling, and the profound impact of Bowie's death on Reznor.
"It feels like the loss of a mentor, fatherly figure, someone looking out for you, reminding you that in a world where the bar keeps seeming to be lower, where stupidity has got a foothold, there is room for excellence and uncompromising vision," he wrote.
You'll find Reznor's tribute to Bowie, in full, over here.