Nine Inch Nails is one of those bands that are not really a band. While they take the stage as a group, Nine Inch Nails is really Trent Reznor. He founded the "band" in 1988 and has since been the project's driving creative force. He not only sings and writes all the songs, but he plays most of the instruments on Nine Inch Nails recordings (although he will employ guest artists). Reznor intended to form a more traditional band but found it hard to assemble musicians who could recreate the kind of sound he wished to make.
Reznor does put together a band for Nine Inch Nails tours. These groups usually have to rearrange NIN songs so they can be played live. Don't expect the versions performed during a Nine Inch Nail concert to sound exactly like the versions from their albums.
Through the years, the band has performed all over the world including the music festivals Coachella, Alternative Nation, Lollapalooza, and Woodstock '94. Nine Inch Nails concerts are also known for their innovated visual elements. Reznor wants fans to have a theatrical and dramatic experience. To make that a reality, Reznor and his production team use lighting effects, video elements, and other visual aids.
Nine Inch Nails released their first album, Pretty Hate Machine, in 1989. The opus featured the singles "Down In It," "Head Like a Hole," and "Sin." From that release to their 2008 offering, The Slip (the band's seventh studio effort), Nine Inch Nails has pushed the boundaries of alternative and electronic music. In fact, they created an entirely new genre of music called industrial rock. Their pioneering sound has resulted in the sale of 30 million albums and 25 Grammy nominations. Beyond the awards and commercial success, NIN has influenced countless artists with their innovated sound and morose, thought-provoking lyrics. Reznor has received praise from such divergent sources as David Bowie, Time magazine, and record producer Bob Ezrin.
Reznor has also been praised for his uncompromising stance against perceived injustices perpetrated by the music industry. The headstrong Reznor has had fierce clashes with TVT Records, Universal Music Group, and the secondary ticket market. Reznor got a cease and desist order against Fox News after he was told that NIN music was used in an episode of War Stories with Oliver North. Reznor also took umbrage to the U.S. military using his music to torture detainees. Reznor responded to the report by posting a meandering and juvenile diatribe on the Nine Inch Nails Web site.