The Truth About Trent Reznor's Time In The Manson Murder House

A few weeks after Trent Reznor began renting the house at 10050 Cielo Drive, to serve as the studio for Nine Inch Nails's second album, The Downward Spiral, and the EP Broken, a friend of his noticed something. "We got the Helter Skelter book to see if it was the place," Reznor told Entertainment Weekly in 1994, "and there was the same bedroom, front door, pool." 

Yes, it turned out that he had rented the house in which the Manson family had murdered Sharon Tate in 1969. However, such gruesome surroundings suited Nine Inch Nails's aesthetic perfectly, so Reznor named the studio Le Pig, after the word "pig" scrawled in Tate's blood across the front door, and proceeded to record his sophomore album. During this time, Reznor recorded the music video "Gave Up" in that very residence, and just for that extra touch on the nose, teamed up with Marilyn Manson, whose moniker was made by jamming Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson together. Despite all this, Reznor was not completely indifferent to living in the house of a serial killer. "Little sounds would make me jump at first, but after a while it was just like home. The house didn't feel terrifying so much as sad — peacefully sad. But that could just be my own insanity." 

Okay, so he was mildly indifferent. His outlook changed, though, when he met someone tied to the house's history.

Moving out, growing up

Somewhere between the sessions that would result in songs like "Hurt," Reznor's indifference to the house's history was shattered when he met Sharon Tate's sister, Patti Tate. As he recalled to Rolling Stone in 1997, she asked him "Are you exploiting my sister's death by living in her house?" He gave a response: "No, it's just sort of my own interest in American folklore. I'm in this place where a weird part of history occurred." But internally, despite his justifications, he realized that the lawlessness Charles Manson represented included the repercussions felt by others. As a result, Reznor grew up. As he explained, "When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, 'What if it was my sister?' I thought, 'F— Charlie Manson.' I don't want to be looked at as a guy who supports serial-killer bull—-."

In December of 1993, according to the World History Project, he left, deciding that, "there was too much history in that house for me to handle." Besides, the album was done, and he had to go on a yearlong promotional tour. However, Reznor still stole the front door to the house, according to All That's Interesting, dragging it with him to his next studio in New Orleans, where it has since been preserved.

Today, that door is all that's left of 10050 Cielo Drive. In April 1994, a few months after Reznor's departure, the owners demolished the house, changing it entirely, and re-branding it with a new address.