How Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor Used To Feel About The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

January 15, after two failed attempts, Nine Inch Nails was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the Notorious B.I.G., T.Rex, Whitney Houston, and others. When asked by Rolling Stone about it, Trent Reznor gave a pretty understandable response: "[Faux casual tone] Oh, yeah. No big deal [laughs]. No, I'm pretty freaked out. I'm quite in shock."

The bigger shock, apart from the fact Joy Division has been passed over again, is that just over a year before this, Trent Reznor had strong, negative feelings about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He even went so far as to tell Stereogum that "The worst would be if we did [get inducted] and then what? We'd have to fuckin' show up and jam? I can't even imagine what that would be." For Reznor, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was one of the least rock and roll things because it consists of suited people in a room responding to rating, rather than artistry.

One might put this down to the same defense mechanism Reznor talks to Rolling Stone about when he explains why the induction shocked him: "When I look back at how Nine Inch Nails are received, it always seems like we fall between the cracks or we're not in this category or "that thing." I don't know if it's a defense mechanism, but I just assumed we'd stay in that category, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see us acknowledged. It feels pretty good."

The 180

Of course, such a turnaround from Trent Reznor prompted questions. In an interview with Forbes, Reznor cited his introducing The Cure in 2019, marking the first British post-punk band to be given the honor. On a side note, Robert Smith, the lead singer for The Cure, treated the over enthusiasm of the news coverage with a similar snark, as seen in this video.

In his telling of the event, Reznor walked on stage to welcome The Cure: "I can see that Robert Smith is happy and the other guys in the band are all kind of freaked out. It felt validating. I wanted to see them respected someplace I feel they deserve. It ended up being a pretty cool experience and I thought, 'Alright, it doesn't feel as bulls**t as I kind of snarkily dismissed it as.' I don't have any problem admitting I've changed my opinion about something."

So, the firsthand experience of how impactful the induction could be for a similarly not quite mainstream artist converted Trent Reznor just in time to fully appreciate his own induction — until the corona hit, of course. When the interviewer asked him who he would choose for his inductor, he cited the rock star who helped him the most: "Well I sure wish it could've been David Bowie."